ANNA MARIA: All‑female dominance
Interview by Meathook Mike
As the metal community is a huge worldwide phenomenon we at Horror Metal Sounds thought we would reach out to the Philippines and speak with another great band from there. More specifically from Manila and spread the word about the thriving metal scene there. Meathook Mike reached out after speaking with SAGRADO to the all Female extreme metal band ANNA MARIA. The band are: Jula on vocals, Myan on guitars, Shena on bass, and Luz on drums
HMS: Please tell us how you all met and what drove you to form Anna Maria? Were you all friends before or brought together through the music scene?
ANNA MARIA: The band was originally from Davao and was formed in the year 2018. The twins (Shena on bass and Luz on drums) who needed to continue their job as graphic designers in Manila found their new members Myan and Jula and continued to play and make hard–hitting music around June 2019.
HMS: Your musical vision from what I can hear is to produce heavy music but retain melody in the songs, who are your influences in the extreme metal scene?
ANNA MARIA: Myan – Alexi Laiho all the way, well I do listen to some prog and tech death bands
Jula – I started listening with symphonic metal bands like Nightwish and Within temptation but I do listen to other genres like progressive metal, djent, metalcore and a lot!
She – My biggest influence is my partner, Wind, because he introduce me to metal, i started listening to Black Sabbath, Sepultura, Metallica, Ektomorf, Soulfly, Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, Kittie, Slipknot, Korn, Mudvayne, RATM, Blood Bath, Amon Marth, Six Feet Under, Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, Arch Enemy, and many more. Luz – Ektomorf, Sepultura, Soul Fly, Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, Six Feet Under, Blood Bath, Amon Amarth, Obituary, Carcass, Arch Enemy, Kittie, Nervosa, Slipknot, Korn, Rage Against The Machine.
HMS: The scene in the Philippines is very healthy and the shows are well attended. Do you get on well with the other bands on the scene there?
ANNA MARIA: We absolutely get along well with bands in the scene!
HMS: Which bands in the Philippines are setting the standard (apart from yourselves) right now?
ANNA MARIA: There are a lot of bands actually like Saydie, Descant Gott, Empirical, Imooci, Fallen Grace and many more to mention!!!
HMS: Tell us about your songwriting process; does it start with a riff in the rehearsal room or does someone write a song and share it with everyone before the jamming starts to get it together?
ANNA MARIA: Our guitarist Myan is the one creating the riffs then she will share it to the group, that's when she and Luz will add their bass and drum beats, we will start on strings first in home practice and we will finalize everything on the studio jam if there are changes and such.
HMS: Who writes the lyrics and where do you draw the inspiration for them?
ANNA MARIA: Jula is the one creating the lyrics. Usually Myan will create a riff based on a word that she is inspired with and that's when Jula will incorporate her art in making words based on the music created.
Myan – Jula writes all the lyrics except for the resurgence which I made few years ago, It's a song I made for myself then I decided to give it to my band Anna Maria
HMS: What makes the song from your perspective? How do you know when you're done writing an individual song?
ANNA MARIA: Our released songs talk about mental health struggles and the emotions portrayed being in that condition. It is important for us to know the meaning of the word we will incorporate our songs with and how it will send a message to our listeners who can relate to our music. We will know that an individual song is done when we practice it and no changes will be made and it is already perfect in our ears.
"We absolutely get along well with bands in the scene!"
HMS: Do you prefer recording or performing live?
ANNA MARIA: Recording is an important factor to a band like us so we can have something to show and offer when we are not playing live but we 100% love it when performing live because that is where we can show our musicality and emotions to our songs.
HMS: Do you have a favourite song you all love to perform?
ANNA MARIA: Our favorite song that we all love to perform is of course our very first single called "Aberration" and also our song "Call of the void".
HMS: If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would you choose first and why?
As per Myan her answer is: Finland! they all love melodic death metal there! Anywhere outside the Philippines would be a great opportunity and achievement for us and will be a first time experience for our band. We do not have a specific place in mind for now but any opportunity will be embraced definitely!
