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Tapping The Vein

Tapping The Vein Interview
By: Rick Harper
With: Heather Thompson of Tapping the Vein

Interview Info
By: Rick Harper
With: Heather Thompson of Tapping the Vein

Rick:  Categorize TTV’s musical style/genre for us.

Heather:  People tell us that it is not that easy to describe. A little this a little that. We usually call it “Dark Rock” because it is definitely moody and dark and it is definitely a rock band. That seems to fit OK. However, there are definitely aspects of Metal, Goth, Electronic, etc.

Rick:  TTV have a unique sound. What influences do each member bring to the overall musical style of TTV in your view?

Heather:  Eric is the electronic factor because he handles most of the programming. Mark is the old school rock guy and Joe is the goth “Cure”-ish factor. I don’t really know what part I play. Maybe the moody, emotional influence, I guess. 

Rick:  What was the first song that TTV wrote, as a band?

Heather:  I would have to clarify the line-up, though. The very first TTV songs were ones that Eric and Steve had written and that I put lyrics and melody line to. “Falling In” was probably the first. “Broken” and “Numb” were also among those early songs. The first song that I personally brought in to them was “Butterfly”. But with the present line-up of me, Eric, Joe Joe and Marky, I think that the first one written was “Beautiful”.

Rick:  Where do the “dark” lyrics come from? i.e.. Beautiful, The Damage?

Heather:  Butterfly. All these songs are true stories about myself or someone that I am close to.

Rick:  Is that where the outward emotion that you display when you sing songs like FINGERTIPS comes from? Do you relive those experiences when you sing the songs?

Heather:  I absolutely relive them. Fingertips isn't even about me but it is one of the most horrible stories that I sing about.  I don't tell anyone. Even the boys in the band don't know most subjects. They know only a few. I have to protect the people that the songs are written for because these are things that were told to me in confidence. So, just because I choose to relive someone's nightmare, it doesn't give me the right to tell their secrets. Even if I told "what" it was about, I could never say "who" it was about.  

Rick:  Do you remember your first live gig with TTV? Tell me a little about it.

Heather:  You know what? I don’t remember. I know of three early shows that all had weird stories attached and I know one of those was the first but I don’t know which. There was the sport’s bar where the idiots wouldn’t stop playing air hockey while I was trying to sing. Or the night that Eric’s crazy ex-fiancé AND my former band all showed up for the sole purpose of freaking us out. Or the show where our former guitar grabbed the mic right out of my hands so that he could scream from the stage across the room at the sound woman.  Yeah, right in the middle of the show. Actually, I think they were the first three so take your pick!

Rick:  Why do you think that TTV have been so well received by the Goth/Alternative crowd?

Heather:  I think it has a lot to do with the lyrics and the grooves. The Lyrics have pretty dark subject matter and programming is not too Industrial sounding. Just cool, trippy grooves, I think.

Rick:  TTV played NJ Metal Meltdown last year, and it worked out pretty well for you didn’t it? Tell us about getting hooked up with your management company.

Heather:  Yeah, it worked out well. Gunter Ford of World Entertainment, manages us now and that is where he first saw us. He was there and was headed for a meeting back stage. So, he sees a chick up there… I think the only chick playing all weekend… and he says to himself, “Yeah, right… I have to see this.” I guess he figured I would start boo-hooing when the Metal Guys started yelling “you suck”. Anyway, the way Gunter tells it is  “first there were 50 people, then 100 then 150. And the girls were watching you and shaking their asses. And the guys were watching the girls shake ‘em.” That’s what he says anyway. He said we looked OK and could play so he came up and said “Hello” when I was at the Nuclear Blast table later on. He said to call but I didn’t know who he was. He mentioned Morbid Angel. So, I went over to my friends, Czar & Billy (from Season of Mourning) , and I said “Dudes, that guy says he manages Morbid Angel. What’s the deal?” Well, they started freaking out, “holy crap.. do you who that IS???” So, I knew I should definitely follow up with a phone call… which I did.

Rick:  Why did TTV sign with Nuclear Blast, opposed to continuing to release your own cds?

Heather:  We really needed someone that could get the product out there. Eric knew a lot about Nuclear Blast and sent them a CD and luckily for us, they liked it. To continue releasing our own would have kept us at the same level. We really just wanted to reach more people. also, you can’t really prove your sales when you sell them all yourselves. Sure, I can say we sold 8,000 or whatever but I could also tell you 51,000. No proof and for the bigger picture, you need proof and a track record.

Rick:  When will DAMAGE be released in Europe/USA?

Heather:  It is out already as of March 4th, 2002 in Europe. USA will be April 16th, 2002.

Rick:  Have TTV ever done any touring?

Heather:  Not yet but we are “confirmed” on 2 small tours that will run from April 19th through mid-July. Not all of the dates are in yet.

Rick:  Does the prospect of extensive touring, excite or scare you? Why?

Heather:  EXCITE!!! Of course!!!  A little scary because we all have pretty high paying jobs that probably won’t let us come back. So, I will be crashing with my best friend and Eric will be sleeping on her couch.  But dude, it will be cool. New places and stuff. The coolest part is that we can finally say to all of the people that write “YES, we will be in your town.” I was really getting sick of saying “maybe next year if we have the money.” 

Rick:  It's obvious that you have come to the realization that you are going to have to make personal sacrifices to make it to an even higher plateau.  For little or no money to compound the situation. Why are you willing to make these personal sacrifices at this point in your life?

Heather:  Well, losing a job is a small price to pay when compared to the agony of "what if?". There isn't even a second thought when I put it that way. No way will I sit here this time next year and say "what would have happened if we took that tour?". I would rather say "oh, well...the tour sucked, we lost our jobs and now I clean toilets for a living. BUT at least I tried."

Rick:  What are your expectations for the near future?

Heather:  I expect to be flat broke but singing our songs in different towns for new people.

Rick:  Do you use the fact that you are an attractive female vocalist to your advantage?

Heather:  How so? or Why not?  Are you saying I’m cute?????? Well, gee… thanks! I don’t really consider myself that great looking so I really don’t know how to answer that. I mean, I am OK but that’s about it. BUT I find that even if you are mildly attractive and you sing, it makes people “think” that you are more attractive. Does that make sense? If I was in a club and NOT singing, I wouldn’t get a second glance. Seriously, I know it for a fact.  But I think it helps the band to have a chick singer. First off, there aren’t that many of them. Secondly, you have a lot more to prove. A prime example is the story that I told you about the manager. He and probably every one else in the place was ready for me to have a little girlie voice. So, when you turn around and start singing like a guy, …. Well, then you get some attention….  So, if being a chick will get them to listen, then I am all for exploitation. 

Rick:  If I have NEVER heard Tapping the Vein, Why should I buy THE DAMAGE?

Heather:  Hmmm...I don't know, man. I just tried to write out a description of the music and it just looked stupid!!! All I can say is that from day 1 we have offered a money back guarantee on the first two CD's that we put out. Never once has one been returned. That's all I know.  Thanks, Rick!  You are the best!

Sonic Cathedral sincerely appreciates the opportunity for this exclusive interview with Tapping The Vein.  All TTV material is available in our store.  TTV will continue to be a seriously awesome band to experience in live performances.  Thanks again, Tapping The Vein!