Interview With MALDITA Vocalist Rosa Venenosa
Late last week, I had the pleasure to sit down and ask MALDITA frontwoman Rosa Venenosa a couple of questions. MALDITA is a Latina-fronted hardcore punk outfit based out of Toronto, Ontario. The four-piece band will be releasing their raw and rather intriguing self-titled album on March 4th via Cursed Blessings Records. Rosa and I discussed the band, their influences, their forthcoming album, and much more.
Who is MALDITA, and how would you describe the band for any person who may have never heard your music before? Rosa: MALDITA is a Latina-fronted hardcore punk band with Spanish lyrics based out of Toronto. I would describe us as fairly true to the roots of hardcore punk with influences from the various decades of punk.
Where does the band draw their influence from? Specifically, within the international hardcore punk scene, that helps define the band's songwriting and/or sound? R: Many of our early influences come from a broad range of punk bands from across the globe, such as GBH, Discharge, Vice Squad, Anti Cimex, Plasmatics, Eskorbuto, and Gauze. I would say we don't sound like any of those in particular but might end up with the sound if you put this all in a melting pot.
You'll be releasing your sophomore and self-titled album on March 4th through Cursed Blessings Records. How would you say the brand new record is an evolution for MALDITA? How does it compare to your previous releases? R: Our new self-titled album is coming out on March 4th, and it covers an array of dark subjects, such as domestic abuse, the pitfalls of patriarchy and humanity in general, and focuses on the global agony we and our contemporaries are going through. We also try to reach people with our messages of encouragement towards taking action to make this world a better place and battle apathy. Musically, we have evolved towards a more hardcore, darker sound to match the density of our charged lyrics.
You have recently released the self-titled's lead single and the album's opening track, "Trabajo." How has the reception of the song been so far? R: I would say the response has been very positive, and people are eager to hear the rest of the album. To me, the album is the real experience, and it's tough to isolate one song. It's really meant to be listened to from beginning to end. It was also hard for us to choose one song! We ended up just sort of going with the intro to the album that has a strong message closer to our heart.
When MALDITA was first conceived, did you always know the band was going to use its platform to discuss the immensely important socially and politically charged subjects you write about?
R: Without a doubt, the band was going to be a platform to discuss these sorts of issues, and this sentiment only intensified over time. Many political and social issues have also intensified in our world over the past few years, which has also played an influence on this, some of which we speak about on the upcoming album.
Could you share with us some of the topics the ten songs on the forthcoming album are written about? R: "Trabajo" is a song that is pro-sex work and the outdated stigma that surrounds it. The song is a push towards growing as individuals and to bring equality to sex workers that are discriminated. "Carne" talks about equality as a human being no matter where you come from or race. "Debilidad" is a fun song about partying too hard. Without giving out the whole album, the rest of the songs touch on subjects of domestic abuse, the overdose crisis, broken friendships, battling apathy, and the end of patriarchy.
Do you happen to have a profound moment from the time during the upcoming album's writing or recording sessions that resonate with you still today? R: Not in particular, but we have had a number of lineup changes over the past couple years and have struggled at times to find a dynamic for writing. Despite all the lockdown measures making jamming and recording extremely hard, this record just kind of came together in a very organic way and flowed really well.
We recorded the vast majority of it in Last Agony's jam hall over a twelve-hour period -in the safest way possible- after a studio cancelled on us a few days before due to new lockdown restrictions for businesses. We rented most of the equipment ourselves as a workaround and thankfully had Preston record it for us, who is an amazing sound engineer. Luckily, we nailed most tracks in a few takes. We kept going until about 3 a.m. until we had it done, then additional guitar work was added, and Preston -who recorded it- put lots of hard work into mixing it for us thereafter.
There was really an incredible amount of perseverance and resilience that was put into this album!
I was listening to the album promo this week. The new album has an aesthetic of sounding quite distinctive of early punk rock acts with a very raw and organic sound to the recording. Was this always the intent with this album and your past releases? R: Without a doubt, that was the intent, and although we value quality, we believe hardcore punk sounds best when it is raw and intense. We all agree this style of music can lose some of its edge when overproduced.
If ever given the chance, are there any choice musicians you would love to sit down and collaborate with on a song or album? R: We have had some really amazing sound engineers work on our past few albums, which has been really amazing to have their work on part of our albums. i.e. Joel Grind from Toxic Holocaust, Jack Control from World Burns to Death, and Toronto's very own Preston Wounded Paw (Murdersquad, Last Agony, Armed and Hammered and almost every other Toronto punk band). Our guitarist's other band, Last Agony, recorded with Chany from Canadian legends Inepsy. I think if we get a chance to record with Chany, it would be awesome. In a few months' time, you have some tour dates announced with the Manitoban punk legends Propagandhi on May 27th at the London Music Hall and May 28th at the Guelph Concert Theatre. You must have been exuberant to find out you landed these gigs? R: We were all very excited about this as Propagandhi was one of those Canadian punk bands that were around while all of us were growing up and never stopped going. They have excellent politics and have maintained those over the years. Lots of old friends are coming out of the woodworks and are really excited for it, as are we!
Do you have any further plans for later this year to head across Canada or elsewhere, to support the new record? R: We will be heading out east for the initial album release tour and then playing a number of fests in TO and Montreal over the summer. We hope to head west and get south of the border for additional shows. It would also be awesome to go to Mexico again to play some shows!
Similar to a previous question, are there any bands or artists that you would love to hit the road with if given the opportunity to?
R: It would be amazing to tour Japan and play with bands like Framtid, Eiefits, and Life. A few of us have been to Tokyo for some shows, and it is amazing! I would love to go back, even if it were to just go to shows again and hang out. We also were supposed to tour Europe with California's Armamento Fatal, with who we shared a stage with at Mexico's 2019 Punkytud Fest, but unfortunately, the pandemic put that on halt.
Lastly, you were recently covered by Exclaim! Magazine last month as part of their Collections and Hobbies feature for her unusual collection of macabre, which includes items like skulls, items pertaining to witchcraft, and wet specimens. How did collecting such items begin? R: My fascination with the macabre and obscure begun with the rejection of my catholic upbringing as a young adult. What started as an act of rebellion developed into a deeper understanding of the beauty in death, and therefore, life as well, and its short bout. It helped me to really understand myself better and learn to value beauty in nature, be it full of life or decaying and dead. Thanks for taking the time, Rosa. Is there anything else you may want to add before you go?
R: Take care of yourselves and take care of each other.
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