Boiling energies and contagious storms: an interview with Rikki from Sister

Rikki

Swedish metallers Sister has built and earned a strong reputation for their raw and voraciously energetic sounds as well as live performances which leave a swarm of other bands in the shade. Creating a mix of punk and sleaze rock with horror punk and metal bred tendencies, it is a contagious and at times anthemic brew which is increasing in potency all the time, as proven by the band’s brand new album Disguised Vultures. The release is an encounter which increases infectiously and addictively the more time you allow its persuasion,  proving the Stockholm quartet a band very hard to ignore or not find a sweet spot for. To learn more about the band we had the pleasure of talking with bassist Rikki, at the same time finding out about the new album, the band and horror punk, touring and much more…

Hi Rikki, welcome to the site and thanks for agreeing to talk with us.

What was the spark which brought Sister to life and did you have an immediate direction you wanted to explore?

Sister came to life in early 2006 and I joined one year later. There were a few years with all intentions of being a band reaching high but at the same time making all the mistakes and being all about having a good time all the time. Maybe one year before the debut album Hated, that was released 2011, we felt that we were something to be reckoned with without putting much effort into it and started thinking of what we could do if we make something real out of it. I think it pretty much was at that time all the things fell into the right places.

1743529_10152244327941694_138724050_nWe called your sound and album in our review of your brand new release Disguised Vultures, ‘Raw and contagious, seducing like Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 meets Crashdiet in a glam cast pit of degenerate rioting’. How would you describe the Sister incitement to newcomers?

You got the raw and contagious there and I like that he he. I would add a high energetic live act. We are a band that love being on stage and that’s our place in this world.

What are your most potent inspirations as a band and as an individual?

We are all about all kinds of music. From bands like Misfits and Guns n Roses to bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Roky Erickson. We get inspirations from everything around us. I find inspiration in everything I like and respect.

We mentioned new album Disguised Vultures earlier, your recently released second album; how were the feelings on the eve of its release and since?

Last album was a big chaotic process since we signed with Metal Blade and had to write songs, record and release an album in a pretty short time period. This time we had a lot of time getting everything done and deciding how to go through with it. Like the first time, we finished in the last second this time as well though. It has to be done that way I have learned by now. The songs were written one year ago so it feels great to finally get them out.

There seemed to be a rather strong anticipation and now a hungry appetite for the album, was this something even with your confidence in its potency you expected?

It’s the way it should be. Would be pretty boring the other way wouldn’t it. We just go for all the stuff we want to achieve with an album or whatever we are doing at the moment. I knew this album would be the perfect follow up to Hated and the new album really feels like a step in the right direction.

How do you see you music and style has evolved between Disguised Vultures and its predecessor?

I loved the fact that we recorded the drums, bass and rhythm guitar live this time. It was a thought that appeared very early, maybe shortly after the last album was released. That next time we’ll do it live in the studio. I think we achieved a more organic sound and it’s a much rawer and heavier sound than the last time. I think also it’s a more diverse album as well. On the debut it was all about fast punk songs. We are exploring more grounds this time.

sister 2Did you approach the new album differently to Hated, were there lessons learned first time around you could utilise and build on?

Yeah make sure you have time haha. Actually it could be a good thing to do an album without having the time to think about everything. It becomes very honest. But if problems turn up you are pretty fucked. We’ve learned a few things about being a band and to record the last couple of years as well. Not much but a few hehe.

You may disagreed but it seems like earlier releases, Hated and before that the Deadboys Making Noise EP, certainly lyrically and in sound may be too, embraced expectations with a typical horror punk provocation. Disguised Vultures feels like in both aspects Sister has moved on to try to evolve and sculpt its own identity. Has this been something you have given a focused attention to look at or it has been just an organic progression in your writing?

I actually have no idea when the horror label people put on us even took place. We have never written songs about horror movies or stuff like that. We write music about real life not after life haha. I guess when you look in a certain way people try to put you in the genre that they think is the closest one. We have always considered ourselves being a band that like a lot of different music genres and we have since the EP just decided not to think about genres and just play what we want. It is always different depending who you talk to. Some say we are sleaze, some say horror, some say just pure punk music. I consider us being a bit more confusing genre wise than just being just one of those.

Tell us about the recording of the new album. Did you have a deliberate intent with it and its sound?

Our friend Martin Sweet produced it and Linus Nirbrant did the mix together with him. The mix process took the longest to get right since we really knew from the start what we wanted. We were very much, like always, involved in all parts of the process. We knew what we wanted to do and how to do it and since we have worked with Martin earlier we know each other very well. He got us from the start.

Do you write songs and have them worked out fully before the recording process or a band which likes to create predominantly in the studio environment?

