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This is the 10 year anniversary of THE METAL PIT so wanted to choose a special person for this months Metal Maiden even though everyone is special!

Metal Maiden of the Month this month is PRIYA PANDA lead vocalist for DIEMONDS.

img_0033 I had the pleasure to sit down with Priya for 20 minutes before her bands DIEMONDS show in London, ON on November 30th. The first date on a Canadian tour to finish of 2016.
THE METAL PIT: How excited are you for this Canadian tour?
PRIYA PANDA:  Really excited! Last time we went on this tour we opened for Steel Panther and those were some of the biggest audiences we have played to and hopefully we made a impression on a lot of those crowds and hope to have a lot of repeat faces at these shows. So we are really excited. We are looking for a good last tour before we retire for this year and start working on a new record.

  When you play in Toronto is it more special to play your home city? Yeah but we treat every show the same. Like if Paul McCartney was in the audience what would he think of how I am singing right now. Because he is the perfect vocalist and entertainer. It is a special show because family and friend will be there. My sister will be there and friends I grew up with but it doesn't change the performance. But it's always nice to be around familiar faces. Lucky for us we have been touring for so long we have family in every city so its nice.

  img_0288What is up for DIEMONDS in the new year? We have already starting demoing. We have 3 demos done right now and hope to have way more then that. We are taking a break from taking show offers and really focus on doing the next record. Treating it like a project and a full time endeavour. We really want to immerse our selves in. It will be a different approach for us. There is no tentative date as we don't want to focus on a deadline. We want to focus on the songs and make sure we like them and like to perform them live.

  You were apart of the all female band HELLFIRE HEART (name changed from SHE DEMONS). Is there anything happening with that band? The project was put together by Jerry Only of the MISFITS. So the ball is in his court. We recorded a EP with Ed Stasium who has worked on many RAMONES albums and is a legend and he has basically gone on to be my mentor. But we didn't actually ever put out the record which was a bit of a bummer but it wasn't really up to us to begin with. That's what was really different for me was its not my baby like DIEMONDS is. I write the songs, I help load gear, I book shows I do everything and its hard to separate yourself from this. Now I have recorded this record and what nobody is going to hear it so its weird but with DIEMONDS that wouldn't really happen. But Jerry is really kicking ass right now. MISFITS are reunited and I am really good friends with Jerry and his son and I went to go see the MISFITS are RIOTFEST in Denver. But his focus is not on HELLFIRE HEART right now. He has a lot on his plate.

  You are appearing in REVOLVER magazines special 2017 Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock Calendar along side the likes of Lzzy Hale, Christina Scabbia, Butcher Babies and others. What does it mean to you to be featured? It's really cool. The reason its super cool it's because its along side other artists and musicians I have admired for a long time like Lzzy Hale and I think she is super talented and a super badass and I love watching her band live and I love listening to them. And Vicky from THE AGONIST another Canadian band and I thought that was cool that we are both in there. So its cool to be included. It all goes back to us being a underground band and anything that can give us a little more exposure and a little bit more coverage we are always happy to be apart of it.

  img_0187Going back a few years in your history with this question but one of my fav movies of all time is THE WARRIORS and in your 2011 video for TAKE ON THE NIGHT the video is based loosely around that movie. Who came up with that idea? CC is kinda like the creative mind on a lot of our ideas and he normally plants the seed that leads to a final product. He has the Warrior idea as its one of his favourite movies as well. We just kinda rolled with it. We have made all our videos with the same director Matt Scott. All the way from Highway to Secrets he has been involved. He is from Saskatoon originally so when we go to Saskatoon to play all his friends and family come to see our shows because Rock and Roll is such a community so yeah its been cool to grow with him and watch him grow as a creative and watch us grow as musicians so I think having that loyalty and that family is exactly what we are looking for. Its not like we have much money or any money lets be real. So when things are a labour of love and a passion project and working with people you care about then everyone's willing to take that extra step and extra time and make that extra effort to make it the best it can be.

