AVELINA DE MORAY INTERVIEW | DEMONA LAUREN for VAMPYRE magazine
When you meet Avelina, you are struck by her joviality and inexhaustible energy. Avelina De Moray is an Australian Gothic artist and designer of bags, clothing and jewelry. Creative since always, she devotes herself to many projects related to art and in particular music. She is notably a singer in her former music project, the gothic metal group As Angels Bleed. Whether in music or design, Vampyre culture has never ceased to be a driving force behind her identity and creativity.
† Welcome to the cryptic manoir of Vampyre Magazine. This is your first time here. You are very comfortable on screen. We can all see it in your videos but what about the interviews? Do you also feel at ease while holding an interview, when you have to express yourself in more detail about yourself?
Absolutely. Yes. I am very comfortable with both ‘in person’ interviews and those of the more tradition ‘written’ format. Both interest me, as the approach for each differs greatly. In person interviews allow for more expression within the nuances of one’s voice, humour is heard and felt immediately and heightened with the addition of one’s unique mannerisms. Immediate reactions and response between the interviewer and interviewee enter into a gentle dance of quit witted conversation and the subtle art of reading body language. This cannot be achieved within a written interview, but I do find myself having a slightly biased love affair with written interviews, as my choice of words can be worked and reworked until my embryotic idea is relayed with such precision that it cannot be misunderstood.
† And what about Avelina the singer of AS ANGELS BLEED? Do you never suffer from any apprehension on stage? In meet in greet?
The only fear I ever had to overcome, was the fear of myself. Being a vocal teacher for a decade helped alleviate any of my ‘stage fright’ issues, but there certainly was a time where I was not as comfortable as I am now. I don’t put that down to experience, but more me being confidence with my craft and adequately rehearsing. I knew that what I was doing was of a certain calibre, and when you sit humbly within this knowing, most hesitation disappears, your ego steps out of the way and this allows you to fully embrace the moment of performance.
† You are probably one of the most prominent figures in Goth Vamp design. Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you get there?
Naw shucks. What a fucking compliment. It all started when my love for vampires really took hold, and my fascination with their sensuality, immortality, romanticism and blood drinking became very apparent. It was the most beautiful form of escapism, for sure! I would watch Interview with a Vampire, The Lost Boys, Underworld, Blade, True Blood or my beloved Bram Stokers Dracula (by Francis Ford Coppola) on repeat, and fully immerse myself in this seductively salacious vampiric underworld.
My interest in photography developed, first with taking concert photography, and I had the pleasure of working and meeting many of musicians I admired whilst on that path. There’s so many cool stories I can share! Such as Alice Cooper owning one of my canvases of the band performing at the Sydney Entertainment Centre (which he put on display in his restaurant in Pheonix Arizona), shopping with Anette Olzon (the singer of Nightwish at the time) at the cool gothic shops like Le Cabinet Des Curiosities which used to be my local hangout in Newtown, NSW. Getting drunk with the legendery Sebastian Bach & chilling with Ville Valo from H.I.M in his hotel room and watching the band sound check before the Sydney gig. I certainly have some wonderful memories of this time where photography was at the forefront of my creative expression.
† And your interest in photography evolved, right?
This interest in photography quickly mutated into me creating my own vampire art. With the aid of beautiful models, a shit tonne of fake blood (that I would make myself! – I have the best tasting fake blood recipe ever!) smoke machines and a bunch of post editing within photoshop, I developed some iconic and unique vampire art. 15 years ago, the selection of fake vampire fangs was not as it is now, and I used to draw them on myself in post production, using my Intuos Wacom tablet. I would also heavily alter the raw photographs, and digitally draw on top of them. I really enjoyed (and still do) the fact that most people cant tell what medium my Vampire Art is. Is it photography? Is it painted? Is it digitally drawn? All three would be correct. I love that my art is mixed media. I also very much enjoy drawing on my own fangs, and in doing this accidentally developed a signature fang shape that I am still very happy with to this day.
