With Jamie (vocals), Cari (drums), Rikki (bass), and Tim (guitar)
@ Upstairs at The Garage, London
30th November 2013
Interview by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs
If you know of Sister you probably either love or hate them. Even if you haven’t heard of them you probably have an opinion anyway. That’s the way it’s been since the beginning. On the last night of their biggest year of touring yet, Sister are a band comfortable with such controversy. They just wanna do their thing – and that’s performing and writing the music they want to hear. Not so different to any other band then. And music like that will always find an audience.
Pre-show, pre-make up, we sit down with these not-so-twisted foursome to chat about the tour, the album, the Sister way, and naked pigmen….
We’re at the end of the tour now I believe?
Sister (in unison) – Yes, last date.
How’s it been then?
Rikki – Perfect
Jamie – Awesome, it’s been great.
Cari – Hectic.
And as it’s the last show – are we getting anything a bit different?
Rikki – We were discussing that actually.
Jamie – Maybe we will come up with something.
Rikki – We could have a special treat for audience.
Cari – This is headline set so we’re going to play more songs. Play like one hour or something. We play 30 minutes on Wednesday support.
So this is good – we’ve got more time!
Sister – Yes!
Maybe not Christmas songs though?
Sister – *laughs*
Rikki – Someone asked us about that yesterday like Twisted Sister did a Christmas album.
Cari – Fucking old rock bands are doing that. *laughs*
Jamie – So in 30 years maybe we’ll release a Christmas album.
Rikki – In 30 years we’ll probably not be busy.
Cari – Then we’ll do Jingle Balls.
Sister – *laughs*
I can’t really imagine Christmas with Sister. I don’t think you do Christmas jumpers and sitting around Christmas trees.
Sister – *laughs*
Cari – We do.
Tim – I’m more like the Grinch. I haven’t celebrated for three years.
As mentioned you’ve been touring with Wednesday 13 – your second time I think – so is he a good mate now really?
Rikki – Yes all the guys in the band and the crew, they are great guys.
Honorary sisters now.
Sister – Yes!
And it’s strange because I think the beginning of this year was the first time you’d toured the UK, and now you’re back again. What brought you back so quickly?
Jamie – Wednesday.
Rikki – Good response. We had like one show with Wednesday in Manchester and then we has a look for a few more shows that fitted perfectly to do.
Cari – I think UK is one of my favourite countries. It’s like Sweden in some ways but cheaper *laughs* The food and the liquor is much cheaper so it’s perfect. You have to drive on the wrong side – that’s a problem, but… *laughs*
You can work around that!
Rikki – And of course England is England – it’s special music wise.
Probably for you guys it’s a bit warmer.
Jamie – Yeah it’s warmer.
Rikki – We haven’t been home for about a month so we don’t know – maybe it snow.
Cari – My mom texted me today – it’s snow.
Sister – *laughs*
Jamie – Fuck I don’t want to go home.
Cari – But we had a great time here in the UK. Last dates we were here for two weeks and had great response everywhere, and people are writing us all the time ‘you have to come back to the UK’ so we are.
Rikki – Yeah it was a great impact last time.
Jamie – I think the fans have been waiting so long for us to come to UK, because we tour so much in the rest of Europe – Germany, France, countries like that – but now we’re finally here. And I think the fans have been waiting so long so now they show up when we finally get here.
You’ve had a lot of touring this year – is it the most you’ve ever done in one long stint?
Cari – Yes this year has been hectic.
Rikki – It was pretty much all spring with Scandinavian tour, Wednesday tour in UK, and Europe with Crashdiet in May. I think this is the most shows we’ve done in one tour so far. We did another tour with UDO but it was not as many shows but it was a bit longer timewise.
Cari – So we’ve been touring, recording the new album, and now we’re touring.
I was going to say where do you fit in recording and writing the new material with all the touring?
Cari – No sleep. No it was summer holidays.
Rikki – Our manager died at the end of April, before the tour with Crashdiet, and of course it was upsetting and everything was a bit postponed, but then we tried to focus on getting the record done in August. And focus on the next year for us.
Jamie – You have to show if you want to write new music, go on tours, or have holidays and family vacations and stuff like that – it’s hectic.
Are you going to have Christmas off then?
Jamie – Yeah of course!
Cari – Today is the last day of working this year I think.
We talked about the new material very briefly – obviously we’ve heard the single ‘Sick’, which is awesome. Is that a good indication of what the rest of the album is going to be like?
Jamie – Yes. I think so.
Rikki – There’s more diversity on this album than there was on the first album, so we have a few more like different songs. I guess the first album was a bit like punk, straight forward, as a first record should be, and now we take another step in the right direction.
‘Sick’ definitely feels quite aggressive, and the video is like… Whoah I need to watch that again to make sure I saw that!
Sister – *laughs*
Rikki – Exactly!
Cari – Like what the fuck… Oh
Jamie – Some more nudity than before.
Was that a group idea, or did it come out of one person?
Rikki – The naked part?
All of it!
Jamie – It was me. I wrote the lyrics and then it was like hey let’s do a video for this. We talked to our film guy, who has done three or four videos for us earlier, he’s a friend of ours, and he just come up with idea.
Rikki – Basically we wanted to do a sick video.
Jamie – It describes the lyrics, and the title of the song.
Absolutely! It does fit it really well. Thinking about your material, I think your debut album was in 2011, so did you deliberately take a littler while to work on the second one, or have you just been really busy?
Jamie – We’re touring a lot, and our manager died.
Cari – We changed guitar player, which was kind of a big thing.
