Masquerade is a Finnish band hailing from Helsinki set up in 2012. They released the debut album “Ritual” in 2016 on Danse Macabre. They also released a few EP’s and finally released their second opus entitled “Where Nobody Can Hear You Scream”. The album was self-released in 2018 and released on CD in 2019 by the Russian label Sierpien Records till the German label Young & Cold Records gave it a new CD-edit this year. The work is also available as vinyl format. “Where Nobody Can Hear You Scream” sounds as a real revelation; not that much in the post-punk and cold-wave influences, but in the global writing- and production of the songs. If you don’t know yet Masquerade, this interview with their singer ‘Suzi Sabotage’ will hopefully incite you to discover this great band. (Picture credit by Vivian Tanner).
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Masquerade is already active since 2012. How would you analyze the evolution/changes from your first songs till today? And do you see main differences between both albums you released?
Suzi:I guess they have become more straightforward. There was a fair amount of experimentation in the beginning, but on our second album we went for that bleak, dissonant post-punk sound that I’m very fond of.
Q: Masquerade is an interesting band name, which I naturally link to people hiding behind masks to dissimulate their real faces. So is the image of a band –and of your own band, still a kind of masquerade? What’s the importance of the image?
Suzi:I don’t know where and I came across the sentence ‘We hide our faces to reveal our true selves’, but it has stuck in my mind and is kind of what our name is about. Sometimes masks and heavy makeup bring out your true nature and personality.
Q: “Where Nobody Can Hear You Scream” was originally self-released in 2018 –and later on re-released by Sierpien Records (Russia; 2019) and Young & Cold Records (Germany; 2020) in different formats. How do you look back at the writing/recording of the album? Are there things you would achieve a different way today?
Suzi:We had written, recorded, and pre-mixed most of the album already in 2017, actually. But as perfectionist as I am, I decided to re-record almost all of my vocals in 2018, then Jacques and I final-mixed and mastered it. I’m glad I didn’t rush the process because it ended up sounding much better as a result.
Q: I experience your work as a great homage to the legendary 80s decade of cold-wave and post-punk. The 80s remain something magic and still inspiring for young bands. So according to you what makes the magic of this decade and do you feel also close to other music periods?
Suzi: It might be foolish of me to idealize a decade that I didn’t even get to experience, but one can’t deny that people of the post-punk movement were a lot more physically present and active then than now. The existence of the Internet has grown the movement in numbers, for sure, but it has also made us more passive and fixated on the music of the past rather than that of the present.
Q: You guys are still involved with Virgin in Veil. I’m always fascinated how artists can switch between different projects. Considering aspects such as spirit, song writing, lyrical themes, global production… what are the main- and most significant differences between both bands?
Suzi:Virgin In Veil and Masquerade are as different from each other as vodka and wine. Already in the vocals you can hear the most obvious difference –I sing in Masquerade, whereas Jacques is the vocalist of Virgin In Veil, and our vocal styles are worlds apart from each other. Also, Virgin In Veil is pure, straightforward death-rock whereas Masquerade has a lot of classic post-punk experimentation in its music.
We also have a new neoclassical dark-wave band with Jacques called Wild Roses Of Winter which I think is very different from the rest of our projects.
Q: I noticed at your Facebook page you guys are clearly engaged against racism! What’s your perception about this terrible subject and do you think there’s a way that can help to make things change? Can music have a real impact?
Suzi:In my opinion, if you have any influence or audience whatsoever, you should use it for good and take a clear stance against injustice. Music has always had an impact on the surrounding world, so it can very well act as a catalyst for social change. From the very beginning, Masquerade has had a political component to it –we’ve had many politically charged lyrics, used antifascist symbols on our album covers and at our shows, and collected money for various causes, the most recent of them being Black Lives Matter. I’ve never been shy to use my voice to spread awareness about injustices, and I hope it has made a difference.