Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With Hybrid Spirits

Time for the next edition of Metal Anarchy’s “Music In The Age Of COVID-19” series, the feature where I discuss the ongoing pandemic with various musicians. This time I have an interview with Hybrid Spirits.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

HYBRID SPIRITS: It has affected us in different ways, from the financial impact to the lack of routine, normality and social contact. The first lockdown in England in March 2020 was very difficult. The second lockdown began on 2 November and hasn’t been so difficult as people are still allowed to go into work where necessary. Voodoo Jade became disabled in 2012 and has got used to being fairly isolated over the years. As she is placed on the clinically vulnerable list by the government, she received free food parcels for a while as she was unable to get shopping. However, other people in England were forced to wait for hours in long queues to get into supermarkets, and struggled to get groceries delivered when ordering online. We’re sure that we’re not the only people who found social media and internet a huge help during the lockdowns. Although it’s not the same as being in the same room with people, it has certainly been better than nothing!

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

HYBRID SPIRITS: In a way, the first lockdown was great regarding music because no one had to go to work and so we had time to write and record new music. We managed to get our latest EP “Mirage” mixed and ready for release on Halloween. We are lucky in that we all work on music individually and remotely, and we don’t play live at the moment, so we could keep on making music. Our hearts went out to other bands who we know all over the world who were no longer able to get into the studio or play live. We wrote the music for a new song called “Rain or Shine” a few days before lockdown, and the lyrics hadn’t yet been written. We thought that lockdown would be a perfect opportunity to write a song which reflected the mood and the situation, addressing feelings of solidarity and giving hope to people. A lot of people were fundraising in England at the time to help with Covid-19 related causes, and we decided to release the song as a charity single so that we could play our part too. The money which the single has raised so far is helping people across the world who have been affected by Covid-19, and we will continue to raise funds until the end of April 2021. Let’s face it, it doesn’t look as though the pandemic will disappear overnight unfortunately.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

HYBRID SPIRITS: As previously stated, we don’t play live at the moment. However, a few days before lockdown, Voodoo Jade and Nigel saw The Mission on tour in Birmingham UK. They were about to leave the UK to tour Europe, which sadly had to be cancelled. We felt sorry for The Mission and other bands regarding loss of income, merchandise sales etc.

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

HYBRID SPIRITS: No were aren’t sorry! It’s really difficult as we don’t live close to each other, and Voodoo Jade is disabled, making it difficult for her to travel.

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

HYBRID SPIRITS: We’d love to think that the entertainment industry will recover, but will it? Will things ever be the same again? We have heard of local music (and theatre etc.) venues struggling, forced to close due to lack of income. Will there ever be a time when people can go to a gig as normal again? Will people have to be socially distanced in the future and how can that be managed? There seems to be more questions and issues than solutions. However, other indie musicians who we know are now allowed to play small, socially-distanced venues again, so maybe life and gigs as we know it will return to normal one day.

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

HYBRID SPIRITS: As far as we know, all bands have taken a hit in one way or another. It would be great if people could please support artists by purchasing their music directly. Our music can be bought at Bandcamp. The income which bands get from streaming is minimal, but it all helps. Even if it helps get up those algorithms so music is played on other playlists, it all helps, so a big thank you to everyone who can help! Our music can be found on most music streaming services. Just look for our songs “Fear” or “Mirage” and you’ll find us! We usually fund the costs for mixing and mastering ourselves, but even this is difficult at the moment, as we’ve also taken a hit in personal income. Due to the first lockdown when people were first furloughed from work, we’re still recovering financially, and we won’t be the only musicians who say this!

Metal Anarchy’s New Music Showcase: Exclusive Q&A With Hybrid Spirits

Time for the next edition of Metal Anarchy’s “new music showcase,” the feature where I introduce you to bands that readers of this site may find interesting. This time I have an exclusive Q&A with Hybrid Spirits.

METAL ANARCHY: Tell me a little about your band:

HYBRID SPIRITS: Hybrid Spirits are:

Nigel Rooke – Vocals, lyrics, keyboards and drum programming.

Paul Kirk – Vocals, lyrics, keyboards, guitars and drum programming.

Voodoo Jade – Vocals and lyrics

We formed in 2017 after Paul Kirk met Voodoo Jade via a collaborative project with a mutual friend. Before that, Paul and Nigel were in a band for many years called “Aus der Asche” which became known as “From the Ashes UK”. After the collaborative project, Paul and Nigel invited Voodoo Jade to join them in their music venture, and Hybrid Spirits were born!