I had the pleasure of meeting Fang smith Father Sebastian back in 2018 in Hollywood, and still kick myself in the fucking ass that I didn’t take up his offer to have a custom pair of fangs made. (I was quite unwell on the day sadly). Meeting him was the highlight of my Hollywood trip and I thoroughly enjoy and respect how deeply he has thrown himself into the vampiric lifestyle. What a fucking legend!
Two years of honing my skills and the execution of my vampire art, I was offered several licensing deals around the world for different merchandise, like posters, greeting cards, key chains, cups etc! And looking back, I think this definitely helped develop the idea of me expanding my own merchandise line; which at the time, was limited to only my vampire art on 36” by 24” canvas, & a few graphic t shirts.
My first proper product design, was a little clutch which I still adore, which I named the ‘Femme Fatale’ clutch. A classy AF, little faux snake skin black clutch, with a blood red satin interior and custom silver BAT rivetted on the front. It was a hit! It sold out within days, which frankly surprised the fucking shit out of me. Not in the fact that I doubted its marketability, more in that I wasn’t aware of the fact that I had developed such a large customer base through my vampire art alone. It was quite moving!
From thereon in, I designed another bag, and then another, and just haven’t stopped! (OK I lie, maybe apart from a brief period of 3 years, where I was busy being pregnant and completely stepped away from the internet and my business haha!). But besides that, its been non stop.
† I can tell you your bands are all over the place, digital places included. Like on Instagram, for example.
A few years later, Instagram became a ‘serious’ thing, and within the features of that little app, I clearly saw a path to increase my audience, business and social presence and just fucking ran with it. The idea of collaborating with other influences also became a reality, and I enjoy how fucking far I took this, in the sense that I don’t just pair with another person on a ‘name’ level, I completely try (and get off on) embodying the persons aesthetic of whom I am collaborating with, within a handbag. How fucking neat is that? Black Friday for instance! She gave me a few key words to work with; velvet, leather, PVC, bats, red, and I came back with a design for her, and was able to say “if you were a handbag, I think you’d look like this!”.
Its really a neat skill I’ve been able to tap into and I think that’s what makes my designs so unique and thoughtful.
Without giving too much away before their launch, my latest projects will see me expand into jewelry, clothing collaborations with some brands I just adore, fragrances and of course, the release of my own music.
† What about your studies ? Did they have any kind of nexus with the sector of design, fashion, tailoring and creativity in general?
I’m an interesting one in that regards, as all my talents are entirely self-taught and were honed at my own leisure. At the time of completing High School, the idea of me going straight into another formal education system such as university, was not an option for me. I wanted to be in a band, write songs, start a business, develop my design skills.
I did consider studying at AIM (The Australian Institute of Music) or NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts), but as I was already teaching guitar and piano at the age of 18, I stepped into a teaching position at a private music school quite effortlessly. This gave me a substantial income at quite a young age, allowed me the financial freedom to executed some of my many artistic, design and musical endeavours that I had long wanted to peruse.
† Years ago, Sir Ken Robinson, British speaker and international advisor on education, tackled the question of creativity at school, asking the question "Do schools kill creativity?". He stated that "creativity is as important as literacy and we should afford it the same status". What is your position on the matter?
I think he nailed the ‘same status’ analogy. There is so much emphasis on Math, English and Science in most schools, which quite frankly, doesn’t help someone that already has established that they want to peruse a career as a professional musician or creative design. Looking back, I feel I would have been better dropping out in year 10 and going straight to university for a degree in music or perhaps fashion design.
The lack of understanding from all of my teachers in regards to how strong my career identity already was compared to other peers, was also undernourished. If a career development teacher or life coach had of sat me down and said, “right! What is it that you want to do in life?” And gave me the chance to explain my life’s purpose, I believe I would have been directed to a different education al path.
To bring that back to your question, I agree, yes, that the arts and creativity in general are malnourished within current educational systems. But perhaps a bigger issue is the fact that no guidance or personalised plan is developed or tailored to each child. I am going to have skills and talents that the child next to me does not have. How does it make any sense to teach us the same things? How about teaching children the skill of concentration?, rather than just making them feel inadequate for not being able to do so? This is a touchy subject for me. As I feel I learnt WAY more outside of school than I ever did within its strict boundaries.
