Interview by Tony Cannella
Questions by Miriam C.With a new label home (Artery Recordings), iwrestledabearonce returns with a killer new album, “Hail Mary”. This was a good enough reason to catch up with lead vocalist Courtney LaPlante. We discussed a variety of subjects but most importantly, “Hail Mary”. A huge thank you goes out to Miriam C. for her help with the questions. Read on… First of all, welcome to Femme Metal, Courtney. How are you doing?
I’m doing very well, thank you.Your new record “Hail Mary” is due out June 16th via Artery Recordings. What can you tell us about it?
Oh man, the keep it short and sweet, it’s the heaviest thing we’ve ever done. It’s the most dark, heavy album that this band has ever done. I also think it’s the most technically adventurous album this band has ever done and it’s the most pissed off album this band has ever done.How would you say this record differs from your previous album, “Late For Nothing”?
I think on this one we just didn’t care if it sounded too extreme. This one is completely groove, rhythmic based and the vocals are as extreme as the heaviness on the guitars. It has a lot more of a – I don’t want to say a prog feel to it – but it definitely has more of a groove, a pulse.Your new single is called “Erase It All”. Eddie Hermida from the band Suicide Silence guests on vocals on this track. How did that collaboration come about?
This collaboration was straight up being best friends with him and ten feeding him a bunch of margueritas and coaxing him into being on the album (laughs). He’s a really good friend of ours. I hadn’t had a guest vocalist on our album. There are a lot of people I really respect and admire. I really, really respect Eddie and it’s just cool that he’s also a very good friend of ours. You know, I would have had him anyway. He also just happens to be one of my favorite vocalists in this industry right now. That was kind of like a happy coincidence, he’s my friend and I would’ve loved to collaborate with him anyway, the fact that he’s so good is a wonderful bonus.Your last record “Late For Nothing” came out via Century Media. Why did you decide to move to your new label, Artery Recordings for this record?
Artery is a great label but when it came down to it, we didn’t even shop around to any other label we just immediately all knew that we wanted to go to Artery. We had known of Mike Milford because we’re good friends with a few of the bands on his label. We were so impressed with how deeply he cares about bands like Chelsea Grin and Atilla, and how much he nurtured them – I mean they all call him their dad. He went on tour with Chelsea Grin in 2013 in Europe to just hang out with them and do their merch and stuff, so I met him there and I was so… I feel like affected by how passionate he was about his bands and how supportive he was of us. And like the singer change and new album coming out, he was so excited and supportive of us and we weren’t even a band on his label. It made a lasting impression on us. Even though we hadn’t even talked about it, we all kind of just said over the course of the next few months we were all just like, “Guys we’ve got to hook up with this guy”. He just really left a profound imprint on us. It kind of just happened. It’s like we asked him out on a date and he said “Yeah”.In some older interviews you said on “Late For Nothing” you were influenced by the Deftones.
On “Hail Mary”, did you have any other bands in mind as influences?
I don’t know who really overtly influenced my screaming and there is not a ton of singing on the record. I was really influenced by a lot of female vocalists, like especially Kate Bush – I was listening a lot to some of her old material from the 80’s and it’s so dark and dreary. If I really thought about it, that’s like the main influence on me for my singing. I think I’m gonna have to let other people tell me what my influences are for the screaming because sometimes you don’t really know until other people tell you.This is your second record with Iwrestledabearonce. How did you come to join the band?
It was very dramatic actually. I live on Vancouver Island in Canada and I was at work and I got a call from the band’s manager and he was just says, “Hi! Would you like to complete Warped tour with iwrestledabearonce?” I had never met them or anything, they had heard of my other band I guess. All of us female vocalists are kind of aware of each other because there are not a ton of us. So they asked me to join the Warped tour and I said “OK!” and I was like “When?”, thinking maybe I have a few days or a week to prepare and they were like, “Today”. I went home and I called my friends and my mom to let them know that I was going to be gone for the next month-and-a-half and I quit my job, then I went home and I did a load of laundry and then I went to the airport. I met them all on the 4th of July in 2012, they had a day off from Warped Tour, thank Lucifer himself (laughs). I met them all and we didn’t practice or anything we all got to kind of know each other. It was really weird, we’d all be stressed if you’re about to go onstage and you saw that your vocalist quit the band and then you had to go out and perform. They were very stressed out, they had a stressful 24 hours. We went out there, we did the show and I finally got to have my first practice with band about a month and a half later. (laughs)Getting back to the new album… What are some songs that really stand out for you?
Every week I have a new favorite but one of my favorites is called “Doomed to Fail” – It’s a two-part song. I like that one because it’s kind of like vocal gymnastics. It’s so fun. I can’t wait till we do the first count in to play that song live. It’s going to be so cool. It’s like 6-minutes long but it takes you everywhere, it’s really, really heavy, it’s really technical, there’s epic guitar solos and then a beautiful full-on singing part that’s 3-minutes long and a beautiful electronic breakdown thing. I think it is just kind of throwing every bit of ammunition we have at your ears. That’s my favorite right now on the album but I bet if you were to interview me next week I’d probably have a new favorite because I listen to it and new things stand out for me but that’s my jam right now.What are your touring plans coming up?
Our touring plans right now are… nothing. We might go on tour but we’re just kind of waiting for something that makes us really excited. I don’t think it’s going to be us going on tour headlining. I think that we’re just going to take offers as they come, but then really think about if we’re just going for the sake of touring, because we really miss all of our fans, we miss each other, or it’s going to be something we feel safe doing, we’re in a comfortable living situation and we’re not having giant long drives. There’s been so many scary things with people getting into crashes and stuff lately, it really made us have to think about that we really need to be safe. If something comes that we feel confident in we’ll do it.We’ve come to end of this interview Courtney. Thank you so much for doing this and we are looking forward to hearing the new record which comes out on my birthday.
It does? Well, happy birthday. I’m sure you’ll be busy that day so I hope you have time to listen to it.I’m sure I will. Do you have any final words for the fans who might be reading this?
Absolutely! I love all our fans so much but nothing makes me more excited than getting to talk to young women who want to do the same thing that I’m doing and are maybe unsure about it. So I just wanted to say to all of you guys, reach out, use your networking skills, and talk to all of us females that are in this industry. There’s not a ton of us but we all need to kind of circle up and get together and that way we can all help each other out.Thanks again Courtney. I can’t wait to hear the record and best of luck to you in the future.
Thank you so much. If we go on tour it would be awesome for you guys to come out and I hope that you have a cool birthday. It’s an exciting day for you and me.