JÄTT WITH SCARLETT MONASTYRSKI
Sabïre is a self-proclaimed Acid Metal outfit from Australia with its early roots in Canada. Led by visionary Scarlett Monastyrski, Sabïre paves the way for a new approach to heavy music using an iconic androgynous image, heartfelt stinging lyrics, and their trademark shimmery acidic sound. Following up their 2018 already legendary mini-album ‘Gates Ajar,’ the band sets to release their ambitious debut full-length album, ‘Jätt’: A fifteen-track megalith as a self-styled ‘half-concept album.’ Only time will tell if they’re over a two-year journey to make it was worth it.
‘Jätt’ is what I’m calling a ‘half-concept’ album, which means there is a concept to the album’s name and theme, but none of the songs, bar three, have been written for it or about it. They were simply all selected because they possessed lyrically greater or lesser degrees of the album’s overall tone, which is discomfort. ‘Jätt’ is a Strekish word that means ‘hell,’ and at its essence is discomfort. That applies to every way in which we use that word. Be it the physical place, the metaphorical place, the state of mind, the difficulty of a task, or the way of life; it is all at its root, discomfort. There will be a considerable amount of text accompanying the album, so having a physical copy is vital to understanding the work. It’s not necessary to enjoy the album, I suppose. But you’d have to have no further interest other than simply listening to the songs. The creative process as a band on this one has been majoritively singular. I do everything myself, bar the drumming, and nothing moves forward unless I get up and make it happen. Paul (drummer) and I will sit down and work on the drum parts, and the rest I record, mix, and master all myself.
Most of Sabïre’s lyrics are about love, personal struggle, inner turmoil, self-liberation, and social commentary. In the minority, there are a few more thematic songs that go a little outside of their theme, but these songs are rare. With the exception of a slim minority, all the lyrics I write are based on and contain my own experiences. I write about what’s going on in my head and what I think about the most. Part of defining acid metal as a genre is the lyrics. No matter the subject matter, and there are many – nothing is off-limits; they all contain this tinge of biting realism that, when fully realised by the listener, is meant to sting them to attention like a drop of acid fallen onto their skin.
It’s time to make a record as soon as the last one is done! Not to mention while you are still working one, lord almighty. One creative habit I have is writing down little notes and reminders when I think of them as a reference later on. As we speak, I have a drawer dedicated to this particular album, a wall dedicated to the next album, a portion of that wall dedicated to the album after that, and another drawer with numerous notes and lyrics that are yet to be completed. I am constantly thinking about what I’m doing and then doing next. I would love to be a more placid sea, but it’s hard when you have so many creative waves rocking you about.
The main philosophical fixation I was supposed to label myself with would likely be ’emotive’ and ‘personal.’ Sabïre began as a ‘secret’ personal band with an ultra-personal name playing only what came naturally when picking up a guitar. The whole idea was to build a personal musical core, then construct around it an image and manner of performance that made sense. After a few years, that became no longer trying to build an image; it became, ‘you have just to be you. If you dare to be you with the music, you have to have the courage to be you with everything else. Do not apologise.’ This was still all before we had put any music out or played a show. It made sense, and it fits with the essence of what makes acid metal so unique in its philosophy.
I got into metal through Black Metal. I had never cared for metal very much growing up and did not listen to it straight out. I had a punk background initially, but when I was 16 years old, I was given a stack of burned CDs by a friend to listen to. They were all black metal records from Darkthrone, Bathory, Marduk, Burzum, Gorgoroth, Mayhem, Immortal, Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir, and one single Emperor album: ‘Emperial Live Ceremony.’ I immediately just ate that stuff up. I loved it. I still was not a ‘metal head’ in my eyes, but my god, did I love Black Metal. I still had zero interest in Heavy Metal or Hard Rock for many years until I listened to what I had considered a traditional Heavy Metal band: Cirith Ungol.
Hey, I didn’t know anything! From there, I just barely listened to anything further than that, but then I became obsessed with Venom. I could not stop listening to them, talking about them, playing along to their albums, and watching their two live videos. I got into glam and hard rock through Judas Priest. Specifically, ‘Come and Get It.’ That same friend told me it was their ‘worst song’ and was done when they were playing with glam metal. I adored that track and thought to myself, ‘if this is what glam is, I’m IN.’ And with that, the floodgates for me getting fully into heavy metal and hard rock had opened. It’s been a lovely journey.
Music’s a spiritual experience. Music has this amazing potential to touch people in ways that other mediums simply cannot. My mission with Sabïre has always been to enrich the lives of as many people as we can today and for beyond long after I have passed. Music is the soundtrack to our moments and the trigger for our memories. Music bonds friendships, romantic relationships, and organisations and fellowships. It is one of the most important inventions in human history and one of the most profound ways to discover who we are. It is our recovery and therapy, our punching bag and safety blanket. Music is the pinnacle universal medium of human expression. There’s just no doubt about it.