No one really expected, that the successful and growing career of Gothenburg based SISTER SIN could come to end so unexpected and suddenly. Especially after their oustanding „Black Lotus“ album, which made the band arise into the champions league of hard rocking metal. But former SISTER SIN singer LIV JAGRELL didn’t waste a lot of time and started to plan the next step in her career, which led to the birth of LIV SIN. „Follow Me“ marks the debut album and introduces us a new side from the power lady, who also works as a model and kickass personal trainer!
Liv, by the end of 2015 you announced the end of Sister Sin, after 13 years and five successful records. Since the main reason for the split was a burn-out of several members; wasn’t it an option to just announce a longer break?
No, I think we all felt that it´s better to split at that point, and if the feelings are there later on, we do a reunion. The two members, that suffered most from the touring, came to a certain point where they didn’t even ever wanna think about touring again, so it just felt like it was for the best.
Indeed Sister Sin were very active and toured a lot, especially in the US, which is a rare thing for a European „newcomer” act with a traditional and not trendy sound. Was it hard to conquer this market? How did you experience this time?
It is a bit hard to “conquer a market” everywhere today, I would say, since there are so many bands out there, and it is sometimes hard to stand out. But yes, US might be even harder, cuz it‘s like every band is touring all the time and the market gets fed up. We did both very good tours in US and some really “dog days”-tours, long distances in a small van without air condition for example. That will probably take the spark out of anyone, hehe.
Did you take yourself at least a short break after the split, or did you directly start working on your future career? What were the options you thought about back by the end of 2015?
At first, I was very confused and didn’t even know if I had the energy to start over again. So many thoughts and emotions and questions that popped up, so it took me a couple of month before I said to myself, to stop being sad and disappointed, and instead see this as an opportunity to start something new and fresh. I haven´t regret a second yet!
Since you named Liv Sin after yourself, it also shows that now you are the only boss and the one to take all decisions. Was this a natural step for you, after the experience with Sister Sin?
Nawww, not only. I would say it was partly for easier promotion, but also of course cuz this is my project; everybody in the band is very dedicated and we all contribute. That´s how I want it, I love the band feeling and to just have hired guns is not for me. I might be the boss, but we are all in this together and my guys are giving all that they got for this, which is really awesome!
Is this also something you sing about in “I’m your sin”? I mean, the song is a certain statement…
A sin can be whatever, it could be a relationship, alcohol, gambling, food. It can be a lot, something that you just can’t get away or out of, cuz it‘s such a deep love/hate that has it‘s claws wrapped around you. Or deep inside your skin. Forever.
Since there is none of the old Sister Sin members in your line-up, was this new start only possible for you with new and fresh members? And how did you find and decide about the four new guys?
Kind of, yes, since I know that most of the guys in Sister Sin didn’t wanna tour anymore, and I’m aiming for touring for sure. And it made more sense to find musicians that live close to where I live right now. Two of my guys – Per and Patrick – were old friends of mine, so they were easy to find, but Chris I found on Instagram, haha. Might be the new thing, to find your band on social media. I think he already followed me, and this was when I had just started thinking about musicians, so I followed him back, since he was a guitar player and I needed those. He posted a lot of videos of him playing and I liked his style and asked him if he was interested. Fortunate for me, he was. Finding a bass player was more tricky. It´s something with bass players, haha, we had the same thing in Sister Sin. Well well, my friends in Hardcore Superstar heard about me looking for a bass player, and told me they had a crew guy who played bass, Tommie. We tried him out and now I just hope Hardcore Superstar isn’t to mad at me from stealing their crew, hehe.
Did you start the song writing directly after the split? In what way did this process change, compared to Sister Sin?
No, it took me a while to get into the writing process, I think it’s been almost 10 years since I wrote any music or lyrics, so I had to dig deep. And I also had to find somebody who was better on guitar then me and could actually make and play the kind of riffs I had in my head, which is how I first started to talk to Patrick. Almost the first riff he sent me, was the riff to “Let Me Out”, the first single, and I knew right there, that he was my riff master!
Musically you continue on “Follow Me”, where you ended up with “Black Lotus” – but, the album is much more heavier and metal. Was this also a natural development, since you take the decisions now?
Yes, definitely! I think I’ve always wanted to play more harder and aggressive, at least I try it, and now when I got this opportunity. I felt it was exactly what I had to do: Explore my heavy and dark side even more, hahaha.
