METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello Raven. So, glad to be catching up with you once again. It has just been a little over a year ago when we last spoke to each other. You had just announced your headlining Hex O’Clock tour. So, before we get caught up on that and what else has been going on with Raven Black, let’s first say, once again, thank you for taking the time to speak with us here at Metal Pulp AndPaper. We appreciate it.
So, how are you? How are things going?
RAVEN BLACK: We are doing great. Very busy getting ready for the next two tours this Fall 2018. First tour with Skindred and Sumo Cyco, and second tour with Devildriver and Jinjer. We’re extremely busy and excited and looking forward to seeing our fans out there.
MPAP: Before we get started, really quick, just in case some readers out there haven’t heard of your just band yet, let’s introduce everyone why don’t we? Raven Black is a theatrical act hailing from Los Angeles, California. They are what you would call a Dark Metal Carnival that’s influenced by gothic, classical, and carnival music, but unique in their own particular way. Care to add anything that to capture those ones just tuning in?
RAVEN:Raven Black – a viciously sweet metal medley of feminine and masculine power harnessed through a tiny half human/half doll surrounded by her band of misfits, tossed into a theatrical debauchery of creepy fun and that’s just the beginning. There is a story here, but you have to take the journey to the 13th hour where these 4 live.
MPAP: Now Raven, where do we start? During the last year, a lot has happened since we last chatted? Like mentioned, you had just announced the Hex O’Clock tour, and you were getting prepared for that. But before we get into that, let’s first talk about some recent news to come out of the Raven Black camp is Stitches, your bass player, is back. It, of course, wasn’t a very long departure, but it’s good news to hear he’s back with the band. So, tell us what exactly what happened?
RAVEN: As you know, bands have so many 'behind the scene dynamics' between each member. We simply set apart a time period to give ourselves time to envision the future of the band and its members, collaboratively and individually, and we each set out to define our roles in the Dark Metal Carnival. We found that we all really have the same vision for the future and made strong commitments to continue in our journey together. Many people, especially fans, do not truly understand the work and commitment involved in being a touring band and pursuing a career in today’s music industry. You have to give every part of yourself, which at times, involves all those around you (i.e. family, friends, work, etc.). It’s not easy and it certainly can be difficult to experience. It’s important to allow yourself a moment to step outside of the band and look in, from the outside, and truly know if you wish to continue the journey. It’s a tough but amazing journey. Both the band and Stitches made the decision to continue our journey together.
MPAP: Going back to the Hex O’Clock tour, there was no time for you to rest, because right after that you were back out on the road for a six-week trek across the US supporting Psychostick, Arsonists Get All The Girls, and Kissing Candice. How fun was that to be a part of Psychostick’s chaotic madness and fun?
RAVEN: The Psychostick tour was so much fun. All the bands on tour just clicked and it made for some great friendships and debauchery. We’re all still talking about it and wanna do it again someday. We still keep in touch outside of touring. FB mainly, because we’re form all over the place, but RB will forever support these bands in all their future endeavors. The people in these bands are amazing musicians and overall fantastic human beings.
MPAP: Once that tour came to an end in late 2017, you had a comic book come out called, The Dark Metal Carnival – The Beginning. Tell us about that?
RAVEN:The Dark Metal Carnival – The Beginning is our first issue. We made it a special limited edition, since it was our very first issue. It truly introduced you to each of the members, their past history and how they came together in the Dark Metal Carnival. We wanted our fans to understand our story from the beginning and know who we are, where we came from and why we invite them to the Dark Metal Carnival. The upcoming issues will tell of our adventures and will always include some of our top fans as we experience different moments with them throughout our journey. It’s extremely personal to us and we definitely want our fans to become a part of the stories. In the 13th Hour, so much can happen and unfold.
MPAP: What about a Raven Black themed or flavored beer in the future? That seems to be the trend right now?
RAVEN: I don’t drink any alcohol, but maybe, an occasional celebratory sip or shot. It takes a lot for me to do this, because I get extremely itchy with just a sip. LOL. We definitely try to stay away for 'trends' and truly make effort to do things in our own unique way. Many bands do a lot of the same things for merch, etc., and of course, we will create content for our fans, but probably not to follow 'trend' but rather follow what our fans would enjoy and appreciate. Just because other bands put out a comic book or beer, doesn’t mean, we will follow. Our comic book, or anything we put out there is only out there because we believe our fans would enjoy it. Believe me, our top fans, 'Ravens Rejects' and all the 'Toys' in our ToyBox have a list for us already.
MPAP: We’ll get back to what else has been going on with Raven Black here in just a moment, but let’s talk about another recent announcement you made on the social media, you’ll be hitting the road again, this time supporting Skindred’s 'That’s My Jam Summer Tour' alongside with Sumo Cyco. How excited are you for this one, especially going on tour with Newport, South Wales, Reggae Punk Metal band Skindred?
