SARAH VAN WYK

Photo_2Bands like Apocalyptica has shown that string instruments can be just as heavy as guitars. Sarah Van Wyk gives that side another face. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl

Could you please introduce yourself to those of us in the dark?
-I Perform classical and classical originals. The classical originals range from James newton Howard meets Hans Zimmer meets Danny Elfman pieces to classical married with hip hop industrial. I sing in 7 different languages and have been adding an 8th by continuing to work on Romanian. I have an octave range, I am a dramatic soprano which is a rarer voice type, meaning that although I hit the high notes, the color of my voice is warmer and darker. I explain my dressing style as gothglampire. It is punk victorian, dark but sumptuous. I don’t like to stand and sing, I like to move. My movements are doll, mannequin and as laughable as this sounds from me, some pop locking. I sometimes perform with a breakdancer, we are the only act of its kind in the world. I have a done a lot of chorography for him, I envision whole stories just for the movements themselves and bring them to life with his extreme skill and his love of the breakdancing/ pop locking craft. I like to keep almost every piece short, as I found that listeners find that they love Schubert, for example, they just never realized it, so taking the mystery out of the opera house and making it relevant.

I often wonder how people discover that they can do what they do. How did you discover that you can sing and play instruments?
-Acclaim from others help you to discover your possibilities, like so many other creative people, this happened to me early on.

When did it become a revelation that you can do this for a living and get paid for having fun?
-I believe in creating doors where there are only walls. What I mean by this is that we should all create our own opportunities. Insane work, sacrifice. In music business todAy, I adore fan support and indie label status: you make your own choices and keep your creation away from a machine. I strain for direct access and open communication with my fans: what they want to hear, what they like, just really being plugged into their needs.

Listening to your different albums I come out a bit schizo. How do you manage to write such diverse music in so many genres?
-I don’t think to the average listener that they are that different, because a classical voice to the general public, is still a classical voice, whether I use a relaxed, lullaby type classical style or a hard force opera house style.

Photo_1-1 (1)Since we at Battle Helm deal mostly in metal I cannot help feeling that there is a close connection between metal and classic. What is your opinion?
-I found that my fans are a large amount of males who, like I do, love metal and rock. Ranging from melodic metal to doom. It made me wonder about it and I realized that question is answered by listening to a string quartet do a cover of a metal song: what the guitars can do, the strings can do. It is the same exact intensity and passion. Metal fans pick up on this, they hear the grinding,chugging, heartbeat insanity that is so easily carried in an orchestra. They want big, just like opera is big. Just like a classical voice is bigger than life, terrifying, exhilarating, mind blowing. To touch you, to attack you musically. I love and listen to almost every genre so I am thrilled I have so many metal fans, I consider it an honor!

Have you ever considered doing what Apocalyptica are doing; making classical metal?
-I love Apocolyptica and used to fantasize that they would call me up and do a song with me. It is..I don’t know if the word is ironic, but I’ve had interest by century media and direct contacts to roadrunner but no band to have a whole package. I would love to do classical metal, but would have to have any potential band members who can write, who are dependable, serious, etc and I have never been able to find it, so thus far, it has not been meant to be, which is fine, but any readers interested..contact me! 🙂

How important is image in separating the different styles of music you deal in?
-I try to stay consistent and have all fans know that I am still me and still my voice, no matter how the music manifests itself: just like we all have moods but we are still ourselves regardless of us feeling happy, sad, livid, hopeful.

Do you deal in different topics lyrically depending on what style of music you play?
-No, up to this point, I have written what story the music told me. I listen and write what it is telling me, regardless of genre. However, this upcoming album, I wrote the vocal melodies and lyrics first, we will be placing the music to them as a second step. These are less complicated, much more simple and are meant to speak to the heart in a more direct way, my lyrics are normally a bit complicated and have layers of meanings.

Do you consider yourself a live artist or do you like to spend most of the time secluded in a studio?
-I record super fast ( most credit goes to my ultra amazing producer) I prefer songs sound like they would if you saw a show live, so I usually only sing it twice and we choose one of them. Which means I much prefer the live interactive aspect of performing art. I have custom designed costumes, unique accessories, sometimes accessories and pieces I make myself. I concentrate on making every movement count, each physical expression has deep meaning. I like bringing a whole castle built of dark fairytale to the table, I try to pull the watcher/ listener into the wonderland.

What does the future hold?
-I have a new album coming out wicked soon: a new part for an old machine and this one is gospel/electronic, might even be dance able. I am hoping this will attract new fans along with making my present fans happy. I will be doing a collaborate effort with Etare Neged, a unique gem because he is a black gothic rapper. I might be looking at more rock and metal pieces coming out. I aM dying to perform a ton more, as I joked with a friend recently, I hope to be the traveling salesman in the movie puff the magic dragon, where my caravan opens up all sides and I put on a show. Of course, my potions are real.

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