ROCKET Interviews Vocalist Phoebe Pinnock Of HEAVEN THE AXE

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Australia’s HEAVEN THE AXE has become one of the hottest names in the underground metal scene. The band released their debut album ‘Sex, Chugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll’ in September of 2011 and since have continued to display their explosive live show for countless fans in their homeland. Between 2011 and 2014, they performed at the Summernats car festival held in Canberra, Australia. Later in 2014, HEAVEN THE AXE wrote and performed the theme song for the popular Australian comedy reality television series titled ‘Bogan Hunters’. With tons of potential and a pissed off attitude it’s no wonder this ass kicking unit is now beginning to become known around the rest of the world.

THE METAL DEN’s Randy “Rocket” Cody has conducted an interview with vocalist Phoebe Pinnock of HEAVEN THE AXE for his loyal Den Headz around the globe.


ROCKET: Where were you born and raised?

PHOEBE: I was born and raised in a working class city called Wagga Wagga, NSW. It’s a place with its own culture I guess, halfway between Melbourne and Sydney. There wasn’t a lot “to do” as a teenager so I picked up the guitar and taught myself from watching recorded music videos to see how the artists held their hands on the fretboard. I write basic songs n give them to Steve who is a maniac on the Axe and the band who are all such talented and amazing guys!! Steve Watts, (guitarist) and I moved to Melbourne a few years ago to follow our dream in makin this band a reality. Melbourne is rock city capital with a capital ROCK.

ROCKET: Do you recall your first rock concert?

PHOEBE: Hmmm… I think it was Red Hot Chili Peppers, I was in a crowd of about 20,000 people and I swear Anthony Keidis looked at me. It was when I blinked but I swear it.


ROCKET: When did you first start singing?

PHOEBE: When I was 6 years old I joined a singing and dancing school called “Harlequins” I loved it and it began a lifelong passion. The sequined lycra baby! I remember even then being unstoppable about it. I had a broken arm and performed a song and dance with a microphone and the broken arm in a plaster cast. Which I would still do today but probably tjuzz it up a little.

ROCKET: Who are some of your biggest vocal influences?

PHOEBE: I know metal and rock fans may crucify me but Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston were huge influences.To me they are the Eddie Van Halen of vocal technique. I come from a family that couldn’t really afford much vocal training, so I spent my evenings after school wailing with the divas on my CD player annoying the neighbours. Now tho, I listen to a lot of metal cos I love it and that’s the tribe I belong to in my heart and to implement my phrasing in my songwriting, especially Corey Taylor. Because I come from a female diva programming and I put a lot of focus on switching gears so to speak when going from singing to gravel vox, I have to pay particular attention to phrasing in my songwriting so it respects the qualities that great hard rock and metal brings cos I like to follow where the emotion of the lyrics take me. I get carried away in that moment but to me that’s what makes a great vocalist.


ROCKET: How did HEAVEN THE AXE form as a band?

PHOEBE: When I was 13 I saw a hot guy driving a panel van and cranking metal. I was totally WOW. I went straight home and wrote my first song called “Hey Mr Bad News I wanna See The Back Of Your Panel Van”. Later on, I saw Steve thrashing it out in his metal band Manticore, who were really popular, but I was too young to get into gigs so I used to watch through the windows of the pub. When Steve asked me to make a band with him I was starstruck and so excited. I played him “Hey Mr Bad News” and told him the story. Turns out it was him driving the panelvan that day and we have hung around each other like a bad smell ever since. We started as a band in 2009 when we moved to Melbourne and because of Steves reputation, the toughest baddest guys ever wanted to join. I just cuddle them and cook them dinner and yell at them and it all works out. We are friends first. We have an interchangeable line up cos hey, life happens. And the dynamic between the players is all really supportive. If someone cant do a show or a tour, the other steps in and that’s why we include each player in the video clips, cutting from one drummer to the next for example. Its not right for everyone, but in this day and age we all like to think it’s the ideal situation.

ROCKET: What is it like to be in a band with your husband? Do you get into many disagreements?

