Thoughts Of Metal navbar Toughts Of Metal Logo News Metalgenres Reviews Links Varia About Contact


08/06/2007 – Interview with SADHARA

There's a new Melodic Death band in the USA, founded by no one less than Katherine Burke. Yes, severe competition for Angela Gossow (ARCH ENEMY), as Kathy not only growls and screams, but also has an angelic voice. And she plays guitar. The name of the band: SADHARA (official website). Releasing a demo in 2003, this set the tone for a collaboration with Dutch drummer Iwan Hendrikx for the follow-up and more. The first result of this partnership is called "To Hell, With Sympathy", of which you read the review at this location. In the meantime Kathy and Iwan have found a second guitarist and a bassist for the necessary gigs and to speed up the writing and recording process for the next album(s).

But who is SADHARA, what drives them and how did Katherine and Iwan commence this all? Read further to find out.

Sadhara logo

First of all, and a bit logical I guess, when did you think of starting a musical career and why particularly in Metal?

Kathy: I started playing the viola at age 8. I really wanted to play the guitar, but my parents didn't get me one until I was 12 or so. My older brother was the one who got me into metal, actually.

Sadhara - KathyRelated to the previous question: which bands were/are among your favourites? DEATH must surely be one of those, right?

Kathy: My first influences were MEGADETH, BLACK SABBATH, VENOM and early METALLICA. I've noticed that metal is like those drug films they show you in school: First it begins with a modest, light metal band...and then you slowly deteriorate into discovering darker heavier sounds...soon you're mixing substances and ignoring your family. Just kidding. Not really. I got into MORBID ANGEL, DEATH and CARCASS next. I also took classical guitar lessons in High School and College.


SADHARA is Sanskrit for "Inner Spiritual Worship". 1) The name is at least one original aspect about the band, but why search this far? 2) How spiritual are you or what is spirituality for you? Any books you have on your shelves?

Kathy: Why search this far? I'm not sure I understand this question, but I'll try :) Yes, I have lots of books on my shelf pertaining to spirituality and indeedy I found the name SADHARA in one of them. I like it because it's a great sounding word, and it doesn't bind the music to a specific direction; as say "Killer Mutant Death Viking" might. It could also represent the dualistic nature of the music and human nature in general as well. Besides all creativity is a type of spiritual expression.

You probably took lessons to develop your instrumental and vocal skills. How much is learned from lessons, how much by yourself?

Iwan: I'd say about 50/50.

Kathy: I took electric and classical guitar lessons for many years, and I was very lucky to have a wonderful instructor named Micah Scoville. A good teacher should not just feed you information, but guide you to where you want to be musically. I don't have any formal vocal instruction, but I probably should.

Going further on this: on "To Hell, With Sympathy" you use clean and rough vocals. is this to reflect the good and bad side, to indicate there are two characters at work (in the context of the songs)?

Yes, SADHARA is a lot about the study of dichotomy I guess. The good the bad, the yin and yang, dark chocolate vs. white chocolate.

To Hell, With Sympathy coverFor the demo you used a drumcomputer, but luckily you found a great drummer in Iwan Hendrikx for the debut album, "To Hell, With Sympathy". A couple of questions regarding these two options: a) compare the two, drumcomputer vs a real drummer: which is better and would you consider going back to using a computer?

Iwan: Drumcomputer: You only have to punch in the right rhythm one time. ;-)

Kathy: You can spill Kool-Aid on Iwan and still have him function properly. Absolutely, having Iwan is so much better. Drum machines are great tools, but you can never replace having a real person add their personality into the music.

b) How did you get in touch with Iwan? Did you place a sort of ad on your website?

Iwan: I got in touch with Kathy when I heard she was looking for a drummer. I heard the music and was sure this band had some serious potential.

c) Did he fly over to the States to record his parts or did everything happen over the internet?

Iwan: No, all my recordings were done in my own recording room in Culmeborg, The Netherlands. Kathy: The entire CD was made using our own recording equipment. Iwan recorded his drum tracks in Holland, and then mailed them to me in New York so I could record the bass, vox and guitars.

For the recording of "To Hell, With Sympathy", did everything go as planned or were there some small problems (technical, disagreements, ...)?

Iwan: It just took quite some time due to scheduling work/music around each other. The actual time I spent just recording wasn't that much at all - in a studio it would be done within a week or so. However doing everything by yourself in between a busy day job, comparing parts of songs by e-mailing them back and forth, recording different variations, mixing the drums down to a few channels for Kathy to record her tracks to... etc etc... the whole process took about a year. We never played or rehearsed any of those parts together.

Kathy: There were no disagreements that I can recall at all, but there were a lot of little technical problems that happened. Iwan lost his studio space while he was recording his drums, our artist lost all of the original artwork because of a hard drive crash and had to create new ones from scratch, I accidentally erased an entire song, problems downloading the drum files, and at the end I ended up not having enough money to finance the cd as I had intended. Plus I couldn't find a guitar tone I liked for months. But things happen, and they really were small problems that were solvable.

