ARCH ENEMY's ALISSA WHITE-GLUZ: 'I Am An Activist Before I'm A Musician'
July 25, 2023
On June 30, during this year's Tuska festival in Helsinki, Finland, Kiki of the "Bleeding Metal" podcast conducted an interview with ARCH ENEMY frontwoman and animal rights activist Alissa White-Gluz. Asked if her activism is part of her identity, Alissa said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I am an activist before I'm a musician even. That's really what drives me forward every single day, is hoping that in some way my existence on this planet can make it a little bit better for everybody else who is currently existing on the planet and who will exist in the future. And that's first and foremost animal rights."
Asked if she would describe that as her purpose in life then even, Alissa said: "I don't know if people have, like, a purpose in life. I think it's nice to think that we do. I don't really know if we actually do. I think someone's purpose in life can just be whatever they attach themselves to — you know, whatever drives them forward. It doesn't have to be some big grandiose thing. But with that definition, then yes, I would say that it's my purpose. Yeah."
As for what her activism entails, Alissa said: "For me, I mean, I don't look at it as a job or something that I can really detail out because if I did, I would do that and not this. So it's really just… Deep down inside, I love animals. I think it's amazing that we share this planet with so many different, uncountable species in the sky, in the water, on land, these amazing creatures. They look different than us. They have different abilities than us. I mean, a fish can just live underwater; we would drown. You know what I mean? Like, just even simple things like this. A bird just flies. They just jump off a building and then fly. I still have this childlike awe over animals that can do this. And I think it's so sad that we have built an industry that doesn't care about that and actually only cares about profiting off of exploiting animals. And so as much as possible, I like to just show people that you don't have to take part in those industries. You can actually still have all the things that you wanna have in life — everything that you like; your food, your makeup, your whatever — you can still have all those things without involving animals at all. And now, actually, I've been more and more involved in the tech space when it comes to this. So there's some really cool innovations happening in the tech space when it comes to the future of food and also just reducing animal testing."
Last year, during a question-and-answer session at the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany, White-Gluz was asked if it's difficult for her to maintain her lifestyle while she is on tour. She responded: "It super easy, actually, because I still party; I just don't intoxicate myself when I do it. But if other people wanna do that, that's their choice — it's up to them. Smoking, I'd like them to stay away 'cause I don't wanna breathe that in. But otherwise, it's really, really easy, actually. It's not even something that I think about. And actually, we have… In our tour bus, in our band and crew, I'm not the only sober one and I'm not the only vegan either, so I'm surrounded by a lot of different kinds of people and we all get along beautifully."
Two years earlier, White-Gluz explained why being vegan is definitely metal, telling the Mercy For AnimalsFacebook page: "So, I've been vegan for over 20 years now. I was vegan before I ever started in music. I've never eaten meat in my life. I grew up in a completely vegetarian household, so going vegan was just like the logical next step. And when I started doing music, there was nothing that I wanted to talk about more than animal rights. And so I was now using this heavy, passionate form of music to sort of convey a message that I wanted to. When I'm screaming in my band, I feel like I'm screaming for the voiceless. And I can't imagine being that loud if I had nothing to say.
"Being female, being vegan and also being straight edge in the metal world is just a combination of targets on my forehead that make it really easy for me to get singled out or pushed around," she continued. "But those are just things that are so much a part of who I am that I couldn't change them even if I wanted to. And I wouldn't — I wouldn't change for anyone.
"In my opinion, metal is all about rebellion — it's about carving your own path, thinking against what everyone's trying to make you think," Alissa added. "And veganism is the ultimate form of rebellion, because you are literally taking things that people have told you are normal that deep down inside you don't think are normal that you've been conditioned to accept about your day-to-day tasks, like eating or what you wear or what you choose to buy. Everyone says that that's normal, that you need to exploit other living beings for those things, but you don't. And so taking a stand against that is what veganism is. And that is really metal."
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