Just when you thought it was safe to assume your experience within the Species would be filled with raw driven Gothic Industrial bass and dark noise, we again had risen to the challenge and were not disappointed! Species 2015 was proud to be host, to the debut performance of Sugarplum Suicide with the sweet and haunting voice of Cerridwen Dunne. In conjunction with the recent launch of their debut album, their driving sinister sound of Gothic and industrial originals delivered beauty with an uncompromising live musical performance, that got us out of our seats and left us with a dark and inspired heart!
Cerridwen Dunn & Colin Kelly of Sugarplum Suicide, live at Species 2015
An Interview with Sugarplum Suicide
- Tell us a little about yourselves as a performance artist’s living in Co. Longford:
Colin- Well, to be honest, Species was our only performance, so far, and being in Longford, it takes more effort for us to find venues to play. I’m constantly composing new music for Sugarplum Suicide, and re-recording the old material. We have an entire album of tracks, once Cerri gets the lyrics down.
• How long have you been making music? How did you get into it? And what drives you to do it?
Colin- It’s all just for the love of it. I started writing when I was about twelve (fifteen years ago). It all began with a rap EP of about four songs on my little sister’s karaoke machine. I was such an Eminem wannabe. I couldn’t even play an instrument, at the time, but I wanted to get my lyrics out on tape. “Slim Dogg”, was what I went by, and my lyrics were nonsensical stories (Eminem-style) about how I was a little prick of a kid, in my head. I even did a skit where I’m robbing a filling station and the cops come and the whole place blows up! I did all the sirens and explosions and stuff, vocally. A couple of years, later, my mother bought me my first guitar for x-mas. I’ve been churning out tunes, ever since.
Colin Kelly of Sugarplum Suicide on the guitar, live at Species 2015
Cerri- I’ve been singing since as long as I can remember (singing to Kate Bush at the age of four). I’m a karaoke demon. My parents influenced my music taste. I started playing bass at fifteen, inspired by the riot grrrl movement (Hole and Jack Off Jill), and my friend, Mojo, encouraged me to do vocals on recording. I was very hesitant at first, but Colin kept pushing at me, too, and so, Sugarplum Suicide was born.
Cerridwen Dunn of Sugarplum Suicide, live at Species 2015
• Is there a story behind the name ‘Sugarplum Suicide’?
Cerri- … It was my… Vampirefreaks… name, when I was… fifteen…
• Do you compose all your own music? If so tell us a little about the steps you make to bring a new track into existence?
Colin- On all of our originals, I do the instrumentation. Sometimes, it starts off with the keyboards, others, the bassline, but more often than not, it begins with a beat. I like programming beats that are different from the norm, and with interesting changes. Once I have a beat that I like, I start working on the synths to compliment it, then the bass, the guitars, and then Cerri comes up with lyrics and a melody.
• Are these songs autobiographical to you in some way?
Cerri- Yes, to an extent. “Doll” is about being fucked around in a past relationship, “Rabbit Hole” is about depression, inspired by my own experiences with it, “Somniphobia” is self-explanatory; fear of sleeping. So, they’re definitely autobiographical, but I also like to make little fairytales out of them.
• You work collaboratively as a couple; do you ever have creative differences? If so how do you work through them?
Colin- Oh, so often… If I don’t have the presence of mind to remember to keep the songs within Cerri’s singing range, it’s put aside until I can rectify it, IF Cerri likes the song enough, in the first place. On top of that, because my music is always evolving, I tend to start trying new things with our sound, but if Cerri doesn’t like it, I know that I’m going too far away from our signature, so she keeps me in check.
Cerri- Haha Yea… If I don’t like the sound, it’s like, “Just do it with your solo project”.
Colin- So, I do. Cerri tends to like whatever I create when I put my own voice on it, anyway.
• We couldn’t help notice your fantastic Gothic style not just your music but in your whole persona and fashions. How long have you been Goth?
Colin- I can never really call myself “goth”. I did when I was a teenager, from thirteen on, because I wore black clothes, eyeliner, nail varnish, had long hair and listened to rock and metal, and Marilyn Manson, and my favourite movie was(is) The Crow. In reality, I didn’t start listening to real industrial music until I was eighteen. I dress differently all the time, but for Sugarplum Suicide, I have somewhat of a stage persona, so I’ll always look consistently cool for performances.
Cerri- Curehead at four, obssessed with Beetlejuice(Lydia Deetz), always dressed “differently”, but I fully embraced my “goth” at thirteen, and I haven’t looked back (not counting my ridiculous hippie phase 😳 ).
• What part of Gothic culture intrigues you most?
Colin- The music. There are so many sub-genres that are embraced by gothic culture, and so many great artists, due to a D.I.Y. ethic.
