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67990_507256185999229_2018642977_nSince first hearing their album Possession last year, Portland, Oregon’s Christian Mistress quickly became one of my new favorite bands. With only one full length album, an EP, and a demo, Christian Mistress sounds like a band of seasoned veterans who have been at this for twice as long as they’ve actually been doing it. Christian Mistress is so much more than just a “throwback” band. While their sound is definitely that of the classic metals ghosts of old, they have managed to take that same sound and energy and put it all into something that is all their own creating a unique sound that allows them to stand out from the pack.

If you go online and try to find anything on Christian Mistress, you will find that this band is shrouded in mystique as their online presence is very minimal. This alone is something that really had me wanting to know more about what goes in within this band. After putting on my Scooby Doo goggles and putting some work into it, I finally managed to track down lead singer Christine Davis. Christine is a really sweet, soft spoken person with a lot to say. We talked about the challenges of being a rising band, the future of Christian Mistress, and the dark place within from where the lyrics come from. This was a really intriguing and eye opening interview with one of the most fascinating people I have yet to meet. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Christine Davis of Christian Mistress as much as I did.

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Christine, thanks so much for taking the time out to do this interview tonight.

Hey Don, no problem.

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I hope I’m not catching you a bad time or anything.

Not at all. I’m just happy to be here and drinking a beer in the sun.

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It was so great to hear that Christian Mistress is still active and looking to move forward. I know my readers as well as I would love to hear more about what’s been going on.

Oh yeah. Well, I think we kind of dropped off the face of the map for a minute but it’s partly because we were going back to where we had been before [laughs]. It wasn’t anything weird about it for us. When our 2nd record (Possession) came out we got a lot of attention. We were doing tons and tons of interviews, way more than we even wanted to and we just got exhausted from all the work that had to go into it. We’re a hard working band but all the extra administrative type stuff that we ended up having to do to put out a record on a major label exhausted us. We just needed to take a step back and reassess the music itself. I think it’s a pretty classic story and bands go through this a lot.

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My buddies in Gypsyhawk turned me on to Christian Mistress and by the time I got head on into the band, you all disappeared. I was like, “How can this be??”

[laughs] Oh no! Yeah, well we put out a good amount of music really fast and we just really want to make sure that our next record is exactly what we want it to be. We don’t want to rush it.

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Christian Mistress has a pretty minimal online presence which I feel adds some mystique to the band. Was that kind of an intentional thing?

No, we’ve read this time and again but none of us really had any concept that our internet presence was minimal. We were just focusing on other things. Maybe a lot of metal bands have like one person who is really into computers and the technical side of posting things but we just didn’t happen to have anyone in our band that’s into that. It’s not a matter of being lazy or anything. It’s just a matter of focusing our energies elsewhere.

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I feel like some bands can really overdo it with the social media aspect of things to christinedaviswhere it can get annoying whereas with Christian Mistress, there was this kind of thrill of the hunt in trying to find out what was going on with the band.

[laughs] That’s cool and interesting to hear. I don’t really get on the internet all that much. It’s just not the generation I’m from. I’m 35 and I’m sure there are a lot of 30 year olds who are computer savvy and like using the internet but it’s just not something that I’m interested in . I would rather be outside, standing around a fire and drinking beer with my friends [laughs].

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Christian Mistress’ music totally appeals to my generation of people who grew up with classic heavy metal before it was so over produced and auto tuned to death. So thank you for the great music you’ve given us so far but I want more!

[laughs] That’s rad. Thanks. It’s pretty catchy stuff huh? [laughs]

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So do you have an update as to how things are going so far.

Oscar is teaching our new guitar player the songs and that’s pretty much where we’re at. It’s going really well though.

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Are there plans to do some more touring before recording any new material?

Yeah, definitely. We at least want to do a West coast down to the South kind of loop but I don’t know when we’ll actually do this. It might be pretty ambitious to say that we’ll do it this year but definitely by early next year.

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Well I hope Christian Mistress makes it to Atlanta so I can bring y’all some good beer and hang.

Oh definitely. My little brother lives and works there. He’s great. He actually called me really excited about a year ago or so and said, “Christine! I heard some people in a bar talking about you your band and they were really excited! I can’t believe it!” [laughs] He’s my biggest fan [laughs].

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The lyrics to a lot of Christian Mistress’ songs seem to come from this much darker yet very real place and I was curious as to where that comes from?

