Liv Sin – Sermons of Metal

Sunday, 1st September 2019

Liv Jagrell is no stranger to the studio and stage. After being involved with Sister Sin for over a decade the band came to an end, and she formed her own band, Liv Sin, in its wake. Having built everything from the ground up this time, she put out her first release in 2017 [Follow Me] and things began rolling. An acoustic EP and single followed, and the band is now prepping for the launch of their second album, Burning Sermons, at the end of this week. A release that sees them upping the modern quotient of their sound while keeping those strong melodies that traditional metal fans gravitate towards. Jagrell was gracious enough to give us a few minutes to chat about the goings-on of the band in between albums, challenges they face, and what the future entails.

Dead Rhetoric: According to you and the band, how do you feel that Burning Sermons steps things up for Liv Sin?

Liv Jagrell: I hope that it will help us to step up a bit and find a bigger audience and more fans. We have a bit of a more modern sound on this album that I think will help us reach more people. That’s my wish for this album.

Dead Rhetoric: Was there anything that you tried to do differently, as this is your second album? If my memory serves me correct, you did a lot of the writing yourself for the first release.

Jagrell: Yeah, it was me, my drummer, and one of my guitar players…the first one at least. It was a bit stressful. We did all of the songs in like a month and a half. For this one, we had more time. We started earlier. But you stress out anyway – but we had more time and ideas to choose from. We also, instead of going into the studio and doing everything in three weeks, we went little by little in the fall of last year. It made it possible for us to work through the songs for a little longer. We could actually come back to some of them and re-do/add things. We had more time for the songs to develop. I liked that, it felt very good on this album.

Dead Rhetoric: There was a lot of history with Sister Sin, but do you feel that you have now identified what works best for Liv Sin as a band at this point?

Jagrell: Not yet – I still feel that it was much easier with Sister Sin. Especially with touring and everything like that. Sister Sin was more rock and roll-ish, maybe it was easier music. But it could also be that the climate of the music industry has changed. My feeling is that it is harder for bands to tour now. Before, with Sister Sin, it was harder to sell records but easier to tour. Now I feel it is harder to tour and to sell records. There’s so many bands and the clubs are limited.

If people have something to look at every day of the week, they tend to not go to concerts as much anymore. It’s kind of like a bad circle, and I don’t know how to [fix it]. The industry is always changing, and you have to try to follow it, but I don’t know how to get in the same [rhythm] we had with Sister Sin. Not everything went smooth, but we could always tour.

Dead Rhetoric: You released a few songs over the last few months, do you feel that has helped in terms of people knowing that you have a new album coming out?

Jagrell: I definitely think so. We also have released one video too. I think it at least gets people’s attention that we have something coming out. I do feel like people, at least our fans, are really excited now. I think that it helped, since we started pretty early in releasing songs. I don’t think it was too early, I think it was good.

Dead Rhetoric: Bjorn [Strid] is a guest on “Hope Begins to Fade.” How did you get connected with him for the track?

Jagrell: We’ve played some festivals together while Sister Sin was together. I know that he liked Sister Sin, and he came out to a concert back when he was living in the United States. So I’ve known him a little bit since then. So when we were talking about guest singers on the record, it’s easier to find someone in Sweden. His name came up, since Soilwork has a new album out and we were seeing his name all over the place. So we decided to ask him.

I asked him, as well as my label, because the owner of Despotz Records is from the same town as Bjorn, so I think they have known each other since they were younger. He agreed, and we were lucky he had time for it, since he has two bands. He squeezed it in between tours. He even did the video for the song with us, so we will be putting that out too. It should be out the same day as the album. It was cool – he is a really nice dude, so it was good to work with him.

Dead Rhetoric: You did the acoustic EP, Inverted. Was there anything you enjoyed about doing that with the band?

Jagrell: For me, I enjoy doing metal more [laughs]. It was an interesting experiment. I found myself doing something that I thought I would never do. It was scary, but also it made me feel like I could do it. In the end, it feels good knowing that I could do that kind of style in music too. But I prefer metal, and I’m more comfortable in it. I feel that’s my element. I’m happy to be back in the metal area [laughs].

Dead Rhetoric: You also had the “King of the Damned” song where you donated money to charity for animal rights. Did it end up being a success?

Jagrell: Yeah, it did. Not quite as much as I hoped, but every little thing counts. We were able to give them a few hundred dollars, and I was happy we could give them something. If I can support something, I’m very into helping wildlife and the planet. If I can do any sort of charity, I love to do it. It was a good idea to just do something like that, and show that you are trying to take some responsibility at least. I would do it again if I find something that suits the subject, or if anyone asks me to. I think it’s important that we help each other and the planet.

