Liv Sin: ‘My Plan Is to Take This New Band Further and Beyond What Sister Sin Achieved’ [Interview]
It was 2015 when Sister Sin came off the road and late in the year they surprised many announcing that they were splitting up. In the aftermath, vocalist Liv Jagrell adopted the moniker Liv Sin, which she's also using as the name of her new band, and decided to continue her music career.
We recently spoke with Liv about the creation of her new band, contributions from members of U.D.O., Destruction and 69 Eyes on the Follow Me album and the challenges of putting together a set list for her current stage shows. Check out the chat below.
From the outside, it appeared that the end of Sister Sin came rather abruptly. Once it became evident this was going to happen, can you take us through your journey coming to terms with the band’s end and making the decision to continue as a solo artist?
For me it was abrupt, but when I look back at it I can see the signs from the two band members who didn´t want to continue. At that point in time I think both me and [drummer] Dave [Sundberg] were just so very sure that we would last forever that we totally missed out on the signs from the rest. It is what it is, and I do think it was for the best in the end. But when it first happened I got very lost and depressed.
For me Sister Sin was my whole life and my identity and suddenly it was gone, like someone pulled the ground from under my feet. It took me a couple of months to get back on my feet and start to see this as an opportunity to do something by myself, with my visions, ideas, music and lyrics. Once I saw it like this, with totally new eyes, I knew that this all was a very good thing and kind of a brand new start. And right now I have no wishes to go back. My plan is to take this new band further and beyond what Sister Sin achieved.
Helping you with your first album from a production standpoint were U.D.O.’s Fitty Wienhold and Stefan Kaufmann. What made them the right guys to produce your album and did the fact that they were already established recording musicians mean anything in terms of what they brought to the table?
From the beginning they were actually one of the things that also made me take the decision to continue. To make a long story short: Sister Sin toured with U.D.O. a couple of times and we got to be close friends with Fitty. Last tour we did together he said he wanted to produce us one day, which never happened obviously. But I remembered that and contacted him, and he and Stefan were immediately on board with the producing. These guys have been in the business for so long and they have so much experience that I felt they were a very good choice. And of course they know their metal! So yes, they taught us a lot during the process, both with the songwriting but also with the recording itself. I definitely learnt a lot from them!
“Let Me Out” was borne from the idea of someone trying to extract themselves from a destructive situation. Where did that track come from and what would you like listeners to take away from the song?
The idea of the lyrics came to me when I watched the news one day and it was about the refugees from Syria who put themselves and their kids in those tiny gummy boats, risking their lives, just to get away from the war. It made me think about what we humans are willing to do when we feel like there is no way out.
The riffs and song ideas were one of the first things [guitarist] Patrick [Ankermark] sent to me when we first started out, and I loved the catchy riff right away! I hope that the listener can feel something in the lyrics as they can sing along, because it is a catchy tune, even though it has a bit more depth to it if you look into it closer.
“Killing Ourselves to Live” features a guest turn from Schmier of Destruction. How did that come about? And while we’re on that track, I know you’ve said it was inspired by a period where you felt disappointed with the human race and the lack of humanity. What are your thoughts on the state of the world and the role of the people as it stands today?
When we wrote that song we had an idea that the verse should be more of a "trashy" style, and I got the idea to have a guest vocalist who could sing a bit trashier than me. Our manager also works for Destruction, so he came up with the idea of asking Schmier. Fortunately for us he liked the song and had time to do the lines: I think it gives the song a push with him and me together.
And as for the world today, I´m still very disappointed of a lot of things. I don´t like how the world seems to develop today, but I also feel there is a grass roots movement growing, with humanity and peace as the focus, which does give a bit more hope on our race for the future.
You’ve recently released “Immortal Sin” featuring a guest turn from Jyrki 69 of 69 Eyes. Tell us a little bit about that collaboration and if you would like to share your thoughts on the great video for that song as well, feel free.
I´ve known Jyrki for over 10 years and I´ve always wanted to do a duet with him. I love his dark deep voice, but there was never any time or any good choices of songs until one evening, me and Stefan Kaufmann, during the recording, had a YouTube night with just Halford stuff. The song came up and both of us really dug the riff and also said it´s kind of a forgotten song. Stefan then suggested me to try it out for a cover, so we did. I sent it to the band, they also liked the idea, but I felt something was missing and then I kind of heard Jyrki's voice in my head, and I knew it would suit perfectly! So I call him up and he really like the idea and the song and flew home to Germany and recorded the vocals. I´m so grateful to have such amazing guests on this album!
As for the video, well, it’s more fun if people think for themselves what is really going on, but I can say that Jyrki is playing a big shot assassin and I´m a really sneaky person (laughs).
You have started booking dates in support of the album. What can you tell us about who is making up your band as a solo artist?
I don´t think of myself as a solo artist, I do think of Liv Sin as my new band. All the band members are equally incorporated in the company and in the band, and we all help out with the duties. It was very important to me when I looked for bandmates that they all wanted to be in a band and that they all wanted to be a part of the company. Patrick [Ankermark] is the one who made the songs on this album together with me, then we have Chris [Bertzell] who is the main solo guitar player, Per [Bjelovuk] who plays the drums and also helped out in the songwriting/song arrangement and Tommie [Winther] who plays the bass, and looks very cool!
Having been part of Sister Sin so long, can you discuss the challenge of putting together your set lists and combining music from 'Follow Me’ with what you’ve done in the past? Did you see ‘Follow Me’ as a natural evolution from where you envisioned yourself going with Sister Sin and does that make it easier in terms of putting together the live show?
I do see it as a natural evolution, even though I don't think Sister Sin would really try to go that heavy as I´m trying. Sister Sin has more of that rock n roll vibe and Liv Sin has more metal in it. And that was certainly my vision from the start with this band. And yes, the heavier Liv Sin gets, the harder it will be to make a set list that feels unified. But for now I've chosen the songs I mostly liked to sing and that I think the fans would mostly like to hear.
Is there a favorite song to play live off the new album and why?
It’s definitely "The Fall" for me! I love the intensity and the energy in that song. And it’s one of the songs that I enjoy most to sing and that I feel suits my voice the best.
What should we be looking for from Liv Sin in the months to come?
Tour dates of course, in Europe primarily, but I hope that I can take the band to U.S. very soon too! And maybe some more videos. And we are talking about setting up a streamed live show in a not too far future!
Our thanks to Liv Sin for the interview. The 'Follow Me' album is currently available via Despotz Records. You can pick up the disc via Amazon and iTunes. As Liv stated, the band does have tour dates coming up this summer. Stay up to date with their touring here.
Liv Sin, "Let Me Out"
Liv Sin, "Immortal Sin"