  The SECRET video has some great visuals with abandoned buildings and a great eerie feel to it. Where was that recorded? That was recorded around the Elora Gorge in Elora, ON in amongst some abandoned houses and we were running a generator to keep all the video stuff going and other then that it was pretty secluded and we worked all day and all night and it rained a few times and that was pretty bad as their was no where to go as the houses are just dilapidated and have no roofs so what you see is real. It wasn't a set. Our director just found it after visiting with his girlfriend and they just came across the spot and said we should do our next video here.

  At Halloween you did a live bit going back to tribute WAYNE'S WORLD and did your version of Ballroom Blitz and Fire. Any thoughts of releasing a cover song on one of your albums? That was fun. We did Ballroom Blitz and Fire. I kinda wanted to do a little bit of the deeper cuts like Why Do You Want To Break My Heart and all that but we just did it. But no we have never thought of recording a cover song. We did have a GNR cover on our Japenese release of NEVER WANNA DIE. Covers are a huge part of who we are as a band as were huge music fans and all these songs formed us and made us want to play rock and roll. We always love doing covers but we have never officially recorded one but we always play one live.

img_0096 Have you ever thought that your band is around in the wrong time era? For a long time we spent so much of our energy and creative space emulating the bands we loved copying them and sounding just like them. What would Stephen Pearcy say, What would Sebastian Bach say but then it was like what would we say and how we see it and how do we want to express ourselves. But when your young and just drunk and your reading Nikki Sixx books you have no idea how to find your own voice. We have grown up so much and now do I think it would of been fun to be around in the 80's, who knows, the social culture has changed so much. There wasn't that many female bands in that genre that stuck out either. I have gone back and found them all. I love Doro and Ann Boelyn of Hellion and I love all those acts but to be real even then there was a good amount of sexism going on. But they were under the radar and the opening bands but I don't think now its like that. Now females in rock/metal can have a voice and that's why I love the freedom of being around now.

  What do you do to warm up for a show? I have a warm up. I never used to warm up. I never seen playing shows the same way I do now. I appreciate every single person at the show, I appreciate having fans and that people want to listen to our music and buy our cds despite the fact we are not shoved down people's throats. Were not on the radio, were not on tv. People are coming out on their own free will. I want to sound good. I do have a vocal warm up I do and if possible some sort of 5 minutes alone before I step on stage.

    If anyone follows you on social media they will see you attend many different music concerts and not just hard rock/heavy metal. So you have wide taste in music. Why did you pick Hard rock as what you want to perform? Heavy Metal/hard rock is where my heart lies. I pretty much like most music from the 80's and early 90's and that includes a lot of new wave bands. My 2 favourite genres are Hair Metal and new wave. I am a rocker so when it comes down to it there would be no question about me starting a hard rock band.

  img_0031Was there any vocalist male or female that you saw live that maybe led you to the path of being a singer? One of the vocalist I saw when I was super young was Courtney Love and I could relate. She is not technically the best singer on the planet but you know she has a voice and speaks volumes without even saying words, just her actions. Her body language. That was something I saw live and thought this is insane, this person is crazy and there is only one person like her on this planet. And that was kinda inspiring to see someone being a individual. I saw her when I was like 12.

      What are some of your favourite modern Hard Rock/Metal Bands? There is a few. A lot of band we have played with that we really like. A really cool one is HOLY GRAIL from Cali. We also like HUNTRESS and a lot of cool bands in Canada we like, like Kobra and the Lotus. Daniel is way more into the more modern metal bands like EXMORTIS and MUNICIPAL WASTE. And CC is into a lot of punk bands. We are very supportive of live music. New music, old music. Its a passion of ours for sure.

    What would be your biggest advice to young people wanting to do what you do? Play shows. That's always my advice. There is always that first thought, what comes first the album or the shows? Should we play a lot of shows and then record a album or the other way around but always play a lot of shows.

  img_0239For anyone that has never seen DIEMONDS live what can they look forward to? I hope you guys go home singing our songs in your head. We worked hard on melodies on our last album so we hope you leave and can't get that song out of your head.

  Thank you Priya for taking time out for this interview. Thank you for the support.

  ***Photos from Capturing Daze Photography***