I think we have mentioned a few times in recent weeks that we are living in strange times. Covid-19 has affected, just about, everyone on the planet, in one way or another, and we are far from seeing what the outcome of everything will be.
Regardless of how we are all feeling, there are a massive amount of people around the globe, who are, shamelessly and bravely, helping the rest of us to try and live as normal a life as possible. Emergency service personnel and carers, who are helping the sick, vulnerable and elderly, and providing other vital services. Shops and stores who are staying open, and delivering supplies to the general public. Cleaners, members of the armed forces, postal workers, and industries who have re-purposed their businesses to make vital equipment, and many, many more. They are all Heroes!
Sister Shotgun vocalist Chloe Ozwell decided to record a version of ‘Hero’ by Skillet and asked some of these heroes to send her pictures of themselves so she could make a video to thank them and here is a link to that video!
All that remains to be said is huge love and respect to Chloe for doing this and THANK YOU to all of these wonderful HEROES for doing what they do.
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with West Midlands based Rock/Metal band Sister Shotgun. Huge thanks to them for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Niall Wills, I play guitar and scream for Sister Shotgun. The band started due to a house party I had in Kidderminster, England. I had been studying music technology in college and befriended people studying music tech/music performance, I filled a tiny one bedroom house with about 50 to 60 teenage musicians. Chloe (vocalist), being one of those people had invited some of her friends along and they had noticed my guitars all piled up in the corner of the room. They had played in various Blues Rock/Hair Metal style bands and wanted to get a new band together, therefore I joined them in the making of a band starting with a bunch of covers that would later become Sister Shotgun. During this time Chloe was singing for a Pop Punk band and a wedding band and solo projects, we had the core members but no vocalist. We found a male singer we were digging and he was prepared to join but ended up getting to the finals of the TV competition “The Voice” so that fell through. Chloe ended up leaving her Pop Punk project and convinced us she should join as she was the best vocalist in the area. We picked her up and it worked so she began our journey. It took us a while to grasp those vital members which brings us to the present day with the best line up yet. These guys have the best creative minds I know.
How did you come up with your band name?
Chloe came up with the band name. She had a working title of a project called Sister Shotgun as a sort of alter ego character she had created. I believe she took the phrase from Billy Idol’s ‘White Wedding’ however it wouldn’t influence the bands styling! We dug the simplicity of the name and the clash of words; the innocence of the word Sister and the aggressiveness of the word Shotgun, we tried to think of others but it was the easiest and catchiest name.
What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?
We are from England, United Kingdom There is so much Metal in this country it’s kind of just sewn into our genes, however the metal scene varies. a lot of bands have gravitated toward the American Rock sound with Country/Blues tones to their music so the Metal scene has shrunk a little however, the ones that have stuck around and grown are some of the most creative Metal bands I’ve heard in a while.
What is your latest release (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our latest single is ‘Sacred Heart’ and our album “Fragments” was released on April 19th.
Who have been your greatest influences?
This is where it gets harder, We are five different people with different tastes and influences so we gather them together and we influence each other! Some that are mutual are Killswitch Engage and Bullet For My Valentine, then personally it goes from My Chemical Romance and Mötley Crüe to Korn and Machine head for all our own reasons.
What first got you into music?
