A Few Words With...Herma!

by John A. Wilcox

I sure love this band! Out of Italy, via outer space, Sick N' Beautiful are massive loud fun. Rock, metal, prog, and lots of theatre! And green. Lots & lots of green! They have a fabulous new album called Starstruck that will surprise and delight your ears. I spoke with their unforgettable frontwoman Herma about all things Sick N' Beautiful. Re-fuel your ship and join our journey.

PS: How did the band first acquire the BFS9000?

H: Hello Progsheet! The BFS9000 is our beleaguered and beloved ship/home/studio! Big Daddy � our captain - never goes too much into detail about its acquisition! However, my gut says it was stol... er, �commandeered� at some point many years before I joined the crew...

PS: What first drew you to work with your Intergalactic companions?

H: Well, that's my point exactly, I was �commandeered� too! The thing is, I grew to love the whole rock'n'roll space pirate extravaganza very fast. By now, I can say I'm the one who's really in control of the whole shebang! Hahahahahhahah...

PS: What drew you to Earth and to Rome?

H: Pure chance! The ship was under attack and hit catastrophically... Earth was the closest planet, and a crash-landing was attempted. With mixed results, unfortunately! Someone did not make it alive, and the rest of the crew was left with the uncertain task of replacing the pilot. Apparently, I happened to fit the bill... It's all chronicled in detail in our gorgeous graphic novel Ground Zero - but you knew that already! Hahahahah :)

PS: The band has a new album called Starstruck. Is there an overall concept behind the separate songs?

H: Um, actually no. At least not intentionally. However, as the production came along, we realized that some songs did feel very connected with each other. I guess that's what gave us the idea of producing a mini-movie, something that would also connect the dots between the old and the new cycle of Sick N ' Beautiful, and the origins of the myth of the �New Witch�... In SNB's fantasy universe, the mysteries of space and those of the occult are very much connected!

PS: Let me get your thoughts behind a few songs. Tell me the story behind Drop It 2 The B.

H: On this album, the songs have a lot to do with us and what we have been going through in the last few years. The pandemic, war, climate changes, it's all been hitting all of us very up close and personal. Drop It 2 The B is all about getting tired of being boxed up, wanting to go out and party, make music, touring � dancing, going to concerts, or whatever makes you happy... A lot has been taken away from us - we just fight to get it all back, in music!

PS: Please enlighten me on the meaning of YTOPYNONAVEVANONYPOTY.

H: Ahhhh the big mystery of this song! Everyone is asking, but we are not telling!!! But the clues are all there in the album itself! When you buy the actual CD, the artwork will reveal all the hints to solve the puzzle � to the more inquisitive minds! ahahahhaahhaah

PS: What's Defy The Light about?

H: In the song, the Light represents all that �appears� as normal, decent, good and wholesome. �Appears� being the key word! But the true self in most of us lies in the dark, and it's rarely revealed. So I guess the song just makes you want to scream �Look at me, see me as I really am, good, bad and ugly!� - even if sometimes that will mean you might have to face the fire for it, you should never be ashamed of who you are. If the Light won't have you, Darkness surely will. And the best things happen in the Dark...

PS: What inspired Schadenfreude?

H: During the prolonged lockdown that most of us had to endure, I guess we all became even more aware of the effects of social media. In fact, social media somewhat became where people went to look for answers. It's easy to forget that everyone has an agenda, and on social media at the end of the day most people just want to get your likes and raise their numbers. Reality becomes completely distorted, turning � at best - into just a faded backdrop for unimportant �stories�, but �stories� that are becoming more and more the fabric of our very lives. Perception is winning the battle over truth...

PS: Going back a bit, what's the concept behind the song Megalomaniacal?

H: Hahahahah! This one is from our second albumElement Of Sex. You might argue that this song is about Sick N' Beautiful as a band... and you'd be right! It's about us willing to go where others dare not! It's about our hunger and drive as performers, and of course, about the high opinion we have of ourselves - JK! Hahahahaha! Yes, no matter how deep in the gutter, we always shoot for the stars!!!!

PS: I love the lyrics to Queen Of Heartbreakers. Please tell me the story behind it!

H: Wow, going back to our first album Hell Over Hell! Well, on this one, we just imagined a modern Alice In Wonderland, where she gets to be a lot more in control of the events she faces. By the end of the song you start to wonder if The Queen is perhaps just the natural evolution of Alice herself... We left it a little open for the listeners to give it the meaning that most agrees with them! :) We often do that in our songs... The �puzzle� aspect is something we really enjoy � when writing lyrics. You can take them at face value, and that's fine, but if you dig deeper, there's often a lot of fun stuff to uncover...

PS: When the band is working on the visual aspects of the projects, does everyone have a hand in the art or does anyone in particular take the lead?

H: It's a given that Sick N' Beautiful requires a more involving commitment when compared to more traditional bands. Everyone in the band understands that. Sometimes it's hard to keep up with everything, and there have been line-up changes in the past � it's understandable. That said, we have brainstorming sessions where all of us put down all sorts of ideas. Then I (Herma) take care of most visual aspects of the project, and Big Daddy takes care of the music and lyrics part. When the core of our work is done, we call in the rest of the band and fine tune everything together. We are open to all kinds of input all the time, but it must make sense with the overall concept and direction. It might not seem like the most democratic of arrangements, but it works for us, and allows us the speed we need for everything we do. Time is of the essence!

PS: My other occupation is cartoonist. I used to color the Amazing Spider-Man comic book among others. Is there another comic book in the band's future?

H: Never say never... The comic book has been a wonderful experience that allowed us to unleash our creativity on the �storyline� side of the band, but it's also been very time-consuming. Who knows, maybe if the right artist comes along...

PS: What adventures are up next for the band?

H: Well, Earth is a little big planet that we plan on exploring far and wide while touring and performing for our beloved Terror Terrans. I'm sure there will be plenty more things to tell next time around!

PS: Please tell me 6 albums you never get tired of listening to.

H: In no particular order �
Green Day : American Idiot
Katy Perry : Teenage Dream
Velvet Revolver : Contraband
Evanescence : Fallen
Marilyn Manson : Antichrist Superstar
HIM : Dark Light


All photos are copyright their respective owners.

Thanks and love to Herma!

Table Of Contents