I had the pleasure to interview vocalist Sandie ’’Lilith’’ Gjørtz of Denmark’s extreme metal band, Defacing God.
Check out Defacing God’s new album The Resurrection Of Lilith.
Since you formed as a band, it took you some years to finally release an album. Why is that?
Yes, you are right about that it took some years to finish this one. There are several reasons for that. First of all, we didn’t have our lineup completed in the band before late 2017. Other than that, we decided to pull back after the release of our first demo single and simply rearrange our whole setup and really work on the theme, the stories, and the visuals, and also experiment with our sound before we wanted to share anything more. When we started in 2015, we just knew that we had lots of ideas and that we wanted to make something out of them but not exactly what. It takes time to find yourself and your style in the world of art and music and I wanted everything to be fully complete, so Defacing God became something that is not only about the music. We do really care about the visuals as well and I am very much of a writer, actor, and storyteller as well. Writing stories and visualizing these stories or ideas through pictures or videos has always been my thing as far as I can remember, so I like that to shine through in the band as well. That work on the setup is what you see nowadays and I am still developing it. New ideas are coming up all the time and that in itself is amazing to experiment with and yeah… Sometimes it really does take some time to connect all the roots underneath. I dig to find meanings and draw lines and parallels to several things that have the same symbolism in them and it can take some time to get it all to make sense after all. Last but not least, we also had to go through a whole pandemic before it was wise to even release an album. But now, here it is! Seven years later… For so many reasons.
The Resurrection Of Lilith is a kick-ass album, I knew it will be a great album before its release. What I like about this album is the mix of elements, black/death metal, and symphonic. What is the story behind the album?
Thank you for your nice words! It is indeed very appreciated! And I am happy to see that people actually seem to notice the very dynamic use of styles on this album. Symphonics is a bit over-used nowadays if you ask me but I really think we found a good and creative balance in it without drowning the guitars in too many keyboard parts. The key parts is just more of an extra element that creates another layer or dimension in the sound collage and challenges the listener with some more details. The story on the album evolves around Lilith and her Resurrection, literally. Lilith is a strong female figure (or force) and even more like a philosophy to me.
I am very interested in Witchcraft, darkness, and the occult. It always intrigued me in a way I can’t explain and outside of the more fictional parts, I’m very interested in the historical parts too. I’ve read so much about the Witch trials in especially Europe for example and the general horrible oppression of women throughout our history and it enrages me. You still see this tendency around the world, even nowadays and it matters to me to talk about it. First of all, because I am a woman myself, and second: I do stand for equality for all no matter your race, personal beliefs, your gender, or sexuality. This topic really matters to my heart somehow and that’s why I wanted to write an album that connects all of it, the darkness, the Witch hunt, and the horrible stories that follow with that, the dark side of humanity, the darkness that thrives within ourselves especially and also the occult. So yeah, the album literally summon Lilith (my stage alter ego) to come back from the abyss where all the scared fools banished her because she was strong and different.
Now she comes back to tell some of these stories because some of them are maybe forgotten and these are events from the history of mankind that we can never forget. We need to learn from our past so we can shape a better future. The album also evolves around some kind of personal revenge and it only makes sense to you if you know me very personally. There are many “hidden” symnolocs in there that refer to my own personal life. Lilith has a voice and she is not afraid to use it so she is here to speak up for all her sisters who never got a chance to speak.
So far, what feedback did you receive from the media, and the fans?
The feedback has been overwhelming, really. I never expected that but I am extremely grateful because this album is a very personal piece of my soul so I am honored that people dig it too! I noticed that especially the States got their eyes on us and we got especially a lot of feedback from over there and I can’t feel anything else but very humble and grateful when I see some of all the big magazines mentioning some work I did with nice words connected to it. I am still processing it all at this point.
You use Lilith as the stage name. What Lilith represents for you?
As I already mentioned, she stands for power, and independence, and is someone who walks her own path completely. She is not a person to me as such but more a strong force, a motivation, and a passion that resides inside me.
