Tuomas Tähti interviewed Catherine Sarah Holmes via email in September 2014.
TT (Tuomas Tähti): Please introduce yourself to the readers. Who are you and what do you do?
CSH (Catherine Sarah Holmes): I’m the wife of Chris Holmes. I’m also his manager, but I prefer to say we work in the same team where he is taking care of the music side and I’m the one taking care of the business part and the one who takes the blame for our decisions… LOL.
TT: You and Chris are currently working on a new band project titled Mean Man. I like that name! As W.A.S.P. fans know, W.A.S.P. recorded a song titled ”Mean Man” in the late 1980s when Chris was playing the guitar in W.A.S.P. How is the new project going on?
CSH: It’s going well. We take our time to choose the ones who will be in Mean Man because we don’t just want musicians but also musicians who totally fit with Chris.
TT: The next album Shitting Bricks is now recorded. When will it be released?
CSH: Unfortunately the album Shitting Bricks is not mixed yet, but I’m working to release it before the end of this year. The recording rack of Chris was lost during three months which made us lose a lot of money and time. Because of the loss we cannot release the album this month as it was planned.
TT: Earlier this year you lived a few months in Finland, but not anymore. What triggered the decision of suddenly leaving Finland and moving to France?
CSH: To be honest, we didn’t leave Finland. I always said that we were there for an undetermined time. We still don’t know where we will live. It was always in the project that France could be our base. My parents live in France and now it is easier for us to move all around Europe and have a place where we can keep all our stuff without moving everything all the time. After our latest experience with the postal service I believe it is the best way for us until we decide to stay somewhere. This doesn’t mean that we will stay in France either, for now we are moving too much to make the decision. We love Finland and hope to come see our friends there.
TT: Are you planning co-operation with any Finnish musicians?
CSH: The door is open and if the opportunity comes, why not… I would love working again with Lee Angel and Danger Ranger. Those two people are full of talent musically and in the heart, but we might also work with others. In October/November we will be in Sweden to see a band Chris will start working with besides Mean Man, but this is a surprise LOL… We love this idea to work with different bands. New horizons are there for us and we love sharing and learning. It is who we are and what we do best. We have our way to work and see life, and we rather stay close to the people than live and create like the majority does.
TT: Compared to your husband’s homecountry, Finland has more heavy metal bands per capita. Heavy metal music seems to be more popular here.
CSH: It is not just Finland but also a few other countries in Europe where heavy metal has more impact than in America right now. I think it’s all about the culture and the way the public sees the music and musicians differently in Europe. This might seem strange and it’s only my opinion, but I think that in Europe and in Finland there is more space for heavy metal, people go see bands live and really enjoy it and at the same time they respect the musicians. I saw this in Finland and this makes me so happy. That respect is complelety different from what you see in America. People are not spoiled musically in Europe, which gives more opportunities for bands, including new bands.
TT: Do you believe that the popularity of heavy metal will rise again in the USA, or is the scene lost forever there?
CSH: Of course there will always be a place for heavy metal in America. Let’s say they are just taking a break right now to shine more later.
TT: Domino De La Rogue from Baton Rogue Morgue said this in 2011: ”Finnish music scene is total crap. The metal scene was good when Nightwish and Children of Bodom were new, but now they are old news, and there in nothing interesting going on in the scene.” Do you agree with this statement, Sarah?
CSH: No, but this will not surprise you, right? I don’t know enough Finnish bands to say if there is nothing interesting going on… but where I can’t agree is that the metal scene was good when Nightwish was new… now they are older, is that bad? Nightwish and Apocalyptica (or Domination Black who have good musicians, and I’m sure there are many other bands I don’t know) are great bands who have turned the music world towards Finland. The metal scene shouldn’t be good only when the bands are new, but also when the bands are still playing after many years. The success of the ”old” bands gives hope to the new bands. If they did it, the new groups can do it too.
TT: When you moved in here, was there anything in the Finnish culture that surprised you?
CSH: I’m French and I have lived 20 years in Los Angeles. There are not many things that could surprise me. I would say there is a big heart behind the ice.
TT: The anniversary of your wedding was last month. You and Chris are an amazing couple! You got married in August 2012, but how long have you known each other? When and where did you meet Chris for the first time?
CSH: On 14 January 2015 it will be three years of being together. We met in Los Angeles at a NAMM pre-party where Chris was supposed to play. We talked all night and since then we never leave each other.
TT: Your husband’s latest album is called Nothing to Lose. In my opinion the best song of the album is ”Mormon Moron”, because it tells a powerful story with lurid lyrics. How important do you find it that the artist has a message?
CSH: Music is the support of the lyrics. Music will create emotions to touch the heart, and the lyrics will create images to these emotions. Everyone will feel or interpret differently, depending on their background. That is the magic of the song. Everyone listens to the same song and creates his own world depending on how they feel at the moment. With Chris, the way he writes is the way he is, but behind his ”lurid words” there is a truth. Boris Vian said this about the poet: ”This is a unique being in lots of copies who would think that in verse and written only in music on various topics but still beautiful.” I think that it is the best definition for any person who creates a song.
TT: As a professional manager, which advices would you give to young people who are now creating their own heavy metal bands?
CSH: First know and realize that music asks for lots of sacrifices. Make sure you are ready for it. Secondly, don’t listen the ones who will tell you ”you can’t do it”. Just do it! Put all your energy to creating. If you really believe in it then you will make it. It is true that there are many musicians out there and few of them have the success, but if you don’t try and follow your dreams, you will never know. Play and act as professionals. The fact that music is a passion doesn’t mean it is not work. Music is a work and deserves to be respected as any job. The fans are the ones who bring the bands up by coming to the shows and buying albums, the ones who sometimes promote better than a PR team. Always respect your fans and make your job with passion. Don’t forget that a band is a team and the success comes thanks to the team, not just one person. Believe me, many forget this. Also: Never sell your soul, everything shining is not gold, sometimes making a difficult but right choice is more productive than the easy choice. The choices we make in this industry make all the difference.
TT: What are your all-time favourite bands? Do you spend much time listening to music?
CSH: Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and many others. Unfortunately I listen to music only when I’m writing, otherwise I don’t do it as much as I would like to.