About Me

Interview with Sister

For the last decade, the Swedish sleaze-punk influenced metal outfit Sister have been earning the reputation of being one of the most intense and memorable live experiences. Sister deliver raw, heavy and energetic punk-metal and have made themselves a name by releasing critically acclaimed albums and by making numerous tours all over Europe. Considering that their upcoming album “Vengeance Ignited” is about to be released on the 26th February, Metal Imperium caught up with Cari Crow, the band’s drummer, to have a nice chat and find out more about these charismatic young men. All fans of great melodies, heavy guitar sound, and aggressive drums should read this interview and check them out!

M.I. - Hello! Hope you are fine! How were the holidays? 

I'm fine, thank you! I had plenty of holidays, it was good, nice and easy, not meeting many people, just a few family members, so yeah it was good.

M.I. - The new album "Vengeance Ignited" is going to be released on the 26th February 2021 on Flick Records. How excited are you?

I'm very excited! It's the first album in five years since the last release, so I'm very excited. We have been working on some of these songs since the preparations for the album, even before that, and we finally get to release them. I think we have put in the 10 strongest tracks that we have been working on. I'm really excited, because it all turned out really good and I'm really happy with it. 

M.I. - This will be your 4th album… how have Sister evolved throughout the years? What has changed in your sound?

I would say we have gotten a bit heavier. From each album to the next, we always push it a bit more and it has been a natural development, since we have changed some band members and the new guys that come in always bring something new, a new energy, and we feel that with the new members and stuff like that we have to prove and improve ourselves all the time…

M.I. - 5 years have passed ever since you released the last album “Stand up, Forward, March!” in 2016. Why has it taken you 5 years to release new material?

Well, as I said, it's basically some of these songs we have started to write before. Then our guitarist Tim left the band in 2017 and that made us lose focus, so we had to rebuild the band when we found the new guitarist to take Tim's place. Then Martin, who played bass, started back with his band again and then we had to change, we had to start looking for bass players, so I mean it's pretty much the members situation but also Jamie and I moved from Stockholm, where we were based, bought houses, Jamie got a daughter and stuff going on in the personal life that combined with the members change…  I mean, we needed that time to take a deep breath and then get going again.

M.I. - You’ve launched the video for new single "Scream For Pleasure" on the 18th December 2020. It was a Xmas present that came earlier. How are the reactions to all the singles and videos so far?

Particularly that one “Scream for pleasure” has been amazing. I think it's the best response ever actually! Now, with the Spotify lists and Spotify artist accounts and all that, we can really keep track on everything and yesterday “Scream for pleasure” came in on our top five most streamed songs on Spotify of all the time and it was released not even a month ago. That has been really good and, also the video, we are really happy with it and I think it's a good description to show the new album. It has been overwhelming.

M.I. - Who writes the scripts for the videos? Because that video is a bit intense! I'm always wondering what will happen to the girl!

We'll write the scripts if there's a script for the video. I don't know who comes up with those ideas, because we brainstorm them together. In this video, we worked with a new guy called Filip Tell, we never worked with him before, so we had a meeting and just brainstormed all these ideas, like playing in a really large hangar. Then we needed to have an actual side story that visually is nothing like we have done before. It was all of us, the band, and Filip, the producer, we came up with it. 

M.I. - And the last scene, the last second of the the video, she's grabbing the hammer, so we hope it ends well! Will there be a follow-up to this video?

Oh, I never thought about it! It’s a good idea! Maybe I will write that down.

M.I. - The band’s been releasing some tracks of the new album… why have you chosen these ones? “Vengeance Ignited” is a bit obvious but what were the criteria in which you based your choice for the other ones?

We tried to get the singles to show off the whole spectrum of the album. The single before was called “Primal Rage”, it's the heaviest track on the album, I would say, and then we got “Scream for pleasure”, like an anthem, melodic thing. We have the title track “Vengeance Ignited”... we tried to show the all spectrum of the album and the original idea was to release the album in November/December last year, but then the pandemic blablabla, all that stuff, so we had to push it to February. Then we said that we couldn’t keep it all quiet until February, so we released two singles more: “Scream for pleasure” and “Primal rage”. In the 80’s you couldn't release half of the album before but, these days, with every little release, you can really push it and stay active with new songs and you still have half of the record left when we release it in February.

