We were extremely fortunate to catch up last week with Simone van Straten, a seven string slinger from Sisters Of Suffocation. Simone is an accomplished metal guitarist, vegan and all around great person with zero ego! She graduated from the worlds first heavy metal school, Metal Factory, is endorsed by the Bo-El Guitar Company and has recently signed a deal with Napalm Records. Lets find out more and get down to the interview with Straten, on her band, the gear she uses and a real musicians life.
Simone van Straten Offical Interview
Please tell us where you’re originally from, what’s your musical background and how long have you been playing?
I’m born in Eindhoven and I still live here. I started playing guitar when I was 14/15 years old (now I’m 22). So I play for 7 years. When I started playing, I immidiately knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life (and for the rest of my life).
What’s the name of the band that your currently in and how do you make a living as a musician?
My band is called “Sisters Of Suffocation”. We are an old school death metal band and exist for 4/5 years now. We recently signed at Napalm Records, so a lot of cool stuff is coming up. 🙂
Besides the band, I work 4 days a week as a guitar teacher. So my whole life is music related. After high school, I studied at “Metal Factory”. It’s a music acadamy with metal as their main genre (really cool!!!).
I also love going to the gym, and I’m an instructor in group lessons like spinning, bodypump and stuff like that.
I used to do a lot of YouTube covers, but last year, we had a busy year with the band so I didn’t make a lot of new covers. In the future, there are plans to make more new videos!
What would you tell a guitarist who wants to get into metal to practice first?
My opinion is that you have to play what you really love. Start with simple songs from bands you like. When you start playing harder/faster songs, practise slowly with a metronome. And of course… technique is one of the most important things when you play metal. It’s always a good idea to take guitar lessons from a teacher who’s into metal so you make sure you’re doing it the right way. Theory isn’t necessary for playing guitar covers or writing music. It’s just useful when you want to play solos or want to know more about what you’re playing.
Who is/was your biggest influence on your playing, also did you start on a seven string or what made you switch?
In the beginning, my biggest influence was Eddie van Halen. When I heard ‘the Eruption’, I wanted to play guitar. I didn’t know that much metal bands. I didn’t even like the grunts hahaha. When I started playing, I discovered more bands and started listening to harder bands. In Flames was the first metal band I really loved (and still do). The switch to a 7-string was because I wanted to play in a B-tuning but also wanted to play lead-guitar. So a 7-string was the best option.
What bands are you currently following that inspire you ?
At the moment, I listen a lot to Dark Funeral, Belphegor, Leprous, Anaal Nathrakh, Soilwork and Ghost. (Yes, that’s a weird combination haha).
What is your favourite local record shop?
I don’t go to records stores very often, so when I buy a CD, I buy it at a concert or online.
What guitar(s) are you currently using and why did you choose it(them)?
I’m endorsed by Bo-El Guitar Company. It’s a dutch brand and I’m really happy to work with them. The guitars are really allround. They have a beautiful, warm clean sound and a really brutal distortion sound as well. With the Sisters, I play on a MC-7. But I have a few more guitars that I use for teaching and covering music. I also play on the S03-Kim and the MC-6.
Favourite stomp box that you cant live without?
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer overdrive! 🙂 It makes everything more brutal!
Where’s the best place to get a drink after a rehearsal?
In Eindhoven that’s café the Jack, but I often go to The Little Devil in Tilburg with my friends.
As a vegan do you find it hard to find places to eat on the road or do usually prepare your own food? (Noticed some very fine cooking on your instagram)
Haha really cool that you ask something about this. Well, it’s not that hard as long as you know what to eat. I always prepare my food at home before I go to work, so than it’s easy. Nowadays, there are also a lot of vegan restaurants because it’s becoming more popular to be vegan. When we have to play a show, we always get a vegan meal as well. So no, it’s easy! 🙂
Your best tip for any budding musician for life on the road?
Be healthy! Take good care of yourself, that’s so important. When you live healthy, you feel happy and energetic. That’s the way you enjoy life the most.
What’s the biggest thing we missed that we should have asked you?
Hahahaha hmm.. maybe my biggest/weirdest addiction. I mean, I can’t stop eating peanut butter… So I always make sure I have a can of peanut butter with me when I’m on the road hahaha. 🙂