December 20th, 2016
Perennial - Jinjer
The interview lasted almost two hours between jokes and laughs. It was really laid back and nice. Julia wasn’t only a pretty face that walked like a model on those insanely high heels, she knew how to do her job.
By the time they made it to the hotel room, they were dead tired.
“Hey, Mikael! How was the meeting?” Jørn asked as they entered the suite.
“It was good, I’ll give you the details later tonight,” the manager replied, unbuttoning his shirt. “I’m gonna take a bath now, so you better don’t bother me.”
“Can we order food?” Ian asked.
“Whatever, but you’re the one paying this time.”
“Aye, sir!” Ian mocked him with a military salute. “Can I come with you?”
“Go to hell!” Mikael shouted as he disappeared in the hallway, chuckling.
When he first came into their lives, they didn’t trust him much, but who could blame them after their first experience with the industry? They were young, inexperienced, and having such an amazing contract in front of their faces turned them into easy prey.
So, when Mikael offered them his help, they were very wary, not trusting anyone, but they couldn’t do all the work themselves anymore. He was the former leader of a metal band, also well known for being as good as a manager as he was playing the drums, so they gave him a chance.
With the passing years, Mikael had become much more than a manager for them. He wasn’t just part of the crew but also a friend, a father, a fucking guardian angel that was trying to help them out of the shithole they were in.
He had and still yelled at them a lot, but he had all the right since they could be really problematic sometimes. He was serious and very professional, but he cared for them. He was their shield against the world and their record label, always dealing with the hardest things as he kept encouraging them to do their best.
“He’s a pain, but I’m glad he wanted to be our manager,” Ian muttered, looking at the screen of his phone while he was lying on the couch.
“Yeah...” Jørn agreed as he came back from the kitchen, sipping from a beer before he sat on the dark grey armchair.
“We haven’t got out of this shit yet,” Alex reminded them.
“Yeah, yeah... But we already have a few offers on the table,” Ian replied. “And we still have to wait to see what our lawyers say about what we signed with them.”
Søren was tired of talking about that, it had been the main topic during the last few months. At that point, changing into more comfy clothes felt more interesting, so he went back to his room.
As he was taking his jeans off, he stumbled, ass landing on the bed, making a bunch of papers Mikael had given him to read before they got to Germany—and he didn’t even check because sleeping felt more productive—to fall to the ground. “Fucking shit.”
Once he had put on his sweatpants and a hoodie, grumbling, he crouched down and began to reorganize the mess he had just done. As he was stacking the papers, he saw a magazine the manager had handed him a few days before. It was the last Trapnest number—the Norwegian version. He wanted them to know a bit more about them before going to the interview.
Picking it up, his eyes opened wide. The cover blowing his mind.
When he first met her, she wasn’t wearing any makeup and her hair was a mess. Her clothing wasn’t any better. However, the woman had a natural beauty that captivated him the moment he saw her. Flawless skin and plump rosy lips. Long eyelashes framing her stunning hazel-green eyes. Nose, petite and sharp, with a small curve in the middle that made her imperfectly perfect.
Leah was gorgeous, no matter how you looked at her, but in that picture, she looked deathly beautiful. Her wavy, long chocolate hair was up in a ponytail, Viking style, and the dark makeup gave her eyes a dramatic air, making them stand out. She was wearing a deep teal loose t-shirt with a low V-neck and crossed straps that enhanced her bust. Military boots and tight black jeans highlighting her fit body shape.
There were three guys with her in the picture, but he didn’t even look at them. She was breathtaking.
Søren opened the magazine on the page where the article about this German band called Buried Alive was. They were newbies, but apparently, they were booming the music scene.
“What are you reading?” Ian asked him.
“You remember the woman that restored my new guitar?”
“Yeah.” Jørn nodded.
“Apparently she’s also a musician,” Søren said as he sat down beside the drummer.
