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The Agonist’s Alissa Finds Inspiration Everywhere

The ears of any metal fan will perk up when listening to The Agonist‘s sophomore effort, ‘Lullabies for a Dormant Mind’, especially when vocalist Alissa White-Gluz tears into the song. The range of her dynamic voice – both the brutal and melodic – is amazing, considering how little experience and training she had prior to her career in metal. “I never took lessons,” she told Noisecreep recently. “And I never aspired to be a singer until I was one in a band. I had my first band, it was kind of a progressive metal band kind of thing. I just started writing songs that required more and more challenging vocals and I just did them. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? So I just sort of did what I had to do to make the songs sound the way I wanted them to.”

You would think instinctually that someone with such a powerful, driving voice takes a lot of inspiration from other metal vocalists, but that isn’t always the case with Alissa. “I do find inspiration in weird places sometimes. I really, really love Devin Townsend and Gwen Stefani, Freddie Mercury, Angela Gossow [of Arch Enemy].”

Alissa continues on what she finds as musically exciting. “Classical music really inspires me, too, for vocal patterns. Often the ‘lead’ of a classical song will have something really cool to its melody that – even though it might be a violin or something doing it in the song – I end up wanting to try something like that with my voice … I like musicals a lot. I think probably ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ is my favorite. I love Andrew Lloyd Webber for the most part. It’s rare that I’ll find a musical that I don’t like.”

Perhaps a culmination of all of Alissa’s preferences and influences can be read in one cultural phenomenon in particular: one that combines comedy, horror, sex, and a little rock ‘n’ roll.

“I also like the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show,’” she says, “but that’s because I was in it for the Halloween cast in Montreal for many years and stuff. I think this a worldwide thing, where around Halloween time they have a weekend of – big theater with thousands of people all dressed up and costume competitions. And they play the movie in the background and then they have actors on the stage, acting out the characters. I was Magenta!”

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