Interview : Kierston Graham – For the Suffering




Interview by Connie Bach

Don’t take this album lightly. It isn’t your average metalcore album. It is far more intense. Guttural growls, with angelic clean vocals mixed in, is probably a description that has been offered before. But the way Kierston uses her talent, combined with a varitable onslaught of sound, equals nothing I’ve run across before.

Hello, Kierston. For the Suffering is a recent, welcome find for me. For the Suffering has a powerful sound with a lot of energy and thought behind it.  What’s going on now?

We’re currently doing a lot of writing, recording and playing shows every chance we get. Our focus right now is to keep it diverse and intense loaded with hooks that will keep our fans head banging and singing along until we hit the road and bring it live!

Your Myspace blog says you are working on a new album. What made you guys decide to release four tracks so early? That’s pretty cool.

We had a bit of a delay in releasing our new tracks due to a recent change in band members. Because of the delay we had plenty of time to write and not enough patience to keep it to ourselves!

Kierston, you do a great job blending clean vocals with searing growls. Why did you use more melodic vocals, at least on these tracks?  If this is a trend that the album will follow, what encouraged it?

Listening to the first FTS album we all realized there was plenty of aggression and brutality but it was just a taste of what we all wanted to do. We all love metal, no doubt, but “Life Without a Cure” is just another side of music we enjoy. We wanted to share that with our fans. As far as this continuing, it’s a strong possibility but we never know for sure what’s next until we start writing…but I promise it’ll be worth waiting for!

“Belly of the Beast”is such a deep song, especially considering its simplicity, only using an acoustic guitar. What does the lyric “I’m finding all my remains deep in the belly of the beast” stand for? What is the whole story?

“Belly of the Beast” was very real and raw for me. This line refers to the feeling of being emotionally consumed and destroyed by an abuser, specifically in sexual abuse. The entire song is a battle between the predator and the prey. The simplicity in the music was a reflection of the isolation felt by the victim. Definitely a message meant to be heard clearly.

As I said the song is lovely in its solemnity and simplicity. Why did For the Suffering round out the EP with an acoustic track? It’s a nice touch.

On our first album there is a much more aggressive version of the same song, most people wouldn’t even realize because of the vast difference. The song carried a much heavier meaning and I chose to do an acoustic version later on for this reason. The music had to fit the message, and the message was simple yet devastating.

Kierston, earlier, I refered to the two contrasting vocal styles you use, both melodic and aggressive. My question is: what drew you to the darker, more aggressive vocal style you use?

As I said earlier, it’s very important that not only is the message heard but also felt in the music. We touch on a lot of darker subjects in our music, all things we strongly believe in. The music is simply saying what words cannot.

How did you develop the talent you have? What sparked the interest and how did it grow?

I’ve been singing as long as I can remember. I honestly have no idea what started it, I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t passionate about music but it really flourished when I got my first guitar and started writing my own music. At first I stuck to acoustic, writing songs similar to “Belly of the Beast”. But joining FTS awoke a whole different animal in me that I don’t think I could stop if I tried.


Shifting focus to For the Suffering as a whole, what are the band’s future goals? Specifically, how do you envision Marty, Dave, Ryan and yourself a few years away? What would be the ultimate achievement?

We would love to tour soon and spread our music far beyond the U.S. Ultimately, we want to tour full time and see where that leads us. “Fame and fortune” isn’t what we are going for…but if we happen to get rich doing what we love, we won’t complain!

Based on online information, Brian is currently not playing bass. I’ve always heard that bands bond like families. What goes into finding a band member?

Although ability and talent plays a huge role in each member, we are all friends before we are band mates. It’s not easy having to sacrifice the time, money and effort as individuals and as a unit. But you’re much more willing to do so when there’s a solid bond between each person in the band. We all had to fit that bill in order to be a part of FTS and we had to look for someone who could do the same.

What happens if and when musical tastes of different band members clash? How do you resolve them? Apart from keeping relationships among band members healthy, why is it important to reconcile these differing interests?

We don’t necessarily try to reconcile our different tastes in music, we try to embrace them, allow them to influence and inspire us. Between all the members of FTS, we cover a lot of ground musically. This seems to allow us more room to write, brings more ideas, and puts more passion into our music.

Building on that, is there any one artist within the metal community which all of For the Suffering’s members can agree is influential?

Well I’ll be honest. No, there isn’t just one. I can’t possibly choose just one haha, sorry! So for the sake of compromise, I’ll make this short. Ronny James Dio, Devin Townsend, Rob Flynn, Iron Maiden, Rush, Angela Gossow and David Gilmore.

Keeping on with that thread, how have For the Suffering’s other members, and fans, changed you in the last few years?

FTS is like a band of brothers, we’ve had to learn a trust and commitment to each other enough to endure a lot of hard work and frustration, its impacted and changed us all. And our fans quickly become our friends. We have had many GREAT fans that have helped us out a lot!  We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for our core! I’ve been to a few concerts in the last few years, enough to realize that the audience has a big impact on a show once it begins.

What is the most hilarious, insane, and/or moving memory you have of touring or performing?  If the guys want to contribute their perspectives on the same event, that would be awesome.

Encores, unexpected new fans, sharing the stage with some amazing bands, seeing people sing along to your songs, rocking out so hard you puke, epic on-stage injuries, ALL the good stuff that comes with making music!

How has the Internet benefited your connection with fans?  How does Clovis’s music scene impact the band?

The internet has been a great expansion to our networking and keeping in touch with our fans, but most of our fans are made at shows. We try to connect with the crowd on and off stage and keep in touch through the web. Clovis fans, although this is a small town, have been supportive and many of them are great friends!

What would you guys like to throw out there to the public?

Be ready for some new songs and upcoming shows! And HUGE thanks from FTS to everyone who’s been such a huge part of helping, promoting or supporting us!



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