For Part III of our WHITE EMPRESS special feature we sat down with vocalist Mary Zimmer who quite frankly needs no introduction. She is a powerful singer with a commanding presence, and her work in bands like LUNA MORTIS speaks for itself. And as those of us who have listened to the WHITE EMPRESS EP can attest, she can call down the thunder at a moment’s notice. Mary managed to give me some great insights into the band without giving anything away. Check it:
Mary: Well, when I first heard it I just couldn’t take it all in. It had everything on it but vocals and real bass. The arrangements were so phenomenal I was just like, “I don’t even know what to do with this! This is so huge, musically!” I really wanted to do it though. I had never heard anything so amazing that left me in such awe of the songwriting. So I knew that when I gave it a shot I really tried to put my best into it because I knew it would have to match the level they were already at which was pretty high.
Amps: How did you start working with Paul (Allender)?
Mary: Paul and I met through mutual musician friends as he is living nearby me in America in the Twin Cities. He asked if I’d be interested in trying some vocals for a project he was working on. I was like, “Yeah!” and as soon as I heard the music it just floored me and I was sold right away!
Amps: What does the WHITE EMPRESS mean to you?
Mary: The WHITE EMPRESS is a big fantasy concept. She represents a character and ideals. She’s empowering, a feminine power, and she also represents all sorts of inner strength and power. And I think the idea for me, lyrically, is to write something empowering in her image. And I think that’s what you get from the music, that it’s really powerful. It’s a huge concept, without getting too specific. But she conquers lands fearlessly and is very, very intimidating. She’s the fantasy avatar that everyone’s always imagined, and because she doesn’t have too much specificity she can become your own, which is kind of why people are so in love with her already.
Amps: How ready are you to get this out to the masses and have them witness this spectacle?
Mary: I’m ready!! We’ve been working on this a long time, so we’re emotionally and mentally ready. We’ve been doing a lot of cool things behind the scenes. But we have NOT revealed to anyone what the live show is gonna be like, so we’re kind of keeping that under wraps. I’ve been working for a year and a half; Paul’s been doing so for two years. Live we’re gonna be doing some really amazing things and shit’s about to get real, that’s all I’ll say.
Amps: Oh please, I’ve given up on asking ANY of you for more details than that! You’re all so tight-lipped it’s like Fort Knox (Mary and I both start laughing)!! Tell me about the recording of the EP.
Mary: We’re all in different countries: USA, Canada, the UK, and Czech Republic so we have not all gone into the studio together. We’ve all been tracking at our individual homes or local studios. What we are all really proficient in music technology as well as just playing so that has enabled us to track individually from all over the world and we sent all our parts to Paul. We all write together but Paul produces the stuff and adjusts the arrangements based on what we send him. So we end up sounding very uniform and that’s how the EP came about.
Amps: How long have you been singing as a pro?
Mary: I’ve been singing for a REALLY long time and doing so in metal bands for a long time as well. But this isn’t like anything I’ve ever done before in spite of all that. It’s really cool if you take all of our collective experience and the fact that we’ve all been fortunate enough to focus on music for most of our lives. So we’ve all been really able to coordinate and put in our collective knowledge and that’s why this is working so well. We all agree on what are the right things to do. We’re kind of on the same page all the time.
Amps: After LUNA MORTIS you took some time away from the stage. Is it safe to say that Mary Zimmer is back with a vengeance and not going anywhere?
Mary: Absolutely! After LUNA I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was jaded for a while. Also, when we put our album out in 2009 the industry hadn’t fully embraced the digital age like it has now.
We were sort of in-between and it was a really bad time to cut a record. I really feel like this is the right band at the right time, especially with the technology that’s available to bring this concept to life. Plus there is so much detailed media to go with it and I think that this is the time. I’m ready! Let’s do it!
Amps: What would you like to say to the WHITE EMPRESS’ subjects and your fans?
Once again, another member of WHITE EMPRESS is pretty mum about the specifics of what we can expect. I dunno about you guys, but this is just making me want to know even more! With Mary Zimmer at the vocal helm this band is poised and ready to crush every city they play, and I can’t wait to experience them live ASAP. You can download the EP HERE. I suggest you do so.