Somewhere close to the latest hour of the night, in the middle of an undisclosed location, amid the ruins of an old temple and with absolutely no one around, I sit and waited. I had come here in the hope to meet an interesting artist named Dendera Bloodbath for an interview. I hope she will come as it was pretty much a real hassle to come here myself. I’m pretty proud to be able to find her choice of location in the first place… especially with my way of direction (trust me; it’s terrible!). And her giving the directions of how to come here by manifesting her voice in my head… now I hope that it was real and not just a new character among the voices in my head, as seriously it would have been not only a real shame to have made the trip and the wait for nothing, but also a bit of a disappointment! I’m just so curious about this artist & would love to meet up to meet her and hopefully satisfy my curiosity!
But yeah I know; meeting an artist with such a surname for a interview (in the middle of nowhere & in the dark night!) might not be the best idea ever (if she shows up and doesn’t like my questions, will she decide to bathe me in my own blood in some kind of ritual sacrifice?)
…but that is, if she indeed will show up… so far, no sign of any human soul and even all wildlife seem to be carefully silent in this area; might it be that smell of death and decay that these ruins seem to be so nicely drenched in? I hope Dendera won’t think that the horrendous smell is actually me, coming from the angst sweat that is drooling out of my armpits… anyway; it’s an exciting adventure, no matter what happens…
Oh shit! There you have it! It’s precisely midnight and there is suddenly a strange mysterious fog flowing through the temple ruins… it’s coming my way and within it I can see a light… it’s getting brighter and brighter! Where is my mommy when I really need her? … but no… is this… can this be? Yes! It’s her! And she is amazingly right on time!
Hello Dendera Bloodbath. You don’t know half as much how happy I am to meet you.I thought if you wouldn’t come I would have died from anxiety! Such a pleasure to actually meet you in real life! You sure know how to make a grand entrance with this show of fog and you coming out of it with your light shining aura! You had built up a real atmosphere & I must say I’m pretty impressed! I’ve got plenty of questionable questions for you, but first of all; why did you wanted to meet up here in these temple ruins? Do you live here by any chance?
Dendera Bloodbath: My corporeal form is here for your benefit. As a celestial entity I am everywhere and nowhere at once.
Is the midnight hour by any chance a special time for you?
Dendera Bloodbath: 3am is actually a much more potent time as that is the hour in which to do battle with Apophis.
So yes, Dendera let me quickly tell you how I got to know about your music. I was introduced by it through your release named ‘Inanna at the Gates’ released on the incredible ‘United By Chaos’ label. Listening to it made me feel a bit like a test person at a notorious science lab! A balance of noise and music, a tortured pleasure that had my full interest till the very end! It made me wonder if there was something specific that you wanted to accomplish with this specific release?
Dendera Bloodbath: I have recently started working with the entity Babalon/Scarlet Woman who is the modernized version of the ancient goddess Inanna/Astarte. As part of this working I recorded this album and will likely return many times to this subject matter from different angles.
Before you brought out Dendera Bloodbath as your flagship of personal out-of-the-box open-minded music productions, you have been writing and performing rock songs with a band named Verge of Bliss. Can you tell me a bit about this band? Are you by any chance the powering engine behind it?
Dendera Bloodbath: I played bass and sang in Verge of Bliss, or as I sometimes refer to us now “Pretend Zeppelin”. My ex-husband Trey played guitar in the band, and he looks uncannily like the guitarist Jimmy Page. Our original material was very much in that vein, and we did a cover of “Immigrant Song”. Occasionally I pull out my Stanley Clarke-style Alembic but to be honest it’s almost as big as I am and weighs so much more than any Trogotronic.
I must say in all honesty that I wanted to listen to an album by Verge of Bliss before coming over here to meet you, but unfortunately I did not find the right time yet… (I’m biting my nails nervously as you could see…) but I was wondering if (next to the obvious musical differences) you performing solo or with the band have complete different subjects to cover song-wise? Or is there some overlap between Verge of Bliss and Dendera Bloodbath?
