Beyond the Boys’ Club: Kat Keo and Kim Coffel of Hoaxed

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Beyond the Boys’ Club is a monthly column from journalist and radio host Anne Erickson, focusing on women in the heavy music genres, as they offer their perspectives on the music industry and discuss their personal experiences. Erickson is also a music artist herself and has a new EP and single out, “Last Love,” with Upon Wings. The latest edition of Beyond the Boys’ Club features an interview with Kat Keo and Kim Coffel of Hoaxed.

Hoaxed have just released their debut full-length album, Two Shadows, available via Relapse Records. Bringing together singer-guitarist Kat Keo and drummer Kim Coffel, Hoaxed walk the line between heavy melodic rock and gothic metal, with captivating lyrics, catchy hooks, sharp guitars, and a heavy, pulsating rhythm.

While Two Shadows is Hoaxed’s debut full-length, the duo previously released a four-song EP in February 2021. Moreover, prior to Hoaxed, Keo and Coffel played together in other projects.

Keo and Coffel checked in with Heavy Consequence for the latest edition of “Beyond the Boys’ Club,” discussing the new album, their experience as women in both metal and indie music, and more. Read the interview and stream the full album below.

Congratulations on your new album, Two Shadows. One of the early singles off the release is the brutal, “The Call.” Tell me about the story behind that song and why you wanted it out there as the first taste off the new album.

Kat Keo: “The Call,” when we wrote it, we felt like it had that energy. When we were done writing it, we were like, yeah, that’s the song that’s going to be the first one off the album. It’s about folklore and about tales of things beyond the flames. So, when you’re out at night by the fire, and things call you by name from beyond the flames, if you go to them and respond and go to where they are, it is your doom. They will devour you. There’s a lot of folklore in a lot of different cultures, and we pulled from all those different tales to write that song.

Kim Coffel: It’s so much fun to play that song. Compared to a lot of the other songs on the album, it’s really fast and fun, and it set the tone of both the story that’s being told and the lyrics, but also the theatricality of it. We have that big opening that we wrote at the beginning when we were writing the song, and we were like, of course this has to start the album. It has the big curtain-drawing introduction.

What do you hope fans take away from this record?

Coffel: The way the songs are built, they’re pretty theatrical, and each one has a story that goes along with it. So, I hope people feel like they’re transported to a different place, because the title of the album and album cover is a place — Two Shadows is a place that you go to — so I hope they get transported to that place and are on a journey with us.

Keo: We’re also hoping this album makes it so we can do more live shows. We want to go back out on tour as soon as possible. I think that, to me, is the best thing. We went on tour earlier this year and played songs off this album, and watching people react live to them is a greatest feeling. I want people to enjoy the recording and listening to it, but I also can’t wait to see them live in person and play the music for them and engage with them that way.

Do you sense that the metal and rock world is accepting of female musicians these days?

Keo: Yes!

Coffel: Yes, and also, we’ve changed scenes a couple of times, so I think also the scene. It depends on the people who are listening to certain kinds of music at different points in time.

Keo: We’ve definitely had our fair share of male sound people that make comments where you’re kind of like, ‘Hmmm, I don’t think they say that to every band. I think they’re just saying it to us.” So, coming up through the years in different bands, we’ve definitely had that experience. But, coming up in Hoaxed, we have not had that, at all. Across the board, regardless of gender, people are extremely accepting and warm. In most of our experiences, especially with venue staff, they just want to help us put on a great show. They don’t care about our gender or what kind of music we play. They just want to support us. I think it’s a sign of the times. I think we’ve also found that in the metal scene, people are more accepting, because we all tend to be some form of outcast and have all come together under the umbrella of metal music. So, we’ve definitely experienced that in the past, but not with Hoaxed.

So, you feel the metal scene is more accepting of women than other genres of music?

Keo: I feel like it is. There’s gatekeeping in any genre, and people get protective of what they love. But, I think overall, it definitely is better.

Coffel: I think there’s a bit of a culture difference, because we used to be in the indie scene, and it feels like in the metal scene, the gatekeeping and skepticism comes from a place of, I hold this dear to my heart and I don’t want anybody to be appropriating it or coming into the scene and not really giving it its credit or due or love. So, I think that’s where a lot of the elitist grilling or questions come from. The stuff that’s like, do you know all your gear? Whereas before in the indie scene, it’s more of questioning whether you’re cool enough to be there.

What musicians do you look up to, especially female?

Keo: I love Heart. Joan Jett was a huge inspiration for me. I feel like with a lot of female guitarists, that’s a prerequisite to list her. I was also hugely inspired by Karen Carpenter. I feel like she fearlessly did whatever she wanted to do, and she was a lead singer that played drums at a time when women didn’t play drums. That was incredible. I was also really inspired by Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I think she’s phenomenal and so unique. I could keep this list going for hours, so I’ll let Kim jump in.

Coffel: Literally, the same list. And then, also, a lot of people will think it’s cliché on the surface, but Meg White from the White Stripes gets a lot of shade thrown her way for her simple beats and stuff, but honestly, I think she’s a great example of how she played her drums and fit the music perfectly. She’s not like, this drummer showed up to the wrong gig. Like you’re playing one simple guitar riff, and the drums are going insane. No. She brings it down to a level that’s really driving and rocking, and it takes a lot of balls to do that as a woman, because nobody throws shade at AC/DC for having simple rock beats. But, everybody throws shade at Meg White for having simple rock beats and holding it own, and it’s just because people assume that because the beat is simple that you’re not a good drummer. It’s inspiring for me to see her do what matches the song.

Beyond music, how do you feel women are treated in America today?

Coffel: It’s funny, because this is the time that we’ve honestly felt like we’ve been welcomed the most into the music scene and culture. But, at the same time, you have this other half of the country that’s really upturning everything you ever thought you were secure in.

Keo: We were on tour when Roe v. Wade was overturned, and we were actually in Texas when that happened. That was a really heavy moment. We actually talked about as a band whether we wanted to say something when we went on stage. We talked about it a lot. To be doing what we’re doing as women, seven years ago — this would have been really hard to do, to tour around the United States by ourselves and do this thing with music. Here we are doing it, and then watching something like that happen felt really contrary to what we were doing. It was a really heavy moment for us.

Beyond the Boys’ Club: Kat Keo and Kim Coffel of Hoaxed
Anne Erickson

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