“Buried Alive signed with BLAST almost two years ago,” he read out loud. “It says that they’ve been playing all across Europe all this time and that they’re finishing the recording of their second album...” Søren trailed off as he kept reading until a soft, distorted sound slipping from Alex’s phone distracted him.
“Them.” He gestured with his head towards the magazine in his hands. “It’s a song called From the ashes, I guess from their previous album since it’s been on YouTube more than a year... It has eight fucking million views.”
“They must really be good then,” Ian declared.
The three musicians moved closer to the bassist to watch the video.
Leah was standing in the middle of a snowed forest wearing nothing but a white boho dress, her head hanging low, motionless, while a soft, raspy woman’s voice recited some verses as if she was narrating a story. Growing stronger as the stanza went on.
As the melody turned heavier and ominous, the scenery changed to a dark room where the members of the band were playing, all wearing black t-shirts and jeans.
Solid and hard-hitting notes flooded the space. Søren was amazed by the sound and Leah’s headbanging—that fucking mass of hair moving in circles was hypnotizing. Recognizing the notes, he began to mark the pace with his foot on the floor.
“The drummer is a beast,” he commented, his eyes open wide.
“Oh... That riff,” Ian mentioned, biting on his bottom lip, head slightly bobbing.
As the melody changed again, turning into a rippling sound, a guttural voice began to come out of her mouth. It was fiery, deep, and strong. Søren had to look twice at the screen to confirm it was a woman singing and not a man.
“What the fuck?”
It wasn’t the first time he heard a woman singing like that but, even with the grunts, it was easy to tell a woman from a man, something hard with her. Besides, how could that powerful, enormous voice fit into such a small frame?
“Wow!” Alex exclaimed.
“She’s good...” Jørn mumbled.
As the music softened, her voice became clean again. She breathed the syllables out at the end of each sentence, giving the song that tint of mystery it was asking for.
The song seemed to be talking about life and death, about everything going back to the earth, as she was in the same forest during the four different seasons, digging a hole in the ground with her hands when autumn came, staining the dress with mud, burying herself in it.
Another stanza went by with her toggling from the honeyed tone to the raspy vocals until it turned into grunts. There were many singers capable of doing that, but the control she had on her vocal cords and the warmth on her voice was dazzling.
“I don’t know if I should feel aroused or scared right now,” Søren mumbled.
“Either... They’re awesome,” Alex commented.
They got to the bridge of the song with a softer and cradling tempo that swamped the room and everyone in it. Her voice came out poetic, soft, giving him goosebumps when she caught on higher notes as she circled around in the middle of a snowed glade.
"Exhausted creature that never decays
Take me to your hidden retreat
Die and from the ashes come back to life
In this breathless paradise”
As the drums started hitting harder again, the melody rose like flames in hell. The guitar and bass followed in perfect harmony, creating a sinister, yet appealing universe. Her tone turned somewhat raspy, but it kept that velvety touch that characterized her.
After a small, eerie silence, the whole band was in that dark room again, her guttural voice mixing with the grunts of the bassist piercing through him like a spear. The passion in their voices was indescribable as their voices faded away in a perfect sustained note.
The music vanished in the air as her hands disappeared in the mud, leaving nothing but dead silence in that haunted forest.
Søren was paralyzed.
“Wow!” Ian was the first one able to speak.
“That was brutal!” Jørn commented.
“Yeah,” Søren agreed. Their powerful compositions, the meaningful lyrics, and Leah’s heart-wrenching voice were captivating and impossible to ignore.
They kept playing some of their live concert’s videos. They were very charismatic, especially the guitar player, who fueled everyone with his enthusiasm.
As their interest veered to some of the related bands below Buried Alive’s videos, Søren saw Mikael coming their way and smiled. He knew what his gift for Leah, in return for the amazing, low-price guitar, would be.
“Mikael, I need to ask you a favor,” the singer said, walking towards him.
“Whatever you need.”