It really comes from the depths of the soul. It’s something that I have tried to access for years and never was fully able to do until Christian Mistress. It’s really a special place and a really special thing but yet it’s so potent and so freaky that even I am scared of it. This break that Christian Mistress has taken has been really good for me because it’s been helping me to kind of balance out my mental world. That’s kind of a big answer but it’s a big topic [laughs]. Not that your question was big but the topic of how to get to those depths is vague and hard to pinpoint. It’s beyond words actually.

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You said it was a scary place. What was it that is scary about it?

Well, when I was first trying to understand how I wanted to write lyrics years and years ago while in other bands, I had this visual image of like the very core of your body but in a physical sense turned completely inside out. That’s a really dramatic image but that’s a metaphor for really getting to the truth. For me, if I’m writing about those dark places that are truth, then that means every day I’m facing the truth and every day I have to explain the truth when I’m doing something that most people would never have the guts to do because that’s too hard. I’m constantly in this place of truth and accessing darkness and that’s a really difficult thing to daily and that’s why it’s scary.

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And when you’re talking about this darkness, you’re really talking about this inner depth of your own being, not some sort of satanic references for just shock value.

Yes, exactly. Well, Satan is a concept of Christianity and that holds no interest to me at all.

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I read in a past interview that you grew up in a pretty strict household. How much of that bleeds into your songwriting?

I’m not really sure. I mean, my songwriting directly reflects my life but it’s not reactionary against my childhood or anything like that. My past isn’t something that I feel like is a special entity in itself. I had a good childhood even though it was really strict.

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When you have written something new, do you just bring it to the band and say, “This is it” or is there a lot of poking, prodding, and dissecting of the song?

[laughs] Yeah, it’s different for every band member but I bring in the song as is and I say, “This is the song.” I don’t really give them the chance to say “yes” or “no.” That could be a problem that I have and I know that I have a pretty commanding presence when it comes to that kind of stuff [laughs]. If they have a total problem with anything they will say so but that hasn’t really come up.

I think that’s the hardest part about being a writer/lyricist. You develop an emotional tie to these things and you don’t really want to see it picked apart.

Exactly. Ruben, our drummer, is really good at helping me out. He’s really good at quality control. If there was something that didn’t sound right he might say, “Maybe you should change a few words” or something like that. If I was unsure about something in a song he could usually brainstorm with me so it’s nice to have him around. Early on in Christian Mistress we had a couple of songs on our demo that Oscar wrote the lyrics for so those were songs that he wrote entirely. He’s a very capable lyricist as well as a riff writer.

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So are you currently working on new material?

I’m writing all the time but not any actual new songs but Oscar does have some new songs. I’m actually in California now and he’s in Washington and we’re planning on getting together when I go back up there to visit. Things are moving slowly until our new guitar player gets comfortable and then we’ll head full speed ahead again.

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It’s got to be exciting for you to feel like you’re putting the wheels back on the machine to move forward.

It really is. I’ve been asked to be in a couple of other band during this interim. I was opened to it and was into it. Not to quit Christian Mistress but just to see what else was going on. I really liked the music of the other bands quite a bit but it just wasn’t for me. It just didn’t have that hook, the guts, or the soul. For me to know that I get to play with Oscar again is beyond great. It’s what I was born to do. I’m so stoked.

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Christine, I’m really psyched to get some new Christian Mistress music. I’ve been playing the hell out of the two albums that I have and I need some more!

[laughs] Yeah, you do need more stuff. So you have Agony & Opium and Possession then? Do you have the demo?

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Christian MistressI do not but I want it!

[laughs] The demo only came out on cassette and vinyl but they’re long gone. It came out on cassette because it was just a basement tape that we wanted for our first tour so we could say, “Yeah! This is our demo!” [laughs] So we just recorded it so when we toured the West Coast we would have something to give to our friends and whoever else was at the party we were going to play. It was very casual. Ruben put those out and made 300 copies and they went fast. Our friends in Portland who run this label called Unknown Forces wanted to put it out on vinyl and of course we said yes.

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That’s totally old school. I have got to get my mits on one of these.

Yeah, it’s cool. I’m sure it’s on the internet somewhere. The label paid for it and I painted the album cover and it came out beautiful. If I had any I would definitely send you one!

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I’ve seen some kick ass footage of Christian Mistress doing house concerts. Do you guys find playing those just as fun if not more so than playing venues with a stage and lights and whatnot?

Yeah, definitely. I love playing house shows. The ideal show for me would be a house show with a PA and monitors or something so that I can hear myself which never happens [laughs]. They’re just fun but my favorite show hands down was the show we played at Roadburn in 2012. That show was just so amazing. To be in a packed room with all these Europeans and people who had traveled from all over for the show. They knew all the lyrics to our songs and were singing along and I just couldn’t believe it. It was amazing.