I grew up with a father who was very into his music, he had guitars and he had drums often in the living room so when I’d stay over I couldn’t help myself but to strum the strings on every guitar every time I walked past and the excitement around music from him was built inside me. I was very much into art as a kid so it was easily transferred into music.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
All in all someone like Rob Zombie or Johnny Rotten would be incredible and not a generic collab but I’d absolutely love to pick someone a bit off the wall, throw a spanner in the works and turn some heads so I think I’d shove someone like Morrissey on a Metal track and with his lyrical content that would be interesting.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
The obvious answer being Download Festival, Hellfest, Wacken! However, also Shiprocked!, a cruise and a massive beach party with metal! That beats a muddy festival easy plus they have some really cool bands play!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
We haven’t really been given anything weird as far as I know, We’ve had fans bake cakes and cupcakes for us.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
With all the obstacles that have been in our path over the past so many years as a band, you the fans are what kept us fighting and kept us writing and kept us on the road and this album is for you. The ones that listen, that scream back in our faces, those familiar faces we see at shows far from their own homes, you travel the distance for us and well go the distance for you, thank you!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
I’m gonna say Kurt Cobain or Dimebag Darrell so I could at least see Nirvana or Pantera as they’re some of my favourite bands that I never got to see.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Everything involving the creative side, just making music is an amazing experience starting from a small riff or progression then you build it, play it, perform it, record it and it becomes its own beast kind of like raising a child and then having fans sing it back to you and the sound and feeling I get of loud live guitars fills my soul with excitement and energy! I hate the amount of rip off merchants and egotistical personalities that are flying around. Everyone wants to overcharge or take all your money for services and try not to pay you or pay you naff all for maximum effort like we did in the beginning. It took a lot of time, effort and money to play shows for free and watch a promoter walk away with all the money in their fancy cars. I dislike the egos from some musicians they think the world owes them something because they can sing or play guitar like everybody else and this happens with small time bands too.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
To turn back the clock back to 80’s/90’s when the industry actually signed bands and put money into them to progress them and truly scouted talent rather than how many likes do they have on Facebook? Or how much money do they have to buy onto this tour? Or how popular of a person is the lead singer, so in essence Social Media. I’d wipe that out of existence and let the live shows and the music do the talking… not the numbers!
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“The Poison” by Bullet For My Valentine. Their riffs where unique and songs where so creative and the guitar playing was by far their best. It was aggressive, melodic, catchy as hell and something new out of Metal rather than the ‘let’s copy Metallica’ route!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Vinyl, especially the old ones, as it’s all analog and pure but it’s mainly because when you purchase it’s a real physical thing. That’s what I don’t like about downloads, you don’t get a nice big piece of artwork with a bunch of lyrics that you can read and with CD’s the lyrics are crammed in and you can barely read it. You can hang a vinyl on your wall you have the art and a physical thing for your money!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
There have been quite a few lately down to the hype the crowd have given us singing at the top of their lungs. I loved playing a festival called FortFest because we pulled out all the stops. We had roadies moving our stuff, we brought in some fire performers that breathed fire and used angle grinders on stage; that was our coolest gig. It wasn’t the liveliest crowd as it was a brand new festival and we were very fresh as a band back then but it was fun watching the lighting guy fear for his life as he was showered in metal shards!
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I’d more than likely have chosen a career being a tattoo artist. I’ve always loved art and I could draw a car and its engine parts before I could even write my own name properly and I had a huge interest in tattoo artistry in my school days but music just took over!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
I’d have to have an outrageous dinner party full of characters so I’d probably pick Ozzy Osbourne, David lee Roth, Devin Townsend, Abbath and someone like Donald Trump. That would be one entertaining night, it would be chaos, exactly how a dinner party should be.
What’s next for the band?
We’re looking at a “Fragments” headline tour followed by some festival dates, some high profiles support slots and a bunch of other fun stuff we’ve got planned… the fun doesn’t stop at album release!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Fun fact; whilst recording the album there was an offer on for Jaffa cakes a triple pack for a pound I believe and Benji (guitarist) bought a pack a day (for 7 days) he’s dangerously addicted to jaffas, a bit of a ‘jaffajunky’, on that note it is a cake disguised as a biscuit it’s a clever ploy it appeals to both markets but were not fooled it’s a cake.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
For those who aren’t familiar with us and are new to Sister Shotgun give new album “Fragments” a blast. It’s an amalgamation of the edges of the Metal and Rock genres not treated like a ‘female fronted’ band. Every song on this album has something different to offer, you may not like one song but you’ll find another on this record!
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Sister Shotgun – Fragments Pavement Entertainment Release Date: 19-04-2019 Running Time: 49:31 Review by Paul Monkhouse 9/10
They say the best things in life are worth waiting for and this is certainly true of “Fragments”, the full-length debut of these Midlands metallers. Having released a pair of EPs and a single since forming five years ago, their incendiary live shows and strong songwriting has brought them ever growing acclaim, leading to the band recently signing to American record label Pavement Entertainment. Having worked with famed record producer Romesh Dodangoda (Bullet For My Valentine, Bring Me The Horizon, Motörhead et al) previously on the ‘No Hope’ single he was the obvious choice by both band and record company and so it proves it be here, as the relationship works brilliantly with a bright, modern sound given to great material.
