It’s always a pleasure to get to talk to different, fascinating and friendly people in doing our “One-on-One” interview series. It becomes so much more special when you come into contact with someone, by chance, that you find out has a rich history both in life and in the modern Vampire culture.
I was fortunate enough to come into contact with just such a person. A member of our culture for 18 years now, a creative and artistic spirit who displays wit, warmth and a bubbly personality that comes across just in the words that appear on your monitor.
She is an artist, a musician, an author and she is a “Ronin”, among other things. It is with great pleasure, and gratitude for her time, that we present an interview with the extraordinary Soror Dark Vixen.
RVL: Good evening to you and thank you very much for agreeing to spend some time with us. I suppose that the first, and perhaps most common, question that artists would get is when and where did you first become interested, and involved in, artistic pursuits?
SDV: Good evening to you as well and thank you for having me. When it comes to my music, I have always seemed to have an ear for piano and strings. My neighbours all played piano, and one of my old childhood friends had a piano. One day my mother came to pick me up and I didn’t want to leave because my friend was trying to teach me heart and soul. They asked if I wanted to learn and of course I said YES. At the age of 8 they bought me my upright piano and I started lessons.
When it comes to my art work, naturally I grew up loving Disney princess and always drew, and never really did the stick figure thing. Art is more of a past time for me, but it was always my past time.
RVL: It is well known that you are among a large number of artistic people in the modern Vampire culture, in many diverse fields from literature, to hand arts, to music and to film making – what’s your favourite art form to work in?
SDV: I find my piano music the best form to release my emotions of which I can’t seem to put into words. When upset, or sad, or lonely my piano seems to give me most comfort. My drawings tend to adhere more to my fantasy side. Drawing what I can not be or wish would exist. Fantasy art if you will.
RVL: …and, for those who may not have chanced upon any of your work, how long have you been involved in art culture and its comings and goings?
SDV: I have been playing piano since I was 8. I went to lessons once a week until I was 16, and attended LaGuardia High School where I continued to study the written aspects of music, as well as attempted to learn the violin.When it comes to drawing, I attended a few childhood art classes where sadly to say I didn’t learn too much, just broadened my ideas for drawing. Drawing was more a hands on learning, which I started from the moment I could pick up a crayon.
RVL: …and how do you define, personally, your own art styles today?
SDV: Again for my artwork it is mostly fantasy. Such as people with super powers, catwomen. I experimented with painting and looked up to Bob Ross, but I always went back to my fantasy art.
I listen to all types of music from rap to classical, and even a few country songs. My inspirations however would be Philip Glass (the score for the Truman Show) and Enya. Anything that had a good melody to it would speak to me. It’s hard to say what my style is truthfully as I have studied all ranges of music, but if I had to choose one I would have to say New Age., and covers.
RVL: Without revealing any trade secrets, can you give us a little insight into what you are up to these days?
SDV: Unfortunately, when it comes to regular work I do nothing that pertains to my art side, however since buying my keyboard again I have gotten more into my piano playing again and have been composing more pieces which are slowly being added to Spotify and other music apps. My drawing is more so fallen back, however every now and then I randomly pick up a pen and just doodle.
RVL: …and, quite apart from any sort of ‘nightside’ influence, where else do you draw your inspirations from?
SDV: For music I tend to listen to songs and recreate them. My piano allows me to make tracks, where I can over lay voices, such as strings over piano, add drums, etc. Learning a basic song and adding to it to make it sound like an array of musicians playing is pleasurable to me. Some songs speak to me as far as the base goes, and that gives me the inspiration for some of my original composed pieces.
The first piece I ever published was called “Rise of the Phoenix”. It was a piece I started at the age of 15 or 16, right before I left home. It’s what I call my ‘GO TO’ piece. I later added to it and finalized it just in 2015. I wrote it when I was going through a lot of personal issues at home feeling separated from my family, and when I felt most vulnerable. It later became a song of my strength and who I became now, despite all my trials and errors in life. Rise from the ashes and become anew.
RVL: Where can our readers view your work and do you have an outlet for retail?
SDV: I do have a YOUTUBE channel at Darvixen P Asura
As well as a channel/ account with Spotify for those who have a Spotify account.at
I am found on amazon music and other apps, however these two are my more commonly found for free.
RVL: Do you have a favourite piece, or pieces of work amongst what you have done so far?
SDV: “Dawn” is my favourite so far. I was in a zone, and honestly do not remember playing it or even recording it for that matter. I was going through a lot when I wrote this piece as well.
RVL: What advice would you give to any budding artists looking to get their own work ‘out there’?
SDV: You are your own worst critic. What ever you are writing, drawing, or playing, do it from your heart. Always let it come from your own emotions and never let anyone tell you “you aren’t enough.” The world is large and if you find the right means, you can get your work put out there world-wide. Someone will appreciate the work that you do.
RVL: Do you consciously confine yourself to one or two art forms at a time or do you like to explore and create as the whim takes you?
