By Stephanie Stevens

The Chicago based band BELLHEAD Consist of High Bass/Lead Vocalist Ivan Russia, formerly of the infamous Ahab Rex, Mr. Russia, and Sheriff Scabs; partnering with Low Bass/Vocalist Karen Righeimer – who has been a member of bands such as Fashion Bomb, Team Cybergeist, W.O.R.M, Bethany Thomas, and Pigface and are creating a unique, dark and punk quirky ambiance with the music they are making.

With the fire of male and female vocals intertwining with industrial esque music it becomes a unity of beauty and the beast.

‘UNICORN BONES’, the song on the duos newest EP entitled the same, ultimately drew me into the band. It just had a hard and haunting vibe to it that sucked me into the art that is BELLHEAD.

The band just recently did a cover of Bauhaus song SANITY ASSASSIN with a fascinating visual for it also.

Ivan and Karen are no strangers to the Chicago music scene but are making magic together as BELLHEAD.

I recently had a chance to ask them about the newest cover song, remixes and how Chicago has moulded them as performers/artists.

Q: When and how did BELLHEAD come into existence?

Karen: Ivan and I tossed around the idea of doing a project together for quite a few years – but it never stuck because we were both in pretty successful projects and didn’t have time for something new. In 2018 I left my music projects, and Ivan’s band mate moved to the east coast, so it was time to join forces.

Ivan: We had both played in the same band at separate times and got to know each other at shows and the like. I got the bright idea to propose a brand-new project to Karen outside of the bands we were in at the time. Progress was delayed by Karen being in a hit and run.

Q: Being a duo and having worked in other bands, how is it just having two people to throw ideas around versus a full band of different mindsets?

Karen: For me, it’s actually better than being in a multi-person band. When you’re working with up to six different members it can be frustrating coordinating everything from writing a song, scheduling rehearsals, or booking shows. With Ivan, we have similar work ethics and drive so it’s much easier to get things done.

Ivan: it’s a lot like throwing a medicine ball back and forth.

Q: How do you feel Chicago has moulded and sculpted your career as an artist and musician?

Ivan: Chicago has been a historically fickle mistress. Every show you go to there’s a handful of people standing arms crossed with a facial expression that reads “You think you’re hot shit? PROVE IT.” The meritocracy of the music scene has made me strive for nothing short of excellence. We have boundless enthusiasm for the music we are making and we engage with our audience and reward their participation. It feels more like a dialogue between us and the audience then a monologue of just standing on stage.

Q: What was the biggest thing that engaged you into the genre of music you create and perform?

Karen: When we started the band, we never really had an intention to be in a specific genre, or blend genres – we just wanted to make music that was enjoyable for us, and that we hoped people would also like. Ivan and I both have so many influences and music experiences that it just makes sense. You’ll hear aspects of anything from Nine Inch Nails, to Magazine, to Death from Above, to Johnny Cash. It’s actually pretty freeing not to have to be pigeon holed in one specific genre.

Ivan: If ‘Zooropa’ was a genre we would fit right in. Unfortunately, you’d never find us at the end of the search engine, so we pursue whatever excites us on any given song. It all makes sense from the crow’s nest.

Q: I see BELLHEAD keep a good recording and mastering team behind you and you don’t stray to work with others. What is it about them that makes you always go back? Do you feel they are as much a part of the band as you guys?

Karen: We are really grateful to have people behind the glass that are just as passionate about BELLHEAD as we are. Both our recording/mix engineer Neil Strauch (Iron and Wine/Counting Crows/Owls/Joan of Arc/Walking Bicycles/Slow Mass) and mastering engineer Carl Saff (Acid Mothers Temple/Smoking Popes/Red Fang/Guided by Voices) have impeccable talent, and what’s best is that they understand what our vision is, so it is not only easy but enjoyable to work with them. I don’t foresee us straying from our recording team anytime soon.