Everything was written half a year before we entered the studio. You always make a few changes in the studio but the main stuff was already written this time. On the first album we changed more while recording than this time.

How does the writing process within Sister play out generally?

Someone has a song which is taken to the rehearsal. Usually there is a melody or a half-finished song and then we pretty much finish the song in there. It can be very different from song to song but usually it’s like that.

Are you more often than not a put the lyrics to music band or vice versa?

It can be either way.

There is a definite anthemic and stand up against the wrongs of society etc. provocation to your songs lyrically which transfers to sister 4the music on the album, but how much do personal issues, reflections, or experiences also inspire your songs?

Cari and Jamie have written the lyrics on this album. Some songs are pure angst about things and some more complex. The song Disguised Vultures for example is about the clash between the world on tour and the world back home. On tour playing in front of big crowds and then being back home without any money and all that. It can be two very different worlds.

Disguised Vultures like its predecessor has been unleashed on Metal Blade Records; they seem like a rewarding home for Sister?

Yeah it’s been good. Their reputation and arms reach out over most parts of the world and that can be very good for us of course.

The band has toured and played around Europe extensively over the years, as well as playing at some prestigious festivals; the biggest highlights for you so far?

Playing the big stage right before Mastodon on Sonisphere Madrid 2012 was a highlight of course. I can get used to doing that stuff haha. The tours with Hardcore Superstar, Crashdiet and Wednesday 13 have been really good as well. We have played in northern Europe a lot since the EP (Germany has been like a second home country hehe) so it has been great playing in Italy, Spain and France the last couple of years. Our first two tours in the UK were done last year and were awesome as well. Hope to be back there real soon!

Is there any particular country or nationality of fans which unite and ignite to Sister over all others?

It’s been real good all over Europe the last few years. Northern Italy has always been crazy. Manchester and London on the UK tours have been awesome. Paris was really great, Berlin as well. Hard to pick a favourite.

sister 3What does Sister have in store for 2014 now the album is out?

We are in the middle of discussions about some real cool stuff tour wise. We’ll see if it can be done. It would be big! The booked official stuff is a release party here in Stockholm in the middle of February and some shows in Sweden and Finland. We just want to hit the roads soon!

Big thanks for chatting with us; any parting thoughts you would like to leave the readers contemplating?

Likewise! If you haven’t been to a Sister show, make sure that you do when we’re around! And check out our album Disguised Vultures!

Read the Disguised Vultures review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/sister-disguised-vultures/

www.sisterofficial.com

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 14/02/2014

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Tombstone Highway: Ruralizer

TombstoneHighway_band

    Ruralizer is one of those unexpected gems which come out of nowhere awareness wise, to thrill and invigorate the emotions and ear. Unleashed by Italian band Tombstone Highway, the album is an immensely satisfying encounter of stoner rock, blues, and southern rock all soaked in the sinews of doom metal. Refreshing in its imaginative use of existing formulas within the above genres all captivatingly transformed into something distinct to the band, the Agonia Records released album leaves an insatiable appetite for much more from and strong passion for Tombstone Highway.

The band comprises of duo H.M Outlaw (vocals, guitars, banjo) and Emilio Sobacchi (drums), and has its beginnings back in 1999 with the pair inspired by the likes of Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd, traditional Root Blues, and Bluegrass emerging as Leaf Season Death. Employing the heavy shadows of low-tuned guitars and bass to their ideas, the band failed to take off through the lack finding additional members to create their invention. The duo moved into other bands soon after but then 2006 saw them join up again and begin writing new material, with bassist Mike B. of Viscera brought in to the line-up.  Debut EP Padus River Graveyard Blues followed the next year and received strong responses to its limited release. Another hiatus for the band followed with Mike B. leaving but in 2011 the Piacenza pair united again to write and record their first album, the mighty creation Ruralizer.

The album combines the heaviness of a Corrosion of Conformity and Down to the southern fires of Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top TH_coverbefore immerses them in the heavy metal power of Black Sabbath. It is an inspirational result which is soaked in the rural and folklore essences of its homeland to further ignite the flames of all its other fires of sound. Outlaw and Sobacchi also brought in additional musicians in the shape of Mario Percudani (HungryHeart), one of the very best rock guitarists in Italy, guitarist Razor SK (Forgotten Tomb), and Paolo Apollo Negri whose Hammond keys bring another flavoursome persuasion to the album.

Opening track Old Blood is a sensational invitation to the album, the weighty lure of the riffs and basslines veined by irresistible banjo teases to immediate intrigue and please. The track strolls through the ear with purpose and a sure hunger which with ease demands eager attention whilst leaving a depth of pleasure which is immeasurable. The guitars carved a place in the passions with skill and enterprise whilst the rhythms without unleashing their full venom cage it all with craft and intensity.