M.I. – So, do you believe, it will help increase sales? 

I hope so, but it's hard to focus and think about CD sales. These days, it's so much about streams and views, you can read and analyze that more easily than CD sales. In some countries you can still sell cds but, in Sweden, I would say it's impossible to sell a CD but the vinyl thing is going really good here. So, it's a tough one, we just hope that our fans will buy it.

M.I. - Of all the tracks of the new album, “Primal Rage” is one of the most brutal songs of the band to this date. Where does all the rage come from?

Oh, I don't know! When I wrote “Primal rage”, it's easier to focus on the bad things and the anger and frustration. I can't write when I'm happy and satisfied and everything is good. But it's easier to put those notes on a paper and into a song when you have the angry, aggressive feelings and, as I said earlier, our music has gotten heavier and heavier over the years, so it came naturally. 

M.I. - I would say it's like the sweetness has left the building… And Martin Sweet has indeed left… 

I don't know! He would be fine with doing these songs as well. He listened to a lot heavier stuff as well, so, to be honest, when he joined and when he left, that didn't affect our sound, we would have released those songs anyway. I'm pretty sure of that!

M.I. - Ever since he left and got replaced, have you felt any significant changes in the band? 

Just for the better! When Frederick, the new bass player, came in the band, it was like putting fuel on the fire! He is so energetic, he has a lot of good ideas and he’s just filling the room with good energy. It’s so positive! We're already working on some ideas for new songs and we haven't even released this album, so we're in a good place now.

M.I. – Okay, so you said you wrote “Primal Rage”. Are you the main writer? 

Jamie and I write lyrics and melodies for most parts on this album. Jamie does the music. It is different. I don't write a lot of music, some songs I do, but I mostly focus on the melodies and especially the lyrics and that's mine and Jamie's part. So, yeah, we take care of that.

M.I. - What do you like writing about? What are your favourite topics?

As I said, I don't know why, I'm not an angry person, but frustration and stuff like that always get there somehow. I like dark, occult topics and I also like social things like how humans are these days and what kind of emotions will get to your head. Eventually that gets a lot of frustration, when you see the world today!

M.I. - Of this album’s tracks, which one is the strongest… in your opinion?

Oh, that's so hard to tell! With “Scream for pleasure”, I actually looked into some notes I wrote before, when we worked with the album, and we wondered if we should we use this song or not. So, it came about just a couple of weeks before we should record it, it was a really last-minute track and we were like “should we use it or should we not?” and, now, it is just climbing and getting more and more streams every day! I guess our fans and people really like that but it's so hard to tell before. I think the title track “Vengeance ignited” is really a cool song. I also think the track called “Spitfire” that we haven't released yet... Tim and I were working with that song in 2015 I guess... this one has just been boiling for all these years and, now, we finally got to record it and it's a really 100% heavy rock track. We have a song called “Psycho thrilling” that we were voting within the band if it should be a single or not and it didn't make it to the singles but I think that is a really strong track as well.

M.I. - All the album titles are quite inflammatory, so to speak… is this a way to catch the listener’s attention? To create controversy?

I don't want to have a title that has been used many times before... I want to find something unique in it. It doesn't have to be hard, just something that raises your eyebrows. When I write lyrics, I think that is really important for me. Just for the title of the track “Scream for pleasure”, I want to listen to this song! “Primal rage”, I also want to listen to that song! The first line in pretty much all lyrics I write is really important, because that is what catches the interest for the listener, so I think a lot about the titles and mostly the first lines in the lyrics, so I think it's important to catch the audience with that.

M.I. - It's like the first page of a book! If I read it and I don't like it, I think the book isn't good!

Exactly! Yeah, that's right! The title reveals what kind of song it is... the slow one on this album is called “Whispering winds”, that is not a heavy track.

M.I. - You take influences from all kinds of music and mix it all together… but who is influencing you more lately? Have your influences changed over the years? What have you been listening to lately?