PHOEBE: He jokes that he wears the pants cause I tell him he can. We are both huge driving forces within the band and we have “departments” to take care of. We used to disagree on the songwriting because were both very driven in that department but now we trust each others judgements and communicate about it. He’s very talented and I fully believe in his magic. Were so committed to succeeding in all areas of our life we really communicate well on ALL topics. We are really really close and weve done a lot of work on learning how to communicate which really helped us in a big way. it it a pretty intense once in a lifetime kinda deal. Love is important in the world! When we first moved to Melbourne a record label owner said “Make sure no one knows youre married!” BULLSHIT. That label went out of business. Sure in the past it was appealing to create the illusion of a independent chick doing it all on her own, and many chicks do. And then in the 90s and 2000s it was all about pure sex. You can see straight through it in todays era. People want authenticity in their fantasy and we’ve always been genuine in our songwriting so that’s who we are our best fans cant get enough of it. Hes an excellent songwriting muse too. Im doing this as a woman with her husband of 15 years and bringing a team of blokes I call my family with me. He knows his shit and hes great at what Im not great at and vice versa. Plus Ive never seen a better looking metal head in my life. If he cuts his hair I’m leaving though. Hi Steve! 😉


ROCKET: Let’s discuss the debut album by HEAVEN THE AXE released in 2011 entitled “Sex, Chugs & Rock N Roll”. How has the reaction been with the fans overall?

PHOEBE: Oh man, we cant believe it. Truly humbled. Its crazy to think you can record a song and put it on the internet and then people know who you are. It gets a good run on Australian TV shows too which is super cool and we’ve worked hard creating those opportunities. You will be just hanging at home with the TV on in the background and think “Hang on…I know that riff!” We are truly grateful for everyone of our fans that’s joined us and the support the world provides to us.

ROCKET: You self-release your music. If a major record label came along and wanted to sign your band to a big contract would you consider signing with them or will you always put out albums on your own?

PHOEBE: It would entirely depend on the people, the circumstances and the plans. If we liked what they were about and they could help us get our music to more people around the world without fisting us up the ass then we would certainly be open to it. We don’t do dickheads in our life. We don’t work with people we cant communicate with and that can be hard for some people whos egos are more important than true connection to other human beings doing what they love also. We have only one rule and that’s “You just gotta do what you said youd do”. I’m fearless in saying what I really think and that can put some people off, but if you cant speak you cant create and wed always be open to collaborating with people who are likeminded and are passionate about their skills. The band is very busy and often all the ideas I have to create I just cant fit in my day. In life when you get to a certain level you have to build a team. Theres a certain magic that is created when the project that you are creating is born out of love rather that because you are paid to do it. Its like the universe provides a way if you truly believe no matter how much cash you throw at it when it comes to creating art.


ROCKET: How does the songwriting process work for the band?

PHOEBE: The songs in the past have mainly began as a basic acoustic song with basic chords, lyrics and melody which is usually the essence of a good song traditionally. Or they have come from Steve riffing out or by friends contributing. Because we have an extended band, music comes from so many sources. Were getting our best ideas together in solid form in the studio and jam room where we are now having some great jams and a lot of laughs. We just keep going until someone says SHIT I gotta be up for work in three hours! The band where it is right now is on fire.


ROCKET: Does your band have any equipment sponsors?

PHOEBE: Sure, We are fortunate to be supported by brands including Miessence Organics (an amazing global health and beauty company and we cant live without their products on tour, definitely a secret weapon), Schecter Guitars, Digitech, and RMV Strings. Were really fortunate to have attracted a number of helpers in the music industry and people who help who aren’t a brand, just people who believe in what we do and can offer what they do. Everybody is good at something that others aren’t so good at and everyone is valued.

ROCKET: HEAVEN THE AXE wrote and performed the theme song for the popular Australian television series Bogan Hunters. How did that all come about?

PHOEBE: Man those guys are unstoppable. We just sent them our music and then we got an email and it just kept going through a whole bunch of their productions including Housos, Housos VS Authority the Movie, Bogan Hunters and Fat Pizza VS Housos the movie. Theyre pretty iconic in Australia, its massively offensive and uncomfortable and equally as hilarious to watch which makes it stand out and have a huge cult following.


ROCKET: Who are your favorite heavy metal bands that you listen to the most?

PHOEBE: My favourite band is a band from Tasmania called Mustang. Their album “HotManVenom” is on iTunes and I cant stop listening to it. We also love Napalm Death, Dead Kelly, Slipknot, He Is Legend, Revocation, Halestorm and Aborted.

ROCKET: Is HEAVEN THE AXE writing material for a new album?

PHOEBE: Hell yeah! We are in the studio every week recording pre-production versions of the music at the moment and also an acoustic set. Were currently on the hunt for a producer who will work with us when the songs are ready to go to the next level which is yesterday.

ROCKET: Your band tours around Australia currently. I understand you played 2 years in a row at Street Machines Summernats Car festival (100,000 attendees). What is it like to play in front of the larger crowds compared to the smaller clubs?

