Sister Sin are BACK with a VENGEANCE! New cd (“Black Lotus” via Victory Records), new tour (support for UDO starts in March), new video (“Desert Queen” debuts Monday, March 2), and a serious desire to kick the world’s ass with a heavy metal boot to the face- Swedish style. LRI sat down with lead singer Liv Jagrell whose energy could barely be contained. She, along with drummer David Sundberg, bassist Strandh, and guitarist Jimmy Hitula, are chomping at the bit to bring their aggressive sounds of the underground to a larger audience in 2015. From the first listen to the sonic blast that is “Black Lotus”, one can tell they mean business.
Legendary Rock Interviews: Thanks for sitting down with us today, Liv! You’ve had a few weeks at home now as Sister Sin rests up a bit before kicking off the UDO tour in March..do you miss the road?
Liv Jagrell: Always. That is where we belong. It’s always more fun when you have new songs and get to see people’s reactions to the new material, so yea, I am looking forward to getting back out on the road. We ALL are!
LRI: Yeah, In checking out some of the live clips uploaded to youtube by the fans from some of the most recent gigs, it seems like the band is really hit it’s stride with the new material and fans- new and old- are eating it up! Lots of excitement from the fans AND the band! You can literally see the electricity emanate from the stage powered by your sparkplug like energy. Seriously, and I speak from experience, a Sister Sin live show is amazing. It’s raw, rabid, untamed rock and roll that gets you moving.
Liv: Thanks, man! Yeah, we love playing on bigger stages where there’s room to move around a bit. Once the four of us hit the stage and the music starts, we just feed upon the energy and emotion of the music. And the crowd. Smaller stages where I can’t move around..I feel trapped..like someone puts me in a corner.
LRI: Nobody puts baby in the corner!
Liv: (laughs) Exactly!
LRI: Ok, so the new tour kicks off March opening for UDO in support of the latest cd, “BLACK LOTUS”, your fifth studio album, tell me about..
Liv: No, actually it’s the fourth CD because we don’t count the demo tape (“Dance of the Wicked”)
LRI: Really? I’ve always thought DOTW was pretty kick ass.
Liv: No. I’m glad you think so (laughs). No, if people like it, that’s great, but it’s not the music we play anymore, so..yeah.. four studio albums and an EP if you will.
LRI: Fair enough. Ok, back to “BLACK LOTUS”. David Sundberg and Jimmy Hiltula are the main songwriters again on this cd, and one can’t help but notice the ramped up aggression and intensity in the music from, say, “Now and Forever” to “Black Lotus”. Was that on purpose or did it just happen?
Liv: As a band, we did like “Now and Forever”, but we were not that pleased with the production, I mean, we had some trouble early on with the mixing, but the end result, while we are proud of the cd, we knew we could do better and create something more true to Sister Sin with “Black Lotus”. We wanted to go back to more of the aggressive nature of “True Sound of the Underground”, and I think we did. The producer we worked with this time really, really understood us. He totally got us from the beginning and he was very particular in the way he recorded us, like with the vocals and guitars- we actually recorded the vocals BEFORE we recorded the guitars which made the vocals in the center instead of guitar and I think that was a good move because we worked so hard with the vocals this time- I’ve never worked that hard to get everything right, I mean he really pressed me. Pressed all of us! We wanted this to be the absolute best from all of us, and we think we’ve achieved that.
LRI: Sounds like the hard work and extra attention to details are paying off, I mean, even Revolver Magazine called “Black Lotus” “The REAL heavy metal album of 2014”..that’s pretty high praise!
Liv: Yes! Yes! Even Metalsucks said they liked the CD, so..that’s good, right? (laughs) We’re really happy with the reviews and the response so far. I just really hope we can reach even further out on some really big tours since we have a fresh, kick ass product we’re so happy with..so comfortable with. We just want to share it with the world.
LRI: Hell yes! Ok, so let’s talk about some of the new songs. Obviously, “Chaos Royale” was super well received, getting massive airplay and exposure, and even beating new efforts from Sixx:AM in head to head “cage matches”…any idea on the next single? I mean, with so many great songs on this cd, it’s gotta be tough, right?
