SUSAN AQUILA ROCKS THE ELECTRIC SIDE OF CLASSICAL VIOLIN
Violinists have popped up every now and again, being “a part” of various bands, take acts such as I Am Ghost and Yellowcard, best known within the rock, punk, metal scene, whereas other acts, stand in the background. But in mists of that background within the foreground stands other violinists that are really standing out. Like take Susan Aquila for instance, she has been around for a while but has already gotten herself out there, performing showcases, tours, releasing content, plus much more. She dives into the musical styling’s of her violin works and where she plans to take it next.
1. You are of course, the front person of you as a solo artist, as well as a violinist, why did you want to combine vocals with violin use?
The violin is an instrument that imitates the human voice. It was the natural next step to sing. Being able to add lyrics, putting words to music took everything to the next level. You can hear the meaning of the song not only by the music but by the words we have chosen. It is a deeper was to express myself.
2. Can you describe the type of violin you are using in your videos and performances, for those who may not be familiar with it.
I fell in love with this violin. It is a 6 string, fretted electric violin that is shaped like a Gibson flying ‘V’ guitar. Adding two lower strings to a standard violin allows me to play bass lines. Because the violin is electric, I can use the same effects that guitarists use.
3. You being a violinist are you familiar with another violinist named Lindsey Stirling?
I am familiar with Lindsey Stirling’s work. By blending her dance skills and her music skills, she has been able to bring the violin from its ‘stuffy’ classical reputation to a fresh pop, hip hop leading instrument.
Yes. People are starting to see the violin in a new way. This creates opportunities for violinists to step out of the box and be more creative.
4. Do you see this to be the rise of the violin, with several performers, coming forth with it in hand?
Breaking into the music business is rough. It is a different journey for each person. I don’t think there are mistakes. You learn from everything. You adapt and adjust to the situations you face and keep growing as an artist. The one thing I suggest is to learn to trust yourself and your gut. If something feels wrong, don’t do it. Don’t be afraid to say no.
5. In a number of your videos, you change your wardrobe quite a bit, including in “No Where” where you wear a piece showcasing your midriff, and others were your fully dressed. When it comes to these wardrobe changes, how does it make you feel personally, do you feel comfortable wearing midriff style clothing, most women feel uncomfortable with their bodies, how did you get past it, and want to take that approach with that particular type of clothing.
I choose my clothes. I never perform in anything I am not comfortable wearing. When I perform, I move around a lot. I like wearing athletic wear or dance clothes. I don’t like to feel restricted or to overheat on stage so I do tend to bare my midriff and wear shorts. I wear what I feel good in. People will criticize you no matter what you do so trust your judgment and have fun!
6. What do you think of the whole self image with people’s bodies, people judging one another left and right because of how we look, what would you like to say to those who may be suffering with this issue, and what’s the best way to overcome it.
That is a good question. I still struggle with being judged. You try to do your best and put your heart and soul into your music. It does hurt when people judge… especially your looks or your body. Every once in a while, I will have a cry but then I pick myself up and move on. Put yourself out there and be strong. You will get more out of life. Your body and looks change constantly. Some days you weigh more and have pimple and other days you are glowing. It all ebbs and flows. Try not to worry about it and do what makes you feel good.
7. It’s almost been a year come the New Year, for your latest album “Miss Conduct”, have anything new in-store for the next release?
My songwriter, Rob Tomaro and I have been talking about new tunes for the next album. However, for the next year we will be focusing on shows and tours and bringing our music to people.
8. Have you ever considered recording your performances for a live album or live DVD or a combination of the two?
That is a wonderful idea! We have not thought of doing that but it sounds great!
9. What about your releases, you have two full-lengths, as well as a collaboration release, will we ever be seeing you performing any of these said releases, in its entirety from front to back?
Absolutely!! We have been dying to do this and is something we will do in the future!
10. How about seeing or hearing your material in the acoustic sense, do you see Susan Aquila to head in that direction or even give it try?
We are currently working on an acoustic unplugged version of Susan Aquila. I enjoy the intimacy of the acoustic violin and this will allow us to play in smaller, cozier venues as well.
11. What does the future have in the making for you, as far as doing showcases, touring, and more?
In the next year, we plan on a lot of performing: concerts, tours in Canada and England, festivals and T.V. appearances. After that, we will head back to the studio.
12. How do you get people to take you seriously as a musician?
Being a solid musician earns respect. I am constantly practicing and honing my skills. You can’t fake it. You have to deliver the goods. I am always learning. Thank you so much!! Best, Susan.
By: Natalie Perez
Susan Aquila – “Miss Conduct”
F@#kin a is this some serious kick ass rock n roll. A woman that sings her ass off, a band that cranks out the tunes with fire and fury and kick ass rock and she even throws in some cool violin parts that don’t sound out of place at all. Forget all this rock n roll you hear this is easily the real deal and the songs are just so damn catchy on this it is not funny. Each and every track has its own identity and this is rock at its best.
– Metalcore Fanzine
“Listen with an open mind and Susan Aquila will soon get under your skin.
