All Hell Speaks Loose _Rikki Riot Speaks out!!
Sweden is one of the place that you cannot escape when it comes to Metal & Rock music, it has over the last 2 decades become a vast and growing nation for extremely talented musicians. With varies style of metal from AOR to the extreme bands of Black and Death Metal, there is no escape of just much talent lives and breathes in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia . Like Hardcore Super stars, Crash Diet, Fatal Smile, White Crash Heroes the list of hard edge Sleeze/ Glam Metal is now taking a turn and having a darker edge to their music. One band I recently discovered and interviewed is 'Sister', from Stockholm. This up and coming band have released 2 albums through Metal Blade and have recently toured with UK with Skidrow and Las Vegas. I managed to catch them in my home city of Hull where I talked to bass player Rikki Riot about the current album and the future for the band. Here is what he had to say.
Hi Rikki, thanx for doing the interview whilst on tour with Skidrow. Could you please tell me when the band was formed and by whom?
Hey that's no problem, well we formed back in 2006 and I joined the band almost 2yrs later. We all live in Stockholm now and we are becoming a pretty big band.
So what's the scene like in Sweden, especially in Stockholm for metal right now?
"Yes it is still big and there are a lot of bands out there now, so the competition is harder than it was so many years ago. So now you really need to stand out like we do and bands like Fatal Smile/ White Trash Heroes, and sometimes playing in a band seems like you are playing just for others. (Ed: Do you all bitch behind each others backs or is it just one happy family?) No I think it is all OK between the bands, of course there is some competition but there is not that much trash talk as you could except.
So as a band who are you're influences? Also how do these bands show in you're music?
"Well as a band I think we are all into bands like GNR, The Misfits and bands like that. When we 1st got together we all had the same influences and maybe some early Alice Cooper. We are a band that will not stand still and just wear t shirts, we like to move about on the stage and we like to go on stage with the full on approach. I think that Alice Cooper and The Misfits are 2 bands that have inspired in that way."
So who came up with the bands name? There's a few band out there with the word 'Sister' in their names, did you think it may confuse the public?
"Well it was Cari our drummer who came up with the bands name. He has some different combinations with the word 'Sister' in the name for the band, and in the end we decided to go with the name 'Sister'. Our singer is together in the band 'Sister Sin' singer which is also funny."
Looking at you're logo when I 1st saw it the logo reminded me of a Swedish Death Metal band 'Dismember', the same kind of jagged edge logo, do you agree and did you get any hate mail from Dismember asking you to change the logo style?
"No we have not had any problems from them, well not yet!! Our 1st guitar player did the logo and he had no clue about Dismember's logo style and it wasn't like he tried to copy it. (Ed: I would not say you copied it, it's just the way the logo has the same jagged edges that they have). There are a lot of logo's out there that have that sort of appeal & approach.
Tell me about you're 1st releases, were they put out by ourselves or a label?
"Well we released an E.P in 2009 and that pretty much got the attention from Metal Blade and other labels. We later on signed with Metal Blade and we have released 2 albums with them. I think Metal Blade wanted a band that were different from the rest that they have, so I think they wanted a band in the same direction that we are in, a band that were like Sleeze but a bit darker & heavier and they thought we would be the ideal band for the label."
Been with Metal Blade records what was you're 1st thoughts of signing to them? Did you think they would not be the right choice of label for the band?
"Yes I guess we were at 1st, they have a lot of heavy bands and modern style crossover bands, we didn't know if we would be suitable for the bale or not at 1st. It was also cool thought because we all knew about Metal Blade and the reputation they have to look after their bands, with promotions and touring. It felt right from the start when we signed to the label and what they said to us sounded great so we just signed with them. (Ed: What does the main boss Brian think of you're band?) I think he likes us, I have not heard too much from him and we have not played the U.S. yet, so we have not met him yet."
You're debut album for Metal Blade 'Hated' what was the music like to that of the new album 'Disguised Vultures', how do you compare each album?
