Switchblade Symphony

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Switchblade Symphony was a Gothic rock (Darkwave) band formed by composer/keyboardist Susan Wallace and vocalist Tina Root in San Francisco, 1989.

The inspiration of the name "Switchblade Symphony" comes from one of Tina's favorite artists Nina Hagen, whose music combines classical singing with punk rock. In order to make music as "take things and cut them up and put them back together again into something new and different"[1], Tina and Susan gave their band this mixed-meaning name.

Switchblade Symphony released their first album Serpentine Gallery in 1995 and gained success in gothic music field. In their sequential music video Clown(produced by Cleopatra, 1996), Tina's heavy make up, emotionless voice plus series of misty horror scenes gave audiences a visual shock.

As the band's name, their composition is a union of classical music and electro/rock. Tina's voice switches between soprano and deep whisper behind heavy electronic drum beat. With metaphorical poetry-like lyrics, their music represents a unique feeling of cold but not desperate, ethereal but not tender.

Switchblade Symphony disbanded in November 1999 because of members' disagreement in music opinions. Subsequently, Tina started Tre Lux and Susan moved to Europe as a massage therapist.


  • Serpentine Gallery, 1995
  • Clown, 1996(single)
  • Scrapbook, 1997 (out of print)
  • Bread and Jam for Frances, 1997
  • Drool(Mother), 1997(single)
  • The Three Calamities, 1999
  • Sinister Nostalgia, 2001 (remixes)
  • Sweet Little Witches, 2003 (live performances and video track)
  • Serpentine Gallery Deluxe, 2005


  1. Porter, Alicia. "Eklectique: An Interview with Switchblade Symphony", December 13, 1997.