The New Ambassadors Of Street Metal

When I first got introduced to “Switchblade Serenades” by SISTER SIN, they really took me by surprise. The band calls themselves ‘the new ambassadors of street metal’ and right now, I can’t think of anyone who would deserve this title more. This band from Gothenburg already toured with the likes of CRADLE OF FILTH, W.A.S.P. and DORO and gained a huge fan-base ever since. What a great start! Metal Maidens talked to Liv ‘Sin’, who is the headbanging front lady of this Swedish metal outfit, to get to know all the details you ever want to hear about SISTER SIN. Make sure that you are ready for it, because she is destined to bring the ROCK back into your life!

When did SISTER SIN get together as a band and how did you meet up?
Liv’: “Me and the drummer Dave formed the band in 2002 with a different bass player and another guitarist, but it wasn’t until our present guitarist Jimmy got in the band in 2004, that we really felt that we had something good going on. Benton is the newest one (on bass). He got into the band earlier this year, because our old bass player decided to quit the band.. But we really feel that we have a great line-up right now and the same dreams, so that feels fantastic!”

Did any of you play in other bands, prior to SISTER SIN? I read that you, Liv’, sang in the all-female band HYSTERICA, once?
Liv’: “Yes, I did so, that’s true and yes, we have all had a lot of different bands since we were young. Can’t count them all - hahaha!”

Did you record anything with these previous bands and if yes, please tell us about it?
Liv’: “No, not like an album, just demos and stuff.. Maybe Benton, but I don’t really remember which band right now.”

Why did your bass player Chris leave SISTER SIN and how did you find Benton?
Liv’: “Well, he just didn’t have the same thoughts and dreams, that we had. We wanted to take the band to the next level and he didn’t have the time for that. That’s totally ok, because we found Benton and he has the same drive, that we have. He saw, that we were looking for a new bass player and he just sent us an email, we tried him out and it immediately felt right!”

Who came up with the band name, SISTER SIN, and why?
Liv’: “That’s from an old Swedish band named MACHINEGUN KELLY. They had a song, called “Sister Sin”. We just liked it!”

Which bands can we see as the biggest musical influence of SISTER SIN and maybe you can mention some of the main influences for each individual band member here as well?
Liv’: “Well, we all have bands such as MOTORHEAD, MOTLEY CRUE, ACCEPT and W.A.S.P. as big influence. Oh, and TWISTED SISTER of course. For me, it’s most TWISTED SISTER and SKID ROW, because I really love the front figures in those bands (Dee Snider and Sebastian Bach). They inspire me both as singers and on stage.”

Who writes the lyrics for SISTER SIN and what are they about in general?
Liv’: “It used to be Chris, the old bass player, but now we all try to help out with the lyrics. We are inspired by everything that happens in the world and our lyrics are mostly about our feelings on everyday life in this freaky world.”

Maybe you can tell us a bit more about the song writing process as well? How do you start working on new material? Do you start jamming or do you write the music first and add the lyrics later or vice versa? Please explain shortly how a new SISTER SIN song is born?
Liv’: “It often starts with someone coming up with a riff and then we jam the song together and add the lyrics, when the song is ready. Sometimes, someone has a good lyrics piece they like and the we try to built the song on that.”

Who sets out the musical direction of the band?
Liv”: “Hmm, I think we all do. We all have the same idea about the band and its musical style. At least for now. I hope, it will keep that way!”

How did you get in touch with this small label from Greece (of all places), that released your debut album? Not an obvious choice perhaps….
Liv’: “Well, we don’t think of that as our debut. We think of “ Switchblade Serenades” as the debut. The Greek label just used a demo, that we hade done and they wanted to release it and we said ok.. Not something we are so proud of today.”

How did the press react towards your two albums “Dance Of The Wicked” (full-length 2003) and “Switchblade Serenades” (full-length 2008) so far?
Liv’: “I don’t think we had any press on the first demo, but “Switchblade Serenades” has gotten a lot of good reviews.”

Did you also receive any negative feedback and how do you deal with that in general?
Liv”: “Of course there’s people that don’t like us, but you can’t please everyone. We are doing our thing that we love and those who don’t like that, can listen to something else! It’s no more than that really!”

