Name: Lariyah Daniels Age: 25 Home: Chicago, IL, USA Lariyah Daniels, vocalist for HESSLER The Metal Pit: Hello Lariyah,thank you so much for agreeing to chat with us today on the Metal Pit. Lariyah: My pleasure [smiles] thank you for having me. The Metal Pit: You are the vocalist for the band Hessler,can you tell us how you all hooked up and decided to form the band?Lariyah: Oh no no, I did not form the band. Hessler has already existed almost 2 years before I joined I'd say early 2009, but it was nothing like it is right nowHessler from back then was Igz Kincaid's formation, fronted by a male vocalist. Every member was replaced, and by the middle of 2011 we became who we are now, a five-piece band - now truly called Hessler. The Metal Pit: Would you mind introducing us to your band mates? Lariyah: Of course, is alphabetical order of their last names ok? [laughs]. Igz Kincaid - lead and rhythm guitars , Marcus Lee - drums, Erik Michael - bass guitar, and Frankie 'Snakes' Sripada - lead and rhythm guitars The Metal Pit: In my opinion you and this band are an extreme adrenaline rush,just a non stop in your face energy shot,kinda like a Red Bull mixed with anabolic steroids, lol.........is that an accurate description or how would you describe Hessler's music? Lariyah: Hahahaha, you got that right, Nick. As much as we are rocking our asses off on stage to most of our songs, we also do write a little slower songs, we don't lock ourselves into that one small box because that would not let us progress whatsoever. We are definitely a live band, if you can't see us performing live, you wouldn't understand. I'm still wondering how Igz still has his head on his neck because the speed he head bangs is comparable to a fan [laughs]. The Metal Pit: The band's first full length cd "Comes with the Territory" came out last fall and seems to be doing very well for you guys.Did the cd turn out better than expected and are you surprised how quickly the fans have embraced it? Lariyah: Thank you, yes it's been a great success so far. Looks like our fans really like it, and that makes me happy. Did it turn out better than expected? Feedback and sales wise, yes - we are selling them all over the world and ship them daily. Recording and production wise- I would say that being very self critical and hungry for perfection, it was definitely a great step forward for our first EP 'Bad Blood', but we were rushing the release to have it done by our South and West USA tour that's why we didn't have enough time to 'polish' it, but honestly I think that even when our 3rd or 4th album becomes a platinum record we still won't be completely satisfied and will always progress, always make the next one EVEN better [laughs] The Metal Pit: The band shows a wide range on this cd with anthematic tunes such as "Waste Away" and "Rising Sign" to the haunting and beautiful song "Million lights Above".Are there any songs in particular that have special meaning to you? Lariyah: Yes. I think that every vocalist has some songs of their repertoire that then can't help to shed some tears while singing them. 'Million Lights Above' as you mentioned was a very first song about love, about passion towards the other person. It was really written from my heart to that person from my dreams. Same with 'Gone Away'. I wrote this song to my mother who passed away when I was merely 2 years old and I just needed to somehow put the words together to show how much pain she left inside my and my family's hearts. Yet it really warms my heart when I hear all kinds of translations of this song by our fans. Some of them associate this song with their break-ups, some of them with those that they haven't been in touch for years, it's just beautiful! My other favorite one is 'Confessions' which describes my past in between the lines to the subject called 'God', which is not necessarily THIS God , but more as a metaphor, my own consciousness. The song tells the story of all my mistakes I made during my journey to where I am now, all the choices, decisions, all paths I took. I do not regret any of them, I would not change a second of it because that's what shaped me, as I am now. The Metal Pit: As the singer do you write all the lyrics for the band? Lariyah: No. I write some of them, Igz writes other ones, Snakes has his input in them as well. Songs are written by the influence of the moment. That particular moment that feels right, that pushes us to write it, nothing comes forced because we HAVE TO write a song. It's all done by emotion, by the drive. The Metal Pit: You have a very powerful yet beautiful voice Lariyah,have you had any professioanl voice training and at what age did you know that singing was something you wanted to do as a profession? Lariyah: To be honest with you I only took some training before I joined the band and during maybe a first few months in the Art Institute of Chicago, before that I was in an elementary school vocal group (because god forbid to call a choir if there's a bunch of kids singing on a different note) but never did it professionally per say. Our producer of Comes With The Territory, Chuck Macak, highly recommended one lady from New York who trains a lot of metal and rock artists and I went back to work on my vocal range, to make it even stronger, more powerful and right where it should be. Expect some badass stuff in our next record [winks] The Metal Pit : Who are some bands or musicians that have influenced you over the years? Lariyah: From my teenage years it would be Nightwish, Marilyn Manson, Dimmu Borgir, Rammstein and Therion, but when I hit 20, I was more exposed to heavy metal and rock and roll than my roots, and I have to admit that I found a passion to this genre and it definitely made sense when I joined Hessler. Now my main influences are Sebastian Bach's scratchy and powerful vocals and Blackie Lawless's dramatic and emotional delivery, as well as the softness of the vocalists I loved in my past. The Metal Pit: The band hails from Chicago (U.S.) but you were actually born in Poland,what made you decide to move to the states? Lariyah: Yes, that's true. Chicago is now what I called my home but I come from Dziwnow/Szczecin - Poland. I came to America 5,5 years ago just for vacation and to spend some time with my family (who moved back to Poland a year after) but there is something truly magical about this land that it's so hard to resist. I guess Chicago has put it's spell on me [laughs]. With all honestly, I love the huge mix of cultures, religions, opportunities, architecture, history about the USA (even that it's so short comparing to European