I wouldn't say it has changed, we are all influenced by the classic 80’s rock bands like Wasp, Kiss and Alice Cooper, stuff like that. That will never change! We still listen to these bands pretty much every day but I'm trying to keep track and follow the rock music scene, checking out new bands and some of the bands aren't even new, they have been around for 10 or 15 years. We also have our roots in the classic punk and rock bands but the 90s scene had everything. I think I get a lot of emotions and draw inspiration from pretty much everything I see in here and it doesn't have to be a rock band, it can be anything, so it's refreshing.

M.I. - Yeah but do you keep on listening to those old albums over and over again because that's what I do?! I keep going back to those albums because they seem to be so perfect! Even though I like getting to know new bands!

Yeah, it's really like that! I listen to Kiss and I like all the best albums. I can go a couple of months or maybe a year without listening to them and then it's like “oh I gotta put this on again!”. So, that will never end, at least I hope not. Yeah, I mean, I still listen to new stuff here as well, but I also listen to all the Alice Cooper discography. It’s pretty much great music!

M.I. - After three studio albums on Metal Blade Records and some changes in the Sister lineup, you felt it was time to try something new... how did the deal with Flick Agency come up? Did they approach you or was it the other way around?

It came up, it was our choice! We had a meeting in 2015 and we thought that we needed a change so that was when the idea came up to go separate ways with Metal Blade. We had a new manager Eric Granville then and he was on board with that idea, maybe he was pushing it a bit as a manager working here in Sweden. We had a Los Angeles based record company, it's pretty hard with all the communication, so then we took the decision to split and go separate ways for the next album. That was a pretty long process, so I may add that one to your previous question about why it took so many years for the new album, and I guess one and a half year of that was splitting up with Metal Blade and getting a new label.

M.I. - Inspired Artist Agency is your new booking agency in the UK and they have some of today’s best rock acts such as Skid Row, U.D.O., Hank Von Hell, The Quireboys and HEAT. You’re looking forward to expand on the UK market... in what ways will this help Sister out? 

I don't know! We haven't been able to try it yet because of the pandemic and stuff, so I think now we have a separate booking agency here for Sweden and Scandinavia. We have one for Europe and we have a new one in the UK, so I hope they will focus on their markets and territory and that we can work with good stuff together for headline shows, support shows, festivals, whatever... so I hope that each agent will penetrate their market the best and put us out there! That's what I hope! 

M.I. – Yes, I hope so too! The band has toured with renowned bands within the metal & hard rock scene, such as U.D.O, Skid Row, Wednesday 13 and Hardcore Superstar. How were these experiences? What did you learn, if anything at all?

Yeah, we learned a lot of stuff by just being on the road, playing every night, living together all that life. We learned and we saw how they were doing. The first years for many rock bands is more focused on the partying and drinking beer, but then we saw from these other bands that they're not at all perfect... there’s both good and bad stuff and, hopefully, you see and learn from the good stuff. As you mentioned, Skid Row were amazing too! We got the feeling that they didn't just pick whatever band, they really wanted us on tour and we were really honoured about that. We had many nights sitting down with Snake from Skid Row and he described their career and the songwriting, how they did it with the first album, like “you need to think about this, you need to think about that, never give up”. So, we learned many things from these guys!

M.I. - Was Sebastian still the vocalist?

No, no, he wasn't! It's not the same guy that is now either, but the singer that was with them then, I think he has been with the band longer than Sebastian! He was a great guy as well. We also learned when we toured with the guys from Wednesday 13, we did a couple of runs with them in Europe and the UK. When they talked about their home territory market in the US… they said they get a big tour bus here in Europe but, in the States, they tour on a sweaty, small van… so we had a little hint about touring in the States. 

M.I. - Name one band you’d love to go on tour with and why?

Oh, that’s really hard! If we should do some kind of big opening spot or something, I think we would fit with Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie, but it's really hard, there are so many good bands out there! We were about to go on tour with Wasp this fall but it never happened. I would like to think that would be an ideal spot for us but maybe it wouldn't be the best band for us to grab on to new audiences. We could look at bands like Arch Enemy... I think that we could grab some of their audience, I guess.

M.I. - “Vengeance Ignited” will be released and you probably expect to tour… any plans already or are you waiting to see how the pandemic evolves?! 