Liv: Yes, we’re really proud of how well “Chaos Royale” was received. Really, really happy with the response. As for the next single, it will be “Desert Queen”. We all love this song and, in fact, have shot the video which will make its debut on Monday, March 2 on VEVO. I’m super excited about this video and can’t wait to unleash it on the world! After that, I don’t know, I love “Sail North” and it goes over really well live.
LRI: AWESOME! Looking forward to hearing and seeing you perform “Sail North” live since it’s one of my favorite tracks from “Black Lotus”, and, as a fan, I’m fucking stoked to see the video for “Desert Queen”!! EXCELLENT choice for a second single! There is something about that song that really stands out and grabs the listener. It’s got an intensely addicting groove that will you just can’t get out of your head! Where did this song come from? I mean, I guess we need to ask David, but..
Liv: Yeah, I can’t really answer that, but I can tell you when I first heard the demo from it, I picked up a 70’s type feel from the song, which is something we’ve never done before, but it turned out really well. I love the melodies in the song and am very proud of it. Wait until you see the video! (laughs)
LRI: Again- fucking STOKED! Let’s talk about “Sail North” for a second- guest vocals by guitarist Jimmy Hitula, who, by the way, sounds great, but I’m curious how that came about? Was it something he brought up, or..?
Liv: Yeah, actually, Jimmy was singing it in the beginning since he and David live in the south of Sweden and I’m in Stockholm, they would track the song and send it to me, and I remember us discussing it earlier as a guest thing, a guest spot on vocals in the song, but we knew Jimmy could sing, and sing well, so we just had him do it, and, yeah, he sounds great. It’s fun to do that song live, you know, have him jump in there and help me out some!
LRI: HAHA! Yeah, the way you jump around on stage, maybe it gives you an extra second to catch your breath!
Liv: True, true!
LRI: Let’s talk about the upcoming European tour with UDO. Now, you’ve toured with UDO in the past and it’s been a hot ticket with fans. How excited are you guys to be going back out with this legend?
Liv: Yes, we toured with him back in 2011 and those guys are really cool and nice so we know it will be a lot of fun to team up with them again, and, as you said, we ARE a good fit musically, so it will be a great tour!
LRI: Agree! Let’s talk about the biggest question that our readers have been asking us here concerning Sister Sin- When the hell are you coming back to America??
Liv: Good question. We wonder that too. I can tell you that our booking agent, our manager Jeff, as well as Victory Records, are working hard to find a suitable slot for us in the States. Believe it or not, it’s not that easy. We had a couple options before Christmas that didn’t pan out (through no fault of our own), but, in the end, nothing has materialized at this point. We all really want to come back as soon as possible, you know, we always enjoy touring America. We have many, many die hard, dedicated fans we love performing for and, believe me, we ARE working on it!
LRI: We can’t wait to have you all back! Keep us updated, Liv!
Liv: will do!
***UPDATE: Stay tuned to LRI for HUGE news concerning Sister Sin coming to America this summer***
LRI: Speaking of touring, you’ve shared the stage with several really cool bands, but, I’m curious, who would be your dream band to tour with?
Liv: Oh, that’s easy- Twisted Sister. But you already know that! I’m a huge Dee Snider/Twisted Sister fan. I count him as one of my main influences.
LRI: Yes! I did know that! I just saw some recent concert footage of him from a gig and the guy took off his shirt..holy shit! He’s in tremendous shape still!
Liv: Yes, I know! He is a man after my own heart with the working out and such. It’s impressive he’s still in shape, but even more impressive that he still sounds killer! His voice and stage presence are kick ass! Yeah..Sister Sin and Twisted Sister..now THAT would be fucking awesome!
LRI: Agree! Speaking of working out and staying in shape, you’re a personal trainer in Sweden who actively accepts clients, right? How is that going for you?
