We spoke with the core members of Ivy Crown about their dynamic as an all-female band, metal as a genre and the music industry for women overall.
Metal, as a genre, bears significant culture – dating back to when the band Steppenwolf used the term “heavy metal thunder” in the song “Born To Be Wild” and described the naturalistic feeling of release and letting go, thousands of metalheads have joined together to do what many uninterested parties may perceive as some kind of un-natural, satanic-adjacent jibber jabber. While metal has many facets and it needn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, those who do it well are able to channel their deepest emotions in an instinctual way – which is oftentimes the core of very good music.
Historically, rock and particularly metal has been a male territory; badass rockers like Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks paved the way for modern rock gals, which may be few and far between in the current day. The huge outcry of never-ending question marks when indie-pop sensation, Lorde, won an award in the category of “Best Rock Song” at the Billboard Music Awards 2014 opened the question as to why more solidly “rock” women were not already in the mix. This standard persists and can create uneven territory for even the most talented bands.
That being said, Ivy Crown is one of the few all-female metal bands in Denmark, and they have meaningful human stories to tell as they find their way through life together. Be sure to pop in your earbuds and tune in to what this magically feisty girl band has to offer you: quintessential broody vibes, some melodic metalcore guitar action and yes, genuine emotion.
We spoke with members Sara Gacic (drums), Natasja Stormly (guitar), Maria Kjær (vocals) and Maria Engstrøm (bass) about their band dynamic, the genre of metal and the music industry for women.
Hey guys! So what is the origin story of Ivy Crown?
Sara and Natasja played in another band called “Taras” and their singer had to move to New York, so therefore they decided to disband Taras and create a new and way heavier band. This band became Ivy Crown, which, of course, included a new singer and a bassist.
How many years have you been together?
The current line up has been in existence for about two years.
What is the common ground you all share, as bandmates, friends or just people?
The thing we all unequivocally have in common is a passion for music. However, the social part of being in a band is quite important to us as well. That helps to build the chemistry between us, which means that it’s much easier to work together.
What kind of music do you all listen to? Is it all metal all the time? Or do you listen to all kinds?
We all have a broad taste in music. From cheesy pop to ridiculously heavy metal. So no, it’s not metal all the time. For example, Natasja sometimes listens to jazz while eating, and Maria K listen to soul, when she wants to get inspired by something different. It’s healthy to broaden your taste in music as well, in order to get inspiration to try something different in your work. But of course we have a common ground where we all agree on certain bands that we are inspired by for this album. And all those bands have a common ground in metal.
What is the inspiration behind the latest song, ‘Not Who We Are’?
‘Not Who We Are’ is about how life can be difficult, and how you feel pressured, stressed, depressed and all that can lead you to get different diagnoses you get medicated for. But it gives you a false feeling of happiness and you actually never feel completely happy. The video illustrates the zombie state you get in.
Do you think that a change needs to be made in the way we, as a society, talk about mental health?
Mental health is a serious issue. It affects more people than one might expect. It’s important to realize that mental health isn’t taboo, even though society dictates it as such. If one is having a hard time, it’s 100% OK to talk about it, because it might save lives. It can be a harrowingly lonely feeling to feel depressed, so therefore it’s good to talk about it – thus it might make you feel less alone.
In general, do you consider yourselves rare in the music industry as an all-female metal band?
In a way, yes. It’s not a secret that there’s not really an abundance of all female rock/metal bands. So yes, we feel kind of special. Since Natasja and Sara started Taras, we always had these kinds of questions, because it’s still really rare to see females on stage today. I mean, it’s 2019?! So in some ways, it’s horrible to be extraordinary in this music “industry” based on your gender, because in some cases we have to prove ourselves more. For example, we experienced there’s a trust issue whether we even write our own songs and the only reason we are signed to a label is because we are females. We even have to justify that the reason we get more attention in the media is because we are rare – which is weird, right? People can be like: “Yeah, you have to prove yourselves more, but at least it’s easier for you because there are not that many musicians that are females out here…” And all I hear them say is, be happy that somebody gives you attention, and therefore it’s fine that you have to go through shit.
What is your impression of the music industry right now, for women?
It’s without a doubt better than ever, although there’s still a long way to go. To be specific: we would love to have more females in traditional “male positions”, so as to have more people to look up to as women.
There are still there cultural things in the industry that are preventing women to get on stage. It’s not all about that we don’t want to grab the instruments or become sound engineers etc. but it’s the way we are raised that says that we should take work and education seriously, so we can have a family and support them in the normal way, because life in music can be tough. It’s actually not hard to get younger girls to grab instruments and learn to play, but it’s hard to have them keep doing that, because they don’t have role models where they can say: “oh, I can do that too.” The discussion gets pretty rough as well, so it can be hard to join that in social media, because you sometimes feel you get thrown under the bus. People can be harsh when their ego is threatened.
Where do you see yourselves headed, as a band, in the near or distant future?
We want to be touring like crazy, warming up for big bands that we collectively admire. Furthermore, we’ve garnered many more followers who are there for us and support us when we’re touring.
Finally, what’s your advice to women and girls in the music industry, or just in general?
Make sure you do music for your own sake and be stubborn to make your goals. Along the way, don’t forget to be humble and nice to people you work with and always, ALWAYS follow your gut. It might seem like a “men’s world”, but that shouldn’t deter one from going and making one’s dream come true. If you got it, you’ve got it, so go and do it and fight for it.