photos by OOAK IMAGERY*
If you’re familiar with, or remember the bands SPIT NICKELS (FFO: Motorhead) and UNDEAD MESSENGERS (symphonic metal), you’ll know John “JT” Taylor. He’s a well-known guy, stellar guitarist, and powerful harsh vocalist in the Central New York and Southern Tier NY metal scenes. His latest musical offering to the community is BLOOD DESECRATION (blackened death), and new to the fold is guitarist, Sophie Wesselhoff. We wanted to chat with her to get some unique perspective on this brand-new, up and coming band!
1. How long have you been playing guitar?
I’ve been playing guitar for almost three years now. I asked for a guitar for Christmas when I was 14 years old and a Squier Fender Fat Strat appeared under the tree. I spent that first week struggling to play my Dad’s metal classics like “Breaking the Law”, “Crazy Train”, and “Iron Man”. I soon realized I needed some help. Within a week, I was taking lessons from Jerrod Prevost, formerly of Ire Clad, and now Patchwork Down. On the first day, I asked him to teach me Master of Puppets, which was the song that really got me interested in learning guitar. I was taking weekly lessons until COVID hit in late March of 2020. So, the shutdown ended my lessons, but it also began an obsession with Carl Brown’s YouTube lessons.
2. Who are your biggest musical influences?
When I was in middle school, I heard “Princess of the Night” by Saxon on my Dad’s iPod. I really loved how fast and cool its main riff sounded. That led to my lengthy obsession with My Chemical Romance. Then of course, Metallica was definitely the band that expanded my music taste and got me listening to more and more metal. I actually got to see both My Chemical Romance and Metallica this past summer! Later on, I fell in love with Children of Bodom and was fascinated by Alexi Laiho’s killer guitar skills. I got the Jackson X Series Rhoads in black with hot pink bevels, which is very similar to Laiho’s signature Pink Sawtooth guitar. Within just a few days of getting the guitar, I was devastated to hear that he passed away. Another band that has greatly influenced me within this past year has been Death. Chuck Schuldiner’s incredible riffs are super sick and fun to play!
3. Have you done any original bands prior to Blood Desecration?
No, Blood Desecration is the first band that I’ve been a part of. However, I was honored to share the stage with members of Nuclear Winter and Invictra a couple of times. Shoutout to Joe Lamoureux, guitarist for both of those bands, for making that happen!
4. How did you come to join Blood Desecration?
I met our lead guitarist, JT, through a mutual friend a few years ago when he was part of Spit Nickels. I had jammed with JT a time before, playing a few of his songs. He also graduated from my high school. When he formed his new band, he held tryouts for rhythm guitar. He knew I was interested in joining a band, so he contacted me. I had always wanted to join a band, but was having trouble finding talented musicians in my area who played metal. Being my first tryout, I thought it would be a good experience. And here we are.
5. Name 2-3 bands you think of when trying to describe Blood Desecration’s sound.
When trying to describe Blood Desecration’s sound, three bands that come to mind are Cattle Decapitation, Amon Amarth, and Cannibal Corpse. We’re striving for that blackened death metal sound!
6. I saw that you guys canceled the debut show in January. Any plans to reschedule?
Yes, it will absolutely be rescheduled. We are most likely looking to reschedule around May when our vocalist, Jacob, returns from England. We’ll spend the winter getting our material tight and ready to melt faces!
7. What are your recording plans?
We plan to hit the studio as soon as possible! We’re working on some new songs at the moment, and once they’re ready, we’ll start recording.
8. What else is in store for Blood Desecration’s future that you’re allowed to discuss?
There’s a lot coming! We are very excited to start this journey of bringing classic/new age death metal to the masses. We’re also working on merch to have at our debut show. Be prepared…
9. Are you currently involved with any other bands at the moment? Side projects, etc.?
There are no other bands or side projects at the moment. However, my senior year of high school is keeping me super busy. Currently, I’m involved in a volleyball travel team, ski club, photography, and National Honor Society. Plus a full course load of 16 college credits. I was recently accepted into RIT’s Photographic Arts and Sciences program starting next fall, so that will put me in the Rochester area for at least the next four years. It’ll be great to be closer to the music scene up there!
10. We like to do a gear segment with these interviews. Talk about the guitars, pedals, amps, and plugins (if you do any home recording, or you go amp-less live) you swear by and why.
I’m loving my Jackson, and I’m hoping to get another one in the next few months that I will use strictly for baritone tuning, which is what Blood Desecration uses. Right now I have a Marshall MG100DFX amp that is great for home use and has that distinctive crunch sound that I love, but I’m looking to upgrade to a 4×12 cabinet and amp for on the road. I’m also in the market for a multi-effects pedal board. I’m starting to realize that I might need a better paying job (laughs).