RAVEN: At first, when we were presented the opportunity to support Skindred, we thought, 'How do we fit, musically?', but as soon as we watched their live videos, we were pumped up! Musically, we have different styles, but we quickly realized the energy we shared was the same! We instantly got excited and then we found out Sumo Cyco was on board, as they both have a great history together. We immediately wanted to be a part of it. Super excited and we know we’re going to have a blast with them both! Hopefully it creates and opportunity for us to play in Europe with them in the future.
MPAP: Some other news that hit the social media recently was while you were out headlining ‘The Little Monsters Tour,’ Hail Sagan whom also was on tour, was abruptly kicked off. What happened? Is there anything that needs to be cleared up?
RAVEN: Hmmm…I want to surely lay this topic to rest. Many people have come to know my feelings on 'negativity' in social media, etc. I run far away from it. Hail Sagan had wanted to tour with us in 2017 and we had heard negative opinions about the band, and after reading a few negative posts on FB from Sagan Amery and Nick Quijano, we declined those tours. In January 2018, I reached out to Sagan Amery after reading a post she wrote about turning a new leaf and being positive in 2018, we had a heart to heart discussion about touring and becoming friends. We made the decision to do this tour and show support for the DIY female fronted bands out there. It was exciting and so we went into it with very positive intentions. After the first few shows, all I heard were reports from band members, venue staff, promoters and fans that she was rude to them and saying negative comments about local bands, venues, the tour and overall negative behavior towards people. We made the decision to remove her from the tour so that the rest of the tour would continue without any negativity. We wanted it to be fun and free from any negative behavior. Hail Sagan did not take this well and the social media posts surrounding this were very negative. I was extremely disappointed. The rest of the tour was awesome, and we had a great time with Aboleth and Broken Rail. I’ll leave it at that.
MPAP: Now that is all out of the way, let’s talk about your latest music. You released a seven-song album called 13. What can you tell us about it?
RAVEN: The new album 13 is our second album released. We wanted to give our fans a little heavier side of our creepy fun. We wanted a twist on the dark once again and wanted to respond to some of the 'trolls' that have made attempts to criticize us. The rowdy, 'I won’t take your shit' side of the doll got to come out a bit more. It was fun, and we truly enjoyed making this album. So much more meaning behind the songs on 13 with new messages out there to the world. Messages our fans could relate to and have fun singing and moving along to. It was amazing to see our fans sing along and horns up throughout the tour.
MPAP: The last song on your first release, Seven Sins, was called "13", does that mean that the next Raven Black release will be called "The Nobodies," which is the last song on your latest release 13?
RAVEN: LOL. No, because it’s a cover song, but that is a fun idea. Our next comic book issue is titled, A Dark Metal Carnival – We Came Across the Darkness. Our next album will most likely follow this story theme, and yes, it will be darker and heavier.
MPAP: And speaking of that song "The Nobodies," it was initially done by Marilyn Manson. Tell us why you chose this particular song? What made it stand out for you to cover it? Did the song have a special meaning towards you?
RAVEN: We definitely selected this song, as we knew we wanted to cover one of Manson’s songs. I’m a big fan of his and this song was appropriate for us since we are truly "Nobodies" at this time in our music career. It’s the struggle and climb and it fit with our circumstance at the time of recording. The truth is, we had planned on recording "Zombie" in the studio, and suddenly we saw the news about Dolores death and Bad Wolves cover song, so we had to change our cover song. It was such a crazy coincidence, as we have covered the song "Zombie" as our live encore song for years. We couldn’t record and release it now, so we went to our next cover song. One of my favorites and it just made sense at the time.
MPAP: On your website, it states, 'expect a few fun releases of a new music video and a new announcement of their upcoming Summer Tour after they play the 2018 Michigan Metal Festival on August 11, 2018!' These are all good things to happen. Please go into more detail?
RAVEN: We released our new music video, "13", an animated music video of our comic personas. We included some of our top 'Ravens Rejects' fans in the music video as comic/cartoon versions of themselves, too. It was fun, personal and a big thank you to those selected fans for their love and support of the band. We also expected the announcements for the upcoming support tours. We also have scheduled the filming of our new music video for "DollHouse" at a live haunted house this 9/22/18 at Darksyde Haunt in Michigan. A few fans will be featured in the music video, as well, alongside some of Darksyde Haunt Actors/Actresses. We’re super excited to release this new video sometime this fall, and hopefully in time for our favorite holiday, Halloween! Still, there are secrets brewing and we will be announcing new things in 2019. Stay tuned. We’re keeping busy!
MPAP: On behalf of myself, and Metal Pulp And Paper, it has always been a joy to speak with you, Raven. We look forward to what Raven Black does to finish out 2018 and beyond. Any last words for the readers and all your fans out there?
RAVEN: Thank you always for all the love and support! We’re going to continue to work hard and give you more of ourselves.
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Raven Black / September 18th, 2018/ Interview #120