We feel that Hybrid Spirits are unique because we don’t have a particular sound which we aim to produce. Our songs and releases, to date, have ranged from alternative to ambient, and from electronic to rock. We like to think that there is something for (almost) everybody!

Depending on the song and style, we like to have driving music and/or lyrics to capture the spirit of the song. For example, check out our song “Fear”. It is dark, driving and has a captivating beat with mesmerizing sounds!

This is why we came up with the name “Hybrid Spirits” for the band. The word Hybrid describes our music, as we don’t believe that we sound like anybody else. Our music can’t be pigeon-holed, and our releases can vary. We chose to add the name “Spirits” to our band name because we all get along really well, like 3 kindred spirits. We can never predict what we will write next, as we have so many ideas and influences!

METAL ANARCHY: Who are your main influences?

HYBRID SPIRITS: We all have different music tastes and influences. Paul likes anything from heavy metal to classical music, including Rammstein, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, The Cult, Neil Young.

Nigel loves electronic music, but also Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, Gary Numan. He also loves Ska music, Goth, Rock, new wave, synthwave. He particularly relates to songs with strong emotional connections.

Voodoo Jade loves most of the music which Paul and Nigel like, with some folk and new age music thrown in for good measure! Growing up, she was a big fan of Blondie, and now she loves Evanescence, Indigo Girls and Enigma.

You can hear some of Paul’s rock influences by his guitar playing in some songs such as “Fear”, “Mirage”, “Mysteria-Hysteria”, “Substance” and some of his other influences (eg The Prodigy) in songs such as “Rain or Shine”, “Dancing in the Midnight Sky” and “Mars”.

Nigel’s many influences, especially electronic (and sometimes rather dark!) can be heard in the synths, vocals and lyrics in the songs “Fear”, “I Want the Darkness to Come”, “Baptism of Ice”, “The King Eternal”, “War Machine” and “Substance”, and on synth work in many of our songs.

Voodoo Jade’s influences come in with the harmonies and styles which she creates, whether she is singing backing or lead vocals. She likes dark, heavy music as well as light, and she records her vocals to suit the song which she is working on.

METAL ANARCHY: What is your latest release and why should readers of this site check it out?

HYBRID SPIRITS: We have just released a 4 track EP called “Mirage” which has 2 songs in the style of rock and metal (“Mirage” is about a vampire and “Mysteria-Hysteria” is based on horror films). All metal fans should definitely check out these two songs, as well as our song “Fear” from the “Fear EP”. We have had a lot of great feedback from metal fans for these songs.

The other two songs on the “Mirage” EP are more of an electronic style with guitars, including the songs “La Vie en Rose et Noire” and the song “Rain or Shine”. We released “Rain or Shine” as a charity single in the summer of 2020 and are still fundraising until the end of April 2021. It is a song which we wrote during lockdown in England to reflect feelings of hope and solidarity during the Covid-19 pandemic, and sales from it are raising money for the International Committee of the Red Cross for those affected by Covid-19 across the world. It’s not too late to buy a copy of the charity single (£1.50 or more) to support the cause at our Bandcamp page.

Also, we have already started recording some new songs which will be on a future release. Again, it is a different feel to the music which we’ve already released, and would be classed as darkwave/electronic. We are still writing more music for the next EP/album so everything could change yet! We do alternate vocals between Nigel and Voodoo Jade, and the next EP will predominately be Nigel on main vocals. His voice is perfect for darker songs!

The band is also recording relaxation music for a series of meditation tracks which Voodoo Jade is currently working on. There are some tracks for general meditations, and some for the development of psychic awareness/abilities.

METAL ANARCHY: What can people expect when they go to your live shows?

HYBRID SPIRITS: Unfortunately, Hybrid Spirits as a band haven’t toured or played live, although we’d never rule it out if we were asked to. We are spread across the country and it is difficult for Voodoo Jade to travel as she is in a wheelchair following Meningitis in 2012. We work on our songs electronically and remotely. Each song is passed to each member to add what they wish, before a song is completed. Lockdown was a positive experience for music writing for us, as we had more free time to work on music individually. We don’t meet up in person very often, but we have regular band meetings on video chat.

METAL ANARCHY: Where do you see your band heading in 5 years?

HYBRID SPIRITS: Like most bands we’d love to be signed and play at a major festival! However, we will continue to write music and enjoy ourselves whilst doing so! Ideally, we’d love our fan base to continue to grow and for people to like the music which we make.