Q: BELLHEAD just released a killer cover of Bauhaus’s song ‘Sanity Assassin’. What lured you to this particular song by them and what has this band meant to you?

Karen: It was actually fan-requested. Last year Bauhaus announced their tour and as a homage, we decided it would be fun to cover a Bauhaus song. We let the masses suggest what they thought we should do via social media and had an overwhelming response for ‘Sanity Assassin’. Our intention was to really only play the song live once or twice, but due to fan enthusiasm coupled with no shows most of the year, we decided to release it as a single for people to enjoy. We are grateful to our audience. Their likes, comments, shares, messages, enthusiasm at shows, purchases, all the comradery, we are grateful for their feedback.

Q: Was BELLHEAD supposed to tour with Bauhaus also? If so, do you think it will eventually be rescheduled?

A: We were not scheduled to play with Bauhaus (BUT if they are reading this, we’re down for 2021). We’ve had a lot of shows cancelled in 2020 including playing with Birthday Massacre and Sister Kill Cycle. We hope that next year we’ll be able to hit the road and play in front of people again.

Q: You added a huge element to your team with Scott Fedor (Marvel’s Avengers VFX) directing the ‘Sanity Assassin’ video. How did this come about, and did you let him have free reign of the video theme for the song?

Scott Fedor: Please tell them you met me at a Hollywood soiree and after you finally pulled me from the middle of an orgy pile you asked if I’d be interested in helming the project.

Q: Tell me about creating a song and then putting a remix flair to it? Does it take about the same time to do both versions or do you feel one is easier than the other?

Ivan: Remixing our own song like we did with ‘Knife’ for the ‘Knife (Beware The Light)’ remix was about giving the song a different feel more of a club track/dance banger. When we remix other artists it’s mostly keeping the original artist’s vocals and building a new BELLHEAD song around it. In a sense we ask the question “What music would we write for this vocal performance?” Karen will add some bass, keyboards and vocals after I’ve gotten the beat together and various sounds I’ve found interesting for the song. We like to keep the remixes single length. Short and catchy.

Q: What do you hope the music world takes away from your band and music?

Ivan: I hope people enjoy the music as much as we do and have a good time feeling something. We like to see our shirts and stickers in the wild. It lets us know we are touching people’s lives in a positive light. I’m not here to save the whales or tell you who to vote for. I’m here for the music.

Q: Empower another artist and tell us why they inspire you?

Ivan: I play bass in a band called [ m e l t e r ] and they are a creative lot. It’s great to be “just the bass player”. I really enjoy playing the [ m e l t e r ] songs and contributing as requested. I will generally work on BELLHEAD songs during breaks in rehearsal so there’s probably some direct influence in there somewhere. Also, the [ m e l t e r ] remix of the BELLHEAD track ‘Runway’ makes me grin.

Karen: There’s this super talented multi-instrumentalist in Chicago (John Syzmanski). The first time I saw him play was at the Davenport where he went from playing the drums, to the bass, to the fucking SAW- like bending a wood saw on his knee and using a bow to make sounds. He’s in a ton of projects but has settled in really well with John Langford these days. Don’t tell him that I said he’s one of my major inspirations.

The End


‘Unicorn Bones’ (Official Video)

‘Sanity Assassin’ – Bauhaus Cover (Official Video)

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Quinn The Brain – Open Wide EP

Quinn The Brain – Open Wide EP
Self – Released
Release Date: 29/05/2020
Running Time: 17:10
Review by Dark Juan

Good evening, my dear ladies and gentlemen. I am lounging upon my chaise longue, sipping from a delicately jewelled chalice and sporting my Seventh Invocation Robes (Autumn Weight) after a busy couple of days involving proselytising, being endlessly shouted at by the Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover, smashing up indestructible sofas and having Mrs. Dark Juan experience medical emergencies requiring trips to the apothecary and then the hospital. This is of course not in order of importance and rather more to do with my permanently derailed train of thought. I should have been wrangling young gentlemen as per my normal employment, but Mrs. Dark Juan comes first. At least that’s what I promised her when we first started seeing each other. Wink wink. I’ll let you judge how trustworthy I am on that score.

