Arch Enemy's Lead vocalist Alissa White-Gluz talks about her compassionate lifestyle in the Death Metal world and gives Grow Up Vegan readers a behind the scenes insight to why she chooses a plant based diet! Read on for the full exclusive interview...
So you’re a heavy metal Vegan…it’s quite a combination! How did the two worlds collide?
Yeah so I've been vegan since before I started doing music. Surprisingly there are quite a few metal musicians who are vegan. The way I see it, being vegan is the ultimate form of rebellion – it’s just rebelling against what people tell you should eat and how you shouldn’t feel any remorse for eating animals. We're so conditioned to think that’s its OK to do that, when it’s super unnecessary and it’s really not OK; so for me being vegan is really the ultimate form of rebellion – against corporations, against huge industries, its thinking for yourselves, and its thinking in a way that not a lot of people do yet, and obviously metal music is a form of rebellion too. We’re rebelling against mainstream music. It’s the kind of music that has an underground fan base all across the world but it’s still underground, so they go hand in hand actually in my mind.
I had never thought about veganism like that! Now you've explained it that way it makes complete sense for the two to go together! It almost seems like a ridiculous question because it’s the complete opposite ha-ha!
Ha-ha no no, It`s a great question because it allows me to highlight it in that way!
So how long have you been vegan for because you said it became before the music?
Yeah – I've been vegetarian my whole life so I've never eaten any animal flesh – and I didn’t ever mark down the day of when I became vegan because it was a natural progression. It wasn’t something that I was going to count because I know that I will always be vegan but I think it was about 1999, so when I was around 14 let’s say.
So a long time then! You post a lot of vegan inspired cute animal pictures on Instagram…but it doesn’t seem to blend with your other posts ha-ha, do you think its accepted well by your heavy metal fans and following?
I mean my motto has always been ‘I am just going to be 100% myself’ and myself includes absolutely adoring animals! It’s like we have all sorts of other worldly aliens living on our planet and we take it for granted; maybe because we grew up seeing cartoons of animals, but when you really think about it, these are other species that coexist on this planet with us - its super amazing! If I see an amazing picture of an animal I have to share it, and in sharing it I`m hoping to make people make the connection to caring about animals. Hopefully by showing them how beautiful animals are they maybe will think about animals in a different way and come to that conclusion themselves.
Yeah I noticed that with your posts, you don’t use scare tactics and the animal posts are really positive. I don’t think you should fight fire with fire either!
I was talking to my boyfriend Doyle about this earlier today – it’s interesting because those kind of really graphic images- it’s the truth! But vegans already know that it’s the truth so we should be allowed to be spared from seeing it in a way. I think that documentaries like Cowspiracy, Food inc, Earthlings, What The Health, these are great for people who aren’t vegan yet. I would be really surprised by anyone who could watch those and not be really emotionally affected by them, but they’re going into watching them to learn about it. On my page it’s not a vegan meme page its just a page about me as a musician, so I know a lot of people aren’t vegan and the last thing I want to do is alienate them.
Is your boyfriend vegan too? Or anyone else that’s close to you?
Yes he’s vegan too. I was raised vegetarian, my mom, brother and sister are vegetarian but now they’re mostly all vegan. I don’t live with my mom but whenever I go over or cook with her it’s always vegan. My mom never forced us to not eat meat. I have a memory as a child asking “how come so-on-so eats this?” she never told me “don’t eat that!” she would say “you can eat that if you want, but that’s a cows body” and I can remember thinking…”how can you eat that? The cow needs her body?” It was just very logically explained to me, and I can remember thinking “I don’t know why anyone would eat that?”
I think kids grasp things easily so if you’ve had it easily explained to you at a young age you’ve been able to make the decision yourself.
Yeah – I think kids are not as conditioned.
So I`m assuming you get sent freebies often do you make sure that everything given to you is vegan?
Yeah – so I have outfits I wear on stage or red carpet events and designers offer to make them for me, which is super cool, but right off the back I tell them that if they're going to make stuff for me, it cant be leather, wool, silk, feathers, suede, any type of animal skin or product. Often they're totally excited by that. One company called Jungle Tribe LA, they made a vegan bag and sent it to me. Everyone I've spoken to about it - they're really considerate.
Being on Tour do you find it hard to find foods on the go, or do you embrace the hunt for new vegan goodies?
Someone once said to me “vegans are the true hunters!” and it’s true! In each city, I open up Happy Cow and find where the nearest vegan place is, and I take it upon myself to walk there and go find it. I get some fresh air, take some pictures, load a review on Happy Cow and give back to that community.
So you get a bit of you time. I know you’re into surfing and yoga and they’re all solo sports. Do you like your own space?
Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if I would call myself an introvert, but I am totally fine being on my own. In fact I get kind of anxious if I`m in a huge crowd. Which is weird considering what I do ha-ha but I know a few musicians that have some sort of level of social anxiety, myself included. I like to walk around, listen to a podcast. I don’t always have the time but when I do its fun and I need some sunshine sometimes!
What is your must have vegan item you can’t live without whilst touring?
More and more I tend to bring Vega protein powder. I like to have a shake after the show, because it’s late and I don’t always want to eat at like 1am, so I have one of those. I do drink soy or other plant milk a lot; I have a cup of soy milk on stage in fact. I feel like it’s kind of soothing – on the throat. It’s just a singer thing I think. All singers have a thing when they think they need something – I just like it ha-ha!
A lot of singers are known for having honey and lemon drinks. Where do you sit with that?
Yeah I don’t have honey, or use bees wax or anything like that. I drink hot water with lemon and ginger so that’s probably my equivalent to the honey and lemon.
What are your plans for the future of your solo career? Any exclusives you could tell the Grow Up Vegan readers?
So I signed a record to put a solo album out and this was never in my overall plan for things but we just decided that it would be a cool idea to have another project for me to work on if Arch Enemy ever have any downtime. So I built a studio, which took a lot of time, money, and effort, and I really did build it myself ha-ha. It turned out great and I`m sitting in it right now actually! I wrote a bunch of songs and I’m discovering what direction I want to go into. I think it’s going to still be heavy and with a metal vibe but maybe more rock and roll in a way…more melodic I’d say!
I have no doubt that you will do well in the future and keep gaining a loyal fan base! Will you ever try to use your public profile to speak out about living a compassionate life?
Yeah I would love to do that. I have done it a little bit. I gave some speeches at universities. I do love public speaking. When I was in high school I did competitive public speaking and I did it on being vegetarian or vegan at that point. I started even all the way back then!
Woah so you're massively already over qualified for that ha-ha
Yeah ha-ha! I think I won a silver medal for that!
But yeah I would love to do that. I've thought about writing a book or making a YouTube Channel but its just the time! If I'm able to organise it in an effective way, then I would love to do that!
That would be amazing! Is there anything else you want to tell our Grow Up Vegan readers?
Yeah! Our new album is going to be out September 8th and it’s called Will to power. My boyfriend who’s also vegan ha-ha his album came out in June, it’s called ‘as we die’ and the band is Doyle. It’s great that he’s vegan because he’s known for having a body builders physique and when he gets asked how he’s in good shape he just says “vegan” ha-ha!
Ha-Ha true plant power! Thank you so much for devoting some of your time to answering questions for our GUV readers!
You can pre-order Alissa's new album HERE and buy As We Die by Doyle from HERE!
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