I like Rudolf Steiners philosophy on educating children. The Waldorf School in NSW sounds just amazing. I think the statement below taken from the schools website shows how their teaching philosophy differs from most, and is aligned with developing emotionally intellectual, well rounded children:
“Our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.” RUDOLF STEINER
† Although we all know that diplomas unfortunately no longer have the same value today as they did in the past, it is also true that after graduation the future is uncertain. Companies are very demanding regarding experience while they refuse to hire newbies, which constitutes an obstacle for the young graduates. In parallel, they ironically refuse to hire when people do not have the diplomas related to the targeted sector, whereas when someone has the required degrees, it is still not enough to be picked. What has been your experience with the working world so far?
This does continue from my thoughts that I’ve shared with you earlier. I think it depends on the industry you’re in. Some fields, absolutely require you to have a degree or diploma before one can even consider applying for a certain job. If this is the case, then of course, one should follow that path to peruse their dreams. In my experience, I’ve found that my talents have far outweighed the strict need to present anyone with a particular document.
Just because I haven’t gotten ‘formal’ training in one field, doesn’t not mean that I cut corners or learn things ‘half assed’. I think it’s more that I enjoy teaching myself things and find it very satisfying when I can say, HOLY SHIT! I learnt that all by myself. Fuck yes!
† Definitely ..
Another point that springs to mind, is how many new skills I like to learn at once. I like to mix and match and pick one thing up as I’m still developing the other, so the strict structure of university learning would not have worked too well for me.
† Is the situation even more critical in Australia, for someone from the alternative cultural community?
I think it would be the same anywhere really, only that looking for design or fashion work within the Australian Alternative scene may be harder to come across as the scene is so much smaller than the international one. I find myself more drawn to a particular brand or person that I wish to work with, rather than focusing on where exactly they are based.
† Self-employment is always a tough decision for many, especially when it comes to financial security. Did you ever doubt when you started in the business?
Oh all the time haha! But I was aware from a very young age that I wasn’t the type of person that wanted to work ‘for’ a boss. It’s not that I have control issues or a problem working with other people, its more that I enjoy my own ideas seeing them manifest into my reality, and you never have the freedom to work like this when you have a ‘boss’. My first job was at the cheesecake shop (And can I just say, that shares went down that year, as I ate at least half of the profits haha).
I’ve worked since I was 14 years old, mainly within retail and hospitality, but I was lucky to remain self-employed from 18 onwards. This was at first as a full-time private music teacher, teaching singing, guitar, violin and piano, and then mutated into my own business and online store.
When you are starting out, being self-employed can be quite a daunting prospect. I’m sure the prospect of possible financial insecurity deters many from walking their own path of embracing employment independence. I was lucky that I had my teaching business and clientele established and could use that to supplement my income whilst I was taking that financial hit that most endure when kickstarting a new business.
Another tip that seems appropriate to share within this answer, is how pinnacle using a ‘pre-order’ system has been within my business structure. I urge anyone who is starting up a small business to consider this option within their business model. I go into great detail on how I have made this work, within EPISODE ONE of my video podcast entitled ‘Sex, Blood & Rock N Roll’. I imagine the launch of my new podcast will be live by the time this wonderful magazine issue is published! Please search for it!
† Were you lucky enough to be brought up in an environment conducive to creation and initiative? And what do your parents and childhood friends think - if you still connect with some of them - on you are today?
Sadly no, Not only am I the black sheep of the family, but I also seem to be the only creative one within my bloodline. My sons are very creative and musical, which I am of course nurturing the fuck out of!
My parents have always been supportive of my endeavours, albeit a little sceptical at times of how it is that I make a living. But it always works out, and they are very proud of me. My sister went to university straight out of school and has had an incredible career within the food industry, and my inner child has had to struggle with the fact that my journey has not led me to walk to same path as her, and to be ok with that, #bigsisterenvy. I am so incredibly proud of her achievements but could not have made her path to success my own.
