“It’s black, it’s death… and it’s incredible,” Cammie Gilbert tells me from somewhere in the city of my birth.
You might think she’s describing her band, Oceans of Slumber, or their upcoming eponymous album, or a particular cut on the record. But you’d only be partially correct. She’s actually telling me about the controlled burns prescribed in the Sam Houston National Forest, about an hour north of the megalopolis that bears the name of the first president of the Republic of Texas, and near which the father of Ms Gilbert’s bandmate and companion Dobber Beverly lives
“It gives nature the chance to renew,” Ms Gilbert continues, unraveling some of the densely packed critiques the scorching “Pray for Fire” levels. “From there we get green, and new saplings. There are certain trees that need the flames for their seeds to take.”
But first, it must all be destroyed.
It isn’t just the Oceans of Slumber sound, or their absolutely devastating songs, that set them apart. Ms Gilbert is not afraid to redirect the attention she receives towards the reality in which much of her country’s black population live. Just in the past few months, she has penned an op-ed for Kerrang; contributed to a Consequence of Sound piece that also included black members of Alice in Chains, Body Count, and others; and partook in a photoshoot that involved her, a white dress, and a noose.
Then there was that Billie Holiday cover. Fucking wow, dude.
Ms Gilbert does resent sometimes being seen as a spectacle simply for being one of the few black women in metal. But, despite being in a band with three Latinos and a Turk, “many times I’m the only person of color at our shows.” Undeterred by that she adds, “my goal is to make something that speaks to as many people as possible. There are so many ways to feel the same emotion, and there are so many experiences that will make you feel the same emotion. And that,” she asserts, “is what ties us all together.”
Cammie sat down to talk to Sonic Perspectives scribe Gonzalo Pozo on a recent afternoon. Listen on and enjoy their chat below, full of interesting information and details about the band’s upcoming self-titled record. For more interviews and other daily content, make sure to follow Sonic Perspectives on Facebook, Flipboard and Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified about new interviews and contents we publish on a daily basis.