Whilst the name may not be familiar, New York-based artist Susan Aquila is actually a Broadway star and has also performed with the likes of Deep Purple, Steven Tyler and Roger Daltrey. Here, on Aquila’s second album, she combines a diverse, almost Symphonic musical arrangement overlaid on to a Heavy Rock backbone with stunning vocal work, harmonies, thoughtful lyrical content and violin (yes, violin!).
‘Dirty Delicious’ sets the stage with a heavy rhythm and a voice that is reminiscent of Doro Pesch. Turning from pussycat to tiger in the blink of an eye – this girl bites! We are also treated to the first electric violin solo here which sits really well in the mix and certainly adds something special. ‘Miss Conduct’ continues the aural assault with its fast-paced attack of guitar, violin breaks and a vocal delivery which is approaching light speed in places.
‘Twisted’ has a style and delivery that could so easily have been lifted straight from Wendy James’ Transvision Vamp era. Aquila’s sexy Punky vocal weaves its web and captivates the listener with its Metal-tinged Rock ‘n’ Roll. ‘Lightnin” and ‘Why’ again illustrate how Aquila can move smoothly from soulful and passionate to an anger-filled, growling delivery. Rob Tomaro, meanwhile, lays down an iron clad set of power chords on these tracks and the violin work accomplished by Aquila is simply stunning.
Atmospheric sound effects and the dark riff of ‘The Wall’ combine with intricate violin parts and some heartfelt singing which all adds up to an epic track and leaves you wondering whether you’ve been kicked in the teeth or kissed all over! ‘Sooper Gurl’, on the other hand, sounds like the result of Punk going to the movies – but it works! A well-constructed commercial hook sandwiched between good narrative verses and slightly quirky musical timing ensures this is ear-worm territory.
Susan Aquila and her Flying V-shaped violin have ventured into a genre that is perhaps staid in its ways and has brought something fresh to the table. Her sultry, husky vocal talents are undeniable and the violin adds another facet to what is a captivating, energetic, if heavy sounding album. Listen with an open mind and Susan Aquila will soon get under your skin and may even convince you that distorted electric violin is the future of Metal!”
Fireworks Magazine / Rocktopia (UK)
“I have been listening to it over and over. That is my kind of rock song!!”
97.3 The Rock, Dubuque, Iowa
“She does amazing things with the electric violin!!”
WDHA, 105.5 FM, New Jersey.
Album review: “Miss Conduct” by Susan Aquila, music and lyrics by Rob Tomaro – Susan Aquila – lead vocals and electric violin.
Review from February 9, 2016 – AEA Zine
“My first impression of Susan’s vocal style is of a “cleaner” Wendy O. Williams. She delivers the vocals in a husky, hard rock style that you would expect from a genre like this. The songs are punchy and hit just as hard as they should. Susan knows how to craft a track well. Although Susan’s the star, the rest of the band is pretty great, too. There is some awesome lead guitar sprinkled throughout, as well.
If you’re into rock, this is an album for all occasions. I have never heard the violin used in this manner. Susan’s violin delivers an extra dimension to the sound, yet never distracts from the thrust you would expect from an album like this”.
Review in Skylight Magazine (Athens, Greece)
March 27, 2016
Original Kitchen Records
“Susan offers us well played hard rock with many similarities to artists such as Joan Jett and Pat Benatar. The old school fans will have proof that there is memorable music here. The album includes 12 tracks and the melody balances with the rough guitars and the “in your face” attitude of the band.
Fans of 1980’s Rock will definitely appreciate this album. The cover artwork is another reminder of the 80s that offers a sex symbol for fans that are hungry for flesh and (musical) emotion. If you combine the fantasy promised by the cover art and the sound of this release, you get great music and pleasant thoughts.
On the sound level, sometimes I feel that the voice overpasses a bit the other channels, but it has a minor effect on the final result. The deeper you dig into this release, the deeper meaning you get.”
“I love it! She is a hell of a talent. I want to see her performing live!!”
Rock Star (Ten Wheel Drive), Producer (Ronnie Spector), Radio Host – Little Steven’s Underground Garage, National Sirius Radio- which featured her 2014 hit “Intervention.”
“I love the whole thing; the tunes, the mix, the performance, the whole package! She sings with such emotion that you can really tell she’s feeling everything she’s singing about. The lyrics are deeply moving and struck a chord and her violin playing is hauntingly beautiful. There is so much computer generated pop music out there that it is wonderful to hear something that has real warmth and soul to it. You are going in the right direction! Keep going and never stop!”
Composer of “Carved in Stone”, number one hit on the Country charts from March to April 2014
“The power behind Susan’s music is truly inspirational. The diversity of the tracks keeps this music on a ‘must hear’ basis. Strong instrumental influence with raw, sensual vocals and cutting edge sounds of the electric violin combine for a rare and enlightening experience. All genres and all ages will enjoy it!!”
Tour Manager- Brett Michaels, Molly Hatchett, Eddie Money
“Susan Aquila is a formidable and multi-talented performer. Producer/composer/guitarist Rob Tomaro has created a powerhouse setting that beautifully supports and showcases those talents. The music they make is high energy, danceable, and just plain fun!!”
Grammy Award Winning Producer and Entertainer