I am very lucky to have a wonderful group of friends around me, both physically and online. Some of my long-term followers & customers, have developed beautiful friendships with me, and I have found their support and guidance through some of my darkest hours, to be the exact medicine that I was in need of at the time. It’s such a beautiful thing really.
I recently re-connected with a friend I went to high school with, she almost died after a complication from surgery, and it was so lovely to hear that her and her sister had been following my career, and not only are they my fans/customers, that their children were also watching my channel and admired my aesthetic. Thats some multi-generational shit going on right there!
† You are also a Goth-Vamp mom. I guess you will give your children complete freedom to let their imaginations run wild. However, do you secretly hope that they turn into goth as they grow older or do you have absolutely no wishes at all in this regard?
I am a cool mother yes! All the kids gravitate towards me at school pick up, as I’m the one with the cool house has bats on the walls and the snake skeletons. I’m very blessed to have two young boys, aged 5 and 7.
I will let them develop into whatever it is their soul guides them to become. And I will gently guide and nurture their talents and character, so they can become strong, independent, loving men, who are in touch with both their masculinity and femininity. My youngest adores unicorns, rainbows and the colour yellow. Isn’t that just too fucking cute?
† It is! Being alternative isn't just a style, it's also a set of ideas. When you promote alternative culture to your children, it's a bit like developing their critical thinking in their way of seeing the world. What do you think is the perfect balance between educating according to values and not imposing beliefs onto children?
Its defiantly a fine line you are walking when it comes to trying to keep your child’s mind open and heartfelt. And I guess my ability to do this in a healthy, unbiased fashion, is in direct correlation with where my own current values are sitting. What I believe to be “normal” or “acceptable”, or which social paradigms I think they should or shouldn’t adopt, is always at the forefront of my mind. Thinking this philosophically is not ideal when you are speaking with 5- and 6-year-old ofcourse! so I work more from a place of sharing with them what a healthy set of values looks like, developing boundaries, listening to their intuition and making sure I nurture a safe and loving environment so they feel heard, seen and loved. The best way for me to teach them this, is to live by these values myself, and show them what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. With the discipline style that I have, I am able to gently reprimand their behaviour, but also make them aware of perceptions, other than their own. To show them how to sit in someone else’s ‘shoes’, in the hopes that this added level of empathy will help develop their character, I feel, is an invaluable life lesson.
† Encouraging creativity is also accepting a possible unglamorous vision of what surrounds us. It is about tolerating different points of view. Considering your talent, you could do any art. Yet you are naturally drawn to the decaying expression of elements. You escape reality, sometimes flat and dull, to make room for the imagination of the timeless or even the afterlife. However, I do have a question. After the year we all had, do you really think that reality has not caught up with the decaying or even decadent content of our imagination?
Firstly, fuck! What a great question hey. Hats off to you!
† Oh, thank you Avelina. I deeply appreciate.
I have always been drawn to the macabre, vampires and death, but it wasn’t until I experienced my first Dark Night Of The Soul, that WHY I was interested in these things, was so very magically shown to me. It’s almost like my suppressed inner psyche drew me to the things that would eventually lead me to the unveiling of my higher self. I went through a ridiculous amount of change in 2019, including miscarriages, the dissolvement of a almost 20 year relationship, the decay of my mental health and even spent some time in hospital. It was a very dark time, and I endure more emotional pain than I thought was humanly possible. I questioned life, and its meaning, and if I even wanted to look for its meaning, and through this utter chaos, I ended up finding what could only be explained as pure unadulterated fucking magic. A reconnection to the world itself and in turn, myself. I reconnected with my inner child, I found spirituality, I found my people, I embraced my creative talents, took held of the reins of my sexuality with an effervescent excitement and a salacious lust for life, one that can only be related to say…that of a new-born vampire. The thirst for life, after my ‘breakdown’, was so fucking enchanting, I’m literally in awe of life and the beauty found within each present moment.
† Bringing you back to life. An afterlife ..
