The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Interview-Spider-Rockets-Helena-Cos-2012

 

Interview with Spider Rockets lead vocalist Helena Cos

 

By Todd Jolicouer

 

ToddStar: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for The Rockpit. If it is okay, I would love to jump right into discussing your newest release, Bitten. I find myself keeping the single, "Scream" in my normal rotation of songs I am listening to ever since I first heard it. What can you briefly tell us about that disc, that most people may not know on the surface?

 

Helena: We devoted a year to getting this CD ready for release but “Scream” was the first song that we recorded. We played it on The Warped Tour soon afterwards. “Scream” isn’t an official single for the new CD but the video documenting the making of the song has done really well on YouTube. We put the video out because we were really excited about the song. The song that is on the video is an early mix of “Scream.”

 

ToddStar: In your opinion, in what ways does it vary from earlier releases? What elements from other discs did you intentionally carry over to this effort? How do you describe the difference in sound, sonically, in the band between the two releases?

 

Helena: We really concentrated on our song writing and building strong songs before anything else and I think the CD is better for it. On our last CD, we had a more progressive musical approach - quite a few odd time signatures and some interesting musical parts. On “Bitten” we got out of our own heads and let the songs dictate the music not the other way around. Sonically, the guitar sounds and energy is consistent with our previous release for the most part but the bottom end in general is more present in this recording.

 

ToddStar: What types of writing, production, and studio experiences that you learned while making previous discs did you know you wanted to carry over to this disc? Which did you know to scrap and move on?

 

Helena: I think we learned that the main focus needs to be the song. A great song is a great song regardless if it is played on a cheap banjo and tin cans or played through a roomful of the most expensive instruments and amplifiers. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is an amazing song with a totally different vibe from Bob Dylan or Guns and Roses. “Immigrant Song” is a great song by Led Zeppelin but is wonderfully crazy in Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross version featuring Karen O. I love when a song is turned on its head—thank you, Richard Cheese! I especially love his version of "Chop Suey."

 

ToddStar: The single is very strong. Are there any other favorites of yours that you find yourself going back to? Any you wish came out sounding different?

 

Helena: My favorites are the power play of “Break” and the balls out aggression of “Better When It's Loud.” I love the way “Going Down” toys with the listener and the dynamics that come into play on “Gasoline.”

 

ToddStar: Regarding Bitten, were any of the songs easier to write than others? You often hear about an artist that sat down to write a song and that essentially the song wrote itself. Were any of the songs difficult to get out? If so, which?

 

Helena: “So High” was kicked out pretty quickly, from what I remember. Most of the others went through various changes until they reached their final version. “Bring Me Around” was our Frankenstein. It was put together in the studio from song parts some of which made it to the final mix and some that did not. I remember when Johnny was laying down scratch guitar parts for Dan to record drum parts. Even when Dan was laying down the drums, we didn’t know where it was going. Musical breaks became verses, the melody line and word for the chorus got changed at least three times. The song got more than a few heart transplants before it came to life. “Going Down” was first called “Bitch Slapped” and I remember sitting with Eric Rachel, our producer and showing him the idea for the song. He just looked at me and said, “you may want to change the title of that one.” I thought that was funny as hell, but started reworking the lyrics and melody line right away. As it turns out, singing “Bitch Slapped” doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely as “Going Down.” The “ch,” “s,” “t” and “p” all together are a bitch to sing. At the end of the day, the song became much stronger and, as it turns out, was picked as a single.

 

 

ToddStar: After going back and checking out your back catalog after hearing the single, I find that your music is sonically consistent, but there are still subtle changes that show growth as a band. Do you feel and hear the growth in this band?

 

Helena: Yes, I do. We challenge ourselves and each other to grow. You can hear it in the recordings and also the songs themselves compared to our earlier material. For “Scream” my first idea for a chorus was very, very wordy and didn’t make an impact. If we would have kept it, the song would never be close to what it is now. Now I realize the importance, but two CDs ago, I don’t know if I would have as much.