Also, for Seventh Invocation Robes (Autumn Weight), read beat up old (yet supremely comfortable) Batman onesie. I’m all about full disclosure, me.

I’m also all about writing about the music I’m listening to. What a segue. Tonight’s offering is an intriguing and beguiling band of Texan misfits called Quinn The Brain. Now, if you are of a certain age (and can recall MTV actually playing music videos and having Vanessa BLOODY Warwick ruining Donington for everybody) you may remember a poorly animated and distinctly sarcastic programme on MTV called Daria, about a young alternative lady called Daria Morgendorfer and her adventures with Jane and Trent.  And her endless watching of Sick, Sad World. Digressing? Me? Never… Anyway, there was an episode of Daria called Quinn The Brain That’s where Quinn The Brain got their name from. They have therefore earned a bonus point for having a cool name from a TV show beloved of Dark Juan in his youth. I’m easily bought.

As this is a four track EP, I am going to do a track by track critique. Let us begin…

The record opener is also the title track. Beginning with a simple, chiming guitar lick, it rapidly goes down a rage-filled rabbit hole of fury and reminds this reviewer greatly of ‘Bruise Violet’ by Babes In Toyland in the delivery of the vocal by Arta Salehi in parts. This is not a criticism as Kat Bjelland is a fine, fine basis to take your performance from. Musically, the song rampages from riot girl rage and kickass riffs to alt-rock twanging before hitting off kilter vocals and rapid loud-quiet-loud dynamics. I like this very much so far. Hopefully track two lives up to the promise of this stomper of an opener…

Track two is ‘Step On Me’. My, this is grungy. All lo-fi guitar and angst-ridden lyrics with a tough punk edge to take the grunge undertones up a notch and out of the navel gazing bollocks that most grunge was. Special mention goes to bass player Steve Blackheart on this one, who serves up some of the filthiest, sexiest bass I have had heard for a long time. Lyrically, this one is about working in an industry where no-one cares about you and the futility of your trying to achieve something when no-one will ever notice. Welcome to the world that most of us inhabit. Although this is the weakest offering it’s still a fucking slamming song and well worth your time.

Lucky three then – entitled ‘Comes In 3s’ and about bad luck coming in threes and dreading the next piece of shitty bastard luck to empty its capacious, disease-ridden arse in your unsuspecting lap. Again we enjoy some sexy, sexy fucking bass from Mr. Blackheart and some very tasty guitar work from Arta as well as a vocal that oozes snotty, fuck you attitude without having to resort to the kind of inane, ball squeezing squealing that large, hirsute, bearded men frequently employ when they are playing heavy metal. This is one of the more unusual songs as it straddles the fence between grunge, punk and metal (is that more than one fence? Fuck knows.) Oh, and it’s a full moon at the end of the song too, so all fucking bets are off…  Another top, top song.

Onto the record’s closing tune now, and it’s called ‘Dark Skies’ and it is by far the most metal of the songs on this EP. It’s got an absolutely doomtastic central riff and just drips melody and menace at the same time. Vocally, Arta treads a finely judged line referencing strong female vocal leads like Brody Dalle, Kat Bjelland, Die So Fluid’s Grog and even a bit of faux-cute Courtney Love and the words reference the loss of innocence, while skilfully leaving it to the listener’s imagination just what innocence has been lost. Such subtlety in songwriting is a rare and precious thing, especially in metal and other extreme music which tends to just bludgeon you over the head with the message the band wants you to understand. This is also a fucking kickass tune.

