Last month I interviewed the wonderful vocalist and front-woman Chloe Ozwell from Sister Shotgun after their gig in Birmingham’s O2 Academy; we discussed the band’s latest EP ‘Devour!’, musical influences and her experience of being a woman in the industry.
How would you describe your band’s unique sound to someone who is new to your music?
It is a difficult one because we have been described as the lovechild of like Bullet For My Valentine meets Halestorm and you kind of push them both together and you get a bit of Sister Shotgun. But we also have got a bit of a retro sound and people find an 80s influence; I think it is because we are so diverse in what we listen to and what we all take influences from. Because we all listen to completely different stuff so it’s a bit of a mix. But I think it is really cool, especially when we come to song writing we never get the same thing twice.
What made you want to be part of this genre of music to start with?
I loved this growing up and I have been singing since I was 7 years old, I’ve gone through everything. I was classically trained and I went to musical theatre but all through that I was listening to Heavy Metal music and I absolutely loved it but I was so scared to join a band because I thought “I didn’t the voice for it, my voice is too ‘pop’, I would never be able to pull it off”. Then when I was [studying music] in college they started putting us in bands to do shows and showcases and I started to gain confidence with it. And I [decided] I actually really love this, I am going to go and find a band and start doing this. So, I joined like a Pop Punk band to start with but it wasn’t me; especially as I was a new lead singer coming in so it felt like I was doing a cover as I wasn’t doing my own songs. Therefore, coming into this band it’s been so creative, so collaborative, and sitting down writing our own songs has been amazing. But I love absolutely everything about this genre of music. It all kind of came down to me being 14 years old and listening to Bullet For My Valentine, Hawthorne Heights and all of those.
Who are the artists and bands which have really influenced your sound coming into this genre?
Personally, for me the biggest influence is My Chemical Romance, growing up I loved their aesthetics, their sound, they were so conceptual. I really love writing stories when it comes to lyrics, my lyrics aren’t based on my feelings or my personal experiences, I always write fictionally. I think that is down to the fact I listen to a lot of bands that write that way [which is] very conceptual. So, a huge influence on me as they are such a theatrical band. I am such a big personality, I’m so theatrical and seeing them be as theatrical as they were, I can really put myself into this genre. Then more recently probably Escaped the Fate, I listen to a lot more metalcore stuff these days. It is something I am trying to add into the band, slowly but surely, I am starting to learn how to scream. But they are one of the bands that have really influenced the band when we’ve been writing the new EP.
You mentioned the new EP that has come out recently, ’Devour!’, what was the story behind that?
That one we kind of pieced together from an amalgamation of years and years of writing different songs, [finding] this works [while] this doesn’t work. When we released out last EP ‘From the Love of Hate’, I think it must have been 2012/2013 we put it out there and we were happy with it; [then thought] lets write the follow up. So, we were writing and writing and nothing really seem to stick-apart from ‘Silhouettes’ which ended up on the EP (that song is years old). Then the writing process just fell apart, then we had some member changes, so it has been a bit of a difficult one. A couple of [songs] were really last minute; ‘Scarlet Visions’ (which were playing tonight) was probably written in about 10 minutes so it has been a bit of a crazy ride with the EP. It’s been a process but we have loved every minute of it.
With the new changes to band members how do you adapt to having new people in the band?
It has been difficult but it’s like with anything a new energy comes into a group you have been so used to, it throws you off balance a little bit as it’s so different. But the guys who we’ve got in now, the energy is so great, the way that they perform, the way that they just added such a different life to this band, that wasn’t there before. One of the old songs that we played before ‘Dirty Mind’ we played it so differently; until these guys came in and started rearranging the old songs and they just had so much more life to them, it didn’t sound so dead, so flat anymore. The energy is just amazing, I love these guys to death, it just a perfect line up for us!
As a band the term ‘female fronted’ comes up a lot how do you personally feel about this, as some feel that this is a positive while others view it as a negative?
I always thought the term ‘female fronted’ is really unnecessary. It’s a double-edged sword as it does feel as females in bands we have got a niche market but at the same time we feel so segregated. So, there is positive and negative to it but I’d prefer if we were all called ‘Metal bands’. It seems a bit ridiculous but at the same time I can see the positive connotations because you can then have your own little group, and it becomes really sisterly. Like tonight it has been so lovely having a group of bands together with female singers, its felt like a sisterhood and we have really clicked well. I understand why it happens but I don’t think we are going to be able to change it as much as we would like to but I think the way people characterise things they are going to keep doing it.
As a woman in the industry what has your experience been in general?
Honesty I have got to say it’s been very very positive! I think coming into this I expected it to be a lot more negative, I thought there would be a lot of people going you are a girl, you can’t do this or it would get a bit creepy. But I can’t even nail down one time when I have gone, you know that this is a bad experience for me because I am female.
Looking towards the future what would your dream achievement for the band be?
My dream achievement would be the first female band to front line Download. In all the years that Download has happened I cannot believe that we have not had a female fronted headliner yet. So that would be the ultimate goal. But looking at a smaller scale I guess we would love to get some more radio play, love to be featured in national magazines (like Kerrang! magazine, Metal Hammer magazine) we would love to see our work on scud TV, Kerrang! TV so that is more in the short term what we are aiming to do. But in the long term I would love to be travelling all over the world, touring with some amazing bands, playing festival shows but I feel like it’s a long way off still but I feel that it is not impossible.
With the band how do you want to change the Rock scene in the future?
This is a difficult one, I feel that Rock and Metal is changing, everything evolves so quickly. I’d like to have this whole ‘female fronted’ thing almost squashed to a point that we are just seen as front people – I don’t think it is realistic. But I am excited to see what the next thing is for Metal music and Rock music because I feel as if we have been stuck in a screamo/metalcore vibe for a while now and I feel as if something else has got to sweep in soon.
Finally, if you were going to have a dream collaboration with anyone alive or dead who would it be?
There are so many! I think at the moment probably Corey Taylor, I think he is the most incredible vocalist and he is such a great frontman. If I was going to do anything, with anyone, I would probably have to do it with him because he just blows my mind.
Hear the full interview here: