For fans of Game of Thrones, winter just returned with the premiere of the show’s sixth season on HBO. For fans of Oceans of Slumber, it came a couple months back with the metal band dropped their latest, rightfully titled – Winter. Leading the band is the always dynamic Cammie Gilbert and her ways inspired me to want have her as part of this series. So we’re kicking off a month of women who handle things in a band a little early because, why not? Cammie was very open about everything from recording their newest record to what it was like getting into the metal scene as a black woman. Now let’s get to it!
Kendra: From Bach to Pantera, you guys have the most varied batch of influences. Which was more heavily present on your guys latest, Winter?
Cammie Gilbert: I suppose it is hard to say we are ever without one of our influences. They are the foundation of our creative expression. Whatever must be utilized to bring the song to life is what is incorporated. Winter really spans it all for us. From proggy, to melodic, to doom, to blast beats, native flute, and classical piano concertos, I don’t think we left any rock of our collective influences unturned.
Kendra: What’s been your most memorable moment of this current album cycle so far?
Cammie: Its production and the process of putting it out there. Winter was done for some time before it was finally released. When we had gotten the chance to live with it for so long before everyone else, there were quite a bit of nerves for its release and feedback from everyone. We poured a lot of our heart and soul into this album and it’s been the most outstanding part of the process to see it resonate with our fans and new people. We aim to connect with our audience in a very real way, where our stories become their stories and we help aid and console with what we create.
Kendra: So this year I started my “Women in Music” feature, exploring women in all facets of the industry. Now, you’re not only a woman in metal, but a black woman at that. Being a black woman myself, I remember going to shows growing up and feeling a little self-conscious being one of the few black people in the crowd. Did you ever have the same sentiment, but as an artist breaking into this scene?
Cammie: I feel fortunate that my metal scene has always been very welcoming and diverse. Perhaps as a reflection of the city of Houston itself, the music and metal music scene greatly reflect the strong nature of cultural blending that makes up most things here. I can recall feelings of insecurity, but I feel they were quickly diminished when it came to sharing music.
The scene at large I feel like transcends race or gender. It gets to the point where your craft and musicianship is what represents you the most. I feel it is most necessary to focus on doing more and learning more musically than worrying about what people think of me in regards to my womanhood or race.
Kendra: Now a little word play with the music. In your opinion, what does it mean to be living the “Good Life” when it comes to being a woman in the music industry?
Cammie: Everything is an on-going journey. Living the “Good Life” means having the opportunity to be productive and pushing forward to new peaks and greater avenues for sharing what we do with others.
Kendra: Then, what’s one trend in music you’d like to see “Laid to Rest?”
Cammie: The music industry is in a state of crisis; file sharing, piracy, DIY projects, and subscription services have dramatically altered the way people view music, and the value that is currently placed on it. I’d like to see a return to quality over quantity and this devaluation of the process and work that goes into creating music “Laid to Rest.”
Kendra: With a new album out this March, when and where can fans see you all live this year?
Cammie: We’ve just finished up our first European tour with My Dying Bride, and are now excited to announce a return overseas in September/October with Enslaved!
Kendra: With the whole idea of Slumber, if you had to make a metal mixtape for a headbanger’s new baby – what five songs would have to be on it?
Cammie: It’d be something very melodic and doomy. Get the baby ready for the subtle woes of life early on, haha.
Agents of Oblivion – “Endsmouth”
Alice in Chains – “Black Gives Way to Blue”
My Dying Bride – “Like A Perpetual Funeral”
Crippled Black Phoenix – “We Forgotten Who We Are”
Riverside – “Time Travelers”