Cerri- The style. I love how you can go anywhere, not knowing anyone, but when you see someone dressed similarly to you, you know you have a friend. For example, we went to Species, knowing very few people, and came out feeling like we know almost everyone. Not many other subcultures have such an accepting community, and it feels like a family.
• Cerridwen: you recently won miss alternative Dublin, Tell us a little about this contest and experience:
Cerri- I had a great time, met new friends and it was huge boost for my self-esteem.
• Colin: you also play in a punk band ‘JobSeekers’ As a musician what benefits and challenges do you find in being involved in more than one musical project.
Colin- I just love playing music, all the time, so the benefit of having so many bands is definitely almost always being busy performing, recording, practicing and writing. I have so much musical influence, due to my varied music taste, and therefore I need to have lots of outlets to get the majority of my ideas out there. Money is definitely a challenge. When I lived in Dublin, there was no issue about practice or gigs, but being back in Longford, now, it’s difficult to afford going on and back the whole time.
• Was there a particular thematic part of Gothic & Industrial culture that captured your imagination for your costumes and performance at Species?
Colin- We kind of wanted to do a dark, twisted version of Alice In Wonderland on stage. Since I’ve played in so many bands(over thirty, since I was fourteen), and done so many different things, musically(guitar in rock/metal/grunge bands, keyboards in a gothic black metal band, vocals in a horror-punk/gothic rock band, baritone in a barber-shop quartet, guitarist in a folk-rock band, frontman for hardcore punk band, vocalist in metalcore band, bassist in pop-punk band…), I wanted to do something I’ve never done, before, with my own music, and that was to add a theatrical element to the live performance. I had a few props and stuff to add to it, but it all went out the window when we had so many technical difficulties.
• What elements would you like to bring to future choreography and costume design?
Cerri- Creepy doll masks!! 😀 More movement on stage. Colin- Choreography isn’t really an option for me, because I’m a shit dancer, and I’m doing a lot already. I like living in the moment, anyway.
• If you could bring any other elements to your performance through collaboration across the arts, what would these be?
Colin- Maybe dancers, so Cerri has someone to dance with, since I suck… 😳 Fire-breathers, suspension artists… I’d love to try a bunch of different things.
Cerri- Poi, and what HE^ said. We’d allso like to a collaboration with Deathness Injection.
• Your performance had a dark, ethereal presence on stage. What emotions do you evoke whilst singing?
Cerri- It depends on the song. There’s a lot of sadness and anger, mainly.
• Which artists have been influential to the development of your style and what aspects of these inspire you most?
Colin- The Birthday Massacre, Celldweller and Evanescence, for guitar-style, mostly. The Birthday Massacre, Aesthetic Perfection and The Cruxshadows, for synth-styles.
Cerri- The Birthday Massacre, everything about them, Siouxsie Sioux’s vocal-style, The Cure for melancholic lyrics.
• You had a confident stage presence at Species, have you ever struggled with this in the past? If so what helped you move past this?
Colin- I’m never nervous before a show. I spent so long in my room and shed, longing to be playing in front of a crowd, that I just can’t wait to get on stage, every time.
Cerri- Yes, and i didn’t realise how confident I was at Species until someone said that I looked it. I still have stage-fright. Karaoke helps, I guess.
• What advice would you give to new artists who would like to pursue a career in creating music?
Colin- Just do it. There are so many different directions you can go with music style, that there’s a niche for everything. Start doing it, then find your style. Download some free recording software, like Audacity or Reaper, and start getting your ideas down. Even if you have nobody else to jam with, record whatever instruments you can play, yourself. Form your songs, then get people on board. Play for the love of it.
Cerri- Just keep at it, even when you feel like giving up. If it makes you happy, do it. Surround yourself with people who encourage you.
• This was Sugarplum Suicides debut performance. What preparations did you do on the run up to it?
Colin- A lot of practices, much to Cerri’s dismay. Dress rehearsals (I had to get my masks on and off between songs, and such…)
Cerri- All the practicing and reciting my own lyrics, and Chibi’s (for our cover of The Birthday Massacre’s “Need”).
• What is your view of Gothic and Industrial culture in Ireland today?
Both- In this past year, alone, the growth has been phenomenal! Ministry Of Agroculture is doing so much, and getting great shows together. It’s a really good time to be getting a band off the ground, in Ireland.
• What parts of Species did you enjoy most?
Colin- The art, the people, the music, the stalls, the food. It was all awesome, but performing was definitely my favourite thing.
Cerri- Food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, FOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!!!! Actually, I loved everything. It was just such a great experience.
• Would you like to be musically involved next year?
Colin- Fuck, yea!!!
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