Dendera Bloodbath: I much prefer the solo life! Whether in my personal life or as a musician it seems I cannot stay tied down for long. My birth name, Virginia, has dual meaning you see. In matriarchal society the term “virgin” actually applies to a woman who is independent and takes care of herself, such as the Virgin Queen. So you can see how my name has come to impact my personality. I will add some Verge of Bliss links at the end of this interview in case anyone is curious.
Do you remember when you knew you had to start to channel and give life to Dendera Bloodbath? Was there a special point that you thought, now I have to go and bring out Dendera?
Dendera Bloodbath: I was separating from my then-husband when I really started to give form to this channel. This was in spring of 2011 also, which was around the time Hosni Mubarak was ousted in Egypt, and I felt such a close bond between what was happening there and my own personal life. I’ve been drawn to the ancient culture of Egypt since I was a very small child, having flashes of things I shouldn’t have been able to remember, and it’s informed my life greatly. Always though I try to approach the civilization as a whole with reverence for its history and respect for the people and customs – a passive receptiveness.
Ah, I almost forgot… I brought you something in case you were thirsty. I didn’t know what you would fancy so I brought a semi-warm lemongrass tea, black coffee, whisky, a stone cold beer, blood red wine and a pot of mud. Which one would you like? If you want you can drink it all, but that might give anyone mortal a complete heartburn.
Dendera Bloodbath: The tea sounds very lovely, thank you! I am no longer able to drink alcohol, ever since that thing happened with trying to slaughter mankind utterly.
Forgive me if I’m wrong but your first instrument of choice seems to be the autoharp. How did you come across this slightly unusual instrument and what is it that attracted you to it? I mean I’ve seen videos of you playing and singing with it and it feels like it’s a total natural thing for you to play… a bit like a second skin, but then not skin and it being an external instrument… is this the instrument of your choice to write your songs with?
Dendera Bloodbath: Most children in the southeastern US, maybe the whole US but I can only speak for observed commonality, had a closet at their elementary school full of Chroma-Harps. They were usually out of tune and in general disrepair. However, my parents had a dear family friend whose instrument of choice was also the autoharp, and the ringing crispness yet soft cadence of its frame made it very appealing when I started shaping Oscar Wilde’s play Salome into an album. I was able to track down a very decent electric autoharp down on eBay. It has the pickup embedded beneath the strings at an angle, which provided some unique opportunities when incorporating EMF-disruptive devices like drills and vibrators into my playing.
For this review I went on a Dendera Bloodbath binge, listening and viewing as much that a wasted brain could handle, what I noticed was that you have a really fierce strong sounding voice that might actually silence a whole auditorium with ease. Did you have any classical schooling done vocal wise or was it a case of opening your mouth one day and finding out that you had a magic power living within you?
Dendera Bloodbath: My voice was always very strong and pitched soundly but I did have some vocal training under Tracy Taylor here in Atlanta. She provided me with exercises that have trained and shaped what I already had into something I can control to maximum benefit.
Yet, even though you have a big voice and a singing way that is fiercely stunning, there are releases out there in which you use and abuse it in sake of experiment, noise or seemingly not use it at all. Making you one of these artists that are quite unpredictable in my book, which makes me wonder how your work process music wise is? Do you come up with an idea on before-hand or do you simply surprise yourself with what comes out?
Dendera Bloodbath: I usually have an idea that needs to come out and I will start working on the album with the concept in mind. As the material is created sometimes like any good servitor it changes shape to better fit the mold. Some of my work is recorded very quickly, but song based material like Queen of the Cauldron Born and Praxis can take between one and two years to fully actualize.
It’s always good to know (personality-wise) to find out which color is a person’s absolute favorite one. So here, let me be naughty and ask you what your favorite color is; what’s your favorite color? And if you have one, can you explain why?
Dendera Bloodbath: Ha! Not naughty at all!
You ought to peek at my aura and tell me!
There is a pinkish sort of dark purple of which I am exceptionally fond and oftentimes my hair will become said color.
I’m aware that this project seems to be quite personal… is there any specific kind of person (or animal) you had in mind (next to yourself) that you imagined to make your music for?
