The Finnish Deathrock of Masquerade

[dropcap]There[/dropcap] must be some sort of time vortex located somewhere in the vicinity of Helsinki, as I can’t say I know a single person from Finland who doesn’t fit the classification of a good ol’ fashion Deathrocker.

This is definitely evident in Finland’s premiere Deathrock band, Masquerade, which began 3 years ago in late 2012 and was founded by the strikingly oldschool vocalist Suzi Sabotage, whose appearance at one point resembled Siouxsie Sioux during the “Kiss in the Dreamhouse” era of The Banshees.

Photo by Tiia Santavirta
Photo by Tiia Santavirta

The music of Masquerade, while matching the aesthetic, leans more towards the Banshee’s first two records, “The Scream”, and “Join Hands”, while also resembling many female fronted UK Positive-Punk acts such as Brigandage, Look Back in Anger, Blood and Roses, and Rubella Ballet.

Highlighting Masquerade’s sound and vision is the music video for “All Things Hurt” (above), the second track off of the “Blood is the New Black” EP, which was released this past October, and here is an interview we recently did with Suzi and Jacques from Masquerade:

Besides the obvious choices of Nina Hagen, and Siouxsie, who are your favorite Deathrock, Batcave, Positive Punk, or Oldschool Gothic artists?

Suzi: Skeletal Family, The Danse Society (the original one with male vocals), Sleeping Children, Siekiera, X-Mal Deutschland, Geisha (Finnish female trio), to mention a few.

Jacques: Hmm, many of them, probably too many to mention. Let’s get a few: Christian Death, Phantom Limbs, early Cinema Strange, Deadchovsky… On the recent ones I like Sierpien, Crimson Scarlet and Cemetery.
Photo by Taya Ovod
Photo by Taya Ovod

I hear you are now married, and your husband Jacques nows plays bass in Masquerade. How did you two meet, and when did he join the band? Jacques, I understand you were in Sleeping Children?

Suzi: We met online setting up a gig to Paris. I was introduced to him by our lovely friend Elvira Iskra. Jacques became part of our band earlier this year as a result of our wild idea, then I became convinced by his talent and skill. It seems so natural now to have him in the band that I wonder how we ever functioned without!

Jacques: Yeah, I created Sleeping Children in the beginning of 2003 when I was living in Paris. It wasn’t a bad band, but I think Masquerade is better.

Are there a lot of people into Deathrock in Finland currently? I would imagine a few, as I kept running into Finnish people at Gothic Pogo Festival.

Suzi: I usually tend to hang out in hardcore punk parties or isolated from the outside world, but I guess there is one or two deathrockers left and of course vast quantities of cyber and mainstream goth shit. Me and Jacques—we are mostly alone or with random people since we hate cliques

I’d argue that most original Deathrockers are more a part of the punk community than anything else, this seems to be the case in Los Angeles, like with Don Bolles, and Rik Agnew for example.
Speaking of Los Angeles, I’ve heard you will be touring the Western US soon?

Suzi: Yes, we are conjuring up a tour in the west coast from on 21st August. Any suggestions and offers from gig organizers are highly appreciated, since we don’t have the tour completely figured out yet.

Jacques: Yeah, we are extremelly happy about it. I’ve been wanting to play in the US since my teenage years, so it’s kind of a dream come true for me, haha!
Photo by Miika Kaartinen
Photo by Miika Kaartinen

Do you have any new material in the works, EP, LP, video, or debuting new songs live?

Jacques: We have tons of project actually, including composing songs for our first full-length album, that we hope to record this fall or winter. We are also composing many new songs for Virgin in Veil, another band consisting of all Masquerade members.

Suzi: The upcoming release is in progress, yes, and I have a solid vision of it, the sound and the artwork. It’s going to be diverse, yet classic. Both Masquerade and Virgin in Veil are also actively searching for collaboration with different record labels, who could distribute our music even more voraciously throughout the world.

Not many bands I know have made television appearances, but Masquerade have appeared several times on Finnish Television. How did these spots come about? 

Suzi: We were asked to appear, via social media or e-mail. There’s something really perverse and adrenaline-inducing about seeing yourself on the screen so we did it. What’s especially amusing is that I seem to be becoming some kind of punk spokesperson/expert in Finland, whenever there’s punk mentioned on tv, they ask for my opinion, hahaha! And of course there’s the delight of imagining the face of people who hate me, when they see us on their receivers.
Check out these appearences/interviews on Finnish national television below:
First television appearance on YLE News

And an appearance on Tähdet, Tähdet (The stars, the stars), a Finnish talent competition show.

Masquerade Bandcamp page here.

Masquerade Facebook here.

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