Liv: Yes, I actively train clients in Sweden in my local gym, and, I’m very excited to offer something online as well. My personal website, WWW.LIVJAGRELL.COM, gives folks the opportunity for one on one, individualized coaching/training tips that are designed with their specific goals in mind. I will have a forum to share best practices/healthy recipes with, but I also give people the accountability factor by offering personal skype sessions to offer tips, encouragement, track progress on their individual fitness goals, and, you know, kick their ass into gear from time to time. In a positive, motivating way of course.
LRI: WOW! Getting my ass kicked by Liv Jagrell every time I wolf down a Krispy Kreme donut..haha! Nice! So it’s just a fitness page?
Liv: No, no..there’s so much more, but being healthy and promoting that lifestyle is an important focus for me. Check it out and see for yourself!
LRI: I will! On that note, what do you miss most about being away from home, away from the gym. On tour, It’s got to be hard to stay in shape, no?
Liv: It’s a bit of a challenge, yes. I always miss my boyfriend, of course, but I also miss proper food, you know, food I’ve cooked so I know exactly what is in it, like fresh vegetables and such, things that make your body feel good and not weighted down. It might sound odd to some, but I really do miss the gym. When I’m home, it’s my life. It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle, you know? So being on the road makes it tough. Being on the road, sitting still for hours, it drives me crazy!
LRI: Maybe that explains why you are so explosive on stage! The lifestyle on the road, with the fast food, drinking, partying..do you find that hard to refrain from these things, or do you indulge and then work out like a demon afterwards?
Liv: (laughs) YES! It’s really hard on the road to get time for working out, but it can be done. Even if I can find 30 minutes to squeeze out some time to do some crunches or cardio, I’ll do it. My weakness on tour is chocolate. Being a vegetarian, there isn’t much on the road I like to eat, I mean, I even bake my own bread when I’m home, so, yes, it’s a challenge being on the road. But pasta, bread, and chocolate are my guilty pleasures on the road.
LRI: And Fireball.
Liv: (laughs) Sometimes.
LRI: Switching gears for a minute, can we talk about the January issue of Penthouse that you recently appeared in? How did this come about? Did they approach you or vice versa?
Liv: Yeah, the Penthouse thing was a bit unexpected, but I think it came out very well, like I wanted, not sleazy or vulgar, and a long, really good interview talking about life in Sister Sin and the new album, so I was pleased. I got the offer though Victory Records, asking if I’d do some shots with them for the interview, and I thought about it a lot actually, but I felt like as long as I could decide the type photos we would do, I felt like it was a great opportunity. I’m really honored that they asked. I worked with an awesome photographer here in Stockholm (Jen Hell), and we had so much fun shooting it. I really would love to do more with her in the future!
LRI: Very cool! I can tell you that you certainly looked beautiful, fit, and fierce as usual, and the interview was spot on. I think I speak for all of humanity when I say “thank you”.
LRI: Ok, couple fun questions in closing, submitted by the fans and sent to us to ask you- you ready?
Liv: Let’s do it!
LRI: Who is your favorite superhero?
Liv: Wow. That’s tough..I don’t know much about superheroes, but my good friend Justine and I (Justine Ethier- drummer for Canadian metal band Blackguard) had this thing we would do, when we were down or frustrated, we would ask ourselves, “What would XENA do?” You know, Xena, Warrior Princess? I would say she would be my favorite superhero. When you really think of that, when everything is bad, or someone has been mean to you, you do what Xena would do, and that’s fight, or pick yourself up and move forward while telling them to go fuck themselves, you know? I actually have a picture on my refrigerator that asks “What would Xena Do?” HAHA!
LRI: It fits perfectly! She’s a warrior princess, YOU’RE a warrior princess..makes sense to me!
LRI: What is your favorite tv show? I know you’re a Vikings fan, what else?
Liv: I would say “WEEDS”. I’ve seen every episode of WEEDS, love that show, but also I’m a big fan of “MADMEN”. I liked “Breaking Bad” also.
LRI: Sweet! Ok, final question: what scares you?
Liv: Things that I don’t understand. I mean, wars, idiots who WANT wars and power over other people. Things like that I just don’t understand. How do you even think that way? So horrible and mean..it’s really fucked up. Well, and space. I don’t know what’s out there. Are we alone? Who knows? That’s pretty fucking scary don’t you think?