Santa Marta: A New Force in American Metal
Formed In the first half of 2016 following Mary Zimmer’s departure from White Empress, Santa Marta is the acclaimed frontwoman’s newest project. Taking a different approach to the project, Santa Marta is a two person band featuring Zimmer (Vocals) and Erik Tyler (Bass, Drums, Guitar, Synths) and doesn’t fit into one definitive genre.
“Groovy shit” says Tyler in regards to what style of metal they play, with Zimmer adding, “It has influences from all over. A lot of different pieces of metal.”
Taking inspiration from a wide variety of bands including Depeche Mode, Whitechapel, Sepultura, and Pantera, among others, the band is specifically inspired by South American culture, which is obvious from their imagery and name – the latter of which is a reference to the first town established by the Spanish in the New World.
“There’s just so much culture out there. There’s so much rich stuff out there. When you combine it with music and make imagery, it’s really cool. People can really relate to it,” says Tyler.
Taking their artistic vision beyond their approach to their music, Santa Marta is unsigned and plans to keep it that way. Furthermore, the band will remain just Zimmer and Tyler at its core. When on tour, however, the band will put together a touring band. As well, Santa Marta does not plan to release a full album or extended play for some time, if ever. Instead, their music is released one single at a time due to the band’s belief that albums are a bit “antiquated” in the DIY-friendly age we live in. Of course, there’s a bit more to this approach.
“We feel like we’re improving every time we release something,” says Zimmer, who feels that releasing singles rather than albums allows for the band to improve their sound between releases, thus allowing for each song to be better than the last.
Thus far, Santa Marta has released three songs and has more in queue. Those released include ‘Cersei,’ ‘Violated,’ and ‘Drowning in Fire.’ While Tyler is the band’s main composer, Zimmer handles the lyrics. Of the three songs release, she says they were inspired by real world situations such as the social status of woman in much of the world and a meme comparing Cersei Lannister of Game of Throne to Hillary Clinton. Of course, the band isn’t a political band, so no worries about preachy lyrics. Instead, Zimmer takes a more simplistic yet deep approach unlike her work with White Empress.
“In White empress I was really exploring these scientific and universal concepts. This music is considerably darker. It’s more down-tuned, has a little more room to it, more depth to it,” says Zimmer. “At this point, I’m trying to write music that’s accessible but from a genuine place. We’re trying to be genuine without showing off.”
With three tracks released since the end of May, the band has been very well-received. Despite being unsigned and made up of just two core members, they’ve received many offers for shows in the USA and Europe. Zimmer and Tyler both agree that Europe will be their focus for touring due to a lack of enthusiasm for heavy metal as a whole in the USA compared to Europe. Of course, as a means to test the waters in the USA, they’re planning on hitting the road through their native Wisconsin and other Midwest states first. In the meantime, the band is working on getting more material out to the public and finding the right people to fill their touring roster. After that, there’s no question that Santa Marta will be on the road playing as many shows as possible, all while releasing new singles and hopefully a music video.