 

ToddStar: If you had to describe the sound of Spider Rockets to someone who had never heard of you, how would you do that?

 

Helena: Elegance tempered by aggression. Don’t be looking for cookie monster voice or drunk guy voice here. Or constant blast beats. Or on the other hand, acoustic guitar. You ain’t gonna find that stuff with us.

 

ToddStar: When performing live, do you find that you mix the material evenly from your earlier albums, or do you tend to play more of the newer material? Are there any songs from your earlier releases that you feel will always be a part of your live show?

 

Helena: Our set consists of mostly new material. From previous CDs, “Kiss You Dead” is pretty much always in the set as well as “Something More.” Both songs seem to have an impact with fans. We also added “Predator” for the longer sets as it has a great energy. If we have an hour to play, we can get creative, but with a 25 minute set, we stick to new stuff and big fan favorites.

 

ToddStar: If you had to pick possible pairings for an ideal tour, what other bands would you like to see Spider Rockets out on the road with?

 

Helena: AC/DC. I think big …. But I can go on forever here, like a little girl putting her Christmas list together. Godsmack, Rob Zombie, Buckcherry, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, Puddle of Mudd, Seether, Staind, Korn, Linkin Park. Canadian bands: definitely Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman, Three Days Grace. That's just a taste of my very, very long list of wannas.

 

 

ToddStar: What is next for Spider Rockets? Is there going to be a big tour cycle surrounding Bitten?

 

Helena: We are working on it and are looking for the right tour. We’ve toured before with Pop Evil and Framing Hanley, among others and have done dates on The Vans Warped Tour.

 

ToddStar: Do you find any of the other arts affect your music or the way you approach writing, recording, or playing live with Spider Rockets?

 

Helena: Reading has always given me a lot of inspiration and is my escape. I read a book a friend gave me from Connie Wills called “The Doomsday Book.” Wow—an incredible journey that makes you feel and by doing so really makes you think. I just read “Frankenstein” again. I love the irony of a monster with more good humanity than the human who created him. Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allen Poe have always been great sources of inspiration. Betty Page continues to inspire me. I gravitate to gritty, love tongue-in-cheek and am fascinated with something that may seem one way but on closer inspection, is really something else entirely.

 

ToddStar: Are there any bands that are currently releasing music or touring that influence you personally or professionally? What is the last CD/mp3 album you listened to, other than Bitten?

 

Helena: Every band that we tour with influences us - before and after the tour. Whenever we can we make a point of catching the set of our touring partners. Right now I’m listening to Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, Adele, Billie Holliday and Green Day. I love Billie Holiday’s phrasing and can listen to her voice over and over and never get tired of it. Something so intimate about the way she delivers a vocal. I can listen to Adel’s “Take it All” over and over again (my favorite from “21”).

 

ToddStar: If there were one piece of music in the history of time that you wish you had written, what would it be and why?

 

Helena: I never play that game with myself. The truth is I fall in love with songs every day. They are my illicit love affairs. But, OK, let’s play a little. I would say “Over the Rainbow.” What a great timeless song. Also, I gotta say, “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the quintessential underdog song.

 

 

ToddStar: Do you have any resolutions or goals for 2012 professionally or personally?

 

Helena: To make the most out of our new CD, “Bitten,” to tour so much that I actually want to go home and to see if I can tire out my dog, Lemmy, on a walk (hasn’t happened yet).

 

ToddStar: What is the meaning of life?

 

Helena: Is there only one meaning? Wow, in 5 seconds I can think of a dozen meanings… and that’s me just getting started. Break out some good coffee and a decadent dessert and we can talk.

 

ToddStar: Other than making sure everyone checks out your website and Facebook, are there any other current projects or sites you would like to promote?

 

Helena: Tweet with us http://www.twitter.com/spiderrockets. We are gonna be coming up with some cool t-shirt designs that you will only be able to find online. Check out http://www.zazzle.com/SPIDERROCKETS

 

ToddStar: Thanks again for taking the time and we look forward to 2012 and more Spider Rockets!!!

 

 

Interview posted 16 May 2012