We recently took the time to track down one of Southern Africa’s more unique offerings. She is typically found garbed in various fantastical outfits of Gothic inspiration, and has the most haunting voice we have heard in South Africa metal. Heike is the front lady for Inferium, a 6 piece band that originally formed in 2005, but went through some number of member changes between 2005 and 2008… a shake up that brought this talented young Diva out from the shadow realm and into the public eye.
M4A sent in our very own CandiceKB had a chat with the lovely Heike about her time in the band and her views on the SA Metal scene.
Once upon a time…
CKB: The word Inferium brings about thoughts of a world filled with magic, dungeons & dragons, and a sense of interest in varies role playing styled games. Does this hold any specific meaning in context of the band and the direction of your music?
HL: The word Inferium was not something we just pulled from a dictionary. It actually stems from the word ‘Inferi’ which is a legion of dead souls, controlled by powerful magic. I would say that has some relevance to our music style and my need for enchanting listeners with some epic magic. So basically, the ‘Inferium’ would be the product or outcome of what happens when we put the souls around us under a spell.
CKB: In describing Inferium’s music, we’ve noticed it being referred to as either Power Metal or Symphonic Metal… Is this what the band was going for, or aiming towards? How would you describe the band’s sound to an audience who has not yet heard your music?
HL: Symphonic metal would to most be the obvious way of describing it, although we do have some Gothic elements as well. This was indeed what we were aiming at and we saw the gap in the SA music scene for such a band. The majority of the band has a great sense of understanding for all things epic and melodic. For those who have not heard it I would plainly describe it as melodic, symphonic and female vocal driven metal.
CKB: As a unit, what are the band’s main musical influences? Also, what elements do you think that you have brought to the table regarding your own musical influences and attributes?
HL: Each of our band members have a different taste in music, but are still well connected in the end. Our influences range from power/death/doom/symphonic and gothic metal to even classical music. We can most definitely find our inspiration from all things Northerly and wintery. From my own side I think I give a far more subtle and emotionally flowing side to Inferium. My influences mainly being Doom Metal and Gothic Rock
CKB: Any future plans for recording? Where do you see Inferium in the next few years?
HL: We have been getting major response from other countries, more enthusiastically than in South Africa. Once we are all done studying we will start taking up offers that has been handed to us. At this point our recording is ever in progress. This style of music takes a while to refine when recording and is a slow process. It’s a bit hard to find studios that have dealt with these kinds of project (by that meaning the added symphonic elements) but we record as we go along. Surely within the next few years we will be setting sails to where the stormy winds take us.
CKB: What made you join the band in late 2007? Have you always wanted to be a vocalist, or do you have other plans for your life?
HL: I have been in bands back and forth since before Inferium, but was never satisfied with the ideals of those bands. A good friend of mine came to me and said he had found a band who I would love and I contacted them.
Clearly they were not afraid of stepping into what seems like uncharted musical territory in South Africa and they were also looking for a female vocalist. For realistic reasons, I do not say I want to be a singer and that’s all. Singing is just something I cannot stop doing and I will follow my hearts melody until it is no longer there. I don’t see that happening soon.
CKB: It seems that music flows through the family bloodline, as your brother, Julian Faber, is also a very talented musician and songwriter, and is currently in a black metal band called RigorMortem. A little birdie told us that you have yet another musical side project… Care to brief us on this?
HL: In my subconscious I have a much darker force that drifts more into the electronic side of things. Over the years I have been working on a gothic electronic project called :LOR3L3I: in my spare time ,only as a outlet to what is hidden. I did not expect to get such a good response, seeing as this kind of music is very underground. This kind of goes to show that, like my brother Julian, a restless musical mind does not stop writing or does not stick to one formula. :LOR3L3I: is a completely opposing turn to what I do in Inferium, but both are very important to me.
CKB: What are your feelings on the SA Metal scene? Do you see it growing in the next few years?
