Burning Witches’ Laura Guldemond on Women in Metal – Interview

2021-05-31

Laura Guldemond of Burning Witches.

Laura Guldemond of Burning Witches – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Line Hammett

Laura Guldemond of Burning Witches joins Anne Erickson to discuss the band’s new album, “The Witch of the North,” and her experience as a woman in metal music in this in-depth interview

Swiss heavy metal mavens Burning Witches craft towering music with heavy rhythms and sharp guitars. The band recently released its fourth studio album, “The Witch of the North,” via Nuclear Blast Records, and the new set follows a story of Nordic folklore, with the Witch of the North at the center of each song.

Burning Witches lead vocalist Laura Guldemond spoke with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio about the story behind “The Witch of the North” and her experience being a woman in heavy metal music. Read the full interview below, and learn more about Burning Witches via their official website.

Anne Erickson: Congratulations on your new album, “The Witch Of The North.” Schirmer of German heavy metal band Destruction produced the album. What was it like working with him?

Laura Guldemond: It was really cool, because he’s just a nice guy to work with, because he’s super professional about it. He’s seen the ’80s, so it’s nice to have someone helping us who actually understands the sounds and the scene. He does management, but he also helps with the production. So, that’s really nice.

Was it intimidating to work with him? I’ve interviewed him before, and he can be a bit intimidating, since he’s this true heavy metal personality!

It was really funny, because when I entered the band, at first, I actually had him on the phone, and if you just hear him, he’s actually a super nice guy, but when you see him, it’s like, “Oh! He looks a bit scary.” (Laughs) But, he has both, and can be both.

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“The Witch Of The North” is your fourth album with Burning Witches. What sets this one apart?

The difference compared to the previous album is that it’s just more of a story and a bit more storytelling. You can almost see the it as a movie. We really chose a theme, which is the Witch of the North. It’s part of Nordic mythology. I, personally, love it, because each song has its own story and it all ties to the Nordic stories and mythology and the Witch of the North.

Burning Witches is a band made up of women, of course. Would you say there are more women in the heavy metal music industry now verses when you started out?

That’s a good question, because I didn’t really keep track, to be honest. I would almost argue it’s kind of probably stayed the same, because there was a huge wave of Celtic metal with a lot of female bands and stuff going on. Maybe it’s actually just shifted a bit to heavy metal at this moment, because I do see a lot of power metal and heavy metal bands with female singers at the moment. So, maybe it’s shifted.

Have there been any challenges for you being a woman in metal music?

It’s a difficult question to answer, I think, because it’s different to be a woman in any business, almost. Not in every business, but in a lot of businesses, there are more guys in it than women. I’ve thought about it, I did not feel any discrimination from the professional guys.

But, what I do notice is just that you’re one of the only woman in the whole metal scene, so it kind of gets crazy. Especially if you just walk on the festival fields, and you’re walking alone on the festival fields, and there are all these guys. So, it’s always a bit intense, and that’s one of the reasons- because you are one of the only women out there. I’ve had a lot of positive experiences, and I’ve had people saying, “Oh, it’s so cool. I would love more women doing this.”

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What advice would you have for other women looking to get into the metal music world?

Just do it! Never be afraid to do it. You learn the most when you actually do it. I’m not saying it’s easy. You have to put work in the work, but if you don’t, it’s not going to happen. So, just do it.

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