Lariyah Hayes is best known as the frontwoman of the melodic blackened metal band Khaotika. In addition to her work as a vocalist Hayes is also a supremely talented artist. After suffering a near-fatal van accident while touring last year Hayes was motivated to take her artistic pursuits another step: as a publisher in charge of a series of books showcasing the best artwork from the extreme underground (including a contribution from frequent Decibel cover photographer Ester Segarra). Hayes talked to Decibel about what’s planned for the Darkadya books and how she was motivated by her brush with death.
Can you tell us a bit more about the book project?
Darkadya is a series of books which showcase metal and film art and artists. The first book will be pressed only in the number of presales, without exception. It is a very special and limited edition, independently printed. One of the things that set apart Darkadya from any other publication is that profits from every single book sold go toward the featured artists, with nothing hidden.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea was born in one night when I (received) some great feedback on my art for one particular band, from an artist who is a trooper in this industry. (Later) I told a friend Nestor Avalos (featured in the first book) that I would love to put together a book with all dark artists together. He said: “What are you waiting for! Go for it!” The same night I thought of a name for the book and opened a Facebook page.
What’s going to be inside the books?
Each book will be different. In the first book, we have 50 artists featuring five of their pieces, plus Vincent Castiglia (who worked on Triptykon’s Eparistera Daimones) showcasing 11 pieces of his wide portfolio. The second book will feature 30 artists with 8 to 10 artworks and a spotlight artist. Each of the artworks has a description unless the artist prefers to leave pieces for the audience’s judgment. The focus of the book is on the artists; therefore, you will see their photograph and their biography. It was essential to give the light to the actual people who stand behind all this madness.
Many people who know you from your music don’t know about your artistic pursuits. Which came first, music or art?
Both came pretty equally in time. My family could not afford to send me to music school or to extra art classes, so I had my little radio to practice singing for school recitals. I didn’t have any mentor to teach me technique or drawing 101 so I was just figuring it all on my own. In my teenage years, I started my first band and decided to go to Technical University for architecture, where I finally got some basics. But that did not really change the way I did it. It was all my way.
Did the accident you suffered last year while touring motivate you to get this out?
Yes – this was the main cause. There comes a moment of your life when you no longer take anything for granted. Every second counts, and there is no time to waste. I don’t fear death; I will welcome it greatly when my time comes. But before that, I have a big debt to pay back. I was saved, and I want now to do something for this world, at least to a few who will care.
Which artist or collaborator was the biggest surprise?
I did not expect actual band members of the metal scene to become a part of it. Since I always go into a deep water and see if I can swim, I went ahead and emailed some of the musicians I admire not only from their music, but for their (other) talents. In the first book we feature Erik Danielsson of Watain, who for many years has worked on artwork not just for his band, but also for others under the name of Trident Arts (The Devil’s Blood, Degial, Ghost B.C. , and others). We have Gaahl of Wardruna, ex-Gorgoroth and Gaahl’s Wyrd featuring his mystic paintings. We have Venien of VON. In the second book, which will be come out later this summer, we have Seth Siro Anton of Septicflesh, Jonathan Hulten of Tribulation and more.
Your husband is also an artist — did he help you in any way with putting this together?
This is entirely my idea and I did not want anyone’s input, including his, as sometimes we have a different view on things. I can separate the world of privacy, where we are solely devoted to the family and to our faith, and the professional work, where music and art are exposed to the world. I’ve put the layout together and worked all marketing on it. I can work only at night while raising a one-year-old daughter, Lilith. My husband is a big help, indeed, but some things we must do separately, and this on one of them.