SDV: I go where the wind takes me. From drawing, to music, to candle making, to cooking. To tattooing to origami. Art and music is the universal language. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, and I never understood it until I composed my first piece.
RVL: Do you find, or think, there is a large niche within the modern nightside culture for the expression and appreciation of art such as you produce or, do you think too much has gone the way of “instant gratification” to the point where many are losing the ability or desire to really appreciate physical art pieces?
SDV: Surprisingly although the nightside in some cases have lost the original meaning of whom we are, I think our individual “art” side comes out most. For those who dress to the extreme their personality comes out through their clothes, their hair, their choice of fangs, their makeup. We portray our inner self through how we choose to dress. For those in houses and have ankhs that they wear around their necks, each ankh represents their house and what that individual house wants to represent. For example, House Noctem Aeternus associates themselves with the gargoyle. They watch over the scene/community; hence the gargoyle is incorporated in their ankhs.
Pride of Asura are the descendants of Macphee and Sabretooth and incorporate the lions and Sabertooth blade in their ankhs. Art is all around us, as it should be. Art is self-gratification as it is a means for us to let out a side of us, yet it is more a gift then most realize because so many share the same thoughts and do not realize it either.
His eyes are always watching and listening with ears. His movements so cautious, in all he sees and hears
She soars through the air, leaving her trail of fire and flames. To catch her attention would mean to catch and to tame.
She stays high above looking down at all her prey And knows no matter what she will rise another day.
The two worlds almost never meet, especially amongst these two. However, somehow crossing paths, and having a new life to view.
For he is the protector and strength, the side of her she desperately seeks. And she is the fire and the light in his life.
Only in his eyes to see.
For her fiery heart, his ice cold wall melts.
But to be seen together, not a soul would comprehend. So to ignore their new alliance, their minds must pretend. Pretend they didn’t meet.
Pretend they don’t care and shield their immortal bond…
A deed they don’t dare but between the two souls their worlds have now mixed forevermore
For he is her Lion and she his Phoenix…”
RVL: When you aren’t creating the art yourself what forms of art do you like to kick back and enjoy?
SDV: My music is my release. I go nowhere without my music. Music speaks to me and sometimes you can truly relate to a specific song or artist.
RVL: What would you say is the most “extreme” art form you have ever embraced, or moved in the circles of?
SDV: I can’t say my artwork is extreme per se. My music I have finally learned to embrace and become more confident to share. I have always moved in a circle of musicians. From school, to free stylers, to randomly finding common desires with peers and family. To some, my tatting you could say is an extreme, but I am still learning that skill to say the least.
The only thing I can say is extreme was aiding in the design of the Asura ankh and lion logo they use. Which to me is not so much extreme but an honour and accomplishment.
RVL: Naturally, we would like to touch, at least once or twice, upon your knowledge and history within the nightside culture; do you identify as a modern living Vampire?
SDV: Absolutely, maybe a little old school, so dare I say I am a living vampire solely, or as I prefer to say I am Vampyre.
RVL: …and when did you become aware of your own “true nature”?
SDV: From the first moment I can remember I knew I was different. I envied the life of a mystical vampire. I loved the dark and loved the mystery.
RVL: Where did you first learn of the modern living Vampire culture?
SDV: It wasn’t until 1999 where I met Crow of House of Three Skulls that I learned there was such a lifestyle and community. I ended up meeting a friend who owned Father Sebastiaan’s book “V” where I was fascinated by the writing and the concepts of the lifestyle. From there I later met other community members and instantly felt I was home.
RVL: May we ask, do you consider your introduction to the ‘nightside’ to have been relatively easy and naturally smooth or did you have difficulty adjusting to the new you?
SDV: The first time I saw someone with fangs and the ‘looks’ I was in awe. I didn’t fear them, I didn’t find it strange… I admired them for two reasons. They had the courage to stand out and be who they were, and they found a way to show who they were. Again, I felt home. I felt I finally found where I was meant to me. So in regards to officially answering your question, I found it naturally smooth. Almost drawn to it. As if everything I went through in life was meant to bring me “here”.
RVL: What are some of your earliest, fond memories of the culture and your passage into it?
SDV: When I first walked into the community I saw closeness. I made a lot of long lasting friendships. There were a lot who struggled in life, or in Gotham, and everyone looked out for each other. One ate, we all ate. There seemed to be an instant bond to those you met. Hidden Shadow parties, flesh theatres, a place where I never felt awkward and was around my kind. Those were the some of the best moments I’ve had.
RVL: You would undoubtedly have come into contact with some prominent people in those days, are there any who stand out in your memory as being among your biggest influence then, and perhaps even now?
SDV: There are many others I have met along the way, and unfortunately although I may not communicate with them anymore, I value anyone I met. I was Ronin for the first 15 years of my vampiric life and I was mentored along the way by so many. Ali is one I have to say I cherish the most. He has been making my fangs for the past 16 years and the day I met him I was in a horrible jam. He saved my life and to this day, even if I only get to see him when a set needs to be made, he mentors me as well and I can tell him anything and everything.