Sadhara - Kathy"To Hell, With Sympathy" isn't exactly a superhappy title and I guess the subjects on the album aren't either. From what I've read, the songs (in general) deal with Darkness, Romance, Seduction, Destruction (on and Love (it's absence, and it's inevitable return -- on your MySpace page). Are the songs autobiographical or based on things you read in the newspaper, magazines, see on TV, ...?

Kathy: It's a play on words "To heaven, with love". In my mind I had this image of these angels sending someone to hell and handing them a sympathy card on their way out the door. Or maybe not a door, maybe it's a portal? Or a mass transit for damnation...? Whatever it is that they use. But I think if angels were to send someone to a hell, they actually would be sympathetic and compassionate and sad. I didn't realise this until the cd was done, but all of the lyrics tie in with the theme of the title. The characters or situations start at a high point and then end up at a severe low point. I think the lyrics are autobiographical in an indirect way.

It would have made the album more complete if the lyrics were added. I guess there's a specific reason why it as just one piece of paper?

Kathy: Yes yes, and yes. Morgue (the artist) made an incredible booklet for us, with lyrics and wonderful pictures. I ran out of money and could not afford the huge costs for an almost ten page booklet.

Next to Iwan you also found a second guitarist and a bassist, respectively Ray Russell and Tom Barber. who are they, how did they get into the picture and why are they the ideal candidates? In addition, will the music change a lot or are you the big boss, so to speak?

Kathy: Ray and I have been playing off and on for about three years, and through him I met Tom. Am I the Big Boss? LOL! No, I'm more like Solid Snake...and I'm looking for Metal Gear...Meryl...Hopefully we all can work off of everyone's personal dynamic and find a balance. Right now, we're just rehearsing for the inevitable moment someone in Europe decides to come over to play. :)

Do you already have gigs planned? Nothing Europe-related, I guess? :(

Kathy: Sadly, not yet :(

Are there labels that have showed interest in SADHARA or is everything quiet on that front?

Kathy: Our fronts are very quiet.

How do friends and family react to your music?

Iwan: Of course they think it is great;) Kathy: They think I'm weird! Ha! No, my family has always been super supportive and my friends are mainly other musicians too.

When writing new songs, how do you start? Do you just jam and see what comes out of it or do you start form an existing melody, something you've done in the past and build up from there?

Iwan: So far, no jamming. However we're planning on working together on new songs.

Kathy: It usually begins with a riff, and then more riffs come around it. The difficult part about writing is trying not to repeat previous ideas. Having a variety of influences definately helps.

Sadhara - IwanLyrics or music: which comes first?

Kathy: I'd say music. I tend to write music and lyrics separate and then combine them like voltron would.

Everyone's on MySpace nowadays and it is a great promotion tool, but how important is it from your point of view and what are the 'downsides' of this?

Kathy: Yes, it's a fantastic promotional tool and a great way to connect with other people all over. The downsides to MySpace are of course with any privaledge is the abuse of the privaledge.

A cliché question, but still... how do you feel about illegal downloading?

Kathy: I sort of see both sides of the situation. Music is an intellectual property, so you can't stick a beeper or a paint bomb to an mp3. Songwriting is a craft that takes years and years of hard work, but the industry is out of hand charging $20 a cd. The main idea is to connect and make others happy, but to do that takes money.

Iwan: If you're doing music to make tons of money, then stop and find a career doing something else.

Related to the previous question: how often do you still buy a CD? And which are the last ones that you bought?

Kathy: I still buy cd's all the time. Last CD I bought was "United Abominations".

Sadhara - IwanNext to Metal, any other music that carries your interest and might even inspire you for SADHARA?

Kathy: Stevie Ray Vaughan is actually my favorite musician. A big inspiration for the vocals in SADHARA came from DEAD CAN DANCE and INKUBUS SUKKUBUS. I also really love old blues music, classical music and classic rock.

Next to music, what else are you occupied with? (job, hobbies, ...)

Iwan: My day job is system supervisor for a large distribution company in The Nederlands. Some of my hobbies are travelling and reptiles (especially venomous snakes) and field herping trips.

Kathy: I'm a private guitar instructor by day, and I also enjoy drawing and being around friends.

Since the environment is a hot topic nowadays - where were all those policitians and corporate leaders so many years ago? (personal thought) - what's your opinion on this subject and Al Gore's documentary?

Kathy: I'm not a very political person, but on my PC game "Pharoah" my fig tree crops are up ten percent this year, and the people 'worship me like a god' so they should let me in so I can worketh my magic :) Seriously! Papyrus for everybody my side of the Nile. :)

Iwan: The world is driven by fear and the unconscious need of the human mind to want 'more'. Until this changes, politics and basically all relationships will stay the same.

I'm out of questions, for now. Many thanks for taking the time to reply and I wish you all the best regarding SADHARA and other plans you might have.

My pleasure, Tim! Thank you for being so interested!

<<Go back