Rikki – Nowadays you can’t decide everything by yourself, you have to have discussions with all parts like labels, booking agencies etc
Jamie – I think it’s better though. Bands nowadays now just make an album, then another one, and another one – they throw them out. I like bands who deliver an album every two years, I think that’s better so people can take it in and watch the shows, and the band can tour a lot. I think that’s better than just a new one and a new one.
Cari – I feel that we have really toured on the first album, like as much as we can, so now’s the time for the second one.
And that comes out beginning of next year?
Sister – Yes.
Jamie – Late January.
Are there any plans around that? I know you’re just finishing this mad year of touring but I assume you’ll be doing other stuff too?
Rikki – We want to do the festivals of course.
Jamie – Tour as much as possible next year as well on the new album.
Is there anywhere you’d really want to play?
Cari – Hellfest would be nice.
Jamie – Download is cool.
Rikki – Hellfest and Download I guess is the big one.
Jamie – Let’s do the big stage at Hellfest.
Cari – Like Wacken and Graspop, Sweden Rock, all that.
Rikki – Sonisphere was a good experience.
Cari – We’d do that again. There’s so many new festivals popping up everywhere. Like in Sweden we have two festivals every week in the summer.
Jamie – We could play all of them.
Have there been any particular highlights from this year of touring?
Jamie – Manchester has been good every time.
Rikki – Yeah Manchester has been good. Milan was really good. Paris has been crazy.
Cari – Leipzig.
Rikki – Northern Italy is always good for us.
What about the bands you’ve played with – Crashdiet etc?
Rikki – They’ve been friends with us for a really long time. I was really good friends with David, the first singer, and I’ve known them for a long time.
Cari – We were talking with them for many years about how we have to tour Europe with them, and Scandinavia, so now was the time. I guess that was a lot of work from Michael our manager, he managed Crashdiet and us, so he was behind those tours.
Anything else on the horizon you can let us in on?
Cari – Recording and touring is what we do.
Jamie – We want to release a video, a new one with the new album, tour, and there’s not much else we can do *laughs*
Cari – More nakedness *laughs*
Is that going to be the signature for all the videos for this album maybe?
Cari – Yeah standing in the corner, the same guy. In the shadows.
Turning the last word over to yourselves, is there anything else you want to say to the fans?
Jamie – Buy our new record.
Cari – Keep your eyes open for Sister next year.
Rikki – And tell all the festivals to book us for the summer. Send an email.
Cari – Demand us *laughs*
Jamie – Of course check out our new single on Youtube – Sick.
I think people have definitely been watching that video – I’ve seen the comments.
Cari – *laughs* yeah the comments, that’s funny to read.
Rikki – The likes, and the dislikes…
Jamie – Especially on the label’s Youtube.
Cari – It’s good. I like that.
Is that the Sister thing?
Cari – It’s always been like that. It is a Sister thing.
Rikki – It’s the way we do what we like *laughs* but people seem to have a problem with that.
Jamie – I like the Sister camp, the fans, and the other ones just start discussions and it’s like a war if you read the comments. It’s really cool – I don’t care I think it’s funny to read all of them.
Rikki – I think it’s funny you said it’s like the Sister way because it’s always been like that since as long as I can remember. And of course with the last album title, that had something to do with that. It’s amazing how people can have opinions all about something that doesn’t even concern them, and like we just do whatever we want, and everybody can do what they want, but…
Cari – From the beginning, we have been threatened that they’ll kill us *laughs* and that they hate us, and they love us.
Rikki – *laughs* But that’s a good thing – they love/hate. I guess if nobody cares then that’s the worst that can happen for a band.
Cari – I mean we just do what we like. I would like to see a video like that with a naked guy, and pigman, I want to see that. But no-one is doing it so we’re doing it.
Rikki – It’s not like we try to provoke certain people on purpose, it just comes naturally I suppose.
It’s nice you have the freedom to do what you want, the label and people obviously aren’t imposing a lot on you?
Cari – There’s a lot of guys you talk to about a video or whatever, and the band is like we don’t know, the producer told us to do this, and wear this, and do that, and they don’t know what the video is about. Our video is 100%, we stand behind everything and we control it.
Jamie – We’re all control freaks pretty much. We have to have a say about everything. So we can work hard but we want to have control over it.
So we’re getting the genuine article – everything Sister related is Sister.
Jamie – Yeah.
Cari – It’s the same thing with the new album, it’s 100% us. I don’t think they told us to change anything this time.
And is there any particular theme driving the album?
Rikki – A bit different I guess because we experienced more.
Cari – Yeah we’ve been through a lot – releasing the first album, touring a lot, getting new experiences, and we had some trouble like our guitar player changed, our manager passed away, so it’s like what has been going on up here *taps head* it’s been, maybe a darker touch to it.
Jamie – Last time our former guitar player wrote like 80% of the Hated album, maybe more I don’t know, but now it’s like our new guitar player and me and Cari wrote the lyrics, but it still sounds like Sister. It’s nothing different. It’s a new album with new songs of course, but it’s not a big difference.
Rikki – It was a big challenge to do it, but it turned out great. I’m really happy with it.
Cari – It’s an improvement on the first.
Does it feel more collaborative with you all having had more input?
Jamie – It’s more personal. Talking for me, the lyrics are more personal. I think it’s the same with you *indicates Cari*
Cari – Yeah, and you as the singer have been writing some songs and doing them your way, not having someone else tell you to sing like this.
Jamie – It’s much easier to work like that actually to write your own lyrics.
Thanks Sister! Looking forward to the show, and seeing what you have for us. Kind of hoping for no naked pigmen though *laughs*
Sister – *laughs*
Cari – We have him in the cupboard ready to let out *laughs*