Do you try to learn from critics or don’t you really care what they have to say?
Liv’: “Both maybe. Of course we try to listen, if it’s something good that we can improve, but if someone is not into the type of music we play, would we bother to listen? We will not start to play all-American hardcore, just because somebody thinks that. That’s not us!”

Your latest album was released through Victory Records. How did you get in touch with them?
Liv’: “Our drummer Dave found out about Victory and like their attitude and style, so we emailed the boss Tony Brummel and he answered us like the same night, I think. And in two weeks or something we had a contract signed with them. We are very happy about that!”

What makes “Switchblade Serenades” so special comparing to all the other thousands and thousands of new releases each week, that the people should just buy this particular album?
Liv’: ‘Because we want to bring back that old school touch in rock and metal! The feeling you just get with a really good live band with really good catchy and heavy songs. I think, there’s a lack of that today.”

How important is the internet for a band like SISTER SIN?
Liv’: “Maybe not that important than to some other bands, but of course MySpace has been a great thing for us!”

In which way does “Switchblade Serenades” differ from “Dance Of The Wicked” in your opinion?
Liv’: “Oh my god, it’s like night and day and it’s not the same band at all.. The music today is much heavier and so much better - haha! And of course we’re so much better musically to since we all developed and changed band members.”

Who did the artwork for the “Switchblade Serenades” album?
Liv’: “That’s a Swedish guy named Magnus Handberg.”

Let’s have a closer look at your live shows, if we may. With which bands did you share the stage already?

What has been your biggest gig so far?
Liv’: “Probably, when we played Masters of Rock in Czech Republic for like 5.000 people in a big sports arena.. It was pretty awesome! Other than that, the two gigs with MOTORHEAD that we just did, which was really fun!”

Do you also play covers during your live shows, or do you stick to your own penned material alone?
Liv’: “We do some covers sometimes, like the MOTORHEAD cover “ Make My Day”, that we also have on the album, but mainly we play just our own music!”

Do you use any show elements (pyro-technics, etc.) during your live shows? Liv’: ‘No, we can’t afford that. It would be fun though to do that! I hope, some day we can have lots of pyros on stage!!”

What can people expect, when they come and see a SISTER SIN live show?
Liv’: ‘Lots of energy, lots of fun and great headbanging music!”

Are there any important or big shows on the agenda for SISTER SIN right now?
Liv’: ‘No, not that are planned right now. We are concentrating on writing songs for the new album, that we will record early 2010.”

If you could go on tour with any band of your choice, which band would you like to pick and please tell us why?
Liv’: “At first I would say TWISTED SISTER, because my god, do they rock!!? I love the stage performance and that they look like they are still having so much fun. Secondly, I would say MOTLEY CRUE, because I really think their audience would like us and they are one of our biggest idols.”

What’s the most difficult song to play live and why?
Liv’: ‘For me, it’s “On Parole”. It’s a tricky song to sing, because it’s very melodious and very high pitch. It’s hard to keep in tune and if you don’t keep in tune it sounds really bad, so that’s a challenge every time!”

What’s your favorite SISTER SIN song and why?
Liv’: ‘Right now, I would say “ Love/Hate”, because it’s one of the most fun to play live as it has got so much energy and attitude.”

What’s the metal scene like in your area (Gothenburg, Sweden)? Are there many clubs, where you can play live?
Liv’: “Hmm, for our music it’s still a bit tough. Gothenburg is known for the more heavier thing like IN FLAMES and HAUNTED and still people of the town like that type of music more. However, the old school is starting to get bigger and bigger.. The live scene could be a lot better in my opinion!”

I bet, that there are some nice or funny stories to tell about life on the road or some hilarious live moments, that you’d rather want to forget about… Maybe you would like to share some of these funny, nice, hilarious moments with us here?
Liv’: “Well, I can tell you from the last tour that we did in US, we had the worst troubles with our van, it broke down twice! And then the van, that we used when our real one was getting repaired, also broke down! At that time we really felt like someone didn’t like us and didn’t wanted us to tour at all!”

