Interview by Cheri Kern August 5th, 2015
RockMusic.com had a chance to chat with Carla Harvey, the lead singer of the metal band Butcher Babies to discuss, among other things, their highly anticipated sophomore full-length album, aptly titled “Take it Like a Man.” Here’s what Carla had to say about the album, being role models, future touring plans and so much more!
RockMusic.com: Thanks so much for taking time out of what I’m sure is an insanely busy schedule to chat with us!
Carla: My pleasure!
RockMusic.com: First & foremost — the new CD! When is the official release date and it’s title “Take it Like a Man” – interesting choice for the 2 of you who I know can’t stand being described as the “Female” version of anything!
Carla: Yes! We’re so excited – the album will be released on August 21st and the title derived from one of the songs on the album “Dead Man Walking.” The album’s title really just represents us so perfectly, Heidi and my past experiences growing up, our relationships with our fathers, our experiences in the music industry. It’s really just the perfect title for us becoming the women that we are, and isn’t so much supposed to be about one gender vs. the other but rather – for anyone who’s gone thru anything in life and continues to go thru all the things that happen to just take it like a man – ya know? The connotations it carries about being strong and fighting thru “whatever it is” and that whole thing — perfect title for the album we thought.
RockMusic.com: I’ve read on more than one occasion, interviews with you & Heidi whereby you discuss the subject of consistently being referred to as a “female-fronted” metal band and “female” rockers whenever you’re talked or written about – and how much this bothers you – could you expound?
Carla: *Sigh* Absolutely! Yes, there seems to be this great need to differentiate us as being women no matter what we do and I really don’t understand why, you know? Even when I was a mortician prior to Butcher Babies, I was always a “female mortician” and it just seems like it’s used in the sense of almost dumbing down whatever it is that it’s coming before? We’re MUSICIANS, not “female musicians” why does the fact that we’re women matter in music.. or anything? Not to mention, it really excludes a big part of our fan base – – we’re SO big on empowerment and I am all about empowering ANYONE I possibly can, not just females, so our male fan base then is somewhat made to feel conflicted about looking up to us as MUSICIANS (or whoever) because we’re so categorized regarding our gender.
RockMusic.com: Would you say, though, that there have been any cases where being women has caused you to have to think or make decisions differently than you perhaps would as a man? For example, pit safety – I know Heidi’s pretty regularly jumping out into the crowd mosh pits, and you used to quite a bit — are there any types of safety concerns you’ve experienced being famous musicians (who are women) jumping into crowds the way you do?
Carla: You know, not really! People have been very respectful for the most part I’ve found, and – yes – I’m unable to get into the pits anymore because I had a detached retina so it’s just too risky now but you know, we’re always up on the railings and whatnot too. That energy in the mosh pit or up on the railings interacting with the fans on that level is like nothing else – – it’s such an amazing thing. “Monster’s Ball” [the first single & video already released from their upcoming album] actually is about that energy you feel in the pit at rock shows.
RockMusic.com: Being a concert photographer, I know exactly the energy you speak of since I’m always in the photo pits between the bands and their biggest fans and the energy is PALPABLE. I used to think as a fan that that energy was really FROM the artist TO the fans but after being in so many photo booths I’ve gotten to witness/experience just how reciprocal the energy actually is, and how it bounces back and forth between you as the artist and your fans.
Carla: Absolutely it’s a give & take and actually we NEED that energy from our fans at every single show, we RELY on it.
RockMusic.com: That is so great to know from an artists’ perspective that you get a lot out of that exchange as well – I’m sure your fans will love knowing this, not only that you acknowledge the transference of energy back & forth but that you actually NEED it from them – that’s awesome. I read that since you had such a great experience doing the covers album in between your first full length “Golliath” and the upcoming “Take it Like a Man” that you would like to perhaps do a covers album in betwen every full length?
Carla: Yes, we definitely plan to do that!
RockMusic.com: Being the big 80s music fan that you are, let’s say you were to limit the next covers release to strictly 80s rock — who would we hear covers of?
