In my opinion, one of the best metal bands to come out after the year 2000 had to be Sister Sin. Each album seem to be better than the one before it as the band continued to release quality album after album. But, alas, some things are not meant to last forever and Sister Sin split up after the final album. “Black Lotus” was released. I was really devastated by this news, because they seem to be a band with a real fire and passion for metal. However, former lead vocalist Liv Jagrell has continued on with her new band, simply entitled Liv Sin. I was simply blown away when I heard the songs on the upcoming, new album “Follow Me”. I had the chance to sit down with Liv and discuss the new album. She has such a great passion for rock n’ roll and was an absolute blast to interview.
XS ROCK: Well, let me start off by saying that I’m a huge fan of your work in your former band “Sister Sin” and I recently had the chance to listen to your new upcoming album, Follow Me for your brand new band Liv Sin. The new album is simply phenomenal.
Liv: Thank you!
XS ROCK: So tell me a little about making this album.
Liv: In the beginning after Sister Sin broke up, it took me a couple of months to really begin to start over and to see this as an opportunity. Because in the beginning, I was very sad about Sister Sin and I didn’t even know if I would go on in the music business. I mean you start to think, “I don’t want to start from zero”! So it took me a couple of months to just, like, get myself together. So when I got past that, I began to think about this more as an opportunity and I had to decide what type of music would I want to play and what direction would I want to take. Which people would I want to work with? It’s hard in the beginning. I had my manager and my drummer,Per Bjelovuk to start out. It’s hard in the beginning, because you just don’t know where to start. The first person that I was looking for was the guitarist who could make the riffs and the ideas that I had in my head come to life. I had started making the songs but I needed someone to help me put it together. So that was my first goal. Patrick Ankermark is the guitarist. I have known him for many years but he played more punk rock. So I wasn’t sure if he could do it. I asked him if he wanted to play metal. I asked him if he would be interested in trying it out and he said, yeah I can give it a try. So he sent me some ideas and one of the first ideas that he sent me was the riff to “Let Me Out”, which is the first single on the new album. And when I heard it, I thought yes!, he’s reading my mind. That was exactly the type of guitar riffs that I was looking for. So it was the three of us, drummer, guitarist and me that made the songs for this album. Before we started recording, I really wanted two guitar players so that we could have those harmonies and make the sound a little bit fatter. So I actually found Chris Bertzell on Instagram where he was putting out small clips of him playing and I really liked it. It’s cool. It’s a new way to find members, I guess. I had a hard time finding my bass player. And it was the same in Sister Sin. We always had bad luck with the bass players. I hope that I am not keeping that problem from Sister Sin. It wasn’t until after we were done recording before we found Tommie Winther, the bass player. He was a crew member with another Swedish band, Hardcore Superstar. They suggested him to us and he fits the band very well. In the end, I am very happy with the band members that I found.
XS ROCK: Are you planning a tour for this album?
Liv: Well, the plan from the beginning was to release the album in March, so that we could do a spring tour after the release. But, the album took longer to finish than we originally thought, so now we’re kind of too late for the Spring tours. We’re doing our first shows starting next week. We’re going to do some festivals this summer and then we’re looking to do a longer tour of mostly Europe.
XS ROCK: No U.S. Tour plans as of yet?
Liv: Not right now. I will do everything that I can to come and tour in America because I love it there. But, currently we are on a Swedish label without an American label. Right now, It’s really, really expensive to send us over to America. But, we’ll see what happens.
XS ROCK: So how did you get involved with your current label Despotz Records?
Liv: We talked to them in Sister Sin quite a long time ago. They were interested in Sister Sin for their label. I remembered meeting with them when we were starting to make this record and I asked my manager to contact them since they were interested in Sister Sin from before. They answered right away and offered me a contract the same day. So far, I think they are doing a really great job. I’m very happy.
XS ROCK: You’re currently living in Sweden? is that correct?
Liv: Yes, I am.
XS ROCK: So that probably makes thing’s much easier to have your record label locally accessible.
Liv: Yes. Yes it does. Absolutely. They are in the same city too. When Sister Sin broke up, we had like five different labels that were interested in signing us. So that makes me sad to think that we could have done more with Sister Sin, but it is what it is.
XS ROCK: Which music artists were an influence on you in the beginning?
