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Interview: Rebecca from SubRosa

Subrosa’s No Help for the Mighty Ones is an album that was already featured on this website as it made the number one spot in my yearlist last year. While expecting at least a European tour or seeing them featured more in the media things around them went a bit quiet in my experience. Curious about what was going on with Subrosa these days Breathe Plastic asked Rebecca Vernon (guitars, vocals), who is recovering from a sinus surgery, some questions.

Hello Rebecca, thanks for taking your time to answer some questions. I hope you are doing well.
I’ve refrained from taking Loortab while responding to these questions so I’ll be coherent as possible. (I just had sinus surgery two days ago).

No Help for the Mighty Ones has been out for about a year now, how do you look back at the album at this point?
When we finished No Help for the Mighty Ones, I think none of us were thinking beyond it at all. We were happy with the release because it came out how we wanted it to; it had captured what we wanted to express. But now that it has been out for awhile, our minds have turned towards the future and the next album.

How have the reactions been to No Help, both in press and public? To me it kinda feels like the album could be considered your breakthrough to a larger audience, do you agree?
Yes. That was kind of Chris Bruni’s (owner of Profound Lore) intention, to bring Subrosa to a wider North American audience, and I think he did. The interesting thing is that I think it by default increased our audience in Europe as well.

I think No Help is a more evolved album than Strega, and I think it’s also a more accessible album as well. Others may argue with me there, but I think behind all the heavy riffs, Subrosa has a certain accessibility about it.

After the release of the album things went relatively quiet around Subrosa, at least from a European point of view. Do you agree and if so, how come?
Yes, you’re right. There was a disagreement within the band which led to a lineup change. It was a difficult time for Subrosa and we all backed away from the band for awhile. Now we’re moving forward again.

We headlined Salt Lake City’s annual craft/DIY fair last month (Craft Lake City), and we’re playing doom festival Fall into Darkness in Portland next month (Friday, Oct. 5) and playing with Witch Mountain and Castle in Salt Lake City on Oct. 16. Then we’ll begin preparing for recording the next album in earnest.

Rebecca Vernon – SubRosa, photo taken by Tiffany Marie Bischoff

You didn’t tour Europe for this release as far as i know. Was this on purpose or were there no possibilities?
Because we were on a break, we didn’t tour Europe or the US for this album.

Will there be a European tour in the foreseeable future?
We absolutely loved touring Europe when we came there for Strega back in 2009 or so. It was one of the best times of our lives! We definitely want to make it back there for the next album.

It was insisted i asked this question. A lot of my friends / acquaintances that like the No Help.. album were a bit disappointed you didn’t play the Roadburn festival in 2012, is there any chance of you playing the 2013 version?
We would love to play Roadburn 2013, and our wishes have been made known to the “powers that be.” However, there are so many great acts that are eligible to play that I’m not sure we will be getting in this year. We have our fingers crossed, though. If we do, we are planning on doing a 2-week European tour around it.

Last touring question; you did tour Europe for your previous album, Strega, how did you experience that, and how was the Dutch Doom Day gig?
It was a fantastic experience to tour Europe. The Dutch Doom Days was a great chance to see and meet some new bands, like Swedish doom bands Griftegard and Beneath the Frozen Soil (who we toured with). I’ll never forget when Subrosa started into our first song, “Christine,” our first song of the set at Dutch Doom Days; that was definitely the fastest song that had been played at the festival thus far, and people physically jumped, like recoiled and blinked, when we started. That was pretty cool.

You mentioned working on a new album, what can we expect?
We are working on new material and we’re really looking forward to putting out the next album. This album I think will be just as heavy, but more melodic, than No Help, with possibly some more experimental elements from the violins. I think it will be more personal, too, from a lyrical standpoint. Not all of it will be personal, though. One of the songs is about a shooting that took place at a mall here in Trolley Square in Salt Lake City a few years ago. I was writing the song the week before that movie theater shooting happened in Denver, which was strange.

Subrosa is from Salt Lake City. How is living there and can you tell us how the scene is there? Any bands we should check out?
There is a big music scene here in Salt Lake City. It waxes and wanes, but right now, some of the heavy hitters are Gaza (Black Market Activities, have toured Europe and the US with Converge), and Eagle Twin (Southern Lord); Eagle Twin was just picked as Spin’s Top 5 bands to check out last month. I personally love a band called INVDRS that are on Corruption Recording in Portland; they are the heaviest, gnarliest band in SLC. My favorite local band is probably Night Sweats, totally not metal, completely Joy Division-esque. Other notable bands are IX Zealot, Judast, Loom, Worst Friends, Dwellers (Small Stone) and of course, Subrosa’s violinist Kim Pack’s project Cicadas – brutal, heavy experimental violin excursions through 10 pedals. You haven’t heard anything like it.

I was only familiar with the place because of the Winter Olympics some years ago, but after doing some research it turns out there is a big Mormon community there, is this influence still present nowadays? And if so, has this affected you or the band?
The dominant conservative culture here in Utah has bred a strong, thriving counterculture. Part of the reason I got so heavily into music when I was going to BYU (Bringham Young University) is that I didn’t fit into the culture in Provo and wanted to protest and assert my identity. Salt Lake City is a lot different than Provo, however. It is the most liberal city in Utah and is actually a great, progressive place to live, in my opinion. It’s got a really young population and there is a great music and art scene here.

Something else now, what does your personal playlist consist of these days?
My friend from India just told me about Aelter, a Wolvserpent side project. I’ve been listening to that. Subrosa’s playing with Wolvserpent at Fall into Darkness next month in Portland. I have also been listening to Witch Mountain, “Cauldron of the Wild,” and just listened to the new Swans double disc, “The Seer,” and loved it.

That’s it from my side, feel free to add anything you like.

I think you hit all the main points, thanks for the interview and sorry again for the delay in getting it back to you.

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