Gothic Magazine issue number 66 featuring Tina Winter on the cover. English translation.
Interview by Christian Pommerening
Hello Tina, how you're doing? What happened in the world of VOODOO CHURCH and in your life since the last album "Unholy Burial"?
Hello Christian. Thank you for the interview. After the
release of Unholy Burial and the live shows to support the CD, there was no rush
to go back to the recording studio. I also felt there was a change coming and I
didnít want to release another CD that was just like Unholy Burial, so I decided
to wait a little and see where this change took me. When time came to start
writing again, I knew I wanted the next CD to be titled Eminence of Demons. I
then came up with a Brothers Grimm fairy tale theme to tie in with the title,
but I soon felt limited in what I could write about staying in a limited theme.
I knew that this time I needed to write more from my heart and more of what was
reflecting my life at the time. Also in taking my time writing and recording
Eminence of Demons, I was able to try new ideas and really push myself to make
each song the best they could be.
Tell us something about the current lineup of VOODOO CHURCH. It completely changed since the last album, right? What happened?
After all the excitement settled with Unholy Burial, we took a little break. During that time, Brian Elizondo had to make some changes in his life and he moved to the other side of the country to Miami, Florida. We have always kept in touch with him and I still do to this day. In fact, he is co-writer of the song, Darker My Love which is the second track on Eminence of Demons. Having Tony Havoc in VOODOO CHURCH was full of wonderful times. Weíve been through a lot together. When Tony married Barb (Darliní Grave) it worked out perfectly for VOODOO CHURCH because Randall Cole switch to guitar to replace Brian and Barb filled in on bass. But Tony and Barb have moved back to Tonyís hometown in the San Francisco, California area. They will be missed and we do wish them the best.
Bob Reimer, co-founder and original guitarist of the band, is now back on board. How you both met again or have you been in contact all the years? How was ist to work with Bob again after all these years?
Bob Reimer and I have stayed in touch all these years. In fact, he had a little background involvement with Unholy Burial. I guess you could say he acted more as a consultant for that CD. When it came time to really get serious working on Eminence of Demons, Randall Cole and I decided to ask Bob to be more involved in the writing and recording. Since Bob lives in another part of the country, we were able to use the technology we have now to share musical ideas and record tracks without having to be in the same room. This was a great advantage. Of course working with Bob again on this level was great! Bob and I have written so many songs together in the past and I felt that his contributions to this new CD brought some better ideas to the table. On Unholy Burial, Randall and I were the primary songs writers and we didnít have that much writing time since we had to record and mix everything by the deadline. For Eminence of Demons, having both Bob and Randall as writing partners really worked well.
Your label Strobelight Records says that "Unholy Burial" was a great comeback, but on "Eminence Of Demons" you really found yourself now. Would you agree? Where you see the main differences between both albums?
I can not say enough good things about Strobelight Records. The guys there are wonderful and they stay true to their ideas. VOODOO CHURCH could not be in better hands. The big difference between both CDs is that there was so much more time for Eminence of Demons. Some of the songs on the new CD is a lot more personal and emotional. Iím not the type of person who just lives in the past. I live my life and new experiences effect who I am and how I write. It is not possible for me to stay in one place and be truly creative. Sure, I could write songs like I did on the original EP but then I would be writing songs that were not true to my heart or where I am today. To satisfy myself, I need to be creative and grow in new bold directions. Thatís how I wrote the songs on the EP in the first place. Iím just continuing that philosophy.
Please tell us something about the writing and recording process of "Eminence Of Demons". How long did it take to finish the album?
Looking back, time went by really fast. Randall and I started writing some new songs and recorded demo versions to see how things would come out. This is when we started with the Brothers Grimm ideas. Then we started working with Bob and his ideas. We really took our time and had no need to put out another CD right away. We just wrote, recorded, listened, wrote some more, recorded more etc. Itís hard to put an exact time frame on the writing and recording. During this process weíve also worked with other musicians for both fun and to bring out the best of every song. After all that time, for some reason, it felt right to release the CD now.
It is said that Rikk Agnew contributed to the new album. On which songs (I only have a promo copy without booklet, sorry)? How you get in contact with him and how was it to work with him? I saw him two years ago with CD1334 and he really looked a but wasted. Was Rikk also involved in the songwriting process of the song he contributed to?