Liv: At the very, very, very beginning, when I was like 13 or 14 years old, it was actually Kurt Cobain. I listened to Nirvana. At that time it was very popular. Grunge was really popular then. I started listening to Nirvana and started to pick up the guitar. And then through that, I found Courtney Love and I thought that she was the coolest girl ever on the earth. Maybe not the best idol for a 14 year old girl, but I thought she was so cool and played guitar for Hole. She did whatever she wanted and I thought, “I want to be like Courtney Love“. I wanted to be a rock star. And then after a while, I found Pantera and that suited me much better. I liked the energy of Nirvana and Hole, but I was not so much into how they used the guitars and the vocals. I wanted those riffs like Pantera.
XS ROCK: So you stated earlier that you play guitar. Did you contribute any to the musical songwriting on this album?
Liv: Yes. I did. But that’s also how I found out that I really, really needed a guitar player in the beginning. (laughs) I had so many ideas of riffs in my head, but my fingers wouldn’t play the ideas that I had in my head. So that’s why I had to find someone who could understand what I was trying to do. Some of the songs are from Patrick’s own ideas and some of them are mine from the beginning. And sometimes I would sing to him the riffs that I wanted him to play. And it was very weird that he actually understood it.
XS ROCK: At this point in your career, what do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
Liv: Oooh! That’s a hard question. I think the greatest achievement is that I’ve been able to tour for so many years. To be out and play for people all over the world. I’ve been the United States seven times with Sister Sin. Which is quite a lot for a Swedish band. I’ve been all over Europe and Russia. I’ve seen a lot of cities, countries and met a lot of people. And that’s an achievement all by itself. When you are 15 and dream out being a rock star, that’s one of the things that you dream about. And I’ve actually been doing that to go out and play everywhere.
XS ROCK: So I always ask everyone that I interview “What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from a fan?
Liv: Oh, wow! I don’t know. I’d really have to think about that one. I can’t think of anything too strange. Maybe, people often want stage worn clothing, but I don’t think that’s too strange. This is boring if I can’t find anything strange. I get a lot of people who ask me to take them to dinner, but that’s not so strange either. Hmmm I think I’m going to disappoint you on this one, I can’t find anything strange to mention.
XS ROCK: So do your fans ever send you cool items?
Liv: Actually they do. Yes. A lot of items that people have made. There was a time where, you guys in America had a lot of things that I liked because I am vegetarian and I train a lot and you had cool stuff like Quest bars that I couldn’t get a hold of in Sweden. Now you can, but just a couple of years ago, you couldn’t. So sometimes, I would ask a fan that wanted a signed t-shirt, or photo or something, if they could send me Quest bars. And I always wound up with a lot of Quest bars. I had Quest bars for months and it was awesome. I still have some fans in America that I send them some stuff from Sweden and they send me stuff from the U.S. I like that. That’s cool!
XS ROCK: You’ve been listed as one of the hottest women of rock. What do you think about people labeling you as a sex symbol?
Liv: I don’t really think about it. So, I don’t really have a good answer for that. In my mind, I’m a vocalist, a singer or a screamer. I think of myself as a performer or front person with the band. So I don’t think of myself as a hot, sexy, metal whatever, but if people think that, then of course I am very happy. Of course, that’s very nice. I’m not complaining.
XS ROCK: So you posed in Penthouse, fully-clothed. Any chance you’d consider posing nude or semi-nude at some point?
Liv: No. Not nude. I was very clear about that with Penthouse from the beginning. I think all marketing or PR is good and they wanted to do something. I said no problem, but I want to use my own photographer and take the pictures. And I also wanted the article to be focused on the music because that’s what I’m doing. I’m a singer. They did a really good interview. All of the questions were really good and for me that was very, very important. You know, I didn’t want to get questions like “How many have you slept with?” or “What’s your favorite position”? And it was just about the music and then I don’t have a problem with being in Penthouse. I don’t want to do a total Penthouse spread or anything. That would be something else. It wouldn’t be about the music then. But this was, and I did some nicer pictures. They were pictures that I would do anyway, because I like that style.
XS ROCK: So as far as the visual imagery of Liv Sin, how involved are with that?
Liv: The visuals are all my ideas. Since I had the idea of this project, there’s no one telling me how to look. In fact, I’m having a very hard time getting input from anybody else on the subject. So, I have to do it myself. ha ha
XS ROCK: Thanks so much for taking time out to talk with me today. I love the new record. Congratulations, I’m very impressed with it.
Liv: Thank you so much!
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