So, this is only a 17-minute EP but as a body of work it is extraordinarily complete. It’s a short but comprehensive journey down an absolutely rage filled tunnel of violence, edged weapons and negative emotions, and the musicians back this up by being able to emote this on their instruments as well as being able to rely on Arta’s witheringly intense vocal delivery going voraciously straight for your soft, white throat. I CANNOT WAIT for a full album, boys and girl! This really is one of my favourite records of 2020 so far, and I have listened to some high-quality alternative music this year. Quinn The fucking Brain are fucking magnificent!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (y’all) awards Quinn The Brain a colossal 10/10. Treasure this, Quinn The Brain. It is a rare and precious thing. Dark Juan officially loves you.

01. Open Wide
02. Step On Me
03. Comes In 3s
04. Dark Skies

Arta Salehi – Vocals and Guitar
Billy Kimmel – Drums
Steve Blackheart – Bass


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.



Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Leeds,UK based Dark Folk/Post Punk artist, Duncan Evans. Huge thanks to him for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

I am Duncan Evans. I write and perform dark folk / post-punk melancholy music, often with a full band. I was a member of A Forest of Stars and a few years ago I wanted to do something different. AFOS’s label Prophecy Productions signed me, and I’ve produced two solo albums to date.

How did you come up with your band name?

Well, it’s my birth name so it wasn’t too difficult in this case. However, I am looking to potentially use a band name for future releases. Watch this space.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

Leeds, UK. The metal / punk scene is relatively healthy in many ways, but things have changed a lot. There is a big DIY scene blossoming in the wake of the more established small to medium-sized venues having closed down in many cases.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

“Prayers for an Absentee” is my latest album and is out now on Prophecy Productions. You can get it on all major digital platforms as well as in CD and special box set formats.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are undeniably a huge influence for me. The way they work as a band and Nick’s approach to songwriting – both greatly literate and intensely personal – have inspired me a lot. I would also list Wovenhand, Josh T Pearson, Gillian Welch, The Stooges, Richard Thompson, Swans, Leonard Cohen, The Sisters of Mercy and Patti Smith. Tomorrow the list will be slightly different.

What first got you into music?

Taking long car journeys in the country with my parents, during which we would listen to Dire Straits and Eric Clapton. I couldn’t get enough of it.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

I am already collaborating with some very talented and inspirational people including Wilderness Hymnal (Netherlands), Jay Gambit of Crowhurst (Philadelphia), Miranda Arieh (Leeds) and CVIVArts theatre company (Leeds). I would love to collaborate in future with more filmmakers. If David Lynch wants to get in touch I’m here! There are a few other things in the works. Let’s see what happens.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Prophecy Fest, run by my label Prophecy Productions, takes place in a cave in Balve, Germany. It’s always a wonderful experience to be part of it and I hope I’ll be on the bill in future.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Nothing weird really, but I recently received a photo of a handmade cushion cover created by fan from Berlin (thanks Colo and Sascha). It really warms my heart to hear about such things.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Never forget who you are, except when you need to forget who you are.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

I’m not particularly interested in bringing anyone back from the dead. Let it be.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I live for the intensely self-expressive “flow” state that I only really achieve when performing – especially to an audience. I try not to hate, but making ends meet financially is always difficult in this industry.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

We need to continue working towards a new system so that artists can more easily be recompensed appropriately for what they do, so that they can carry on creating the art that makes the world go around. At the moment there is too much inequality in that respect. But changes are happening and that will carry on.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Mock Tudor” – Richard Thompson.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I like vinyl, and I like having a collection of physical records, but I also see the limitations. Whatever works for you is fine as long as you’re listening at a decent-ish sound quality. Phone speakers are just not good enough.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

That depends on your definition of “best”. I played to 1000 people at Leeds University last year supporting Ferocious Dog. That was the biggest audience I’ve played solo to and I enjoyed it a lot.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

The things I already do. Write, create, communicate, appreciate the world and its inhabitants, be an activist, climb mountains.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Five friends. I’m not personally interested in hypothetical gatherings where “celebrities” get asked questions that would probably only annoy them.

What’s next for the band?