one). So a day before my scheduled flight, I called my parents and told them to call me dean at my University because I'm staying here. With no friends, without my family, with a new school, new life, starting from a scratch. The Metal Pit: Can you tell us a bit about your hometown in Poland? Lariyah: Oh, it's a little paradise. European cities and towns are purely delightful. They are old, well, most of them, they cary a great history behind every brick of their walls, and that's how my Szczecin is as well. From early Medieval times' castles, monarchs' gothic cathedrals, kings and queens' walls, dukes' fortresses, German wars and possession of my City, yet still being preserved and beautiful. I majored in architecture so to me there's simply a piece of art in every corner. Now it get's a little too Americanized though. You can see these growing monstrous malls, Subways and Starbucks everywhere, but I guess that's the price of growth and development. The Metal Pit: What is the Metal scene like in Chicago,are there any favorite clubs that the band enjoys playing in? Lariyah: Absolutely, House of Blues, Austin's Fuel Room, Riviera, Reggies, Double Door, Congress Theatre and on and on. We have some really cool places to play and we do have quite a nice rock and metal scene in Chicago. The Metal Pit: Are you noticing more and more females in the audience these days with the growing popularity of female musicians in the Metal scene? Lariyah: I think it is pretty balanced, but I certainly can't wait to see how it is going to by by the end of the year where we are already a few steps further, where we spread the word everywhere and then we'll see how the demographics will be changing [winks]. The Metal Pit:What is your opinion of women in the scene today? Lariyah: I think girls were never enough appreciated as rock or metal singers. Yes, they are recognized, they are adored, admired and certainly noticed internationally but unfortunately there is no such thing as 'equality' if it comes to female and male vocalists and it never was. They were not taken as seriously, as tough besides a couple exceptions. Hopefully it will change and ladies will be seen as just as good. The Metal Pit: I have seen a few vids of the band playing live and without a doubt you guys leave it all out on stage,how would you describe a live Hessler show? Lariyah: As I said before, we are a live show band and that's what shows who we are what it's hard to capture on a record. We do love performing, to interact with our fans, to entertain with our energy. The Metal Pit: You have done a couple videos for the songs "Windy City Wild Child" ( My personal fav ) and "Kamikazi",are there any plans for more videos sometime in the near future. Lariyah: We also released 'Last Alive' last fall, and the new video to 'Who Will You Run To' is coming in a week or two. Later in February or MArch we will be filming 'Confessions' and after our tour or during this summer there will be another one coming out as well. The Metal Pit: You seem like a natural on stage and in front of the camera,are videos something you enjoy doing? Lariyah: Thank you, Nick! Yes, That's what makes me happy, that's the lifestyle I cannot imagine to live without now. Month by month I feel stronger on stage and in front of the camera. The Metal Pit: Ok Lariyah,here comes the obvious segue.......not only are you a badass Metal woman who fronts the band Hessler,you also have a very successful modeling career as well.Can you tell us how you got into modeling and what kinds of things you have done in the past? Lariyah: Uh, now that's a broad question. Modeling was my income and definitely not something that I wouldn't enjoy. I started as a promotional model, working trade shows, events, some bikini runways, then I got into commercials and print, it was amazing, I still like shooting once in a while or be a part of a commercial, but as before it was my life, not it doesn't make me feel nearly as happy as Hessler does. It just became my hobby and a source of time filler if I find any in my busy schedule. The Metal Pit: Is it challenging at times trying to juggle the two careers? Lariyah: I have to say yes, if you put as much energy to both fields, but if you are smart enough and chose only one pace and put all of your energy and efforts into one thing, in my case - music, then the other part would be just a joyful and fun time. The Metal Pit: What oppurtunities are on the horizon with your modeling career? Lariyah: It's more of what would I do in my free time. Perhaps more commercials, more bikini competitions and some photo shoots, but nothing that could take away my focus from the band. The Metal Pit: How about with the band,what are your tour plans for 2013? Lariyah: In about a week or two we are releasing our first music video off of our new album, then we are playing a show with Doro and Sister Sin, in March we are hitting the road once again for almost a month, starting with SXSW festival, then another video, constantly working on our another album, more shows, then Rocklahoma, then South tour again targeting more places, more states, then Europe in fall and so on. 2013 looks pretty good. The Metal Pit: I doubt you have alot of free time but what kind of things do you enjoy doing when not behind the camera or playing with the band? Lariyah: going out with my friends, enjoying some good merlot, sharing stories, walking around the city, training, sweating and cleaning stuff around [laughs] The Metal Pit: Where can fans find out more about you and the band and pickup your music or band merch? Lariyah: everything is available at www.hesslerchicago.com , our website. We have some gadgets and posters that are exclusively offered only during our live shows as well. The Metal Pit : How does it feel to be chosen as the Metal Pit's Metal Maiden of the month? Lariyah: Fucking sweet 😀 Horns up for that. Thank you! The Metal Pit: Is there anything at all you would like to add to this interview,maybe something the fans do not know about you? Lariyah: Keep supporting us and let us go further. Show me that the spirit of music, and the soul of metal and rock is still alive and well. Thank you! The Metal Pit: Lariyah,on behalf of myself and the Metal Pit we want to thank you for sharing some time with us today. Hessler is a very cool band and with your talent and charisma at the forefront I know the band is headed for some very cool things in the new year and beyond.We also wanted to wish you the best of luck in your modeling career as well. Lariyah: Thank you so much! Horns up Brothers and Sisters.............. Nick Rohm.