Dendera Bloodbath: The Lich King, or hypothetical King in Yellow, or whatever your favorite name for the Horned King might be. Also for the Goddesses whom I name drop. Honestly, I usually am pretty straightforward about for whom I wrote certain material. Praxis, for example, was written entirely for Dark Lord Lucifer — Dawn Herald and Morning Star, Perdurabo, etc.
I’ve seen that you are doing plenty of live gigs. Could you explain what an obnoxious person (who accidentally walked into your performance) could expect to hear and see?
Dendera Bloodbath: I’ve had quite a few obnoxious persons at my gigs, believe it or not, such as the gentleman from Nashville who was screaming a racial epithet repeatedly at the top of his lungs when we arrived at the venue and later in the night attempted to coerce me into a striptease using a chainsaw. Like every other rough customer before him, my performance prompted this response – “Well I really wasn’t sure what to expect and although it’s not the Toby Keith album I have in my CD player right now I thoroughly enjoyed it and would see you live again given the chance.”
Do you prefer to be a recording artist or a performing one? Do you have a preference between the two and why would that be? Or is it perhaps a bit integrated?
Dendera Bloodbath: I try to be as balanced and wholly integrated as possible. Truthfully, I do not steer my music as much as I channel what I am told to do into the appropriate outlets. If anything, my boss has an office in my hippocampus from whence She may guide my mortal vessel.
I really think it’s the highest time to ask you for your influencers (if they exist!). Are there any artists that influenced you to do your thing?
Dendera Bloodbath: Yes, very many. I will do what I can to list them here.
OMD, Laura Nyro, Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson, NIN, Blue Oyster Cult (who taught me a lot about channeling), the movie Heavy Metal in general, Delia Derbyshire, my ex-husband Trey Bliss who has always been very supportive, early Human League (like Circus of Death Human League), the Residents, Boards of Canada, Sekhmet (Lady of the Golden West, Eye of Ra, and other affiliated forms), and now a lot of my peers.
The Devil’s Playground, who got me involved with Babalon
Rural Rot Preservation Society and Bryan Lewis Saunders (that is to say most of Johnson City, TN)
The Emotron, Joules, and Crisco Christ
Love is Bleeding or whatever Lauren calls herself
CURSE/Heat Death/Death Fetish and everyone else I love in Baltimore
Woven In who died and moved to Brooklyn
Rat Bastard and everyone in Miami for whom I shall have to write a book someday if I ever get the time. Go to INC some year, it’s in February.
Amanda Medina will be pissed if I don’t shout out Nite Gallery
I mean, everyone I didn’t mention will be mad but how about if I say it’s because I have secret crushes on them which I would prefer not to reveal this way?
Ah, I know this is a bit of cliché but you know; we hear always lots of stories about the music scene (noise and experimental & probably everything else around it included.) that it seems to be a pretty male dominated world. How is your experience with it? Any stories to share? Do you feel you have to kick harder ass to do your thing?
Dendera Bloodbath: Noise is so much better than the rock scene. A big part of my departure from the heavy rock music I was playing stemmed not only from boredom with rehashing old tropes but also with the internalized misogyny rampant not only with the men but women also I met. Everyone had something nasty to say about my body or voice or wanted to put their hands on me and it was sickening. Noise isn’t perfect but it’s not as overt and there’s a lot more self-policing of terrible people. Still I run into occasions, especially when running shows, where my competency is questioned but no more so in that setting than at my last day job.
I am also part of this incredible international collective female:pressure which discusses all these issues regularly. They take an annual census of music festivals to determine ratios of women and non-binary performers to men on lineups and will often reach out to said festivals for accountability.
I don’t know… it’s probably the mystique location that we are doing this interview in, but damn I’ve got to ask you in all seriousness; what’s the secret message that you try to apply (or sneak in) within your music?
Dendera Bloodbath: There’s no secret. It’s all very overt if you are versed in occult and esoteric teachings. They are all spells, incantations, invocations, and conjuring.
If I understood it well, you also make your own instrument devices… if this is indeed true, I’m curious to know what kind of things you had made? Any inventions that had made you feel proud?
