Artist Spotlight - Sissysocks
(Photo Credit: Ted McDonnell )
With an ambient electronic sound, Sissysocks can certainly create an environment with their sound. Sissysocks achieves a wall of sound with each song that is reminiscent of the music of Sigur Ros. Vocals are not the primary attraction here, but rather the music as a whole. The end result is beautiful. Check out what Sissysocks had to say below!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
I started playing in a band with friends in 2003 when I was 15. That continued in a few forms until I was 20, and I started making music as Sissysocks. Music has generated some sort of emotion or mood in me from my earliest memory of hearing it, which was as a three-year-old taking some lines of Belinda Carlisle’s “Summer Rain” a little too literally and being terrified of the idea of saying goodbye to a baby and leaving it in the rain at a train station. I don’t think that naïveté or impressionistic aspect has ever left me, and music has remained a part of challenging and unlocking things in my mind since. It was inevitable that I would pursue it in some form.
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
Typically it has been very haphazard and dour. Usually I’ll have a prompt (circumstantial or a feeling) that I’ll associate with types of sounds, and I’ll sit down with a synth or guitar or bass and see where that takes me. That aspect I think lends a strong soundtrack element to the music. Often the bones of a song will be put together in a (relative) rush before long periods of tinkering that can last anywhere between months and years (certainly for the songs that will be on the next album).
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
Radiohead turned things upside down for me as a 16 year-old, and showed me what artists could do and how they could explore music. Blur (fuelled further by Gorillaz releasing Demon Days around the time I was listening to them throughout 2005) made me want to actually play music more so, and then listening to The Smiths and Morrissey as an 18-year-old made me want to sing. But I was in a very different headspace when I started Sissysocks, and more direct prompts came from Grouper, early Zola Jesus, early US Girls, Pocahaunted, Topaz Rags, and Cocteau Twins. All of those artists influences what is on the next album, and so have artists like Beach House, iamamiwhoami, Tr/st, Grimes and A Sunny Day in Glasgow.
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
I’ve always used a Roland ME50 guitar effects processor as part of my live vocal effects set-up as well as my song making. I fed a lot of tracks on the first two Sissysocks albums through it, too. That included my first guitar - an otherwise nondescript Greg Bennett with a very murky tone that I really love - and even though the type of music I make has shifted in recent years I’ve opted to keep a few demo takes with the guitar and the ME50 for the final versions of songs on the next album.
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
Maybe a little meditative and, by nature of the music I would have to say subdued. Because my set-up is rather backing track intensive, I play slightly differing versions of my songs and with visuals, to give some differentiation to what will be on the record. From what people have told me, I would say the visuals allow the audience some more immersion in the show and brings another dynamic to interpret and engage with the music. For a long time I was using Ingmar Bergman films but obviously couldn’t keep doing that, so I now use a video I made from creative commons and public domain footage (which I took parts of and turned into the video for my most recently released song). They might be a little more directly sinister, but still very much retain that meditative quality.
An understanding sound person and staff, and a decent sound system will make any experience at a venue better.
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
I intend for it to be honest above anything else.
7. Do you have any upcoming projects you would like fans to know about?
My third album is currently being completed (after a very long period of production). The song “I’ll Die One Day”, which will be on the album, and its video have just been released.