Dead Rhetoric: So in terms of building up Liv Sin from the ground up, have you found anything particularly challenging?

Jagrell: It’s a hard job to build up a band these days. It always has been, of course. Today though, you have to do so much. It’s not enough to just be good on stage and have good songs. Or be nice. You have to be good at the social media and marketing. There’s so much more. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I don’t think I have the keys to build it up properly in today’s atmosphere. So I’m still very confused, and I’m working on it.

Dead Rhetoric: So is there anything that you feel the average person wouldn’t think about, that you spend a ton of time in to further the band?

Jagrell: I think that people don’t understand is that the smallest part of my life is actually playing music. When we play, it’s like 45 minutes or an hour. That’s what you do, and of course you rehearse for it beforehand. But even rehearsing, today, the time is limited because you need to do so many other things that take time away from rehearsing. So you also rehearse by yourself. When I’m home, I’m rehearsing by myself, and then we rehearse together. But when I started to play when I was 15, you could rehearse every night and play with your friends. I don’t feel that is happening anymore. Today, you have to do emails and work on social media, artwork – it’s not like someone else is doing it for you. Sometimes it takes a lot of time and it’s like, “Ahhh, I just want to be on that stage and play for people!”

Maybe 20 or 30 years ago, bands could have a manager that just fixes everything for them so they could just play. But today, when you have a manager, it’s not the same as then. Instead of managing one or two bands and being with them on tour, today a manager might have 20 bands. So they can’t do the same amount as they did before, so the band has to do those things instead. It’s different, though I don’t necessarily know what I’m talking about because 30 years ago, I was not in a band [laughs]. But I got that feeling at least.

Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel that you have changed since you started doing music in general?

Jagrell: I’ve started having to think about the business part. I don’t think it’s fun, because I’m not really interested in money at all. So the business thing is like, bleh. But I’m good at doing finances and planning/working things out. So it’s my responsibility – I’m good at it even if I don’t like it. But I never thought about that when I started out. When you start out you think that if you are good enough and can make great songs, you will be a rock star and everything will solve itself. That’s not quite what happens. So that’s one thing that is different for sure.

When I was starting out, I was very young, and you have a different energy. You have a different way of seeing life. Now that I’m older and have more experience, you tend to see things differently. One part of me wants to encourage young people to play music, because music is fantastic. But another part of me also wants to tell them that it’s one of the toughest things you can do. You will miss birthdays, you will miss weddings, and you will miss family time. Music will take everything in your life. If you are not prepared to sacrifice that, then you can’t be in the business. You want to encourage young people, but you also know the effort that is needed. Sometimes I’ve very torn apart by those two things.

Dead Rhetoric: So in terms of either Sister Sin or Liv Sin, what do you feel are some of the greater accomplishments you’ve had as a musician?

Jagrell: Just to go out and tour is a high for me. I love being on tour, and I love to play life. Mayhem Festival for Sister Sin was awesome. Also doing some summer festivals with Sister Sin is something I will always remember and they are a high point of my life. But also with Liv Sin, we played some really cool stages. But my main high with Liv Sin was getting myself together after the break-up of Sister Sin. I started a new band and released my own music. Right after Sister Sin, I was totally devastated and it took a long time for me to pick myself up and tell myself that I could do it on my own. So that’s a big accomplishment that I could get musicians, get a label, and now have two records and an EP out. So I’m proud of that.

Dead Rhetoric: When you do have free time at this point, what do you try to do outside of music?

Jagrell: I either workout or do yoga. Doing yoga calms me. Or I try to sit out in nature if I can. I need that to calm myself down in this chaotic world we are living in. Hanging out with my cat also calms me down too. Going out with friends with dinner and wine, I love that as well. Meeting up with friends and just talking about life is awesome and really gives me some energy.

Dead Rhetoric: The album will be out soon. Do you have any plans past that point right now?

Jagrell: We have a little bit of stuff in the fall. We have a tour in Spain, and hopefully we will work out some more European dates. But nothing is confirmed yet, other than some more festivals here in Sweden. Hopefully we can get out and do some more tours in Europe. Unfortunately it is hard to come over to the US – I say that every time I talk to someone there. I really want to come back and tour, but it seems mostly impossible. But it’s one of my goals and something I wish for.

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