Layla Rena of Strap on Halo Interview

Phtographer: Entity Photographic

Phtographer: Entity Photographic

Strap On Halo is a female fronted American Goth Rock band with a hauntingly beautiful sound. Layla’s voice conforms and meshes to music full of melodic riffs and rhythm. The lineup after being resurrected in 2009 is Layla Reyna, Sean Rial and Marc Jones. Eve’s Scene had the pleasure of interviewing Layla Rena. Eve’s Scene: You’ve spent a few months on the road recently. Do you feel that the band has finally fallen into place? Layla: I think that it definitely has. We have been working hard for three years and it's definitely helped get out name out there. After two releases and three tours we are still just getting started. We have a lot of things in the works for 2013 but we can’t quite disclose everything just yet. Eve’s Scene: You have a free digital download coming out soon. When will that be released? Layla: The single release has been changed to December 21st. We had to delay it because of some production issues. We didn’t want to make any sacrifices so we decided to hold off. The single is titled, "Gloomy Sunday" and will include two remixes. Eve’s Scene: Just in time for the Holidays. Eve’s Scene is focused on female leads and bands that are unique and have a sound of their own. How would you describe your sound? Layla: Its always hard describing our sound. We're a goth rock band and our sound is a combination of the three of us. Take one a way and the sound would surely alter. Being a female lead isn't something I focus on. Perhaps unique because there are not very many female goth singers. The goth scene in its heyday had been dominated by male front man. Eve’s Scene: I read that you design your own work. Is that for your website, costuming, can you expand on that? Layla: I am a graphic designer and aside from singing I love to draw. I design all the artwork for all our albums, the promotional work, I designed our logo, posters and web site design. Everything design related is done solely by me. We don't have costumes. Our wardrobe comes straight from our own closets. We like black, boots, fishnet and lace.
Entity Photographic

Entity Photographic

Eve’s Scene: Being a female lead what is it like as compared to male leads? Layla: I don't think there is a difference. I am sure we all deal with the same delirium and tribulations of being in a band. I don’t ever feel like I’m in competition with anyone. Whether it be male or female. Eve’s Scene: And it gets you out there and noticed. What is the biggest challenge you have had as a band so far? Layla: The biggest challenge is finding people to work with. We find that we have to go outside of our home town to get recorded, have our music mixed and mastered. The last album that we released a lot of sacrifices had to be made because of who we worked with locally. It didn't work and it was a big disappointment, something we are not going to let that happen again. That's why the single and EP have been delayed. We had anticipated releasing the EP with six songs in November but I’m done sacrificing and it’s got to get done right. We decided we can get a limited edition single out this year and the rest, other five songs we can release spring next year. Eve’s Scene: That is what you need to do. Be happy about what you’ve put out there and not compromising. Layla: We spent so much time and money on everything that we do we can't afford to compromise. We fund everything ourselves, out of our own pockets, spilling our blood, sweat and tears. With our single and EP we have enlisted some very talented individuals to help us reach our goals. We just want to be happy. The recorded music needs to reflect how we hear it and convey the same emotional content. Eve’s Scene: Do you have any shows yet this year? Layla: We don’t have any more shows booked for this year and have already starting to book for next year. Our bass player Mark is originally from Seattle and recently moved back right before tour. So the only time we might play around Omaha is if we have an act come through that needs an opener or help booking a gig. We started Wasteland as a result of this need. The goth scene is small and getting a gig in Omaha is tough. We've experienced it and we live here. You think being that we live here we would have got more support. Its been rather a challenge but that is what forced us to get out so quickly. We set out on our first tour having only been together for less than a year. So when touring bands in our genre need a stop we help by booking the gig. We have met a lot of great people and made some good friends. The majority of gigs from this point forward will be out of town. Eve’s Scene: With everyone coming through town and meeting new people. Do you have one, I’m sure you have several, memorable performance that would stick out in your head? Layla: First one to come to mind is Faith and the Muse. We had only been playing live for a few months and I received an e-mail from William Faith asking if I could help book a gig. This was the first show of this capacity that I have ever taken on and I think, only our fourth show ever. Booking touring bands isn't something we do often. I probably have only booked about a dozen or so bands namely because its only when the need arises. There is a big gap here in the Midwest. We fall into what we call a bit of Wasteland from Chicago to Denver. Having a place to stop and recharges is sometimes quite essential. Eve’s Scene: For Wasteland, it is all over the country where you get bands contacting you. Do you set up for just any band? Layla: We are very strict about the type of music and it has to be Goth, Industrial, dark wave, post punk and or death rock. Anything else we won’t do. In the genre that we work in it’s hard to get a show specifically in Omaha. We’ve had a hard time finding venues that would even respond and we’ve only got a hand full of them to work with here. Eve’s Scene: If there was anyone that you could tour with, who would that be? Layla: Oh there are a few. We've actually joked about this often but if we had a choice or the opportunity I think we might ask for The Cure, The Cult or Fields of the Nephilim. There are some others but that's the lot that comes to mind first. Eve’s Scene: Do you have a preference of big shows or smaller shows? I’ve seen you have done some festivals. Layla: Each has good things about them. In both cases I think the best things is having crowd participation. We just played a festival in Florida and there weren’t a lot of people but the people that were there were great. Excitement filled the air and everyone was there because of their love for Goth and Deathrock music. With little shows it’s nice because there is more time to meet the fans and talk to the other bands. That is one of the things that we really enjoy about touring, meeting new people. Eve’s Scene: Is there anything you would like to talk about regarding your band and what it means to you? Layla: My band means everything to me. I've got an emotional attachment to our music and my band mates. It's what we do what we do to keep sane. With all the time that I have spent on this band I have often wondered what I would have been doing if I haven’t been doing in its place. Perhaps design but I already do that along side music. We love creating and performing, there is no other option! Eve’s Scene: Do you have any advice for aspiring female musicians? Layla: Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. If you want something figure out how to get it yourself and don’t wait for someone to hand it to you. Fight for it and don’t let it go. Thank you for the Interview Layla! -Michelle Lynn For more information on Strap on Halo: Website Reverbnation  MySpace Twitter YouTube  Facebook

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