Isn’t it difficult being on the road without any privacy at all or do you feel like being ‘one of the boys’, that you don’t have any problems with that at all?
Liv’: “No, I don’t. I’m a very social person, so I’m just happy being around people all the time! And yes, I’m one of the boys, if you want to say it that way. The only thing is when I feel that my voice is cracking, I really need some quite time and sleep.. Then it’s hard, when you don’t have you own room and people can’t be quiet and sleep, when you want it.. I hope, that will be getting easier later on and I hope one day I would be able to have a one room, while being on tour!”

Recently, you played with MOTORHEAD in the US (Chicago) and did some guest DJing at the after party… Please tell us about it...
Liv’: ‘That was a blast!! The stages were great and the audience was great as well both times and we are so happy, that we got that opportunity. We drank some beers with Mikkey D and Lemmy of MOTORHEAD afterwards and had a really good time.. It would be awesome doing an entire tour with them someday!”

Did you already write material for a next album and in which way will these songs differ from what we can hear on “Switchblade Serenades”?
Liv’: “As a matter of fact, we are in the writing process right now. I think the next album will be a little more harder and with some more edge and punch to it! But it will still be SISTER SIN-style.”

Liv, do you also play any instruments or do you stick to singing alone?
Liv’: “I do play both guitar and flute, but I don’t want to do that when I sing, because then I feel stuck. I like running around the stage.. a lot!”

We are an online magazine, focussing on the female musicians in the (hard)rock and (heavy)metal scene. Do you think that you women still need this kind of attention, or do you feel that women already get all the recognition, that they deserve so much?
Liv’: “I definitive think, there’s still a long way to go to get the respect that we deserve.. But of course we have come a little bit on the right way. Still it is very important to do what you guys do and keep telling young girls to keep on dreaming and not give up on their rockstars dreams. We still need a lot more great women in rock!”

We are based in Holland or The Netherlands, if you like. What more do you know about our country, besides the fact that we have beautiful windmills and colourful tulips?
Liv’: “I have been in Amsterdam and I love that city! It’s so beautiful with its architecture and the rivers.. And I do like, that Holland are a little bit more open to things than the rest of Europe.”

Do you have any interests besides playing music in a heavy metal band? [Tell us more about your huge passion for fitness, please….]
Liv’: “Yes, definately, I am a trainoholic.. I really love moving my body. I hate being still too long. And I have always being into sports, dance and stuff.. So besides music, I work as a personal trainer at a gym, helping people to get a healthier lifestyle. I think, that’s really important.. You only have one body, so take care of it! And if you do that, most of the time, it’s totally okay to go on tour and drink some beers and eat a lot of chocolate ( I’m addicted to chocolate!!) .”

We also found out, that you do some modelling work (and are a very experienced model), next to being a musician. What kind of modelling work do you like to do most and is it easy to combine this work with the band?
Liv’: “I’m very fund of being in front of a camera and I really enjoy doing everything, so it’s hard to pick something in particular... It’s pretty easy to combine with music, because I only do modelling when I have time for it. Music comes first!!”

You have been quite a celebrity on Swedish TV, haven’t you? I read about doing a commercial on the Olympic Games in 2005, being a finalist in the talent show ‘Wannabe’ and more. Did you ever think about accepting a role for a movie and do something with acting? (just a thought, that crossed our mind)
Liv’: “No, I’m soooooo bad, when it comes to saying lines - hahahhaha.. I do really want to act, but I’m not so good at it.. Well, as long as I keep my mouth shut, I’m good.. But as soon as there is talking involved, I’m doomed... Maybe if they needed a dumb actress, then I would have a chance (lol).”

What are the future plans of SISTER SIN (short and long term please)?
Liv’: “First of all, we are going to record and release the second album and after that we hope to tour, tour and tour, as much as possible and all around the world. You could say the plan is to tour much and build up a fan-base all around the world..”

Do you want to add something to this interview? Maybe there is something that we didn’t talk about and which is essential for the story of SISTER SIN so far?
Liv’: ‘Hmm, I don’t think so, we got it all pretty much!”

Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Liv’: “Check out SISTER SIN next time that we come to your town! You won’t be disappointed, if you are into raw, energetic old school rock! We really live for this!”

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Toine van Poorten, Metal Maidens 'zine / November 2009.

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