"Well the new album is pretty much compared to that of Punk and fast pace and the songs had attitude and I think on the new album we have more time to make it a better album with the songs and production and playing. The 1st album we didn't have much time to prepare for it in August we signed to Metal Blade and the album was released in Spring and we just started writing songs and it was kid of chaotic. For the 2nd album we had more time to plan it and it is a bit more diverse than the 1st album."
Who produced both album? Was it Martin Sweet who had worked with 'Crash Diet'?
"Yes it was, he had also worked on our 2 E.P's and he co-produced it with us and on the latest album we also worked with Linus Nirbrant in Audiogrind Studio's in Stockholm Sweden."
How long did it take to record 'Disguised Vultures'? Was it recorded in 1 studio or various studios like most bands tend to work these days?
"Our debut album was recorded with guitar and bass in 1 place, with the drums in another place and the vocals done in another studio. With the new album we decided to record it live in the studio, so we recorded the drums bass and guitars in the same studio together which was a cool process and we added some lead guitar and singing later on. In total I think it took about a month and a half to finish the recording. We are happy with the way it turned out and it turned out the way we wanted it to sound. We did not want to over produce it, whereas the 1st album was a little too much over produced with this one is captures the rawness of the band and with the image of the band."
When it comes to writing songs, are they wrote as a team effort or is there one band member who writes the lyrics and another who does the music?
"Well it usually starts with one person coming up with an idea which is shared between the rest of the band. We all arrange it together in the studio and add stuff later on to make it a complete song."
What songs from the current album do you like and why?
"Well I am happy with all the songs to be honest, but I really like songs like 'Disguised Vultures', because it was one of the 1st songs we had written for the new album. I also like the song 'Naked' as it is slow but is very well thought out. I would like to make a video for that song later on if we can. "
How well is the album selling so far for the band?
"Well we are not business men, so I really can't answer that one sorry, I think it is doing well be to honest. The debut album sold pretty good though but the record sales these days are not great for any band with the downloading factor. We focus on touring and selling merchandise really."
Have you ever thought of re-releasing the previous material before Metal Blade through you're current label now?
"Well we have talked about doing something like this but it takes some time but we have re-released them on Spotify a few weeks ago, but I also think it is a good solution and maybe put it as a bonus CD with the next album. I think it should come out on vinyl, I think it would be cool and I have never stopped buying vinyl, and that is the real way to listen too music in my head."
Do you all have day jobs in Sweden? It must be hard to get by otherwise?
"Yeah it is, but if you continue to tour a lot and be on the road you can make some money. Back home we all need some income."
Moving on, how is the tour with Skidrow going for you and Las Vags?
"It is going really well for us, it is a short tour and this in Hull is our 3rd show so far, our 1st show was in Bristol and then Cambridge yesterday. The Skidrow guys have been really cool towards us, and we have hanged out with them after the shows and it is fun meeting them of course. I have been listening too the music and watching the DVD's for years now. (Ed: Is it like a dream come true to be on tour with them?) For me yes!! We have been supporting a lot of bands over the last few years and for me this is the most special one for me."
So far in the bands career who have you played with?
"Well we have played with Hardcore Superstars, UDO, Crash Diet, but touring with UDO was great. We didn't think the fans would like us as they are a full one metal band but the crowd actually loved us after the 1st 2 songs."
As you're not touring Europe with Skidrow & Saxon a week or so, will the band be planning on touring the UK alone very soon?
"Yes we plan on coming back in March 2015 to do some headlling shows and do 'Hard Rock Hell' once again., We hope we can come back to Hull too, time will tell.
Is the band ready to shoot a live DVD yet?
"Well we have been talking about doing one. It is nothing official yet but we do have some live recordings in mind, we will see what happens!!"
Who would you like to tour with given the chance?
"Well there are a lot of cool bands out there, we want to go to the U.S. and play there. We are doing a tour with Skidrow in July but it kind of fell through. I would like to say a tour with GNR if possible."
Well thank for taking you're time out, best of luck with the rest of the tour and the future. Do you have anything to say before we end this?
"Yeah thank you to our fans for checking out our music, see in us live too. We will be back next year on tour and with a new album. Thank's for the interview.
Thanx to Mr T @ Metal Blade and Rikki and the band, cheers.