To go back to your question, what I have just described earlier was and is devastatingly beautiful. Like the phoenix who repeated burns so it may rise again from its own ashes, I too have experienced this sense of death within life itself and risen from my own demise, to find myself stronger, and completely filled with hope and the overwhelming joy of the possibility of it all.
† I was thinking of the phoenix as well ..
My thoughts are the same with Covid. Also, I’m an optimist. So I wonder, what brave new world may appear after the destruction of Covid stops having its way with the world? What new beauty will be found after the devastation clears? Can we focus on this?
† I see your point ! Have recent events (pandemic etc) inspired you for your creations?
Only in the sense that I found myself very fond of a man who lived a little away from me, and due to the government lockdowns to reduce the spread of Covid, we we’re unable to see each other for quite a few weeks. At first, this distance was somewhat of a novelty, but it quickly became a little painful to endure by the 3rd of 4th week. It made me experience a likening to something that I never ever thought I would encounter in my lifetime, which was how my grandparents, and those from this generation would have fallen in love, and had their loved ones taken away, due to their involvement in the wars. It gave me a deeper respect and understanding for how hard life actually was in those days. I can’t imagine how it would have felt to have had years pass without seeing someone who is near to your heart. My grandmother gave birth to my uncle, and my grandfather didn’t meet his 3rd son until he return from the war. His son was then 2 years old!
I defiantly took advantage of this new sensation of longing, and wrote quite a few lovely acoustic ballads which touch on this sentiment. Which I do share within my podcast.
† Now that we are talking about your creations, it burns me to ask you about your next works. What are your latest creations and your next upcoming gothy products?
I am currently working on the design and setting of my first ring! I am so excited about it; I could die. I really get off on designing and releasing things that simply have not existed before. Let’s just say that the ring I have conjured up is unique AF, and will be a stand-out piece within any vampires jewellery collection.
† I remember we discussed some time ago the launch of your new podcast entitled Sex, Blood & Rock n’ Roll that you mentioned earlier. Can you tell the readers more about it? Some people may not even know you are doing podcasts. It would be heresy not to let them know.
Sex, Blood & Rock n Roll is a video podcast, that I imagine will live by the time this issue is out! Search for it on YouTube or where you listen to your podcasts to find me! It’s the clever amalgamation of all of my creative projects, forged into one little neat 30-minute video (which will be released on a weekly basis) on all podcast platforms. I’ve teamed up with a talented cinematographer (@tje_media) and together we have really put a lot of thought into not only the content, but the beauty in which the content is being filmed.
Within the podcast I cover topics such as music, sex, love, dating, parenting, business advice, my product & small business showcase, gothic home-decor styling, makeup, spirituality and personal development. As well as my own life story and weekly updates with what’s going on in my fun little macabre-ass world.
† And your music world as well, right?
A main push within the podcast is of course my own music, and as a prolific songwriter, its truly such a beautiful way for me to show my song writing talent within such a raw and live setting. It may just be me and a acoustic guitar, or sitting at the piano performing a new song, but I very much like the immediate nature in which I can share my musical gifts with my audience.
† You are also very comfortable with podcasts. What's the difference between sharing podcast and video content for you? Is there a difference depending on what we share? on the target audience? Do you have a preference between the two?
My podcast will be one and the same, as it is a video podcast, but I will say, back in the development of Sex, Blood & Rock N Roll, I filmed an ‘audio only’ version of episode one, and Jusus Christ! It was that easier! To ONLY record audio, and take away the element of having to stare at a camera, or do my makeup, and completely remove any of those aesthetic restrictions, was something I may need to delve into a little deeper, as it was SO much simpler.
I do enjoy watching and listening at the same time, and I knew that I can be very animated with my mannerisms and facial expressions, so I really did want the visual element to my podcast.
† You also revealed a collaboration with the burlesque Vampyre icon Dani Divine. Should we talk about it?
