My Interview With Conquer Divide: The All-Female Metal Band Taking The World By Storm

My Interview With Conquer Divide: The All-Female Metal Band Taking The World By Storm

"A lot of people kind of doubt you as a female musician. They don’t think you can make it."

On Saturday, March 26, I had the opportunity to hang out with some of the girls from Conquer Divide .

Conquer Divide is an all-female rock/metal group that consists of (left to right): guitarist, Kristen Waters; drummer, Tamara Tadic; clean vocalist, Kiarely Castillo; screamer/unclean vocalist, Janel Duarte; bassist, Ashley Colby; and guitarist, Izzy Johnson.

They formed in late 2012 and released their debut, self-titled album in 2015 through their current record label, Artery Recordings.

It’s no secret that these girls are making waves. They’re easily some of the most talented, wholehearted and recognizable females in the male-dominated metal industry.

Izzy, the guitarist, is at home in the UK because she recently had wrist surgery (ouch!) and had to miss out on her current tour, the Us Against The World Tour with Slaves, Capture The Crown, Outline in Color, Myka Relocate and Conquer Divide. Kia was on vocal rest due to her recent bronchitis recovery, but we were still able to hang out and talk a little. Send them your best recovery wishes, everyone. Being a musician can take a toll on your health sometimes!

I met up with the girls in a sports bar across the street from the place they were playing, The Studio at Webster Hall, and we chatted about their band once we got into the venue. We got to talk for a few minutes about life on the road as females. You’d be surprised at what came up -- I know I was.

For those who don’t know you, who/what is Conquer Divide? What would you describe your music as?

Kristen: We are an all-girl metalcore/post-hardcore band, and some of our songs fall more in the rock spectra, depending on which one you’re listening to.

What message does it send to your listeners?

Kristen: We try to take a negative experience that happened to us and turn it into something positive through our music, so we hope that we can reach people that way.

Me: OK, so here are the “real” questions. This interview revolves around the fact that you guys are an all-girl metal group, which is pretty awesome.

Do you ever feel like you guys are given shit for being girls, or have you ever been given shit for being girls? (In this industry in general.)

Janel: We’ve obviously encountered some weird stuff here and there. I know some loader or some local band thought she [Ashley] was a loader.

Ashley: Yeah, I had an experience where I was helping a local band take their gear off the stage and they actually thought I was just a promoter. He threw his drum at me and I was like, “Oh, OK.” Then I got up and played right after and he came up and said, “I’m so sorry,” and I’m like, “You know what? It’s OK, you know, but just next time, think about it.” You gotta think about that stuff. He said, “I’m sorry I was rude to you,” and I’m like, “Sorry? Why were you rude?” He didn’t wanna say it.

What about perks? Have you guys been given perks for any of this?

Kristen: We do get people to help us lift our gear, which is nice cause we’re not very strong. Lots of people offer to help carry things which is a great perk.

Janel: You know, we load our own stuff on stage, and there’s a bunch of girls onstage so everybody automatically watches us load on. We catch their eye, which is pretty cool. We catch their eye and then they’re like, “Well this could go either two ways. It could be shitty or good,” and then we rock their socks off, and then we end up making a bunch of merch money.

Do you think it’s harder being a girl than a guy in this music scene?

Kristen: Honestly, I think it’s probably harder being a guy in some aspects—not in every aspect. Since it is a male-dominated genre, there are more all-guy bands, so it’s harder to get noticed, where in our case, almost as soon as we put the band together we were getting noticed. We put one song out and we were getting noticed. I guess it depends on the situation. There are some aspects that are harder for us, being an all-girl band, but we try to make the most of it and it’s not too bad.

Do you think that being in an all-girl metal band is a feminist statement?

Ashley: I think we’re just musicians like anyone else. I’m new, so when I joined the band I know all the girls told me, “Remember, you’re a musician just like everyone else.” We don’t wanna be like, “We’re girls,” you know? We wanna be treated as musicians and with the guys; we’re all musicians together. That’s how I look at it.

Janel: I feel like calling us a female band is honestly just an observation at this point. We have the same heart, we could do the same shit. I don’t feel like it’s weird if people call us a female band, cause it’s just like I said: an observation. But then again, you don’t go up and be like, “Hey, Crown The Empire, the all-male band!” It’s like observation in my eyes.

Any warnings or advice for anyone who wants to be a female musician?

Janel: Don’t give up. Have the passion burning in you, and don’t let anything else fuck that up, because there’s going to be trial and error, drama, all these internal conflicts; but at the end of the day it’s all about playing your heart out on stage.

Ashley: Just be yourself. Never forget who yourself is, or who you are as a person.

Kristen: Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. That’s the other thing. A lot of people kind of doubt you as a female musician. They don’t think you can make it. I would just keep pushing forward. If we can do it, anyone can do it.

We took a couple of pictures after that and the girls played their amazing set immediately after. I was only able to stay for the first song, but I’m not exaggerating when I say their live sets are probably some of the most energetic and flawless ones I’ve ever seen. Even if you don’t know the band, you’ll be extremely tempted to look into them after listening to a song or two. The girls of Conquer Divide are making waves -- you’ll definitely be hearing more of them when they become one of the most popular bands in their scene.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Klinge

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The Burning of Notre Dame

As the world looked on in horror, the 800-year-old cathedral threatened to burn to the ground, but I felt a different sort of fire igniting.


It's unlikely that this is the first article you've ready about the burning of France's Notre Dame Cathedral. It's a national landmark that has stood, in some form, for 800 years and we, as a world, were forced to watch it burn for nearly a day and a night. It was devastating to a multitude of people, not only the French nation.

I was watching a live stream of the cathedral's burning, stuck between horror and disbelief, when another feeling entirely began to creep over me. I read the headlines sprawled across the top of the screen, "Notre Dame Burns", "Gothic Structure Nearly Lost", "Will They Rebuild?" and started to wonder where we place our value in everyday life. I understand and appreciate the fact that Notre Dame is a treasure from a different time entirely, it holds more history than the whole of younger lands like the United States and Canada combined, but still, doubt circled in my heart and mind.

After the spouting flames had died to their last embers, a torrent of posts began to flood multimedia platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and everything in-between. People began to communicate their relief that the inner sanctuary was unharmed, that the fire hadn't damaged the twin towers, etc. They touted that God had spared dear Notre Dame in her darkest hour. I disagreed, but not for the reasons you might think.

We, as a culture, as a world, place too high a value on historical religious items whilst we shun the Power to which we owe their creation. The historical value of a place like Notre Dame is unmistakable, I pray that the French government will make every effort in her restoration so future generations can understand her place in history. But...I pray, more so, that the tragedy of the burning of Notre Dame serves a higher purpose; to bring those who have fallen away from Christ back from the brink.

We need to understand the value of our religious history, but not allow it to control us. Some might say the burning of Notre Dame was the conflagration of a dying era. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't. I think God used the pillars of fire that emerged from the cathedral's center as a beacon to bring our eyes back to him. Disasters unite nation to nation, people to people, and He wants us to unite in our adoration of Him.

I'm amused when people describe Christ as a softy, a push-over, a weakling. Because I know better. The flames that wreathed Notre Dame were a testament to His strength. Through them, He was shouting, "Come back to me! I am here! Forsake your sinful ways and find redemption in Me!"

I think John the Baptist had the right of it in Luke 3:16, "...I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

Christ is the fire.

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