Kristin Hayter believes extreme music is overdue a reckoning with misogyny and violence – and uses her own ‘survivor anthems’ to spread the word.
Lingua Ignota is swinging a pair of bright-white lights from her arms and screaming on the floor of the London venue Electrowerkz. Her intense industrial electronics and guttural growls startle the crowd; when she breaks into her haunted cover of Jolene, they are stunned into silence. “I want people to have to deal with me in a way that they don’t usually have to deal with someone on a stage,” she says later. “Nobody really expects to be the subject of someone else’s concert.”
Lingua Ignota, AKA Kristin Hayter, is a survivor of abuse who calls her hybrids of folk, spiritual, industrial and metal music “survivor anthems”. Two years ago, the Rhode-Island-based musician self-released an album called All Bitches Die. Its emotional rawness – all anguished howling and spitting fury – paired with moments of melodic beauty give it an extraordinary power. She is unflinching in her descriptions of violence (“He beat me till my teeth were scattered / Like pearls across the red, red ground”) and her hunger for revenge (“I repay evil with evil”).
Extreme music is overdue a reckoning with misogyny and violence – Hayter says one of her abusers was “a very powerful noise musician in the Providence community” – making her use of heavy music as a tool for catharsis even more remarkable. “A lot of my work comes out of extreme music and heavy music that’s in a misogynist context,” she says. “I’m trying to re-contextualise that phallocentric format for people who need it.”