Interview with Rebecca Vernon and Sarah Pendleton about their initial inspiration to form a violin-infused doom band, the interplay between violins, the response to "Troubled Cells" and more.
By: Vinaya Saksena | Published: Friday, December 22, 2017
Wielding a seemingly unlikely combination of super heavy doom riffing and soaring violins, SubRosa are one of the great surprises to emerge on the metal scene in recent years. Formed in Salt Lake City in 2005 by vocalist/guitarist Rebecca Vernon and violinist Sarah Pendleton, SubRosa released a demo titled "The Worm Has Turned" in 2006 and their proper full-length debut album, "Strega," two years later. A second violinist, Kim Pack, joined in time for the band's second full-length, 2011's "No Help For The Mighty Ones," after a brief period of filling in for Pendleton. Other band members came and went, but the lineup began to solidify first with the addition of Pack, and then drummer Andy Patterson, who made his recording debut with the band on 2013's "More Constant Than The Gods," having served as engineer during the recording of the previous album.
In 2016, with Levi Hanna now handling bass duties, the band released "For This We Fought The Battle Of The Ages," an ambitious album of long, heavy, multifaceted songs inspired by Yevgeny Zamyatin's dystopian 1924 novel, "We." However, the band drew inspiration from current events for the album's powerful closing track, "Troubled Cells," the lyrics of which voiced impassioned condemnation of the Mormon Church's decision to declare married gay church members apostates and disallow children living with same-sex couples from being baptized. A practicing Mormon herself, Vernon was nevertheless sufficiently concerned about the possible effects the Church's decision could have on LGBTQ members that she wanted to do something significant to raise awareness about it--which ultimately took the form of the song and its emotionally powerful video.
Maximum Metal's Vinaya Saksena recently spoke with Vernon and Pendleton about their initial inspiration to form a violin-infused doom band, the interplay between Pendleton and Pack's violins, the response to "Troubled Cells" and more. Also included are live clips from a show at Alchemy in Providence, Rhode Island, featuring fill-in bassist Kory Quist (The Ditch And The Delta, Making Fuck, etc.), who has since become a full-time member of the band.
*Note: The band appears as a five-piece in this footage. Kim Pack was not present on this tour due to pregnancy, but is still very much a member of the band.
**Additional Note: Since this interview was recorded, Roadburn Records has released "Subdued: Live At Roadburn 2017," featuring mellower (but not quite completely "unplugged") performances of songs from "More Constant Than The Gods" and earlier.