You and Michael Olsson (drums) are the founding band members. When you formed the band, was it the actual musical direction you wanted to go from the beginning?
We had an idea about it, yes, but as it is with art in general, you never know where the creative flow brings you. You can have a vision and an idea, but the mind can go everywhere… This is where our mind leads to.
Are you planning to tour very soon in order to promote the new release?
Yes, in February we have a tour with 9 shows in Denmark and after that, we are heading outside of the borders. The announcements will come very soon! Other than that, we have Copenhell and Næstved Metal fest on the map and some more shows I can’t reveal before it’s announced officially.
Recently you posted on social media that you are working on something new. Are you already working on the next album?
I am working on new things always, whether it’s writing, photoshoots, visuals, or new music. But yeah, we already started to look into the next album!
As a last question, I’d like to approach this topic with you. ”Women in metal” or ”female-fronted”, do you see this label as a genre? Also, since you are a female vocalist in an extreme metal band, do you feel sexualized? I’m quoting Lacuna Coil singer Cristina Scabbia who recently said: ”In the music world if being sexy is the only thing that you have to offer, that’s kind of sad”. She has a point here, and in my opinion, I often heard a female-fronted band, or also female guitarist, bassist, drummer being told ”Look at that chick, she is hot”, but not being given a damn about the music, talent, the message behind the music and so on. Indeed, it is kinda sad. How do you comment on this?
I don’t see this whole female-fronted thing as a genre, no. The person in front of the band doesn’t define the genre. The music does! But I get why some people get excited when they experience a woman in front of a death metal band, screaming and growling as I do for example. It is still a bit rare that it’s a woman who makes these aggressive primal sounds and if we want it or not: It is a fact that there is a difference between masculine and feminine energy from natures side but that doesn’t mean that human being can’t contain a bit of both energy, no matter their gender or associated gender so to say. But I guess people get amazed or even excited when it’s a woman who does this because most of them would probably associate this more with masculine energy more than feminine, so of course, it can be surprising to see a woman doing this- I get that! But your opinion about a band should not be affected by the gender of any of the band members because it really doesn’t matter. It’s the stories, the art, and the music that matters. I am very feminine by nature in my daily life but I do actually also feel very strong and feminine in my brutal raw element on stage, even though it’s maybe considered masculine. But do I care? Not really. I have a lot of rage inside me and screaming them out is my therapy and my straw to sanity.
I don’t know if I feel sexualized in the scene tbh. I guess there always will be some a**holes out there with shallow brains that only evolve around that. That is a question about intellect though. But I also think it is about how you carry yourselves if people sexualize you or not (no matter how you choose to carry yourselves, nobody should sexualize you anyway), we are humans, not fucking objects. But if your own self-respect really shines through, I think you represent something else than sex. My art and my character never intended to express something as “easy” or primal as lust or my sexuality in general. It goes way deeper than that. That is for example also why you will never see me dressed up in a way that is intended to be “sexy” on stage. I am not here to satisfy anyone and their desires. I am only here to satisfy my own and they are rooted in rage. Other than that, I am literally soaked in blood and corpse paint on set and I like to look as ugly or creepy as possible. Simply because it’s about the music, the horror, and the emotions expressed behind it. I am not here to be sexy but to chew your face off. So I agree with Christina. If “sexy” is the only thing you have to offer, then it is sad, yes. Sexuality is natural so most of us have it in us. I’d say it’s more interesting if one has something else to offer outside our basic human needs or skills… It’s like being impressed that someone can breathe. Breathing is just as natural so to say and nothing special. I don’t know man. I just want people to respect each other, no matter their gender. We are all equal so to say and luckily, I think most of us in the metal community are able to spot if there is talent or not in someone. I don’t think a lot of people base their opinion of your art on your gender. Unless you are a teenager with lots of hormones of course.
Thanks a lot for this interview, Sandie. It was my pleasure and hope to see you very soon on the road somewhere. Hails!
My pleasure! Thank you for having me! Hope to see you out there soon!
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