Carla: Hahaha…gosh – wow! Well Guns N’ Roses for me obviously haha… I was SO obsessed with Axl Rose growing up. My mom was cool about me going to concerts for the most part but I was NOT allowed to see GnR bcause I was so obsessed & she didn’t think it was healthy haha! But you know for me, that time and era was so special, it was really all about partying and feeling good and having FUN. Then, you know, the 90s came along and brought such a darker element to music, just as important in music of course but vastly different from the vibe of the 80s. But for covers, I’d love to also do “Sleeping My Day Away” [D.A.D.] and I even loved the Cure and the more gothy sounding music, it wasn’t all about my love of glam and cock rock – I loved the more gothic sound in the 80s too.
RockMusic.com: I reached out to some of your biggest fans on Facebook and asked what the diehards were curious about? Many wondered about future plans to tour outside of the U.S. (one friend asked about Asia specifically) – are there plans to tour outside the U.S?
Carla: Yessss!! But not until 2016, we are pretty booked solid now thru December of this year but yes- there are unannounced things in the works that I can’t fully discuss. We do love going overseas and it’s SUCH an honor when we go to places where English isn’t even their first language and yet they’re singing all of our lyrics along with us – – it’s so incredible!
RockMusic.com: Speaking of upcoming appearances, I’ll have the opportunity to photograph your concert in Franksville, Wisconsin at FM Entertainment’s 95 WIIL Rock Fest (which I can’t wait to do) but I was wondering – which band from the lineup are YOU guys most looking forward to seeing as fans at the fest?
Carla: Oh Nonpoint FOR SURE! They are SO great – as performers they’re fantastic & have so much energy but they’re also really great people so – yeah – we’re always down for catching Nonpoint when we can!
RockMusic.com: If you could collaborate with any band (past or present) on 2 songs RIGHT NOW — what band would it be?
Carla: Oh gosh… probably Anthrax, I love them… and Type 0 Negative too…
RockMusic.com: So for an Anthrax collaboration – which song of YOURS would you do with them?
Carla: Oh I think “Jesus Needs More Babies For His War” probably.
RockMusic.com: And which song of THEIRS?
Carla: “Caught in a Mosh”!
RockMusic.com: OK – stuck on deserted island you can bring 1 book, 1 movie and 1 album… what are they?
Carla: The book would be “Women” by [Charles] Bukowski, “Goodfellas” for the movie and for album? Probably “Vulgar Display of Power.” [Pantera]
RockMusic.com: If the result would be world peace – would you perform ONLY gangsta rap for the next 10 years?
Carla: Haha for world peace? ABSOLUTELY — that’d be a blast!!
RockMusic.com: Let’s say you’re on the cover of Rolling Stone right now – what’s the headline?
Carla: “America’s Sweetheart” *laughs*
RockMusic.com: How important would you say that bands’ interaction is with their fans nowadays compared to times when it wasn’t such a possible ‘thing’ as it is now via social media, etc..,?
Carla: Oh yeah, it’s VITAL now that bands interact with their fans, almost to the point of it being EXPECTED even… which is SO completely different than when we were kids. And honestly it’s the main reason we are as big as we are is because of that interaction. Obviously it can be a double edged sword when there are people who expect TOO much of you to the point it’d be impossible to fulfill but yeah we’ve been able to maintain a really great balance for us and for fans and we love being able to interact the way we do on such a personal level with everyone.
RockMusic.com: Who’s your personal hero in life?
Carla: In life.. honestly I know it sounds cheesy to say but – my mom is. She went thru so much in life dealing with my dad, and wanting to be the best mom to my brother & I to the point of doing everything she had to do to make sure we were happy – that self sacrifice of her own desires & goals, and it becoming her goal to be the best mom possible? Incredible. Then what she went thru as a single parent and put ting all her own things on hold to be ‘our mom’ is just … everything.
RockMusic.com: What’s your favorite drinking game?
Carla: Hahaha – – just drinking in itself is a blast!
RockMusic.com: And what’re you drinking?
Carla: Crown on the rocks for me…. love it.
So CHEERS to Carla Harvey for her time with us and right now you can pre-order Butcher Babies’ upcoming album (SIGNED!) for only $6.66 at http://butcherbabiesofficial.com/ — where you can also check out where & when you can catch this explosive band on tour!