by Shane Lange:
Whether it makes you frown like a grumpy cat or grin like a Cheshire, everyone’s favourite winter massacre is here – it’s Valentine’s Day again. Serving as your personal Candyman, DarkMedia brings “sweets to the sweet”, via our interview with the mistress of dark culinary arts and the mastermind responsible for Metalcakes cupcakes, Kathy Bejma.
Cupcake artistry has grown in popularity over the last several years – a quick Google search yields over 100 million results – so perhaps it was only natural that bakers would eventually turn to the dark arts for inspiration. Metalcakes raises its horned spatula to the sounds of heavy metal, with themed creations around individual songs by various bands – there is the English toffee-flavoured Iron Maiden recipe, “22 Minutes to Cupcakes”; the faux-studded Judas Priest treat, “Hell Bent for Cupcakes”; or the strawberry-flavoured Black Sabbath masterpiece, “Cupcakes Bloody Cupcakes”. Evident throughout all of the recipes posted on her blog is Bejma’s wicked sense of humour, and Metalcakes makes baking for the devil a sinfully delicious (and hilarious) activity.
February is Women in Horror Month, which is an opportunity for women in the film industry to recognize their contributions, achievements, and challenges. You went to school for film editing and you’re a self-professed horror fan – what appeals to you about dark music and film?
It’s an outlook on life I can identify with. It’s rough out there, life is suffering. So I turn to music and film for an escape. Horror in particular helps me keep things in perspective. No matter how awful my day has been, when I watch a horror film, I’m reminded that it can always be worse. At least no one is chasing me with a chainsaw or trying to harvest my organs at that particular moment.
Did you ever edit a horror film while you were in school, or since?
No, unfortunately I have never edited a horror film. Although one time, for a class I was in called “Editing the Commercial,” I did turn some footage of a corpse on a gurney from an anti-drug public service announcement, into a grim ad for a funeral home. “10,000 Years” by High on Fire made the perfect soundtrack.
Horror remakes – yea or nay?
NAY! Stop ruining everything! Get off your lazy caboose and come up with some new ideas!
Sound design and music are often overlooked as key components of horror films (with some notable exceptions, of course, e.g. The Exorcist and Halloween.) Is there a metal band you’d like to see score a film? Is there any particular horror film that made a lasting impression on you?
Personally I’d like to hear Dragged Into Sunlight score a film. They used a lot of really great dialog samples on Hatred For Mankind, so I bet they’d be able to make a killer soundtrack to a brutal, well-written, dark, horror film.
The first horror soundtrack that really scared me, was Jaws. Totally brilliant, to say the least. Especially that one scene where you hear the music, and that guy is trying to swim back to the dock as fast he can. He makes it unharmed, and you never see the shark, so the only clue you have that he was ever in danger, was the music. I still wonder if the shark was really there or not.
Friday the 13th (oooh choo choo, ahh cha cha), and Goblin’s soundtrack to Suspiria are a couple of others I really admire. They add a whole different level to those films. Watching those films on mute, would be far less terrifying.
Favourite horror film? What film has scared you the most (either as an adult or as a child)?
My favorite horror film of all time is Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There is nothing I don’t love about that film: Insane, out of work slaughterhouse employees, a discussion about quality head cheese, the room of bones, Franklin, eyeball closeups, the meat shooting out of Leatherface’s thigh when he accidentally nicks himself… It’s nothing short of genius!!
When I was little, Poltergeist scared me a lot, but I still watched it an insane number of times, thoroughly warping myself until the end of time.
As an adult, I will admit that it always takes me about a week to recover after watching The Exorcist. From all the horrible medical tests they put Regan through, to the end where they never really defeat the demon that possessed her. Sure, after it kills Father Merrin, it jumps into Father Karras and he throws himself out the window, but as he’s laying there dying, he signals that he wants his last rites. If he was still possessed, he’d never do that. WHERE DID THE DEMON GO!? Tuck your pant legs into your socks!!!
I usually have to sleep with the lights on for a few nights afterwards. Plus I grew up Catholic (Catechism in elementary school, church every Sunday) so I know all those prayers. They don’t talk about Satan or demons in great detail in those settings, so watching a movie that makes them a living, breathing, reality that can physically hurt you, is pretty fucking scary.
Your “gateway band” and introduction to metal was High on Fire, a group well-known for its sludgy stoner-metal sound; it’s often been said that certain substances allow people to “see” music and “hear” colours – can you “taste” a song before you create the recipe for it? How do you choose flavours for each band?