We're actually just waiting right now as we have been sketching on some plans, but then it's like “okay should we or should we not?!”. Then we have all the other bands friends of ours that had to cancel and then have to cancel again and we're like “Nah, we don't want to do that”... that's a lot of work, costs and, now, basically we're just waiting. It's the sad truth!

M.I. - Some festivals here in Portugal were rescheduled for this year and now they're being rescheduled for next year, so even promoters probably won't take their chances and book stuff because they know things probably might get worse with the virus…

Yeah, yeah, exactly! It's horrible, but that's the truth, so yeah, it's really sad.

M.I. - You never had the chance of playing in Portugal, right?

No, never! I have never been there! Should we go?

M.I. – Yes, I think you should!

With this stuff now, with this virus, I don't know when that will be possible! How is the rock scene over there, is it good?

M.I. – Yes, I think it's good! We're a small country basically but we're very devoted, we have lots of festivals dedicated to rock and metal. I think the scene is good but I'm not in a band, I just interview bands, I have a small idea of what goes on but I think it's a good scene here. The audiences usually are wild and all bands like playing here so I think you would appreciate it too! 

Yeah, yeah, it sounds really good! I mean we would love to come to Portugal, of course!

M.I. - During the last ten years, Sister have earned the reputation of being one of the best live acts within the genre… how did you earn this reputation? What sets you apart from the other bands?

We just give it all 100% when we play live. From 2011 to 2015, we played all of the time! When we talk on the backstage, it's like “Okay, let's raise some hell” and we just go out there. If you miss something, if you skip an auto, whatever, it doesn't matter. It's just all in our attitude. Since day one when we had the opening spots, it's the underdog situation, like we will be better than the other band and stuff like that, so playing live is basically why you start a rock band, if you ask me. That's where you can put all the energy in!

M.I. – Plus, you all have great stage presence and charisma which also helps you and you’re young. Jamie has been around from the beginning and some members have changed...

Jamie is always 100% all in! We can talk backstage “okay, let's do this and that”… and when he comes on stage, he doesn't remember what we said. You can't talk to him, he's on fire, you can only talk to him 30 minutes after the show…

M.I. - Did you ever imagine you’d tour the world with your own band and be a kind of idol to some people? 

I don't know! I mean, I dreamed about it and hoped for it and then it has been like “okay we need to try this”. On some moments, like on the big festivals, when I look out and I see these amazing crowds... sometimes I just ask “is that real?”. I’m just happy and satisfied we made it! I mean we're still struggling and fighting and we still want to write better songs and play for bigger audiences. We still have a long way to go!

M.I. - Do Sister live by the motto “Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” or is there one that fits you better?

I would say we did when we were 16 or 17 years old! That was the thing we wanted to do! That motto... yeah, we we signed up on that one, so for a couple of years I think, we did pretty much that. Nowadays not that much! Now we stick to the rock and roll and drink some beers, you can't stay on that path forever, then it just gets depressing. The focus is the music and we can't waste what we have and if we take drugs, we focus on other stuff, then we wouldn't be around anymore. As I said, the years that have passed between these albums, we're more focused than ever before and that's because of our love to the band and to the job into the music and to write new songs. That's the number one focus but I won't lie... maybe that sex, drugs and rock and roll thing got us hooked in the first place!

M.I. - What has been the highlight of Sister’s career so far? 

I don't know why but it’s the releases of the albums and the tours. But it’s also when you ask a question like that, I see the festivals, just like when we played at Sonosphere in Madrid 2011… those things pop up and it’s like “wow”. That was a true highlight, we played the big stage with Slayer, Metallica, The Offspring, Mastodon played after us, so I would say those bombastic festival spots... the whole journey is special, of course, but those things stand out!

M.I. – Cari, I wish 2021 is a great year for Sister. May your new album reach all the charts and may all your dreams come true. Many thanks for answering my questions. Any final words you’d like to share? 

Thank you very much for the questions! As we said, the new album “Vengeance Ignited” comes out on February 26th and we hope that the world opens up again so that we can go on tour. We would love to visit Portugal and, when that happens, I hope to see you there! Goodbye!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca