BABALON SALOME – I am a passionate metalhead
If an alien race landed on Earth in the middle of a Metal festival they would be forgiven for wondering how us humans reproduce being that there is only one gender. The thing is that our Metal world has a pretty poor boy to girl ratio, it is a bit too much sausage and a bit too little smoothie .
The truth is, in fact, that there are two genders hence the bible telling the story of "Adam and Eve’s Bogus Journey" rather than "Adam and Steve’s Bogus Journey". With that in mind, we mutual masturbators here at Eternal Terror thought it was a dandy that we discovered a girl who, not only likes all things Metallic but also makes her living partly from being a girl.
She is a model, a radio host, a director, a writer and she is a girl.
She goes by the name Babalon Salome, she likes blastbeats more than shopping and she has kindly agreed to tell us how she came to wander along the left hand path as well as how it is to mix the worlds of fetish, burlesque and modelling with that of cross inverting.
So, how did you come to be a Metal girl? The usual path of Rock/Hard Rock via various forms to Metal and more extreme sounds?
I would say so. I was born in the early eighties, so when I was growing up rock seemed to be still a way greater force in the mainstream than today. My parents listen to rock a lot as well, so I got infected at a young age. As a young teenager then I became close with a relative who is twelve years older than me who turned me onto Judas Priest. At the age of 14 I started listening to Therion. (I took the first part of my stage name from the lyrics on the Therion Album "Vovin".) I loved the mystical atmosphere in their music and being able to discover an actual occult background behind what they were doing. The first extreme metal record I got was Dismember’s "Death Metal", which at the time was the most brutal thing I had ever heard. I grew up in a small town in the rural north of Germany with only one half decent record store where being into metal and dressing in black was not exactly the trendy thing at the time.
As things stand today, you are hosting a radio show…tell us a little bit about that? Considering you’ve been listening to Metal for some time and also have active involvement in the media side, do you find that your interest in new and exciting sounds continues or has it been dulled by the fact that you see how things might work behind the scenes?
My first radio show ever aired in January 1999 when I was 16. I started doing the show with a couple of guy friends from school as a comedy show. We soon discovered that doing radio was quite a lot of work, so after four shows I was the only one left. My show still has a
certain comedy factor, it usually starts out with a satiric monologue and me commenting on things that have annoyed me recently or that I think deserve to be ridiculed. My approach to interviews is also a bit different as I always try to get the person to tell me fascinating, usually also funny stories about what happened to them in the course of their career and so reveal a bit more about themselves rather than following the usual "question – answer – question – answer" scheme. I am sometimes quite amazed when I read an interview with someone I have interviewed as well, thinking how much more I got out of that guy. I can’t say that my interest has been dulled by seeing how it works behind the scenes at all. If anything, having a certain amount of insight makes things even more intriguing.
OK, now the most interesting aspect for people who will read this will undoubtedly be your career as a Burlesque and Fetish model/performer. Which began after your discovery of Metal. Can you tell us how this all came about? At the same time, can you tell me how it was to make the transition to standing in front of the camera? I ask because I am sure there are many out there who would like to try it but would be held back by the more conservative views that day to day society has on areas like this. Was it something that you shied away from for awhile?
I studied acting, wanting to do voice acting later, and I received professional training in ballet, modern dance, Oriental dance and a bit of flamenco. So I began to dance – cage dancing as well as stripping – for fun and profit when I was 20. I officially stopped stripping when I was 21 and just recently started performing solo burlesque/strip shows again, usually with a metal score.
I have been writing, directing and performing fetish shows with a mythological background with various other girls since 2006.
About my modelling – I had been working as a model for graphic artists and sculptors since 2001, but I didn’t take up photographic modelling until 2006. When I was younger I used to think I wasn’t photogenic – I only knew myself from those awful pictures your aunt takes of you at her birthday party, and everyone looks horrible in those. One day I came across an ad in an online community – the band Incubator was looking for girls to model topless as mermaids for the cover of their upcoming DVD. I was chosen and so I got to shoot with Stephan Sackmann, a known gothic and fetish photographer. The DVD never came out, but the shoot got me interested in modelling. So, yes, you could say that I had shied away from it for a while, but simply because I had never considered myself photogenic, even though when I was a teenager photographers and model scouts would occasionally ask me "Hey, miss, do you want to be a model?" The views society holds on anything have never been much of a concern for me, and if they are to someone, then modelling and performing might not be the thing to do for that person.
You have also worked as an actress and a director yourself. Care to tell me about this too?
I have acted in film, TV, theatre and opera and I have worked as an assistant director in film, theatre and opera, both in Germany and Finland. I took up directing in 2004. To date I have written, produced and directed five short films and numerous stage performances. Some of my work has been shown on German TV and at film festivals, mostly in Finland, for some reason. Writing and directing my latest film I was very influenced by David Lynch’s "Blue Velvet", even though it has more of a fetish look, think "The Matrix" or "Underworld".
Scenes: Most people know that Germany has long been considered a Mecca for Heavy Metal and the Gothic scene. I would imagine there is far more crossover between the Goth scene and the Fetish scene, would that be correct? Is there a lot of crossover between the Fetish and Metal scenes? (This next part is only relevant if you agree that the Metal scene crosses over less into the Fetish scene). What would your opinion be as to why the Metal scene crosses over less into the Fetish scene?
That’s a hard question and subject to debate… Nowadays I consider myself first and foremost a metalhead. When I was younger I used to consider myself a member of both the metal scene and, to a lesser extent, the gothic scene. I have never really thought myself to be a part of the fetish scene, even though fetishism is one of the main influences on my work as both an artist and a model, and I am definitely a fetishist in my personal life. I am however a very private person and don’t really feel the need to share my personal preferences with total strangers, which is to a degree what the fetish scene is about.
As for a crossover between the gothic and the fetish scene, it seems that a lot of goths in Germany take an interest in fetishism and like to dress up in corsets, latex etc. and attend fetish parties. I however see fundamental differences in the two scenes. Gothic seems to be about aesthetics, making an effort and trying to look your best, while in the fetish scene people are there in order to express their sexual selves without a care as to what anyone thinks of what they are doing. Also the majority of goths are goths 24/7 while many members of the fetish scene, who are usually a lot older, can only show their true colours in the privacy of their own home or at fetish events.
I don’t really see a crossover between the metal scene and the fetish scene, except for some bands using a fetish aesthetic. It happens a lot that I am told that I have to use electronic music only and can not use any metal in the score in order to perform at certain events. I am hoping to become a bit of an ambassador for metal at fetish events with my shows.
For us backward Metal hicks, can you tell us the difference between the Burlesque and the Fetish scenes?
The burlesque scene consists only of performers, club promoters and other professionals working with the performers, and fans. For a lot of them the retro aesthetic and the celebration of femininity that are trademarks of burlesque are also their lifestyle, meaning that many of them tend to dress that way on a daily basis.
The fetish scene is a haven for fetishists where they can express their true selves in the company of like-minded individuals and find partners with the same preferences.
You have a distinctive physique that gives you a strong foothold in a niche area when it comes to modelling I would imagine, now this is also something that could attract some attention in your daily life and considering that the Metal scene has long had the stigma for sexism etc etc, is it something that you have experienced much? You did mention to me that you have more than your fair share of unwanted attention in Germany (as compared to Norway for example), I can imagine this becoming even worse in a situation like a festival surrounded by thousands of boozed up headbangers or maybe I’m completely off the mark?
Both in my daily life and on German festivals for example I have to beat off people with a stick. I once made the mistake of wearing a white top to a festival in Germany. In the course of just three hours about 500 guys found it extremely funny to spill their beers and sodas (!) over my chest. You got to wonder what kind of reaction they expected from me. Somehow it usually is by far the worst in Germany. In other countries men tend to approach me a lot more respectfully. In Germany, I am already grateful if a guy’s first sentence when trying to chat me up isn’t some variation of "Can I fuck you?" I don’t think it has much to do with the metal scene; it seems to be something that is wrong with Germany.
In your capacity as a radio journalist you meet bands for interviews and the like, have you had the situation where you met a band for an interview and they were familiar with your work as an actress, model or performer from before?
That has happened a few times, but I can’t really say that it happens very often. I do seem to get photographed and asked to take pictures with people at festivals (even in the VIP area) as much as the average musician, though.
In one of your blogs your mentioned a trip to Ireland where several photo shoots were booked and most fell through. Is this a regular occurrence? Is it like when, for example, booking a band for a concert where you must pay a cancellation fee if you back out? Do you receive a fee for the session and that’s it or do you get a percentage of future use of the photo?
The majority of the scheduled shoots on a trip falling through had never happened to me before. I knew there had to be something wrong with Ireland… One shoot in a fully booked week being cancelled is very common. Then again, when I go to Gothenburg for example I usually book five shoots in four days or something and everything works like clockwork.
I don’t charge a deposit for a shoot as I have found that people are less likely to book a model demanding a deposit or a cancellation fee. I usually receive a fee for a session but I might occasionally agree on receiving a percentage of the future use of the image, like a print being exhibited and then sold. The downside to the latter is that it can take forever, from months to many years, until I see some cash for my work. I also trade sometimes, meaning I get compensated in images for portfolio use. (This practice is also referred to as testing.) I have a developed portfolio, so I am very selective about whom I work with on a trade basis and will trade only with amazing established photographers and for a certain kind of images I think my portfolio needs at the time, or possibly for publication. At the moment I am accepting trade for pin-up and beauty images.
As a girl in an industry where there are, presumably, many men working do you ever feel uncomfortable if you are alone working with a male photographer for example. I am sure that despite all the care and precautions that can be taken in advance it is still something that could possibly happen or? Have you had situations where you have worked with a person (male or female) who made you feel uncomfortable, angry, upset to the point where professionalism gives in to emotion?