HL: My views on the SA metal scene sometimes get overridden by the truth of what is going on. I believe the Metal scene is growing fast, but without the financial and social support that it deserves. Reasons could be directed at our countries political influence, but in some sense I think that actually encourages metal bands in SA to broaden their horizons and travel to bare our flag elsewhere. Personally I think we have so much going for us in the Metal scene, but we need everyone’s support to make it work. Hopefully in the next few years we will have some uber development.
CKB: Everywhere in South Africa, there are murmurings that our scene is found to be lacking. Some complain that the bands are not original or polished enough, and others claim that we don’t have enough support…
There are even people who are not aware that SA has a metal scene! What are you feelings on this and what do you think is required to set things on the right path?
HL: (laughs) I think my previous answer makes me out to be one of those complaining people as well. I think we need helpful things at affordable prices such as places to practice and better equipped venues. I’m not saying we don’t have that, but the more the merrier. It would also help if musicians in this country choose to stand together instead of compete, because in the end we are all fighting for a better metal scene in SA. People who complain about bands not sounding ‘original’, are the people who clearly do not understand how hard it is to be heard for what you really sound like. Playing live is a difficult thing when the sound of a venue is ..well….shit. So less complaining, more doing please
CKB: As a female in a mainly male-dominated genre of musicians, have you ever felt disrespected, or felt that you were not treated as an equal when dealing with other musicians, or industry related people? How would you describe your experiences in the industry?
HL: Well sometimes I find that guys will underestimate my musical knowledge or treat me like I am just a girl who sings in a band. One thing I can say is that when a female steps into the metal scene, she knows the dangers but does not give a flying FUCK. I therefore take no offence to any guy who wrongfully mistakes me for a ditzy singer ,because I work hard enough to know what it takes to be in the music industry. That being said, I have gotten far more positive feedback from guys than negative, which makes the experience worth the effort.
CKB: Looking at my own experiences as a female “in the scene”, I have never felt ostracized or shun away because of my sex. I usually feel quite welcome in the presence of fellow metalheads, whether girls or boys.. Can you relate to this?
HL: Yes most definitely. If there were no girls in the metal scene it would mean that boys would all have to look at other boys the whole time…and that’s gay in my books (laughs). I can’t see why guys would complain about having the fairer sex with the same passion for metal in their immediate eyesight. No one likes a cockfest
CKB: Do you think that there is an increasing amount of girls entering, or becoming interested in the genre? Times are changing and I think that its by time that people realize that metal isn’t just a male-only club.. What are your feelings on this?
HL: Personally I respect the fact that it is male dominated in a way. Purely, because males are a lot more stable and rational in partnerships. In a band you need a lot of patience and too many flaring female hormones could spell disaster. I have learnt well to control my feminine side when enraged but fear that many girls would care little for mastering the same art. That meaning, from the musician’s perspective. From a supporter point of view I’d say yeeeehaaaaaa bring in the girls! That’s what the guys want anyway
CKB: Some people (outside of the scene) see metal as just another
passing phase, and they think that we will eventually outgrow it.. What
are your thoughts on this?
HL: There is no way of outgrowing metal if your mindset was brutalicious to begin with. Sure there are kiddies who say they like metal and then listen to 50 Cent when they get home, but for the rest of us- we are the ones who are busting our asses to keep metal alive so if it was a phase we would not be doing so. I think that pathetic statement – made by other people – mentioned in your question is relevant to all things out of the ordinary but in the end none of those things have ceased to exist yet. So we win
CKB: Anything else that you’d like to share with us regarding the band, the scene, or your own views?
HL: I would just like to thank all the people in the scene who have helped and supported Inferium and we will do our best to return the support to all fellow musicians. I am proud of what we strive for in the metal scene and hope we will stand together until the end. Keep it EPIC!
And happily ever after?
Has yet to be seen! M4A will be keeping a close eye on Inferium to see what happens in time, and we very much look forward to hearing that first album. In the meantime, lets see more girls in metal – YEAH!
Feature by: Candice KB