Sister Sin Singer Liv Jagrell Talks New Album ‘Now and Forever,’ Swedish Music Scene + More
When we recently had the opportunity to chat with Sister Sin singer Liv Jagrell, she spoke candidly about the new album 'Now and Forever' (available here) and how the band has fought tooth and nail to make it in the music business for almost a decade. In addition, Jagrell dished on women in metal today, as well as why she thinks so much good music keeps coming out of Sweden. Check out our exclusive interview with Liv Jagrell of Sister Sin below:
What does the album title ‘Now and Forever’ mean to you?
The title ‘Now and Forever’ is kind of a statement for us as a band. As a band and as individuals we have been through quite a lot of things, a lot of troubles and things that might break up bands but we’re so dedicated to this band. So that’s the title – we are here now and hopefully forever. We won’t give up even if something goes wrong – it’s tough to be in the music business today.
Sister Sin have been a strong unit for a decade, for you what keeps the band going, secret to your longevity?
Yes it’s been almost a decade at least for me and Dave [Sunberg] the drummer because we started the band from the beginning and yeah it’s kind of a decade now – that’s a long time. It’s really hard today with the business, there’s so many bands, so much competition out there, no money whatsoever and all the things with downloads – I mean it could be could but also bad, depending on how you look at it. When I started to play music at 15, the music business and scene was totally different and you could actually make money from it. When I was 15, I just decided, “I’m going to play music my whole life and I’m going to be a rock star” -- that kind of attitude. So I spent all 15 years to convince myself that that’s the only thing I will ever, ever do so that’s why I can’t give up because I programmed my brain to believe that I will do this forever.
I think that’s why we don’t give up and why sometimes other bands do – they find other opportunities and other things they love too, they have something else you actually can do and you’ll probably do that because that will make you money and a better living. If you just prepare your whole life to be in the music business and tell yourself “This is what I’m going to do, I’m not going to do anything else” it’s kind of foolish and childish but in that way you just can’t give up. People of course give up and I’m not saying I’m not going to do it years from now but right now I still feel like I have to fight for that dream that I had as a teenager. Obviously we all have gained a lot and experienced so much but we’re still a little bit far away that whole kind of – living with the music or for the music thing – close but still far away. [Laughs] I think that’s what drives us.
What have you learned being in a band for almost 10 years that you didn’t know at the start of the journey?
I’ve learned very much. [Laughs] I’ve learned that I love to be on tour and I love to be onstage and I only feel that I am myself. I’m one hundred percent Liv when I’m onstage. I feel that’s the only time I’m just me. I’ve also learned that I thought it would be ten times easier and I thought it would be not as hard as it is.
Of course I want people to fight and live for their dream but they have to understand that the dream comes with a lot of sacrifice and I don’t think people understand really how much being in a band, how much sacrifice comes with being in a band. If you can do the sacrifice then you should be in a band because when you’re onstage, when you tour, when you record your songs it’s the best thing in the world, absolutely the best feeling in the world.
What is your opinion on the way women in heavy metal are viewed today?
Today is very much better than when I started, I’m very happy that I can see the progress. There are more women, more girls feel that they can take a spot in the metal scene - I didn’t really feel that when I started. There was this all girl Swedish band called Strange Stockholm and when I saw them I was like “If they can do it, I can do it too.” Before that I had Courtney Love but that’s not metal but I thought Courtney Love was really cool – she played the guitar and she was just a very outstanding person. Strange Stockholm was metal and it was an awakening that I could do this if I really want to – so for me that was the big thing when I discovered them and after that I just tried to push my way into the metal scene. I think it’s easier today, I hope it’s easier today – in Stockholm today we have a lot of female-fronted bands or all girl bands. I hope the girls today feel like they have people to look up to and I hope I can be one of them. I discovered Doro later, maybe 22 so when I was 15 I didn’t know much girls in metal.
You did a cover of a Motorhead tune, what is another band you would like to cover that you haven’t yet.
There are so many, I so love Twisted Sister. I really wanted to cover a Twisted Sister song but not their most known songs maybe some of the least known but a Twisted Sister song that would be really fun to do. Sometimes it’s better to think outside a little bit and not choose the very normal suggestion, people tell us all the time “You should do a Motley Crue cover or you should do a Judas Priest” but that’s kind of too easy. Sometimes it’s fun to find those diamonds somewhere in a song that people don’t know so much with a band – maybe that’s not even metal but you can make it your own.
Many talented bands have come out of your home country of Sweden like In Flames, Opeth, Arch Enemy just to name a few. What do you think it is about all of this music coming out of Sweden that has such a broad appeal to people internationally?
I think it could be two things, the first is that Sweden has always been a very good country when it comes to music – from when we’re a child we have opportunites to get into music school for free or for a very small fee at least when I grew up, I know it’s kind of changing now because we have another political power right now. When I grew up they would try to get kids into artistic things like music or theater stuff like that, it was that or sports. So you either get good at sports or music or art and drama so that’s why I think many people are very good musicians from Sweden because we learn from a very early age to do all of these kinds of things.
The other thing is that Sweden is very cold, you can’t just be on the beach the whole day and surf or do many things outside, other than a couple of months, in December you have to be inside because it’s too cold here. So again if you want to do something at home – you go and play music or you go and do sports so I think that could be a reason why a lot of people in Sweden are dedicated and they have this kind of music coming out. There’s nothing else to do here, people tend to be drawn to being together and playing music.