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The reception that Christian Mistress got overseas must have really blown you away.christian-mistress-niels-vinck-rb2012-3

I was more blown away by particular fans. This one family came to Roadburn and they had their two kids who were like 10 and 12 years old. The mother pretty much forced me to sign her daughter’s leg [laughs]. It was just weird and it was totally culturally confusing. I was really more blown away by the cultural differences honestly more than the reception to our music.

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As a singer, you really have such a distinct voice which is pretty rare these days. Who do you consider some of your influences as a vocalist?

I’m not really sure. I don’t think I try to shape my voice after someone else’s. Like I said before, I believe that everything comes from the inner depths but at the same time you can’t escape the influences of people that you like. The singers that I really like are Michael Gira from The Swans and Mariska Veres from The Shocking Blue quite a bit. I like a lot of non-metal singers I guess [laughs]. I like Nina Simone and singers like that. The singers I like, I like them because while their voices are good, I think they’re coming from a similar place as me that is not as on the surface as other singers. They’re coming from that similar depth and that speaks to me. I think it also speaks to humanity in a way because it’s a place that’s hard to get to yet it’s always there. You can’t escape yourself.

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Christine, have you always been a singer and at what point did you know that music was your calling?

Yeah, I’ve always been a singer. When I was a kid I sang all the time. I started singing in bands probably 2002. I had two metal bands before Christian Mistress.

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What is it about Christian Mistress that differs from your other bands and makes you feel that this is where you need to be?

That’s a good question. It’s because of the musical genius of Oscar Sparbell, his background in classical music, and the way he writes songs. He plays actual music and not just heavy metal which allows him to compose something totally powerful and perfect. Having other people in the band that are totally solid, awesome musicians that have the same enthusiasm is really important. If it was just the Oscar show it would just spiral off into the stratosphere. He needs people to ground him and it works really well to have everyone working together.

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Christine, if you could sing for any band for just one night, who would it?

Oh wow. I would sing for probably Lucifer’s Friend so I could do all the really cool high singing parts that my voice can’t do really well [laughs]. That would be awesome.

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Portland isn’t really known for having an extensive metal scene. Is it hard being a metal band in a town that’s not really known for metal or is there a good support system there?

Well now there is. At the time the band first started, it was all punk and maybe a couple of metal bands so we were all just lumped together. Now metal is huge there. Agalloch has been playing out of Portland for like 12 years now. There have always been a few metal bands there but now metal has just overrun the world again which is just wonderful. The support system in Portland and all over the West Coast has been awesome. There’s no lack of heavy metal over here.

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What is the one ultimate metal album that you think everyone should own?

I’m a big fan of those early Scorpions albums like Lonesome Crow and In Trance. I just think those albums are perfect. If you’re craving more Christian Mistress music, just listen to The Scorpions [laughs]. There is some satisfaction there I promise you. I also think that everyone should own Iron Maiden’s self-titled album.

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Are you a bigger fan of Dickenson or DiAnno.

Oh, DiAnno. I’ve been appreciating Bruce Dickinson more and more but that’s because I used to be so outspoken about how DiAnno was better [laughs]. Friends of mine tell me that I need to stop choosing camps and appreciate both singers [laughs].

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Last but not least, finish this sentence: If I wasn’t a musician, I would be ___________.

I would be a photographer. That’s one of my side hobbies. I don’t think I could make a living off of that. I don’t make a living off of music either [laughs].

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Christine, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. It was great getting to know you.

Yeah, thanks. It was great talking to you and I look forward to meeting you in Atlanta soon. We’ll keep you posted on everything and feel free to check in anytime. Don’t be a stranger.

 

For more on Christian Mistress, head over to https://www.facebook.com/ChristianMistress

About Don de Leaumont

Don (aka. The Brainfart) has been a heavy metal fan since hearing it for the first time in 1983. Don is also repsonsible for all of the typos, shitty grammar, and kick ass content on this site. Don likes cheap beer, whiskey, Coca Cola Icees, going to shows, and hanging with his kick ass wife, two cats and dog. He originally wanted to name his dog Shandi but his wife said, "No fucking way."

Putrid says:

Ahhh Fuck yeah! Great material! I can’t wait!

AJ says:

Haha I know, I know. I’m just saying, word choice was a bit… callus? That seems like too harsh a word. You know what I mean though.

AJ says:

“He plays actual music and not just heavy metal…”

Low blow, bro.

The Brainfart says:

AJ! How was that a low blow my friend? I think what she was saying is that Oscar is much more than just a “metal” guy. While he is a great metal, I think Christine was saying that he’s well versed in other styles of music (especially classical).

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