PHOEBE: Yes, weve played a lot of shows around the country which has been a lot of fun and were really humbled by the people who come to our shows! Aw man, Summernats is its own beast. We don’t play on the big stage, we have a whole bar of our own to take over and its wild! We run on the tables and get right in peoples faces, interact and really put on a show. We have made a lot of friends at that festival.

ROCKET: Will your band be touring America in the future?

PHOEBE: We would love that.


ROCKET: What other bands in hard rock/heavy metal would you like to share the stage with?

PHOEBE: I would have to say Steel Panther, those guys are adorable maniacs and have been so kind in support of our music. Were supporting Butcher Babies on Web 25th Feb when they are here in Australia for Soundwave.

ROCKET: How do you get warmed up before a show? Do you do any vocal exercises?

PHOEBE: Yes, I do. I do something the guys call the “Velociraptor”. It’s a vocal aerobics scale whirring my tongue and sounds really annoying. You can imagine the guys love it when were all crammed in the tour vehicle on the way to perform. If my throat is recovering from a hectic gig the night before Ill use a “health bong” which is a steamer and its fantastic and do lots of warm ups as well as get my energy up by going for a run or a walk. After a show Ill take a few minutes to warm down, so when I go out and talk to the audience Im not raking a tractor across my vocal chords. Its important to warm down with a reverse Velociraptor…

ROCKET: I also understand there is an entire Melbourne gym branded in your honour based on Rock Aerobics! I think that rocks! How did this all get started?

PHOEBE: Man, its amazing. It so cool! They have rock aerobics, air guitar aerobics, hula hoop, pink boxing and all kinds of cool stuff. You can do Sculptallica (which is Pilates to Metallica and other cool bands) and basically all the workouts are done to wicked hard rock bands. Plus they have their own rock clothing lines and you can get totally get dressed uo and wear a lycra g-banger onesie (sequined too!) to the training. Its called Alternative Womens Fitness and you can check it out here:

ROCKET: What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about women that front a heavy metal band?

PHOEBE: Where do I start? I normally get asked this question about what its like being a woman in a hard rock band and I have in the past not noticed any roadblocks other than “You cant call yourself a female fronted band its all MUSIC!” stuff like that. But we are what we are, a female fronted hard rock band and no matter how hard you try to make it MUSIC judged on its own merits there will always be that category as much as people don’t want it to exist or they do? You sometimes feel like you get more attention in some ways but some times you are categorized and disregarded as a novelty or “attraction”. Novelty? I been playing guitar and writing songs with boys in bands since I was 13. Im masculine in my approach to the work I guess you could say.

I deserve to be here just as much as the next long haired metal head like other hard working musicians who happen to have a vagina and tits. It’s a non issue to me, its what I do, but its funny how its perceived especially when you present your best feminine side. We deserve to be judged on our music and whether we are bringing the crowds in and if we are putting on a kick ass show! You also feel pressure to look a certain way and I look at my band mates and they never feel like they are judged for their personal appearance, as a woman you feel pressure to live up to an image or a body type. But FUQ that, where would the world be without women in rock standing up and screaming to go and get FUQED. Our fans want heart and not a fainting waif which I will never EVER be.

Sure I like my hair blonde, but so what? Im a blonde – doesn’t mean I cant rock and sing metal! Im a totally astrological hippy and I plan my band management around planetary transits like that chick in Spinal Tap and Ill be FUQed if Im gonna let a mans opinion get in the way of what my gut instinct, or womans instinct says it right. And my band listens to me because of respect that goes both ways.


ROCKET: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

PHOEBE: I would like to be able to say I released some absolute kick ass music, inspired a bunch of people by what we say and sing about and how we went after our dreams, toured the world and gave it my all. To be fit and healthy, have shared it with the people I love the most and have my own business which is true to my values and makes a massive passive income.

ROCKET: What are some of the upcoming gigs in 2015 for HEAVEN THE AXE?

PHOEBE: We are supporting Butcher Babies at Cherry Bar in Melbourne on Wed 25 February and then are playing Hammersonic Festival with Lamb Of God, Warbringer, Unearth The Faceless and more in Jakarta Indonesia on Sun March 8.

ROCKET: Where is the best place for fans to buy your music and merchandise?

PHOEBE: Visit our site:

ROCKET: Thanks for rocking this out with me. Best of luck with your music! Any last words for the fans?

PHOEBE: Thanks so much to our fans who take the time to shore our music to their friends and tweet/facebook us.

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