The split / collaboration record with Wilderness Hymnal is next. It’s coming together and we’re at the stage of mixing and working on art. It’s a very personal record and I veer into electronic music territory a little bit although the songs still fit dark folk / post-punk melancholy style. Look out for it.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

It’s clear to me that they are both, and that the false dichotomy of the cake / biscuit question needs to be dismantled.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

It has been really enjoyable to answer these questions. Thank YOU!Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities



Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Northampton, UK based Gothic/Post Punk/Dark Wave band The Venus Fly Trap. Huge thanks to Alex Novak for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little about the history of the band?

Alex Novak/Venus Fly Trap (Vox)

Not a straightforward answer as the line-up has changed many times, but to summarise, I had finished being in a band called ATTRITION who were based in London at the time. I had done one album and toured Holland with them. Decided to move back to my native Northampton (famous for BAUHAUS, ALAN MOORE and the film KINKY BOOTS), hooked up with my brother JOHN NOVAK (ISAWS/WHERES LISSE) and TONY BOOKER an x-art school student (I had also studied at Northampton Art School).The line-up changed pretty quickly. We originally used a drum machine but then decided to use a drummer instead. ANDY DENTON was drumming for a local band CROWMAN at the time. He joined the band and as these things happen, more band changes and he ended up playing guitar. He has done for a number of years. Myself and ANDY DENTON (Guitar/Programming) have produced four albums together “DARK AMOUR”, “ZENITH”, “NEMESIS”, and most recently a new studio album, “ICON” which came out in 2018, probably our most consistent period as a band.

How did you come up with your band name?

Hard to pick a name that has not been used before. I liked the idea of a plant that eats insects rather than the other way round, the connections with the planets Venus and Mars, mythology, sci-fi, so there were plenty of images and ideas to play around with.

What country are you from and what is the Rock/Metal scene like there?

England (UK), the music scene here is pretty strong whatever type of music you are into.

What is your latest release?

We have a new release available VENUS FLY TRAP/ALEX NOVAK – “MERCURIAL 1978-2018” on CD/DL via Glass Records Modern. It is a best of VFT and other projects, bands I have been involved with including ISAWS, RELIGIOUS OVERDOSE, TEMPEST, ATTRITION, NOVA STATE CONSPIRACY, THE DEN and SPORE. A career spanning retrospective for people to delve into and explore further if they wish, about eighty minutes of music packed into this release.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Everybody is influenced by somebody else. The trick is to take these elements and arrange them into something original, never wanted to sound exactly like another band, always striving to do something unique.

What first got you into music?

When Punk exploded it changed my perception, it was a get up and give it a go attitude, minimal experience, but it did not matter, it was the ideas that counted. The DIY approach got people to do music who would not have thought of it before.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

We are always open to collaboration, no one specific.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

A country we had not been to before or in an unusual location would be my criteria.

What is the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Dont want to start a competition to come up with weird items.

If you had a message for your fans what it be?

Dont come out of the bunker until the all clear has been given.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

If I had that power, I would be using it on myself.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Experiences, gigs, travel, interaction with different people and anything is possible, the downside is logistics of travelling and the hanging around.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

If you don’t like what’s going on, do your own thing, create an alternative.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Such a difficult question to answer.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Put out material on all formats! The one thing about vinyl is you have a lot more scope for artwork/design because you have a bigger space to create on.

What is the best gig you have played to date?

Hopefully, it will be the next one, although 2019 was a pretty good year for us gig wise.

If you were not a musician, what else would you be doing?

Well, as mentioned earlier, I studied graphic design and later photography so something to do with the arts, but I also run a record shop, which I have been doing for the last twenty years.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Five people who hated each other, sit back and watch the fireworks.

What’s next for the band?

Re arranging dates for September that were organised for May to tie in with the release, but due to events beyond our control this did not happen. All the latest info here.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Cake according to the name, small cake though…

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

See you all on the other side.


Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.