Lead single ‘Sacred Heart’ kicks off the album with some brutal riffing and singer Chloe Ozwell’s compelling voice giving the track that mix of heaviness and commercial edge that many strive to have but seldom as successfully as this. The song dips and weaves as guitarist Niall Wills provides growling vocals leading to a soaring chorus where the band just seem to take flight. This upbeat feel fits perfectly with the songs theme of coming through the dark into a better place and nothing puts it better than the brilliant and striking lyric “The dirt under my fingernails, is the sign of someone who prevails, when I had to dig my way out of my grave”. The punch of the guitars is hefty as Wills and Benji Tatlock shred as if their lives depended on it and it all provides a breathless start to the release.
The following tracks ‘She Lives’ and ‘From the Ashes’ show once again that ability to write an instantly accessible tune, with the latter featuring some truly grinding guitar and both benefitting from Ozwell’s voice that is reminiscent of some of the best American rock singers whilst not falling into the trap of trying to sound Trans-Atlantic. Hers is a voice that is versatile and she can go from a “don’t mess with me” Amazonian warrior to the tenderest and most fragile of tone in a heartbeat. There is so much feeling and power in her voice and Dodangoda captures this perfectly. This is a whole band effort though and the dual guitars of Wills and Tatlock can similarly gently caress between the brutal riffing and the rhythm section of Tim Chambers on bass and Dave Harvey on drums are absolutely rock solid, adding their own flair and groove to the material.
All this is perfectly illustrated in title track ‘Fragments’, one of the many highlights of the album. Gentle, rippling guitar accompany sweet vocals in the verses which transforms into a gutsy and emotive chorus, double bass drums underpinning everything. The songwriting and production are second to none and this demands to be played loud. It’s also certainly recommended to listen to the tracks in headphones so you can pick up every little nuance and fully appreciate the work that has gone into it all. There are many fine moments, such as Ozwell’s scream in ‘Miss Fortune’, that really need to be heard up close and personal for the full effect.
Next track ‘For the Love of Hate’ has long been a fan favourite, partly due to the brilliant promo video that features a previous line-up and is without one of the very best things the band has written so far. In this new, re-recorded version it is stripped of the delicate piano but lacks none of the passion and the production really brings out layers only touched on by the original. Following that the band switch to a different form of drama with the old school thrash of ‘Kill The Lights’ which is a maelstrom of frenetic bass and drums that propels this driving track. Again, the production on this brings a modern, visceral sheen to this song that threatens to tear the listener limb from limb. It does have its own sense of melody too though with another anthemic chorus and the huge sense of dynamics in the track add to the heaviness. At times you feel that Ozwell could have ripped into the vocals a little more but then the danger is that this may have seemed somewhat contrived and forced.
Another previous single makes it onto the album in the shape of ‘Silhouettes’ and it’s obvious why it was highlighted as it shows the knack the band has of writing beautifully structured songs. With the great chorus it adds to the canon of instantly memorable tunes on an album that is all killer, no filler. ‘Mourning Iris’ and ‘Scorn’ bring a heady brew together with their blend of passion and yearning on the former and the defiance of the latter. Both burst out of the speakers and highlight how this album should immediately elevate Sister Shotgun into the same league as their old friends Stone Broken, a band they played with many times in both bands’ early years.
Album closer ‘No Hope’ rampages along over a fiery riff and is the perfect way to end the thrill ride of this debut, making you want to play it all again from the start. Debut albums are notoriously hard to follow, packed as they usually are with songs that have been honed over the previous few years so it will be interesting to see what Sister Shotgun do next. That’s all in the future though, so in the meantime just plug in, sit back and let ‘Fragments’ blow you away.
01. Sacred Heart
02. She Lives
03. From Ashes
05. Miss Fortune
06. For The Love Of Hate
07. Kill The Lights
09. Mourning Iris
11. No Hope (Bonus Track)
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.