Mask of Judas / Welcome to the extreme

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Jo Challen, vocalist of the UK Metal band „Mask of Judas“ likes the extreme, especially extreme vocals and with a furious EP the quartet are ready for more … we scheduled an interview and Jo talked about special techniques, the band, the intention to play the Euroblast Festival and the messages of their lyrics.

Interview: Dennis Rowehl / Pic by courtesy of Mask of Judas

More photos: Hi Jo, I just listened to your EP … cool and also aggressive stuff. First of all … how do you train  your voice? Are there special technics?

Jo: Hi Dennis, I’m really glad you like the EP.  In terms of training my voice, I’m self taught so don’t know of any special techniques I’m afraid. For me it’s just been trial, error and practise over 9 years of singing in a metal band to strengthen the correct parts of my voice and do what feels right so that it doesn’t hurt or negate my clean singing. I try to sing as often as life permits me, although screaming is quite loud so is not really the kind of thing I can do at home. I’ve always worked to improve different aspects of my voice and there are a lot of ideas for new styles I’d like to try in future material.  I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning!  Your music reminds me a little bit of  THE AGONIST …. What about supporting them in the UK? Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity?

Jo: Certainly we’e always looking for bands to support so it would be great to support them or any other international band. Do you already have plans for playing live in Germany?

Jo: We’d love to play Euroblast although this isn’t comfirmed for definite at the moment.  A European tour has been on our minds for a while so when we do book it, Germany will definitely be at least one of the dates – we’ve only heard good things from other bands who have played there. We have a UK tour coming up this month and another one in July, so hopefully Europe after that. What’s your personal challenge in singing the way you sing … for a female singer?

Jo: I don’t think I have any more challenges than anyone else, irrespective of gender.  Touring is always the hardest thing for me as lack of sleep has an immediate effect on my voice. I try to go running and things to keep up my stamina and keep my lungs in check.  Ultimately there are always things that I am not happy with and am working away on in the background. I don’t really see myself as a female metal vocalist, just a metal vocalist who happens to be female. Besides … what are your songs about? Do you have a certain message?

Jo: They’re all very different. I try to put a message in all of my songs although some of my lyrics are a bit obscure. The subjects range quite a lot from human experiences to patterns of behavior within wider society. Sometimes they point out social ironies or frustrations but if so I like to give them a positive spin because there is an escape from almost every bad situation as long as you view it in the right way.  Some of the lyrics are tongue in cheek, but every line has a deeper meaning.  I always write with a particular image or scenario in mind, but make it a bit cryptic so that hopefully people find something in the song that evokes an emotion with them and can apply some of the words to their own situations and circumstances. Do you guys have personal musical idols?

Jo: We all have bands we love but of us all I think Sam our guitarist probably idolizes musicians the most. He has a signed photograph of Paul Gilbert on his wall, he is slightly in love with Tosin Abasi, I’m pretty sure he stalks Jeff Loomis, and I think he’d like to morph into Guthrie Govan one day. Thank you very much …

Jo: Thanks to Germany!