ARCH ENEMY’s ALISSA WHITE-GLUZ: Using Animal Products Is ‘Completely Unnecessary’

Alissa White-Gluz

In October 2022, Black Velvet magazine’s editor Shari Black Velvet commemorated her twentieth year of being vegan. As part of the celebration, she connected with Alissa White-Gluz, a vegan for an even longer time, through an audio Zoom call. During the conversation, the lead vocalist of ARCH ENEMY discussed the reasons that led her to become vegan, her stance on vigils, what factors lead people to cause suffering, and if she believes that one day, all life will be respected.

When asked what she believes causes a person to inflict suffering and distress on animals and if such behavior is a result of their childhood, Alissa responded: “I think it is. If we wanna look at this just from a general perspective, children are not raised… If you look at a baby around a bunny or around a cat or a dog, if you just look at any baby when they see an animal, they’re in awe — they’re laughing; they’re smiling; they think it’s cool. They’re, like, ‘Wow, what’s that?’ They’re curious. The same way little kids stare at you, because they’re just taking it all in. This is the first time they’re seeing another human adult or seeing everything clearly. Their eyesight’s developing; they’re able to now take in new colors and textures and see the beautiful wings of a bird or the nice soft fur of a cat, and they look at animals and they have love and admiration for animals.

“And then, somewhere along the way, we are taught that actually we don’t love and admire animals; we just exploit and kill them. And that’s good and that’s normal. And I think that that kind of upbringing is what makes people… It becomes normal — it just becomes a daily routine, it becomes part of their habits, and they just don’t understand why there’s anything wrong with it. Their parents did it, they do it, [and] they don’t see anything wrong with it. And I get that, and that’s not their fault, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not commendable to recognize that it’s wrong now and change now.”

“I think, unfortunately, there are a lot of people in the world that do mean to cause pain and sorrow to other humans, to themselves, to animals, and they do that by contributing to the food industries that kill animals or by fishing or by hunting,” Alissa continued. And they have all sorts of green-washing excuses up their sleeves to make it seem like they’re not doing it for any intentionally damaging way.

“But, at the end of the day, the same excuse that they use, like, ‘Oh, we’re the top of the food chain,’ okay, yeah, we’re the most advanced species when it comes to technology, and we now have the technology to not need to eat any animal products. We don’t need to hunt. We don’t need to fish. We don’t need to do that. We’re advanced. We’re smart. So we’re beyond this now. We’ve evolved past this, and I think it’s just time that everybody accepts that and we just move away from using animals in anything. It’s completely unnecessary.”

In 2020, Alissa explained why being vegan is definitely metal. She said: “So, I’ve been vegan for over 20 years now. I was vegan before I ever started in music,” Alissa says in a clip. “I’ve never eaten meat in my life. I grew up in a completely vegetarian household, so going vegan was just like the logical next step.

“And when I started doing music, there was nothing that I wanted to talk about more than animal rights. And so I was now using this heavy, passionate form of music to sort of convey a message that I wanted to. When I’m screaming in my band, I feel like I’m screaming for the voiceless. And I can’t imagine being that loud if I had nothing to say.

“Being female, being vegan and also being straight edge in the metal world is just a combination of targets on my forehead that make it really easy for me to get singled out or pushed around. But those are just things that are so much a part of who I am that I couldn’t change them even if I wanted to. And I wouldn’t — I wouldn’t change for anyone.

Alissa adds: “In my opinion, metal is all about rebellion — it’s about carving your own path, thinking against what everyone’s trying to make you think. And veganism is the ultimate form of rebellion, because you are literally taking things that people have told you are normal that deep down inside you don’t think are normal that you’ve been conditioned to accept about your day-to-day tasks, like eating or what you wear or what you choose to buy.

“Everyone says that that’s normal, that you need to exploit other living beings for those things, but you don’t. And so taking a stand against that is what veganism is. And that is really metal.”