Actually, I have never had a photographer making unwanted advances to me during a shoot in a way I couldn’t deal with. I am not an easily impressed 18-year-old, and wasn’t even when I started, I am not the ideal target. The vast majority of all photographers I have shot with were very nice people and wonderful to work with. I have only come across four or five assholes in the course of my career as a model, and none of them made advances to me, they were just being assholes.
It’s also not hard at all to weed out guys writing to me trying to set up a shoot who clearly have a personal interest in me. I just tell them I am not interested and cease all communication. Compared to other models I think I attract a lot more of that kind of attention in real life than online. Models of course talk to each other, so I have heard interesting stories from other girls. One model I know has had one guy ask her how much she would charge for him to take pictures of her having sex with his dog. She also had a photographer sending her an initial message that went like: "Hey, I love your look, I would very much like to set up a shoot. So, do you do anal?"
In messages I get on modelling sites that aren’t work related guys usually just ask me out, tell me how much they want to fuck me or ask me stuff about my boobs or my personal fetishes. I never respond and I either delete the messages or report them.
But when working I am usually very comfortable. I can take care of myself and, having been an art model for a decade, I am very comfortable being naked. I have of course had shoots when I wasn’t feeling well at all for one reason or another, but like with any other job you just suck it up and tell yourself "Now be professional, you can pull this off."
Alright, so your physique attracts attention and probably spins some heads. How do you weed out the bad from the not so bad when you meet a guy who gives you a pocket tsunami? Maybe you have developed some kind of radar where you can sense their intentions? Is it difficult for you to meet guys that you feel comfortable pursuing yourself?
I am shy and generally very sceptical about anyone new I meet. One thing I can say is that a guy who seems to be mostly interested in my chest is my main turn-off. Reducing me to my boobs is the easiest way to make absolutely sure I will never, ever respect you as a human being and/or will want to get involved with you. I would tell someone like Johnny Depp to get lost if he walked up to me in a bar, drooling over my cleavage, saying "Wow, your boobs are awesome, can I buy you a drink?" And yes, it can be difficult for me to meet guys I find suitable since I am shy and have very high standards.
You are responsible for some short movies. As these are your babies, do you fund them entirely yourself or do you secure funding?
I have funded all my productions by myself so far. They are big productions, often with more than thirty people involved, but they are not that expensive since I don’t pay anyone and I can get equipment either for free or rent it very cheaply. The only things I spend money on are props, make-up, costumes and sometimes rent for a location, which, if necessary, is easily the biggest portion of the budget.
Ireland? You’ve been there a few times right? Is there some special attraction to the country?
I love Ireland! Lots of things about the country are great, in my opinion – the culture is very arty, people seem to have a lot of understanding and appreciation for art, not only music and literature, and they do invest in it. So getting paid as a model is a lot easier than in Germany, for example. The landscape is unrivalled, you can actually identify the proverbial "forty shades of green", and people are incredibly open and friendly. I also love the accent and adapt it a bit when I spend some time there. I suspect I have some Irish in my English anyhow since I used to have an Irish English teacher and people meeting me sometimes assume I’m Irish.
Can you tell us how you think the world of burlesque/fetish has changed over the past five or ten years or since you first took an interest? I ask because it’s a common thread in the Metal scene. Folk pass the age of 23 or so and begin to lament the good old days it seems. Is there a similar mind set in your other world also?
Yes, there is a similar mindset, and there have been massive changes. A few from the top of my head – a neo burlesque scene has evolved, ten years ago there wasn’t such a thing. Fetish clothing is becoming more and more mainstream, you even see the occasional pop singer clad in latex. Lots of fetish magazines nowadays are basically latex fashion magazines, which bugs me personally – even though I love it, latex isn’t the only fetish there is…
You have mentioned that you would like to work more with bands/music in the future. Can you give us some more specifics? As in what areas in particular and what, ideally, would you achieve in this field?
In case this interview reaches someone who may be able to set something in motion how should that person contact you? By that I mean, is this strictly business or are you willing to try and find the best solution if something you really dig comes along?
I am a passionate metalhead, so working with bands is something I’d absolutely love to do. As a model, I’d be delighted to shoot album cover artwork or promotional images as well as model band merch. I’d love to perform on stage or in videos with bands as well – I am a trained actress and neo burlesque dancer/stripper and I have some mild fire skills. I could even write and direct elaborate fetish/burlesque/strip shows with other girls like I already do. Of course I am also a film maker with my own crew, so any band in need of either a director or an actress/dancer for a video can also get in touch.
I can be contacted at ultima667[at]gmx.net for anything work related. I travel a lot and if something I really want to do comes along I’ll find a way to make that happen.
Final question. What album, off the top of your head, do you have high hopes towards becoming your album of 2011?
When is the next Nile album due? Apart from that I eagerly await the upcoming Morbid Angel and Primordial releases and I expect nothing but greatness.