Monica Finger Interview with Welcome to the Metal (Mavradoxa / Wandering Oak Drummer)

Posted by Nick Skog on Sunday, March 31, 2019 Under: Interviews
Published: March 25, 2019
Interview by: Mike Marlinski
Original Link

My love for both of these bands runs deep. Having already reviewed every Mavradoxa release to date, I’m anxiously awaiting my copy of 2019’s Nightmarrow from Hypnotic Dirge Records. I’m also completely stoked on the forthcoming release from folk metallers, Wandering Oak, who I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with back in 2016. At the time, WO was a Massachusetts based band, but circumstances forced the project to relocate to the Rochester area, hence the presence of Monica Finger (Mavradoxa) and Josh Mason (Mavradoxa, Acrylazea) in the current lineup.

Continuing my 2019 trend of interviewing women in metal, I wanted to reach out to Monica, who has quickly become one of the foremost drummers in the Rochester local metal scene. She’s been putting in an awful lot of studio and rehearsal time for both projects, as both bands are on the cusp of unleashing remarkable new musical efforts.

MM: How exciting is it to be on the verge of releasing two albums with two different bands this year?

MF: Very. I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to record with both bands this year, and I think the material we are releasing is unique, surprising, and genre-bending both in the black and folk metal spheres.

MM: How long has it been now since you joined up with Wandering Oak?

MF: I first started rehearsing with Rob at the end of December 2017. Our first live appearance was  April 20, 2018.

MM: Describe your personal studio experiences for both the new Mavradoxa and Wandering Oak albums?

MF: “Do it again” – the phrase that still gives me nightmares. Recording is physically and mentally exhausting. It brings every element of timing and accuracy under the microscope. Immediately afterwards, I play everything better in rehearsal and wish I could record it over.

MM: Your drumming has come exceptionally far since I first heard you play at Powder Mills Park in 2016. How often do you practice on your own and what new techniques have you been incorporating into your playing lately?

MF: I don’t practice alone nearly as much as I should on top of 2-3 rehearsals a week. I would credit almost all of my progress to the “just do it” method of writing alongside a guitarist. I always write drum lines that I can almost, but not quite, play correctly and then force myself to close in on them over time. Lately I’ve been working on the next level of limb independence and double-bass and blasting speed, as well as incorporating more syncopation and better fills.

MM: Talk about your gear and your preferred brands for heads, sticks, shells, hardware, pedals and cymbals.

Kit: Mapex Meridian Maple
Snare: 20-ply birch PDP
Sticks: ProMark Firegrain hickory 5a
Pedals: Iron Cobra
Heads: Evans G2
Cymbals: Sabian AAX Metal hats, Zildjian S-series crashes

I’m not a huge gear head and I’m not particularly attached to one brand of equipment over another. My kit sounds amazing but is probably comparable to most other all-maple shells. I kind of miss playing a metal snare and I’ll probably go back to that next time I upgrade. For cymbals I try to find something on the thin side, with a bright sound and good resonance, but that doesn’t break the bank when I inevitably need to replace them. I do swear by Aquarian Super Kick bass drum heads.

MM: When did you first start playing drums and what was your first kit?

MF: I started really trying to learn about 5 years ago, sometime in early 2014. I was playing in Elfspell before I had a kit of my own. Mike Waske let me borrow his. My first kit was sort of hobbled together that year from pieces that James’ family had in their attic from his high school days. I got my Mapex in March of 2015.

MM: How have your musical tastes changed over the years since you started playing?

MF: I wouldn’t say my tastes have changed dramatically. I’ve discovered more incredible bands but I still worship most of the same albums I gravitated to when I was first given a proper introduction to metal (which was only in September of 2013); for example, In the Nightside Eclipse and The Sham Mirrors (Arcturus).

MM: List some of your favorite black metal and folk metal bands. As a follow-up, list a few non metal artists you enjoy.

Black metal: Taake, Emperor, Dawn, Rotting Christ, COLDWORLD, WITTR
Folk metal: Moonsorrow, Agalloch, Borknagar, Bathory
Not metal: mewithoutYou, Porcupine Tree, Anathema, Ulver

MM: What’s your preferred format for listening to music?

MF: CD hands down. I listen to them in my car. I usually don’t get around to listening to YouTube links that people send me.

MM: In your opinion, what are some of the most significant album releases in history for both black metal and folk metal?

MF: I honestly have no idea.

MM: Briefly getting off the subject of music, you recently started a vegan cooking channel on YouTube. Can you talk about a few dishes you’re planning on bringing to future episodes?

MF: I’ve been slacking on filming videos! I want to do an Indian curry, chili, or tofu scramble next. I’ve been trying to decide if I have something unique to offer an already saturated vegan/cooking playing field on YouTube.

MM: What is a major technique difference for you as a drummer, when it comes to playing in Mavradoxa vs Wandering Oak?

MF: Wandering Oak is faster, but I do backing vocals in Mavradoxa.

MM: What’s the meaning behind the name Mavradoxa?

MF: According to Metal Archives, “The band name is a closed compound word created from Greek which roughly translates to “Darkworship”. I don’t know how they knew that, but it sounds right.

MM: Name your favorite songs to play by both bands, or a few if you can’t narrow them down.

MF: Mav: Maple; Nightmarrow; Burning Wings, Withered Leaves
Oak: Set my Thorns Ablaze; Iron Horde; Riastrad

MM: When it comes to lyrical content in black metal and folk metal, what concepts and subject matter do you personally relate to the most?

MF: The best lyrics in general are about personal suffering, philosophical ‘angst’/alienation, and human annihilation. Warrel Dane (RIP) and Aaron Weiss (mewithoutYou) are my favorite lyricists.

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