From the startling beginning the album piles on the thrills with firstly Acid Overlord, a track with grooves as addictively sour and sharp as you could wish within its snarling insatiable presence, the sweltering Graveyard Blues which has whispers of Soundgarden within its Orange Goblin coated furnace, and the outstanding Hellfire Rodeo. The last of the trio is a virulently infectious romp with riffs and sonic taunting causing an epidemic of ardour within the emotions. As in all songs vocally Outlaw has a dust coated growl which ignites the whisky fumes of the music into another hot wind of satisfying enterprise, the union of all aspects within the band and songwriting forging something new and inspiring within a familiar context.

The title track employs that irrepressible banjo sound again within more searing sonic mastery, its swagger and muscular gait an imposing yet deeply stimulating instigator to feet and passions. Up to this point every track ignites the fullest hunger for their contents and the same can be said for Bite The Dust (and bleed) and At The Bitter End though both despite their quality and energy fail to quite match up to what came before. The two songs do not quite find that something to step forward into their own unique spotlight but nevertheless cannot be offered any real negatives.

Completed by a strong and inviting cover of the Mountain track Mississippi Queen and the excellent closing inventive maul of the ear Hangman’s Friend, Tombstone Highway has brought the world an album which is rock at its most rousing and bracing. If references mentioned above work for you than Old Bones is a real awaiting treat.

https://www.facebook.com/Tombstone.Highway

9/10

RingMaster 15/03/2013

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Smokey Fingers – Columbus Way

With a sound steeped in the southern rock inspirations of the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers, Italian rock band Smokey Fingers release their debut album Columbus Way on Tanzan Music. Fusing hard rock, blues and country to their southern base sound the quartet from Lodi have brought a fresh and invigorating feel to their music, creating songs that do not hide their open influence but instead excel in its spirit and glory whilst bringing it into a modern arena.

Smokey Fingers began officially in 2008 when drummer Daniele Vacchini and guitarist Diego “Blef” Dragoni teamed up with old friends in vocalist Luca Paterniti and bassist Fabrizio Costa, the various members having played with another in such bands as Smell Of Dog, Dixie Line and in the Double Trouble Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute band. Together they began working on new songs as well as revisiting and developing tracks and melodies from songs written as far back as 2006. What evolved was a flavour of southern rock in the distinct style and touch of Smokey Fingers and a self produced EP Smokey Fingers in 2009 that first brought them a strong attention. Now with Columbus Way and its solid and creative sounds the thought that Smokey Fingers will wake up an unsuspecting world to their music is rife and really there is no reason why it should not be so.

The album consists of twelve tracks that ooze class and vibrancy, with stirring guitars, firm and engaging riffs, and playful smart melodies and harmonies. There is strength across the whole release that not only eagerly grabs attention but satisfies and pleasures. There is also in many ways something for everyone, even those who head for the heavier assaulting riffs and intense attacks. Smokey Fingers brings rock ‘n’ roll to trigger anyone’s inner rhythm. 

The album opens with ‘Old Jack’, a get down and get dirty track that plays easily upon the ear. With a catchy chorus, a great resonating bass, and scorching guitars the song sets the scene for the band’s sound and the album to come, lively and fun it is the perfect lead into the release.

Immediately second track ‘The Lover’ comes in with confirmation of what one first noticed in the opener that Costa is a classy and accomplished bassist. For the second time and not the last on the album, his bass resonates and throbs to give the song an organic feel, a pulse that brings the track even more alive. The other notable thing is how American the band comes over, the expectation was of a sound, certainly vocally, tinged with an Italian flavour but far from it. It also does not feel wrong either, usually one complains of a European band trying to sound American but here it is so natural and easy the thought does not arise.

Across the album produced by Mario Percudani (Hungry Heart), there is a good variety and a very strong consistency with tracks such as the skilful ‘Chains Of Mind’, the emotive grace of ‘Ride Of Love’, and the album’s best track ‘Die For The Glory’ complete with another addictive bassline and stunning creativity, all reinforcing what an extremely well written and performed collection of songs this is. The guitars of Dragoni as everywhere lay down mesmeric patterns with his play and the beats of Vacchini keep everything controlled and neatly paced. Vocally Paterniti is spot on; there are no negatives to send his way even if he sounds more American than should be possible. Combined the band bring America and “the sunny and dusty roads of Alabama!” to the ear but in their own stylised way.

Columbus Way is an essential listen for all Southern and hard rock fans, but anyone who enjoys great melodic rock ‘n’ roll should take a listen. Smokey Fingers has one tasty release for all rock fans to feast upon.

Ringmaster 23/09/2011

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