We had a wonderful time working with Rikk Agnew for this CD. Of course I knew him back in his Christian Death days but over the years I lost touch with him. One day our lives crossed paths again and since then we have stayed in touch. While we were in the middle of recording Eminence of Demons, I asked Rikk if he would be interested in adding some tracks to the CD. After he heard what we had recorded up to that point, he was very excited to do so. He has guitar tracks on Darker My Love, Glass Pyramid, Lullaby Curses and Idleness and Industry. A couple of his contributions created such an impact to those songs that we gave him writing credit on those. He also recorded guitar tracks for two songs that didnít make it on the CD. Those songs are Dead Flowers, and Make You. There is a way you can hear those songs but youíll have to buy the CD to find out how.
In 2006 you recorded a song called "Dead By Dawn" with Danny Frankenstein, Lenny Love and C.A. Richie at Rikk Agnew's house. Was this song ever released? Did you sing on this song?
The song Dead By Dawn belongs to Danny, Lenny and C.A. Richie and is for their project called, When I Was Dead. They had both Rikk and I contribute to Dead By Dawn. I sang while Rikk played guitar. It was a lot of fun working with them. The song has not been released yet but production of their CD is moving along. They have been working with a lot of talented people and when you see who is involved, youíll be amazed. Working with this many musicians can take some time and I canít wait for them to release it. Itís an honor to be part of a project with all the great talent that are involved.
There's a ghost track on the new album, a new version of "Steeple Walls" from the legendary "Voodoo Church" 12" from 1982. Have your recorded new versions of the other songs as well?
Both Bob and I wanted to re-record Steeple Walls. Bob was never quite happy with how the guitars came out on the 12ď EP and he has always wanted to fix that. We both really like that song and just wanted to record it the way we wanted to hear it. We have not yet recorded new versions of the other songs on that EP and right now we have no desire to do so.
I think that there were new-recorded versions of the whole EP on mp3.com or something like this with all tracks in a slightly heavier style some years ago and even some years before the "Unholy Burial" album. What happened to these recordings?
When I first got VOODOO CHURCH back together we did some rough recording that included three of the songs from the EP. It was really never meant to be released but we did give some copies out to some people. It was something that wasnít really serious and I donít even have a copy of it.
Were there any songs written or recorded in the 80's that not ended up on the "Voodoo Church" 12" vinyl? And if so, did they appear on one of the later albums?
Bob and I wrote a lot of songs around the time of the 12ď EP and for a year or two after that. Two of them were recorded for Unholy Burial. Those songs are Whoís Fault and Drums & Voodoo. On Eminence of Demons the songs Burning Obsession and Once Upon... were writen back then also. I have thought about doing a proper recording of all those songs because I really like them and it would be nice to hear them the way they should be. Also I think there are a lot of fans of the EP who would love to hear them too.
Speaking of the vinyl 12": I head that there was some controversy in the past because of high price selling of that record by the band itself. What was this about?
I donít know if I can answer this question correctly because I have never heard about any controversy regarding the selling of the EP record. The only thing I can think of is that if something like that happened, it involved a past member of the band. There is one past member who tried to take those songs from the EP and sell the rights to some other guy. Since Bob and I wrote and own those songs, we had to get a lawyer to have that stopped. There are also two other past band members that were in the band for a very short time long before the EP that have not been able to leave me alone. They were not even involved with the band when VOODOO CHURCH reached a pivotal point and became truly established. Itís sad that some people still have to use my bandís name to get themselves some recognition instead of making a name for themselves.
You're selling a collection of self designed clothes on your website. Do you make design as a proper job beside the music? What else do you do apart from VOODOO CHURCH?
The clothing line was done for fun. A while back, a clothing company asked Randall and I about putting together a custom line of clothes. The designs on the website are the continued designs. Apart from VOODOO CHURCH, our lives are pretty private. I love working with animals, Randall works with the dead and Bob does some secret stuff with the Space Shuttle.
Are there any plans to perform the new record live on stage in the near future? Maybe even in Europe?
I would love to take VOODOO CHURCH back to Europe! Germany was so beautiful and the people there are wonderful. I would love to play as many shows as possible all over Europe. There are no confirmations yet and I have a big plan that I would love to see happen. If everything can work out the way I want it to, a VOODOO CHURCH European tour would be one that you would not want to miss!
What are your future plans, hopes and wishes in general?
Right now Iím just focused on the new CD, Eminence of Demons. I do have another musical agenda that Randall and I created called, IDLENESS and INDUSTRY which has a more agressive, industrial sound. You can find out more about this at myspace.com/idlenessandindustry. Enjoy your life to the fullest and be true to yourself.