Dendera Bloodbath: I took two fuzz factory clone circuits and looped them into each other. I call it the Fuck Factory because it’s like two pedals 69ing each other. This device makes it into almost all of my electronics setups due to its effectiveness and I am hoping to be able to duplicate them soon for sale to the general public.
For some reason, (Goth knows why?) I think you aren’t a big fan of the usual sing and songwriter kind of music performers. Just purely out of plain curious curiosity; what do you think of the music/of a character like Devendra Barnhart?
Dendera Bloodbath: I hate guitar very much, so that’s a lot of singer/songwriter stuff right there. The other DB is okay I guess, I’m not super familiar with his catalogue and I’m fairly certain it was not created to suit my tastes. It’s not for me to say what is “good” and “bad” only what I personally would rather listen to, like Death Grips of course.
Playing as a person in a band of a collective group must be very different than doing your thing completely on your own. Both of them are challenges with different achievements when done correctly… is the joy different when you are performing as your solo project compared to do a performance as part of a team? Can you explain to an outsider what the benefits of playing in a band and performing solo are?
Dendera Bloodbath: Performing with others will change the shape of whatever you are doing. I have been dating Matt Hex (Bonemagic) for about a year and we have talked quite a bit about different aspects of performance and recording which duly has influenced both of us. As I stated before however I have a hard time remaining exclusive to any other being and so while I enjoy touring and working with him I am not ready to be exclusive to him and we’ve talked a lot about that.
I think that probably covers a lot of the pros and cons actually.
Freedom is so important to creative flow.
I’m very aware that the next question is abit weird (perhaps) but hell, I’ll try to ask it to you anyway… It does feel very great to bring out your own inner being within a solo project; is Dendera Bloodbath achieving this goodness, or do you think you might need to push yourself even further?
Dendera Bloodbath: I will eventually be fleshing out Skull Mask Replica as a solo grindcore project but I have to wait until the time is right, see also creative process question on this one.
I know it’s never smart to spill the secrets of one’s success… but for future girls and boys that see you and would love to get (one day) in your footsteps; do you have any tips or advice for them?
Dendera Bloodbath: Trust your own gut, surround yourself with positive energy. If someone else is subverting what is in your best interest the best thing to do is dissociate yourself from them as quietly as possible while still maintaining a professional level of respect. It can be really tough to do that, it’s more of a paradigm than something you will be able to accomplish in most situations.
I know that the future is now, but still I’ve got to ask you this prominent question; do you have any goals (or projects) set to achieve for the future music-wise?
Dendera Bloodbath: Yes. I’m finishing another album for United By Chaos right now called Last Days of Paganini. Mark Drifter wanted a harsh noise album, and although at the time we discussed it I was much more interested in making an industrial album, I came up with this concept of making a harsh noise album using violin and using it to write a biographic album about the last week or so of the life of renowned violinist Niccolo Paganini. As we speak I am six tracks of ten and should be finished maybe after the eclipse.
After that I have some other things lined up in my mind but it’s better to focus on them in sequence. I also have a music festival, ATLAntiFest, which will be happening December 8-9.
Oh… did you hear that? I can hear some hungry wolves howling in the back drop…
this might be a sign to thank you for taking the time to setup this interview and meet me here in these temple ruins… really it was pretty damn special! Bless you for your answers and presence & hope you had some fun too in this search to kill curiosity! Do you have any last words that you wanted our readers to read?
Dendera Bloodbath: Oh, that’s just the Dire Wolf. He’s usually quite harmless but he may feel like you’re competition. Here as promised are the music links for Verge of Bliss.
Oh shit! The wolves are here! Munching on my legs already! … Hope you are alright Dendera…. Dendera!? … Bloodbath?! Ah, there she disappears in the smoky fog leaving me legglessly alone… good that there is wifi here so I can send ”this interview quickly to the offi…… whaaahhhh!!
Dendera Bloodbath: Hungry Ghosts comes out August 25 on
\\NULL|ZØNE// tapes out of Athens GA.