Abso-fucking-lutely! Firstly, Dani is a living doll. Pure embodiment of a goddess and the delicate caring nature of a Queen. She is a very strong woman and I am honoured to be working with her. Her business ethic is amazing too. We are both very excited to be working together and unveil our delightfully dark designs to the world. Dani was so involved in the design process and sent me a fabulous rough sketch of her ideas (which I fucking loved). I just rolled with that and we have created something fabulously unique, practical and one of a kind.
Not only will we be revealing our first handbag, we also have a smaller purse, wallet & matching compact mirror. We’re going straight to an entire collection, and I think it is my strongest design work to date. Just the right amount of vamp, sex, metal and femininity to grab the attention of your inner vixen!
Literally cannot wait for this line to launch!
† Many are waiting for the return of your goth metal vamp band, AS ANGELS BLEED. Coming back soon?
Sadly, As Angels Bleed was a studio project, consisting of me (vocals) and my ex-husband (guitars). So it is unlikely that another As Angels Bleed album will be made. I am incredibly proud of it and think the album its on par with early releases from HIM, Epica and Nightwish.
Von and are I focusing on the raising of our two beautiful boys, and my musical focus has been about me embracing my own style and the development of that has required me to write alone.
† What direction will the new songs take to sign your grand return on the dark music scene? Are we going to stay in the same vibe of the incredible « Desire »?
I’ve sat with my thoughts for this answer for a hot little minute, and decided to just say, I don’t know!
† For real?
I seem to be walking two paths simultaneously when it comes to my music. Path A, leads me down the road to developing and honing my song writing ability to further my interest in becoming a ‘ghost songwriter’, where I would write songs for other artists to perform. The second path is that where I AM the artist, and the songs I write get released under my own name and artistic vision.
I’ll likely do both, as I am writing some beautiful songs. Some may be suited to a vocalist with less rasp and bluesly inclinations, and more of a pure pop vocal. Others I just can’t imagine being released or sung by anyone other than me.
It’s a beautiful option really, to have TOO many songs to release, rather than not enough. I wrote 75 last year, and had to join forces with a producer to help me sift through my body of work, so we could get a handle on which to work on first. This is where I currently am. In pre-production with my strongest songs, and also sharing my current work within my podcast. People will be able to walk this path with me and see things develop.
If I had to offer you a mood board for my musical production, It would be: melancholy, engaging & dramatic vocals, gentle, catchy, pop sensibilities, occasional orchestration with hints of middle eastern instrumentation with a consistent theme of strong percussion and driving tribal drum beats. Oh yeah, and a lot of piano. Does that help? LOL.
† You are someone who loves to do tons of different things simultaneously. How do you manage to stay afloat despite all these exciting yet exhausting – I assume - activities?
If my schedule remained unstructured, I could quote easily fall victim to working on a whole lot of nothing. Meaning, I have so many ideas, but I am unable to action any to fruition. I like to keep busy, but I also know my limits, and have also come to love collaborating with other creative humans, and also delegating appropriate work to other individuals.
† The last word: What will be your philosophy for the coming year?
Self-expansion, in a business and personal sense. My jam is currently consciousness expansion, and to absorb and embody everything that I possibly can along this journey that is my self-development. I have personal goals I want to reach, which pertain to my study of the occult, witchcraft, spirituality and the changing of my person routine and self-discipline. Within that, I hope to find a greater person peace and acceptance of where I currently am, and where I will set myself up to be in the future. Meditation, gratitude, journaling, self-love practices and exercise are all a part of this new structure.
Business wise, I am on the precipice of the revamp of my brand, which has had to occur as a result of all the personal development I have been doing over the last two years. It was necessary to break and rebuild on a personal level, and to now be able to reap the fruits of my labour, so to speak, on a business sense, is very exciting for me. I feel I have come into my own authenticity, and within that found a great link between creativity and sexuality. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing how this new energy that I have been consciously cultivating has elevated my brand, and in turn, every project I point my focus towards. To take a page out of Teal Swans book, a little personal philosophy I live by daily (no matter how large or small the task), is to ‘finish the task at hand, TO COMPLETION’. This has been fundamental to my ability to complete things. Especially when I do work on so many projects at once.
© Demona Lauren
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