Father Sebastiaan made my first set of fangs in the little cubicle of Halloween Adventures in 2000. Although I cannot agree with the celebrity lifestyle he chose for himself, I cannot deny the heritage and who he is… or was. However, one prefers to refer it to him.
My sire, Lord Shaolin, I met many years later, and although we have our moments, he is one I always turn to when I need…even if we argue because I don’t like his answers. We share a bond that can never be understood or broken.
Lord Traveler is my brother and best friend. He is my mentor at best and I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
My uncle, Lord Ryu, has been there for me without ever meeting me in person, yet I value the bond we share and the advice he gives.
RVL: When you look around you, in the modern Vampire culture, what advice would be tempted to offer?
SDV: Learn your history. Remember why we first began and what we were meant to represent. If you choose to be a member of a house look around first and never be too quick to join until you know that house is truly meant for you. What can they offer you, as well as what can you offer them.
Choose your sire wisely. It is not the person who introduced you to the community. Your sire has to WANT you as much as you want them. It is a two-way street. Make sure your sire is someone you can bond with. They are with you for life. You must be able to submit to them as well as stand up to them for your own beliefs. If you are truly a Vampyre then you have your whole life ahead of you to find where you belong. Don’t be too quick to fight for a spot in a house, or a sire’s life, or a title. YOU ARE A VAMPYRE NO MATTER WHAT.
RVL: If we turn to your own case now, you are a “Ronin”, that is generally understood as meaning you have no allegiance to any particular House, Haven or other Organisation, may we ask, when did you decide that “Ronin” was the right path for you?
SDV: Part of me being Ronin for the first 15 years was not necessarily by choice. I was very weary on what was wanted of me to join and wanted to make sure that I completely got along with the family as well as vice versa.
Now, I realized that there are a lot of hidden politics that I just don’t want to deal with. Titles and what not. Being part of a house if not for everyone and that ok. You still make family, you still have houses you bond with most but you are not committed to that house and their rules.
RVL: What is your personal philosophy of Modern Vampirism? How do you define modern Vampirism?
SDV: Living vampyres are not the undead. We do not need blood to survive (as our only means). We are not immortal, stab anyone through a heart with a wooden stake we are all going to die. To me it is a lifestyle. We still need other means to feed and energize ourselves, whether it is sex, psychological, blood, etc. From my experience we tend to be able to see far past what is just laid in front of us and can see deeper on a spiritual level.
RVL: What is that is the most important aspect of being a “Ronin” to you?
SDV: Truthfully to me it’s not about whether or not it is important to be a ronin or not. There are many ups and downs to being a ronin as well as being part of a house. It is however, important to be a ronin before you consider doing anything else. I personally suggest you spend at least a year being a ronin before even considering being part of anything else. You MUST learn who your friends are and who your enemies are. You must learn what you are capable of doing for your community as yourself before bringing others into your life. What can you possibly bring a house if you have no understanding of what it’s like to be on your own? Have your mentors. Learn what the community is about and who you are as a vampyre vs a person. Understand what makes you a vampyre, or other kin. How can you honestly bring anything to the table if you do not know yourself?
RVL: What one piece of information would you give, personally, to any youngster newly entering the modern Vampire culture?
SDV: Take your time and make sure the culture is truly what you are ready for. No matter if you decide to be ronin, or member of a house there are always rules and regulations. There are always certain laws that one must abide… and if you are not ready for that then don’t commit to the community as either. Ronin’s play a huge part of the community as well as house members, elders, etc. They are the community. You can not run a kingdom without people to live in it. You can not be a boss without anyone willing to work for you. TO lead you must learn how to follow as well.
RVL: Thank you very much indeed for sharing your art, thoughts, advice and insights with us today Soror Dark Vixen you are truly a credit to your Sire and to your mentors and a wonderfully easy person to talk to, and with. We greatly appreciate your time indeed, it has been an absolute delight speaking with you.
SDV: Likewise, it’s an honour to be considered for such an interview and I hope that all Ronin’s and new comers have a better idea of what it’s about.
Preparing this presentation was a wonderful experience, for two main reasons, I got to chat with… a number of times now, Dark Vixen, and I got to chat with another person from the Gotham Halo, literally the place that the modern Vampire culture in the United States was born. Believe me when I say, this interview could have gone on much, much longer.
As I said in the introduction, when you are in touch with this lady in such a manner you actually get to feel the passion, energy and “vibe” coming at you in waves. Her accomplishments speak volumes, her artistic expression is first rate and in this, as well as in her general locale, she provides us a splendid example of the majority of the good folks in the modern culture. Personally, I hope that Lady M and I can get to the “Big Apple” one day and hang out with the amazing Soror Dark Vixen.
Copyright RVL and Dark Vixen, 2018 (all images, poetry, music and artwork copyright of Soror Dark Vixen unless otherwise noted)
With gratitude and deepest respects to Lord Prince Shaolin Asura-MacPhee and Lord- Traveler Asura-Macphee for their good offices and valuable cooperation in the preparation of this interview.
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