The first Metal show I attended was Girlschool, back in 1982. 37 years later, I'm honoured to include here an interview with one of best all-female Metal bands around. Being quite new, the Witches are getting the Metal world by storm with their True Heavy Metal (congratulations for two excellent albums!). Next September they are coming to play in Portugal (first time) and Spain, so let's hear from the ladies! Lala Frischknecht (drums) kindly answered my questions.

Hi Lala! Thanks a lot for this interview to Sounds from Apocalypse and for coming to Portugal next 13th September (BTW, Friday 13th ☺).
When did you start to hear Metal? And how you ended up joining an all-female Metal band?
— Hello Sounds of Apocalypse. Thank you so much for the nice words and of course for your love and support for Burning Witches.
— I started to listen to Metal when I was 16 years old. Although I’m hearing some rock music like Scorpions, Europe and Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple from my cousins back in the 80s, thinking that maybe he’s on drugs ha ha. I was not ready till I reached my teenage days, I also start to listen to those until I fell in love in Punk and Hardcore. I remember when the first time listen to D.R.I. and Madball and I thought to myself, this is the music that it’s for me. Till then I explore myself to different types of Metal and became a Metal head.
— I almost gave up drumming until I came here to Switzerland 6 years ago. My husband‘s Step-Father motivated me to go to Drum school and have some lesson. After having a drum break for 19 years and 3 months in come back playing drums again, my coach saw a group of girls in the internet website looking for a drummer to form a heavy metal Band. I tried to audition even if i doubt myself because of the long break. I get hired and Burning Witches was born and the rest is history. I love these girls. I can imagine myself if I never met these beauties. I owe something to Romana. If it’s not for her, Burning Witches will not exist.

Just after the release of your debut album, you got a contract with Nuclear Blast. Quite an emotion for a new band, no?
— Yes, it’s only a few months after we released our first album "Burning Witches". In fact we already have 5-7 songs before we got signed.
— We are so happy when we heard the news. Couldn’t believe that a newcomer band can get signed to one of the biggest labels on earth which is also a dream for all of us. It’s a mixed emotion that we couldn’t explain. Nuclear Blast for sure saw our potential. They believe in us not only as an all female band but a band that can deliver good refreshing music. We want to thank them for treating us very well like in a real Family.

The band chose to play traditional Heavy Metal, even including such Metal Hymn covers as Jawbreaker on the first album and Holy Diver on the second album. Does this reflect your influences, as Metal fans?
— Yes, sure. Everyone of us loves Judas Priest and Dio. Holy Diver was the first song we ever jammed together which means something to us. Our main influences as a Band are Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. It’s great to see our Idols that are still playing until now. It inspires us to keep up the good work that we started.
— We just love Heavy Metal. It feels so good to play, not to brutal or technical but it has all elements which makes this type of Music genre simply beautiful.

Can we expect another Metal Hymn for next album? Any personal desire?
— Oh yes! It will for sure happen. We actually have lots of options to cover but we still haven’t make a decision until now. You will see ha ha.

For what I'm following, the band is growing fast in fans and recognition. Were you expecting such success?
— Not at all. We are just a bunch of girls that wanted to play heavy metal and have fun at the same time to fulfill our happiness in making music. We did not expect that we will be like riding in a fast train. Thanks to all the fans who support and appreciate our music since day one.
And also with the big help of Schmier and Damir from Destruction who are supporting us to handle all situations and challenges in the Band.

You just came from successful shows in Russia, Wacken (the Metal Meca) and Leyendas del Rock (another awesome fest, I was there in 2016). How were these shows?
— It was an amazing experience being a part of these big festivals. We always play at an early time but there are so many people came to checked us out. We cannot deny that "Wacken" is the ultimate experience for every band. We always dream of playing in these big festivals and our dream came true. As a drummer, I'm always in the back and cannot see until in the 5-7th rows. I saw our picture the next day and I was really surprised how many people came there just to see us playing.
— Russia was also an unforgettable experience for us. It’s the first ever "BIG GUN" festival. So impressed how organized it was. Fans are also crazy of course in a good way. Organizers treat us very well. We will be happy to come back there next time.
— Leyendas del Rock was also an amazing experience and it was an honour for us to play in the biggest festival in Spain. We felt so much love and support from the fans. Spanish people are truly sweet.

