We wanted to kick off this series of features about memorable style and fashion with someone who along with her band Death Koolaid screams authenticity and originality. Siren Sycho may be small but on stage she is a giant. Her punk metal credentials are only enhanced by her unique look. The snarling screaming Sycho it turns out is actually rather softly spoken when she’s not fronting her band.
You have a very memorable style. What are your first memories of experimenting with an alternative look?
“Probably when I was at school at about 13 or 14, some old friends moved to my school and they were really alternative. They were gothic and grunge. Then I started hanging out with their friends and they were all metal. So they all influenced me. And music obviously as well.”
Was their anyone you saw and just thought wow that’s for me?
“Brody Dalle, Courtney Love and The Runaways…….and Nikki Six haha. Films too like The Craft, that was a big influence on me when I was younger”
Are there any current artists who you think have a memorable style even if they’re not your thing?
“Not really. I’m not really down with new music. There are a few models on Instagram that I follow that I think look cool. People like Storm Kitty (who I’ve modelled with), Rottenmorgue, Morgin Riley Razor Candy and Alloyash.”
With you look and make up what do you use? Do you stick with the same brands or experiment with new ones?
“I usually stick with the same ones except for lipstick which I do experiment with because I don’t wear it that often. I only really wear it for photo shoots or gigging. Maybe different foundations too. I use L’Oreal mascara, the white and black ones, L’Oreal liquid eye liner and Rimmel pencil eye liner. I use Rimmel foundations and Max Factor liquid foundations.”
Do you wear the same products on stage and off stage?
“For band stuff yes, like a photo shoot I would wear the same make up, but not elsewhere.”
Do you have a favourite item of make up you can’t do without?
Hair wise you change your hair round quite regularly, you’ve had dreads and early on you also had corn rows but the white colour and length is a constant. Do you think from a band image point of view it’s important to maintain that level of continuity?
“I had my hair cut quite short about three years ago and I haven’t had it cut since. I don’t think it’s that important to keep continuity. A lot of artists change their hair style. I think it’s good to have a different look. I still do get cornrows now and then. My friend does them for me. I used to go to a hair dressers in London but I found someone that would do it for free.”
You said you’ve been growing your hair out for three years. Do you do anything to it to keep it in good shape?
“I don’t really look after my hair that much, I wash it once as month and I bleach it so it’s not in great condition. I should use hair masks but I don’t. I abuse my hair.”
So product wise you just pretty much use shampoo?
“And hairspray. I also use a protector for when I’m drying or straightening my hair.”
With stage clothing do you choose a balance between style and practicality or do you just go for style alone?
“I used to be more about style but now I’ve got older I kind of want to be a bit more comfortable. About three years ago I was quite ill so I lost quite a bit of weight so I didn’t want to wear such provocative clothes but I’m better now and have put on a bit of weight so maybe I’ll go back to not wearing as much on stage. That time over the last couple of years I have wanted to cover up a bit more.”
Where do you source your clothes from, and boots? Also you’re very petite so do you find that an advantage or disadvantage when out clothes shopping?
“Kind of both, it’s a disadvantage because it’s hard to find small clothes. But then I can shop in the teen section and it’s cheaper. Like at New Look I don’t fit into any of their clothes. It’s a reason why I customise stuff because I can make it fit better because a lot of stuff is way too big.”
Have you ever thought of customising clothes for other people as well?
“I have but I don’t have the motivation to do that at the minute. I’ve always wanted to do that but I spend a lot of time doing my own clothes. By the time that’s done I can’t be bothered to do anything else. Shelly D’Inferno is a good example. She’s done designs and stuff for me that I wear. I take a lot of influence from her.”
You’re heavily tattooed, have lots of piercings and wear coloured contact lenses for shows. Do you think it’s important to go that extra mile looks wise for shows?
“Yes, because you want to look at something interesting on stage. If you don’t make an impression then people probably aren’t going to remember you. If you’re wearing plain clothes that aren’t original people won’t remember that so it’s good to have an individual style.”
With Death Koolaid the whole band dress up for gigs but as the vocalist are you still conscious that you are the focal point?
“Yes. Even though they are by the side of me pretty dressed up everyone is going to mainly focus on the vocalist.”
While your stage style is a natural extension of you do you carry that look away from the band? Do you dress and look the same on a night out?
“I don’t really wear what I wear on stage for a night out unless it’s Halloween. I don’t wear eye contacts unless I’m on stage. I still wear fishnets and big boots if I’m going out but the make up is not as much.”
Do you have a favourite photograph of yourself or Death Koolaid that captures you or the band perfectly?
“Yes I do. It’s one from when we played Camden Rocks at The Good Mixer. There’s photo which I think captures the live vibe. It was quite a good gig even though the amps were falling over, it was packed and really tiny. Everyone had a really good time. We didn’t play that well but it was a really good atmosphere.”
You’ve got a very cool look but who do you think would be the best person to play you in a film?
“Maybe Chloe Grace Moretz from Kick Ass. She would be quite cool. No actresses would have tattoos or piercings so you would have to imagine them like that. Or Margot Robbie from Suicide Squad, who played Harley Quinn. Or Nancy from The Craft who was played by Fairuza Balk.”
As you get older will you accept the march of time or stay bad ass as long as possible?
“I want to stay bad ass for as long as possible. I’m not that young now but people always say I look young. I think that’s partly because I dress young. I probably just keep it like this for as long as I can but I don’t want to make it to an old folks home.”
Chats and snaps by Gary Trueman.
Live photo by Jeff Moh