Do you need to be in a special mood before diving into the creative process?
I would say yes, but I also know to get this album together I had to force myself into the creative process from time to time, since we had a strict deadline. And it‘s doable, maybe not the most glamorous or respectful way to make songs, forcing the creativity to show up. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes I just ended up frustrated and mad at myself. I’m probably not alone with that, hehe.
Did you have a kind of concept or let’s say key experience which leads you to the main content, well, to the heart of the album?
I would say just the life itself is the key experience. Life happens, and that is what makes good lyrics. If everything would just go smooth in our life all the time, it would make really boring music.
Some songs like “Killing Ourselves To Live” even have some extreme metal parts inside. Means, you did not set any border to your sound anymore. Where do you see Liv Sin musically at home, in your opinion?
I like to experiment, both with harder sides and softer sides, so we did both in this album. Why set boundaries? But musically I still would say we play heavy metal. Just pure heavy metal.
What inspires you generally, both from a musical and the lyrical side? And where do you get your inspiration from?
A lot on this album is inspired by what’s happening all around us, all over the world. My worries, frustration and emotions, as well as how the humanity is developing. Musically you can feel that too, a lot of darker inspiration such as black metal and thrash metal, but also a lot from the more “modern” style of metal like Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth and Machine Head.
Was it clear from the beginning, on in which direction you wanted to go, literally and musically? Or was it more like a natural process, where one thing leads to another?
As soon as I cleared my head and decided that I wanted to continue doing this, it was very natural to go this direction, and I had some amazing help to get the essence out of the songs, by my producers Kaufmann and Weinhold.
Can you tell me something about the song writing process, the several tracks and the stories behind them?
I can tell you it was a pretty intense and stressy process! We were too lazy in the beginning and then suddenly, somewhere in the middle of august, we realised we had to start recording in october, and make 11 (at least) songs ready before that. 1,5 month of no social life, no free time, every little extra minute went to making the songs. But we made it! And I´m very happy with the songs. Some songs went easy and fast like “Hypocrite” and “The Fall”, some we worked with over and over, and changed, and changed back, “The Beast Inside” was that kind of song, but I really love how that one came out.
The lyrics seem very autobiographical and personal. Are you sometimes insecure or afraid that you could reveal too much of yourself?
Yes absolutely, but I also feel that it is my obligation as an artist to show my fans the whole me, I think that is honest and very pure, and that’s what I like to be. But I am scared from time to time, maybe I loose some fans for it, maybe not.
Is there a song on the new album, which represents the whole album in a perfect way?
“Hypocrite” – from which I‘ve taken the title. It‘s intensive, aggressive and groovy – but also emotional.
The “more metal” sounding, may also result from the work with Fitty and Stefan of U.D.O. as producers, since both of them have the traditional metal in their blood. How would you describe the work with them, as well as their impact on the record?
It was great working with them, they have so much experience, and good ideas. I knew I was in good hands, when Stefan said to me at the first day: “We are gonna make a real heavy metal album”. I was so happy and relieved, cuz I was a bit afraid they wanna try to make me sounding more pop and softer. But they didn’t, as you can hear.
Six years ago you toured with U.D.O. through Europe. How do you remember this tour? Did a certain friendship start back then?
It certainly did! It was awesome to tour with U.D.O., and we did it back in 2015 again, where I remember Fitty to say that he wanted to produce an album with us someday. And well he got me at least, haha.
How do you personally feel about “Follow Me”, did it turn out the way you expected and wanted it to be?
Yes, and even better, cuz Kaufmann brought out more metal in me then I ever thought I had. And I m so happy he did! 🙂
Are there any bands or artists which had a special influence on you and your musical career?
Pantera is one of the reasons I wanted to play in a band, I love the riffs, the power, everything! And Rob Halford and Dee Snider are by far my biggest idols as a front person and lead singer, those two knows how to entertain.
Do you have a kind of life philosophy?
I’m working very hard on that as we speak! Lately – since the split with Sister Sin and the touring burn out- I‘ve come to the understanding, that the body and the mind has to work together in harmony. Otherwise you will just burn out yourself, especially in this world, where there is expectations and obligations everywhere. So I‘ve started to do yoga and reading the philosophy behind it. Its made me calmer, but I still have a long long way to go. I think we all need to slow down, smell the flowers, eat some fruit and start to feel our own inner soul.
Nothing to be added!