SISTER SHOTGUN (from l-r): Tim Chambers (bass), Adam Yeardley (drums), Chloe Ozwell (vocals), Rob Hayes (guitar), Niall Wills (guitar).
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Sister Shotgun are a five-piece hard rock outfit from the West Midlands.
Over the last few years, they have impressed many with their intense but melodic musical style and distinctive live sets, which hark back to an era where image was just as important as the music.
With the band going from strength to strength, and with a new EP coming out soon, I thought it was the perfect time to sit down and talk with them in depth about their journey so far and what the future holds.
How did the band initially get together?
NIALL WILLS (GUITAR): It started with a massive, massive house party.
One of the guys was there and he asked me if I wanted to start playing with them, and it all expanded from there really.
How did the name Sister Shotgun come about?
CHLOE OZWELL (VOCALS): That was me. I’d been sitting on that one for a while, because I wasn’t sure if I was going to use it as a stage name or if it was going to be the band name.
I’m a massive Billy Idol fan, and I borrowed the name from a line in the song ‘White Reading?’
You mean ‘White Wedding’?
CHLOE (laughs): Yeah, what am I saying? ‘White Wedding’!
To somebody discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?
TIM CHAMBERS (BASS): That’s a difficult one, because the way I’d like to put it, and I hope others agree, I would call ourselves rock, but not quite heavy metal.
Growing up, there was always that band that would help you cross over into the metal scene, and that’s where I see us.
We’ve got the ballads, we’ve got the hard rock sections.
The thing is, genres are thrown around everywhere nowadays, there is so many different genres and sub genres, but I would class ourselves as hard rock.
CHLOE: Yeah, we’re rather eccentric as well.
With our stage shows, we wear costumes as opposed to the majority of bands, who go on in just a T-shirt and a pair of jeans.
TIM: Whenever we get the opportunity, we try to do as much as we can.
Obviously, we wouldn’t use pyrotechnics in small venues, because small explosives and low ceilings don’t mix!
Which bands/artists are you inspired by?
CHLOE: We have a wide range of influences, because we all have such varied musical tastes.
I’m more influenced by bands like My Chemical Romance, Green Day, whereas Tim’s into more extreme stuff.
TIM: Yeah, I’ve got a wide taste, but I do like the kind of heavier stuff, like Black Dahlia Murder, Faceless.
I do also like the more groovier stuff though, like Tesseract.
I only joined Sister Shotgun quite recently, so I’ve not really had the input the other guys have had yet.
I’m also in a band called Sentinel UK, which has a much heavier sound, but we’re a bit up and down at the moment.
CHLOE: Since Tim’s joined, he’s made us a lot better at arranging our songs.
We decided recently to reintroduce ‘Dirty Mind’ into our live set, and Tim had a massive hand in putting that back together with us, he’s really got a skill for it.
TIM: I enjoy more arranging, because if someone comes up with an idea, I’ll go and suggest to them “Why don’t we try this as well?”, and if that doesn’t work, we just scrap it.
I think it’s good to explore different ways of doing stuff, because you never know, it may work better than the initial idea.
You have an EP out before the end of this year, don’t you?
CHLOE: We will have an EP out, we’re not 100% sure when though yet, but we’re hoping it’ll be out by the end of this year.
We do have a name for it, we’ve got the artwork out already, and it’s being produced by Romesh Dodangoda at Long Wave Studios in Cardiff.
Romesh is amazing, he’s worked with bands liked Kids in Glass Houses…
TIM: Funeral For A Friend.
NIALL: Bullet For My Valentine, Bring Me The Horizon as well.
CHLOE: He has been fantastic to work with, and from what we’ve heard so far, it sounds huge.
I’m so excited!
NIALL: It has a very big sound to it, and it’s something you would expect from someone like Romesh.
CHLOE: Loads of vocal harmonies and backing vocals! (laughs)
What’s the band’s approach to songwriting?
NIALL: Basically, I spend ages messing around on my guitar, pretty much.
Sometimes, I’ll figure out different ways, but for me, it always starts with a riff, then maybe a chorus, then I’ll always leave space for what Chloe could do, then Rob will show me some weird music he wants to fit in the middle.
We just wing it really.
CHLOE: I feel it’s a really collaborative experience.
The guys will always start it off with the guitars, we’ll always have a riff, then Rob will work on the lead parts, we’ll then send it off to Adam, who’ll demo his drum parts, Tim will do some stuff on the bass.
I don’t usually touch the song until it’s pretty much finished, then I’ll add some lyrics to it and play around with the vocal melodies.
NIALL: Riff, structure, layer, layer, layer!
What inspires your lyrics?
CHLOE: I’m really big on the way Alice Cooper writes, he’s such an amazing songwriter, but it’s all fictional, I really don’t like writing from personal experiences, so depending on how I’m feeling at a certain point, I’ll figure out a fictional story in my head.
I mean, this whole EP we’re doing at the moment, there’s a running theme to it of death.
Will it be a concept EP then?
CHLOE: I would like to think that each track on the EP are little individual concept songs.
I’d love in the future to write a full concept album, but at the moment, I’m taking little snippets and making little stories, so you can get small flashes all through the EP, but yeah, the EP has a running theme of death, dealing with the death of an old personality, killers around you, killers in the government, there’s a lot of stuff going on.
How is it playing live?
CHLOE: It’s an experience, every gig is different in some way.
NIALL: We’ve been through several line-ups over the years, it’s been a case of restarting and getting in people who can really gel.
With the current line-up, we’ve really started to nail our live sets down, and we love the live circuit more than anything.
CHLOE: We do, yeah, and we’re making things bigger and better.
Recently, we played Fort Fest and we had a few girls on with us fire-breathing, so we’re looking to get more into pyrotechnics, when we can.
Every gig we play, it’s a learning curve, and we’re always looking at ways in which to expand and improve.
NIALL: Just little bits here and there, we don’t plan it, and at the end of the day, we just get on stage and have as much fun as we can, try and make a show of it, break our necks on stage, and come back with the biggest hangover we’ve ever felt! (laughs)
CHLOE: After all the recent gigs and the headbanging we’ve been doing, my neck is now about the size of a tree trunk.
What have you got lined up in the near future?
CHLOE: At the moment, we’re just fully focused on the EP and getting that out.
We’ve still got PR to contact, so there will be a PR campaign, we’ve got a few videos in the works, so we’ll be releasing them soon, and try and get the EP out by the end of this year.
NIALL: We’re currently talking to our manager about the possibility of doing some small tours, hopefully, something will come out of that.
What’s the band’s long-term aim?
CHLOE: I would love us to headline a big festival, preferably Download, because they’ve never had a female fronted headliner ever.
I’d love to put on the big show we dream of doing, with lots of props, pyrotechnics and great music.
NIALL: Every British rocker’s dream is to headline Download.
Anything else to say at all?
NIALL: Our EP will be out soon, so buy it when it comes out!
TIM: We’ll also be getting some videos and merchandise out soon as well, so look out for that.