The band is quite popular in Spain, thus coming back in September. And for the first time, you will play in Portugal. Expectations for the show?
— We are playing a lot in Spain and feels like it's our second home. The people are so nice and sweet but crazy in the crowd which we like the most. They participate heartedly in our songs when we are on stage. But yes, everytime we play "Holy Diver", they get more crazy ha ha.
— This will be our very first time in Portugal. We are wondering how the crowd will react on us. We want to see some full metal attitude and headbanging. Hopefully we will leave a mark in Portugal for the people to remember. Hope to see you there too.

Have you or any of the ladies been to Portugal? Unfortunately, with shows every day there is no time in this visit for sightseeing.
— We haven’t been to Portugal yet. Usually if we just stay in a city for a day, we don’t have much chance to go out and see something because of all these preparations before the show but we hope we can have at least an hour to take some pictures of the nice places there ha ha.

With the departure of Seraina (your former vocals) a couple months ago, it felt the band was affected. But with the quick replacement by Laura Guldemond, it seems that everything is again on wheels. How's being her adaptation?
— Seraina’s departure in the Band was sad. Because we did not expect it. We thought that the last tour on January was amazing because we spend so much time together and bonded like sisters in a real Family. But everything has an end. We respect her decision to focus on her career and we are wishing her all the best in her future. There are things that we cannot change. All we can do is to move forward and continue the good things we started because everyone of us has its own dream. Chances doesn’t come so often so better go for it and fight. That’s why we want to find a quick replacement as soon as possible. Luckily, we found amazing Laura that totally fits for Burning Witches. The aggressiveness of her husky voice add more spice to our Music. It reflect how amazing she is in "Wings of Steel". She’s a crazy, cool and down to earth type of person. Her character fits for everyone of us and that is one of the most important things in the Band because being in a Band is not just 100% Music. You have to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company that makes you even more bonded like in a real Family.

Many years ago, the Metal scene was male dominant. Nowadays, with many bands with female members and women attending shows, I believe there is a much better balance between genres (as it should be, of course). Do you feel it? Or, sometimes, you're confronted with less correct attitudes?
— We are glad that there are more females participating now in the scene, being in a band or a listener. But we are still feeling the discrimination sometimes especially over the internet. Some comments are bellow the belt. But we are not bothered because these people are existing everywhere, even in normal life. No matter what good things you do, they will still not like you or say something against you because they simply hate you. When we started the Band, people thought that we just want to be pretty and look cool. But i guess we prove it in our two successful albums that we released. People have to understand that everyone has the right to play music regardless of what gender you have. Equality is so important. Because everyone has its own fight, everyone of us are the same. We must think about that at the end of the day, it’s all about music.

Do you follow the Metal scene in Switzerland? Besides Eluveitie, Triptycon and Samael (played in Portugal recently), I always remember Excelsis, a favorite band. Any other recommendations?
— Our metal scene here is alive and well. Everyone supports each other no matter what kind of metal you are playing. We are attending shows here to support the scene and also if our friends will play in their Band. Our mentors here are the guys from Gomorra (former Gonoreas). This is the other Band of Damir Eskic of Destruction. They are playing Heavy Metal and they are our Metal Family. You can check out also Gurd (Groovy Thrash Metal) Poltergeist (Thrash), Romana’s other band Atlas & Axis (Heavy Metal), Messiah (Death/Thrash) and Comaniac (Thrash).They are great bands and some of the best here in Switzerland.

And our last traditional question: do you want to leave a message to the Sounds from Apocalypse readers? And the Portuguese fans?
— Thank you so much Sounds from Apocalypse for your support in Burning Witches and also to the Metal scene. More power to you!
— To our Portuguese fans, thank you so much for your love and support. We would like to see you raising your horns to the Witches on 13th September in Side B Rocks Alenquer. Keep it Burning Folks! Cheers!

Thanks a lot for your time, very looking forward to meet you in Portugal next 13th September!

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