Hellbound Staff Interrogations #11: Laina Dawes

Shortly before Hellbound’s launch I met Laina Dawes at a Napalm Death show when Kevin Stewart-Panko introduced us. When I asked her if she’d like to join the staff for what was to become Hellbound, she graciously agreed. Laina now writes about metal for Exclaim!, Hellbound and for her own blog, Writing Is Fighting. She was also recently a moderator on a forum on online metal journalism at this year’s SXSW Festival, which she invited me to also take part in. It was a great thrill to do it and it wouldn’t have happened without Laina’s invitation. Thank you, Laina!

-Sean Palmerston

Name and Location:
Laina Dawes, Toronto

How did you start writing for Hellbound?
I interviewed Kevin Stewart-Panko for my book, What Are You Doing Here? Black Women in Metal, Hardcore and Punk (Bazillion Points, Spring 2012) and later met him again at a Napalm Death show in 2009, where he introduced me to Sean. We both had something in common, as the magazines that we wrote for (Sean, Metal Maniacs, me, Metal Edge) had shut down a few months prior. I was looking for another place to write, and Sean invited me to join Hellbound.

What’s your favorite piece published during Hellbound’s two years?
Essentially any interview that Justin M. Norton has done. The Phil Anselmo, Scott Kelly (Neurosis) and Varg Vikernes interviews were fantastic. Not only did I learn a lot about the artists, but also was impressed with Justin’s thoughtful interviewing skills.

What are some of your best concert memories?
Some of my best concert memories are from the Grunge era (1991 – 98). It was really an incredible time in Toronto, as it seemed like there were at least four great shows a week. More recently, seeing Converge at MDF 2010 (batshit crazy) and Neurosis a couple of weeks ago at MDF 2011 were highlights. Also, Mike Scheidt from YOB offering to play “All The Children Forgotten” for me at the SXSW Music festival this past March, made my year.

Black metal, death metal or grind?
Death and grindcore, ‘fo sho. I also listen to a lot of stoner/doom.

Person you’d like to interview but it hasn’t happened…
I’d like to interview Skin from Skunk Anansie. I don’t know if you could categorize the band as Metal, but more hard rock /punk. As a Black female frontperson, she is an inspiration to me, and what a fantastic voice!

The most underrated metal album is:
Slayer, God Hates Us All

You are suspended in limbo for eternity and can only listen to five metal albums on repeat. What are they?
Judas Priest, Screaming for Vengeance
Mastodon, Remission
Neurosis, Through Silver In Blood
Lesbian, Power Hor
Sepultura, Roots

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.