To be very honest: I have never heard of The Sixxis before, can you tell me and the readers what kind of band The Sixxis is?
Paul: We like to make music because of the energy and the emotion of the performance. We play heavy music, some call it metal, some call it progressive. We like to call it heavy rock music.
What would you like the audience to experience during your performance?
Vladdy: During the performance a lot of the songs are very high-energy, that would definitely be a good word for it. We try to play and kind of weave it all on the stage. The thing that people take from our shows is definitely the energy that we bring and the mood that we set.
And is this energy different to what you hear when listening to it on a CD?
Paul: I think so, we sound(shine?) better in a live scenario, because you can visualise the experience.
Vladdy: In the studio everything is really contained, and in live, you get the realness of everything, especially with it being heavy.
You made an acoustic version of a song, I Wanted More, which is not heavy at all, though heavy in lyrics. Is it a risk for a band like The Sixxis, to do a song in a different style, because the audience might expect something different?
Vladdy: I Wanted More was released on our first EP in a heavier version and we do perform that song in a heavy version. I originally wrote it acoustically. I thought I just release it, not necessarily as The Sixxis, because the two cellist playing are not in the band. I thought it would be fun and worth sharing.
In reactions to the Youtube video you say that there are a few more songs in the pipeline to make acoustic versions.
Vladdy: When we first started, I played the songs for the producer and we decided that we wanted to go into a heavier direction, these [the songs that are up for an acoustic version, DMM] were the songs that he picked. We went along with him and decided what to do if we wanted to make it more heavy. The producer thought it was great, and that is how the first EP came about.
You guys went very fast from the first EP on. You went on tour with quite big bands, how did this come about?
Paul: Our manager, Rob, who lives in the Netherlands, has a lot of contacts and good relationships with people and created a lot of opportunities for us. He helped us get on tours with Wishbone Ash, The Watery Dogs, Spock’s Bears and Ministry.
Vladdy: Because Rob knows a lot of people, he got us in contact with the right guys. Holger [Brandes] was coming to the US with Ministry and asked us if we were interested and you would not say no to that. It was kind of intimidating playing in front of Ministry and their crowd, but we held our own and we did our thing. And so things kind of work out.
And how does it feel for you: The crowd comes to see the main band, not you.
Vladdy: But that is our work. We understand that people might not know who we are, but our job is to go there, present ourselves in the best possible way and win over the audience.
Paul: It is fun too, because when you are a support band, you get to set the room up, so when the headliner gets on, they are ready to go. And if you can get the right atmosphere that helps the headliner too. But we are looking forward to being the headliner soon! J
Is there a difference between how well established you are, between the US and Europe?
Vladdy: We definitely toured more in Europe. I personally think there is a better market in Europe, the crowd is different in how you approach them. You can do as much travelling in Europe and hit so many different markets, as you can in the US. It’s not to say what better or worse. It’s just convenient.
Is the reaction of the crowd different?
Vladdy: A lot of it depends on where you are playing. Some crowd are very reserved, and with some you can play the worst show in your life and they are still applauding!
The first song I heard of you, Long Ago, I thought for a few seconds: Am I listening to Enter Sandman?! What bands inspire you to make your music?
Paul: I am a big fan of Mastodon, I like Zeppelin, of course, Pink Floyd.
Vladdy: I’m more of a 90’s grunge person, but everybody in the band has a different musical perspective and is inspired by different bands and thinks from a different angle. The collage of sounds makes us who we are.
Lyrically you hit quite heavy themes. How do the songs, lyrically or musically, come into existence?
Vladdy: Hollow Shrine was predominantly my writing. We as a band were coming together, after a lot of changes. Hollow Shrine was the culmination of everything that we have done up until now. It was my writing and going forward it is going to be a little different probably. Everybody has got different ideas.
As far as the lyrics, I try to address it from a poet point of view. I am a big fan of Allan Edgar Poe and his writing and his rhyme schemes, and how he uses words to describe and everything about it. I try to play off with that. The word choice, the mood.
The last CD, Hollow Shrine, comes from 2014. What can we expect from you for the future?
Paul: We are playing a new song on tour right now, and when we get home, over the winter, we will be in the studio writing, working on a new album.
Some big bands really take a long time to produce an album.
Vladdy: We are pretty quick. Everybody comes from a schooled background, they are all trained musicians and it does not take very long for us to work. You can get stuck in a song, and not knowing what to do, but that takes a little bit of time and things will fall in place.
You said all the band members come from a different musical background. Can you put all your creativity in this band, or do people have side-projects as well?
Paul: Everybody does their own thing. Because we are all professional musicians, that is how we make a living, so we have to work a lot on different kind of things. It is quite fun to do different things.
What is the best thing about being a musician?
Vladdy: For me it is an emotional and spiritual release when you are on stage. And you know that this is what you are meant to do while you are on stage.
Paul: The ability to have a career that is your passion is very special. A lot of people have to work a shit job and are miserable. But no matter what your passion is and you are able to make a living out of that, it’s probably the coolest thing in the world.
Coming back to your words, Vladdy, is music art, or is it emotion?
Vladdy: Is it art or emotion? One fuels the other. It is an emotion that you express as art.
Paul: The one don’t exist without the other.
These are great words to finish an interview on music. Thank you very much.
Vladdy: Thank you, and I hope you will enjoy the show!
Check our review about the show they did with Riverside and Lion Shepherd here.
Questions answered by singer Vladdy Iskhakov and guitarist Paul Sorah.