Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ilsa Interview

Intterview done by whole band
> 1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?

Ilsa is the cumulative result of years of playing in a moldy basement with piece-meal equipment, between endless depression, brews, blunts, and the best films ever captured on celluloid.
> 2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album?

"Tutti i Colori del Buio" was recorded in May of last year, and while the direction of the band hasn't changed course dramatically since then, we've definitely sought to move away from being pigeon-holed as any identifiable sound or genre. Everything is slower on the newer material, everything is heavier, and we continue making a stronger push to create a truly tormented and ghastly sonic landscape.
> 3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjests the new release explores?

As Salome caresses the severed head of John the Baptist in Richard Strauss' operatic version of the Oscar Wilde play, she sings, "Das geheimnis der Leibe ist grosser als das geheimnis des Todes" (the mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death). This beautiful/horrible duality is constant inspiration, and the basis of all Ilsa's lyrics.
> 4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
Ilsa is the lead character in a string of sado-masochistic grindhouse features that epitomize western low-budget films of the 1970's.  While on the surface they can be considered thee most perverse, sexploitation-horror series ever made, we insist the 4 Ilsa films contain bizarro queer and feminist subtexts that, while mostly unintentional, pervade the entire series. Cross-gender identification, male fears of lack, queer sexuality, and glimpses into the mechanics of power draw to mind anarchist poet and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini's, "Salo, or 120 Days in Sodom". Curiously, "Salo" was actually released after "The She-Wolf of the SS", making us wonder if Pasolini realized the potential of Ilsa's skeletal, near pornographic narrative to draw a critique of late-capitalism and the sexual politics of fascism. Perhaps if Disney/Anchor Bay ever cease-and-desist our use of their franchise we'll change our name to SALO, but hopefully not before we get a chance to work with modern horror's first and best female villain, Dyanne Thorne.

> 5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?

Unfortunately, the best shows we've played usually end up being the ones we remember the least, but performing at the Electric Maid in Takoma Park with Torche, Transgression, Sick Fix, and Lemuria was epic. The pigs shut it down before the last band, yet within minutes the Corpse Fortress, one of the area's longest running venues and punk houses, saved the night by offering to host the final band. Everyone hopped on their bikes and into their cars to parade over and bring down the house with an awesome set by Torche that literally rattled the foundation. We didn't sound the best that night, but it was an amazingly fun show none the less.
Stage presence is not really a focus of the band. We tend to end up with our backs to the crowd, but mainly out of awkwardness.  Playing a type of music that is in itself incredibly theatrical, we focus on spontaneity and intensity in our performances over light shows or cool costumes.      

> 6. Do you have any touring plans for the new release?

We have been lucky enough to be invited to play Hooded Menace's east coast dates when they come to America for the first time this May, as well as with Seattle's mighty Anhedonist, who've reared their ugly heads recently with a great demo that has been repressed to vinyl on Parasitic Records. Touring is difficult for us because of work schedules, so as of now, the only other out of town dates we will be playing are a string of shows in December as we drive out for Rites of Darkness fest in San Antonio. 

> 7. On a worldwide level how has your music been recieved by doom/death/crust fans?

We've been shocked and stoked on how well "Tutti i Colori.." has been received internationally. Through blog posts and message boards, the album reached a larger audience than we ever could have hoped to garner through traditional media. To suddenly have hype surrounding a project is strange after all playing music for years, but we'd never say it was undeserved. The potential to eventually tour outside of America is very exciting, and we hope down the line we can make it a reality.
> 8. Are there any other projects besides this band or is this a full time line-up?

Sharad plays in a thrash band called Spinebuster, and Garrett has a solo noise project and plays in a snotty punk band called The Coits, but Ilsa is everyone's primary focus. 
> 9. What direction do you see the music heading into on future rleases?

Down that left-hand path, with some surprises up our filthy alley along the way.
> 10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

We dislike unending comparisons and "For Fans Of" stickers plastered all over records and reviews these days. All of us listen to as much music as we can, and would never claim to be uninfluenced by other bands, but it takes away some of the joy of discovery for listeners to know exactly what's shaped our sound. To many people it will be obvious, but we all have eclectic range and interests, and try to incorporate whatever works into the music.  
> 11. Outside of music, what are some of your interests?

Movies, reading, drawing, bicycles, dogs, all sorts of sex, travelling, drugs, and uh movies.    
> 12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

We are a band that loves correspondence. Email us at for inquiries about artwork, splits, touring, anything! Hail the death of the future, raise the flesh!

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