What’s in a name? It’s one of the first defining things about us and later Bloody Death Skull’s Daiana will lament on the poetry of it all, but wait – Bloody Death Skull…Now names aren’t just what people get judged by, but bands as well. When you see this name in print your mind dances to the dark side a little, right? Metal music starts to play in your head and then you’re hit with the reality. This band is far from an Ozzfest headliner. Instead they’re band that dives deep inside the creative side of the brain to create music that balances a heavy amount of playthings with very colorful lyrics that could be considered bedroom talk.
Now let’s get to this interview because Daiana, Gerard and Beth had some interesting things to say about everything from weiner’s to The Cure.
Kendra: Was that the reason you went with such a dark name, to mess with everyone?
Daiana: We were sitting on my living room floor trying to comprehend the essence of existence. What’s beneath everything? What truth hides behind the masks we wear, the words we speak, the nebulous container of our imagination? What moves and contains all life? And the words came out: BLOODY…DEATH…SKULL.
Beth: “Bloody” isn’t necessarily a dark color, unless you mean dark red, but we were kinda thinking oxygenated blood or maybe even blue blood. “Death” is a part of life. Our cat just died and then our friend had a baby. They’re the same exact thing. “Skulls” are relics, white historical bone canvasses to project light and sound and love onto.
Kendra: When you were crafting your sound, was it more like anything goes because you guys do a lot, even play around with toys…
Daiana: When we started the band, I did not know how to play anything. But we wrote a few songs, picked a name, and played our first show. I was learning ukulele upside down because I borrowed Gerard’s and he’s a lefty. I would smack a keg with a stick. Beth would spill rocks on stage and shake balls of yarn that didn’t make a sound. Our bandmate Donna has an entire basement full of toys. It’s incredible.
From the beginning we always played with toys and found objects. At the heart of things, it is an experimental approach to music; from how we write, what we say, how we present it, and what even qualifies as an instrument. To play, like a child in a sandbox, that’s our motto. As more people joined the band, they brought in new toys and instruments. People figure out the spirit of what we’re doing and dive in. They get to be free, and it’s fun. The result is our take on the whole “wall of sound” approach. It’s wonderful when we play as a 12-piece and everyone is in sync while completely engrossed in their own little world.
Beth: The sound is crafted in what some may refer to as the unconscious. That’s just a labeling of the space where intentional pours out from our cells rather than our minds.
Kendra: Your lyrics are often entertaining but can have a risque draw to them. What is the most suggestive lyric you’ve ever penned?
Gerard: “Let’s pee on the mormons?”
Beth: “It’s all about the money, do what you can. You gotta get paid, so you have to get laid all the time. At least ten times a day. A good day’s a little bit longer…”
Daiana: We are also drawn to covering the most risqué tunes, like “Whisper Song” by Ying Yang Twins or “Wreck My Body” by The Soul Sisters. Something about really dirty songs, I love them: “And if he’s ugly I don’t mind, he has a dick and I want to grind, I want to grind…” Singing that one in front of my dad was funny.
Kendra: Was there one you wrote that was just pushing it too far as far as naughty goes?
Daiana: Wieners, whisky, sex, prostitutes, ax murderers, eating bats…When you push the envelope so far, there’s really no boundary you can’t cross. But every BDS song has a positive message. I’m a nice person with a naughty sense of humor is all. I haven’t really talked enough about vaginas in my music yet, so that’s a naughty subject waiting to be breached. But my relationship to my vagina is so distant right now it’s like it’s left my body and gone on vacation to Iceland. Maybe that should be a song. “Where oh where has my vagina gone? Where oh where can it be?” Sing that to the tune of “Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone.” Which, by the way is about a poor little doggie that’s run off and been turned into sausage and bologna by the local butcher. Which might be a metaphor for my sex life.
Kendra: I’m not a big fan of The Cure, but I love the songwriting and appreciated your cover of “Just Like Heaven.” Was Robert Smith and Co. one of your musical idols growing up?
Daiana: The Cure circa “Staring At The Sea” is my favorite era of the band. I listened to those songs a lot. I was Robert Smith once for Halloween. My hair was awesome. That cover has a nice story. When I visited Big Bend National Park, I stayed in this cool, quiet ghost town called Terlingua. There was an old rickety abandoned church, with high ceilings and natural acoustics. It was hot and the sun was setting, casting this golden light through the windows and I sat on a pew with my boyfriend and we played the song together, recording it on my phone. And then we got romantic, if you know what I mean. Naughty, naughty.
Kendra: What about Sky Ferreira, because you named a whole song after her?
Daiana: We sometimes use surrealist techniques to write. One method is tapping into the unconscious by way of automatic writing, which means letting whatever comes out of my mind spew forth. Another method is collage or cut-out, meaning I grab bits of text from different places to create a new text. That’s how “Sky Ferreira” came about. I was asked to create songs out of other people’s poems for a lit mag called Dum Dum Zine. I stared at these pages until words jumped out at me and I could hear a melody. I pulled them out of context but some sort of meaning brought them together. I didn’t know much about Sky Ferreira, but I do love her name. A name has poetry in itself. That song is about being young and seeking freedom and release and beauty, and what you do when you’re trying to navigate life, delving into the dark side, so I think actually it ended up making quite a bit of sense.
Kendra: When you play live, you have this sort of revolving door of people that come play with you, what’s that all about?
Gerard: What you call a revolving door, we call an immersive energy field that touches all and from which none can escape. Bloody Death Skull is not a band, it is the natural order of things. Everyone is a part. There are no band members, only beings who refuse to struggle against the truth that they are and have always been Bloody Death Skull. Someday all matter will succumb, and we will all ride into the golden future content with the knowledge that Bloody Death Skull is the only way, the only truth.
Kendra: Do you guys have any shows coming up or will you be taking a break until the new year?
Daiana: We are stoked to play Halloween weekend at Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. We’re performing and DJing that entire weekend at The Ace. Everyone wants to join in for that show so our band keeps getting bigger. We’ve got the three of us plus John & Bridgette Seasons of Haunted Summer, Andres Renteria, who will be back from touring with Jose Gonzalez, Bart Davenport (himself!), Nathan Jackson of Moomaw, Donna Bummer, and dancer extraordinaire Mecca V.A. Wildness will ensue. We might need a bigger room.
Kendra: Are there any new bands as interesting as you guys that you have been listening to nonstop that you want to give a little shout out to?
Bloody Death Skull: Sex Stains!