Most flavors are just a silly pun like “Beneath the Cookies and Cremains” or “Don’t Break the Yolk,” other flavors are inspired by the look of an album cover (Cibophobia Cakes, Sweetest Curse Cakes). Sometimes I use ingredients that represent where the band is from, Cassata cake for The Secret, apple pie cake for American Heritage, etc. But the only time I’ve ever really used an ingredient that represented a band’s sound was molasses for Weedeater.
Do particular flavours correspond to a particular genre of metal better than others?
Black Cocoa works well for particularly evil Black Metal bands, and anything that has to be beaten or whipped for a good amount of time, works really well for Thrash Metal bands.
You’ve brought cupcakes to some of the bands that have inspired your recipes as a way to thank them for their work. Does that surprise them? Are fans too disconnected from the bands they claim to enjoy (e.g. the tendency for people to just stand at shows now)?
At this point, most of the bands I bring cupcakes to are expecting it. I have a short list of bands I will always bake for whenever they play Chicago, because I love them dearly.
But if it’s the first time I’m bringing a band a batch of the Metalcakes they inspired, they’re always really nice and excited for free cake. I usually start by explaining about my website, and some bands already know and have seen my post. That’s always thrilling!
As far as fans being disconnected, I just feel like most fans don’t realize how crappy touring can be. However awesome it is to see your favorite band live, it can be a pretty rough road for them to come to you. Being stuck in a van for like 12 hours a day is exhausting. Plus they all miss loved ones back home. Try catching a cold when you’re on tour too. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone! So my advice to fans is to go to as many live shows as you can, buy as much merch as you can carry, and then maybe say a kind word or two as you’re on your way out the door and into your own comfy bed. And stop fucking “stage diving,” it’s annoying. I paid to see the band on stage, not you. You kick over the mic stand and shit, knock it off. This isn’t Lollapalooza.
One of the cool things about your blog is that not only do you share recipes inspired by bands and their music, but you also provide a bit of history about them. To your knowledge, have your cupcakes been a “gateway drug” for anyone to discover metal?
Every band has their own story, and I like to explain why I feel a particular band deserves cake. A few people have mentioned that they’re Crom fans now because of the Wee Cakes of the Snowgoat, and I couldn’t be happier about that! Crom fucking rules!
I think most people arrive at my blog because they’re already a metalhead, but I’ve had an equally positive response from bakers who just like to try new recipes. My knitting instructor made a batch of the Celtic Frost cupcakes for a tea party one time. I don’t think she’s a full-blown metalhead now, but maybe one day.
Metal has a tough-guy sort of image; has there been any criticism of the blog for being “too girly”?
I don’t really see how anyone could categorize my blog as “too girly,” since both men and women eat cake and listen to metal. I know plenty of tough ladies. Some listen to metal, some don’t. I also know plenty of dudes that would absolutely break down in tears when faced with a challenging recipe. So if anyone really thinks my blog is “too girly” in a negative way, they’ve never had the guts to say it to my face. People have said “Who the fuck thinks a cupcake is metal?” but it’s probably just because they’re not clever enough to see the parallels.
I had a conversation with someone recently in which they criticized a certain metal group’s love of beer, as depicted in the band’s hilarious videos, as being a bad influence on kids. Is Metalcakes encouraging similar bad behaviour through baking, e.g. stoner snacks?
I’m a pusher of butter and sugar! But of course, these naughty and delicious foods should be consumed in moderation, and that’s what makes them special. I’ve always associated cake with a celebration, and that’s what I try to do with Metalcakes- celebrate bands I love. Celebrations are the perfect excuse to indulge in something naughty that makes you happy, like booze, drugs, and cupcakes. DO IT!
You’ve pointed out in a previous interview that sometimes the shows on the food network don’t seem to appreciate the food they prepare. So far you’ve only posted a short video message on your blog to announce a contest winner; are there any plans to expand MetalCakes into the visual arena and do your own baking show? What would the ideal MetalCakes bakery (or kitchen) look like?
I’m not very “TV friendly.” I talk waaaaay too fast, and it gets worse when I’m in front of the camera. I’m much more comfortable behind the lens.
I really only posted the footage of the drawing so no one would accuse me of cheating when a winner was picked.
So, no, I don’t have any plans to film any Metalcakes episodes. Maybe one day, when I’m less of a spazz.
You can learn more about Metalcakes on their official website.
This interview is part of DarkMedia’s official Women in Horror Recognition Month coverage! Stay tuned for more interviews, articles, and special features, right here on DarkMedia.com.