HMS: The metal scene is a very male dominated scene but I include you in this statement there are some absolutely phenomenal Female musicians out there who are world beaters. I see Tatiana (Jinjer) Alissa (Arch Enemy), Nita Strauss, Tina Guo, Girlschool to name a few who are top class and consistently produce great music and performances. Who are your favourites out there?
ANNA MARIA: The twins love Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Angela Gossow, Morgan Lander, Fernanda Lira, and VOB (Voice of Baceprot).
HMS: Was it always the plan to be an all Female band or did it just happen?
ANNA MARIA: The twins already formed the all female band back in Davao so they decided to continue with an all female again here in Manila.
HMS: To each of you; who are your favourite musicians? I know Myan is a big fan of Alexi Lailo. Is there another guitarist who you include as an influence?
ANNA MARIA: Myan – Paul Gilbert, Marty Friedman, Jayson Richardson, Tim Henson.
HMS: Shena your bass influences?
ANNA MARIA: Shena – My influences are Victor Wooten, Esperanza Spalding Flea Balzary, Robert Trujillo, Sharlee D'Angelo, Tal Wilkenfeld, Trish Doan, Paul Gray, Karel Honasan & MarkAsiong.
HMS: Luz which drummer(s) do you cite as influencing you?
ANNA MARIA: Luz – I am very inspired by these superb talents; Emmanuelle Caplette, Meytal Cohen, Mercedes Lander, Sid Buan, Roxy Petrucci, and Sandy West.
HMS: Jula, which vocalists influenced you?
ANNA MARIA: Jula – as a vocalist that influenced me definitely is Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy followed by Philip Labonte of the band All that remains, Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Jamir Garcia of Slapshock and lastly she is another addition to my inspiration, Tatiana of Jinjer.
HMS: Jula, did your vocal style come naturally (I hear a lot of Angela and Alissa in your style) or did you have to work on them? Do you have a vocal routine you follow?
ANNA MARIA: Jula– I am not sure if I really do sound like them but that is what is coming out fortunately, I am an inhale scream and growler in which I started to do it since I was in my teenage years. My routine was to make sure I vocalize and condition my throat before our set to avoid my voice getting strained.
HMS: We love Horror movies here at HMS; are you fans of Horror movies?
ANNA MARIA: We are big fans of horror movies!!! Aside from Luz hahaha, She is scaredy cat!
HMS: What are your favourite Horror movies?
ANNA MARIA: Jula: I love SAW movies and Insidious! Myan – Anything the scares the shit out of me!
She – I like to watch Childs Play, Jigsaw and Squid Game. Luz – I'm easily scared so I don't watch them hahaha.
HMS: Are you Slasher, Gore, Monster or Human Psyche (torture) fans?
ANNA MARIA: Jula– I can watch all genres!! Myan – I love psychos She – Human psyche.
HMS: Would a good horror movie inspire you to write a song?
ANNA MARIA: It will be a great chance to do a song inspired by a horror movie! We will!
HMS: Guilty pleasure time, to each of you a guilty pleasure musically say for instance do any of you like a band such as The Carpenters or ABBA or indeed any other genre that may surprise your fans?
ANNA MARIA: Jula – I listen to all kinds of genres, pop, rap, country etc.
Myan – Neo classical
She – Old School Glam Rock like Def Leppard, REM, Guns n' Roses, Bon Jovi, Reo SpeedWagon, Toto, Fralippo Lippi, etc. I Also Like James Ingram, Boy Bands like Westlife, Backstreet Boys, Nsync, A1, Blue, Boyzone, and I also like RNB, Chris Brown, Usher, Craig David.
Luz – 90's Boy Bands. Westlife, Backstreet, N'sync, Boyzone, Blue, A1 and many more, Phil Collins, Toto. Etc.
HMS: Anything you'd like to say to music fans?
ANNA MARIA: We love you! and thank you for appreciating our music! Metal is forever!!!
HMS: Thank you for your time we wish you the very best in your musical journey.
Please check out ANNA MARIA on their social media sites and check their music out.
Meathook Mike, HMS