In this interview, I talk to the metal princess from Queens, New York who doesn’t just embrace “girl power” but screams it.
If you haven’t had the chance to see her amazing vocals here is a preview:
The hardcore/metal community is a male dominated world. When I think about the females in the “rock” world, very few names come to mind. As a young girl who enjoyed classic rock and metal, there was a lack of female presence on the scene I could admire.
When I first discovered Amanda Gjelaj’s covers, with songs from bands like The Acacia Strain and Ingested, I was blown away by her screams —hitting notes very few women or men are capable of producing. Amanda is an inspiration to the younger generation of girls who come across metal music. They will have the opportunity to see a fellow woman out there screaming just has hard as the men who dominate the main stages.
In my interview with Amanda we discuss what it is like being female in an industry that is currently filled with testosterone.
1. Can you tell us a little about your band?
The Machinist is a group of four close friends that make really heavy music. We play a diversity of metal and we just enjoy making music that makes people will go crazy. It’s taken us a while to get where were at now, and we still have so much more to do.
2. Who are your influences for this band?
My influences vocally for this band started off with the original vocalist of After The Burial. Currently with the new EP being recorded and new music being made, I have started looking up to Travis from Cattle Decapitation, Jay Evans from Ingested and Tyler Shelton from Traitors. All different vocalists, with crazy different sounds and ranges.
3. What female rock idols did you look up to growing up?
To be honest, the only female rock idol I ever looked up to was Otep. She is the reason why I even started doing vocals 10 years ago. After that I started looking up to male vocalists because I gained this mentality that I wanted to sound like the guys AND BETTER.
4. Kittie or Courtney Love? I happen to be a fan of both!
5. Okay, okay. Courtney is an acquired taste. But has it been rough being a woman who sings the way you do in a male industry?
Any woman can and will tell you that its hard to be a metal vocalist in this music industry. For quite some time—up until recently—people never took me seriously or never wanted to give my band or myself a chance due to the fact that I was a female. But it’s all good, I sure showed them, didn’t I?
6. What would you say to girls who love hardcore/metal who don’t want to go to shows due to being smaller and not being able to handle the larger guys moshing?
Honestly, all you have to do is be smart. If you’re scared some big “tough” asshole is gonna dance on you for being a small chick, stay out of the pit or stand up for yourself. Simple as that. Being a little chick shouldn’t stop you from going to a show and enjoying the hell out of yourself.
7. Do you feel the hardcore/community has evolved since you first started in regards to welcoming women or is there still a lot of work to be done?
I think it’s still the same, it might be a bit different now because aside from the normal female vocalist people usually hear about (ex: Candace from Walls of Jericho, Angela former Arch Enemy etc). You have vocalist like Som from Cerebral Bore and Malika from Abnormality who really bring the heavy with their music. I hope that things will change and women will be looked at and respected at the same level as men. With time, all we need to do is stick together and come out more with our awesome sounds and then people will finally realize that woman are as good if not better than the guys
8. Are there any shows or news for your band coming up that are readers can follow up on?
We actually have a few shows coming up. Feb 21, Harpers Pub, NJ March 10th, Brooklyn Asylum, NY and there are 2-3 other shows that have not been announced yet. As far as the EP goes, we haven’t released a release date yet, but everything is in the works and with time it shall all fall into place.
Contact for booking or checking out news for the Machinist: www.facebook.com/themachinistnyc