Interview with Sister Sin guitarist Jimmy Hiltula

INTERVIEW WITH SISTER SIN GUITARIST JIMMY HILTULA
Date: October 29, 2020
Interview: Olivier

BACK IN LATE DECEMBER 2019, SISTER SIN FANS GOT THE CHRISTMAS GIFT THAT MANY THOUGHT THEY WOULD NEVER GET — A SISTER SIN REUNION CONSISTING OF THE CLASSIC LINE-UP OF LEAD VOCALIST LIV JAGRELL, DRUMMER DAVE SUNDBERG, GUITARIST JIMMY HILTULA AND BASSIST STRANDH. ALTHOUGH SISTER SIN WERE SLATED TO PLAY A NUMBER OF FESTIVALS THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER OF 2020, THAT DID NOT PAN OUT DUE TO THE WORLDWIDE COVID PANDEMIC. UNDETERRED, SISTER SIN DID RETURN TO THE STAGE ALBEIT IN A DIFFERENT FORMAT AS THE BAND MEMBERS ALONG WITH NEW RHYTHM GUITARIST FREDRIK JORDANIUS¬†PERFORMED ONE OF THE BEST LIVE STREAM SETS SINCE THE ADVENT OF THE COVID PANDEMIC. THIS TURNED OUT TO BE THE GENESIS FOR SISTER SIN’S FIRST “LIVE” ALBUM ‘RAW & MEAN (LIVE FROM REHEARSAL)’ WHICH JUST HAPPENS TO HAVE BEEN RELEASED TODAY!

Sleaze Roxx: I got the chance to see Sister Sin’s live stream back in June. I have to confess that I got goose bumps seeing Sister Sin playing again. How was it for the band playing again for fans albeit in a different format?

Jimmy Hiltula: It was awesome but quite different of course. It felt a bit weird with all the cameras set up and playing a full set from start to finish. A bit tense to start with but then we loosened up and really got into it as usual. You kind of had to imagine the fans being there in front of you, but we had a lot of fun. It was a cool experience for sure. We had a blast!

Sleaze Roxx: From what I can tell, it’s the first time that Sister Sin had a fifth member in the line-up. How has Fredrik fit in and what do you think of the Sister Sin sound with a second guitarist?

Jimmy Hiltula: Yep, that is correct. We’ve always been a four piece prior. Fredrik is an amazing guitar player. We’ve known him for quite some time. We bumped into each other a couple of times through the years on festivals and stuff when he played with his old band. He fits very good. He is a really fun dude also and shares our sick sense of humour [laughs]. We felt we needed to thicken up our sound and to not rely on backing tracks and technology to bring justice to the songs. With Fredrik, we can still maintain the heaviness and even add some other new guitar parts without losing anything. It’s more organic and energetic, and brings forth another dimension to the music.

Sister Sin‘s “Fight Song” video from Live From Rehearsal:

Sleaze Roxx: I know that the live stream was not how you pictured Sister Sin making a “comeback” and there were some technological issues at first but how do you think that it went overall?

Jimmy Hiltula: Certainly we were hoping to come out full on with the gigs during summer. We were bummed out of course but instead of moping around, we saw the opportunity to do it this way as many other bands did, so we got really stoked on the idea and we went through with it. Sadly yes, we had some technical issues broadcasting the whole thing but in the end, it came out great! Since it was our first gig in years, I think we performed really well.

Sleaze Roxx: Yes. I agree. It was a great performance! You’ll be releasing Sister Sin’s first “live” album ‘Raw & Mean (Live From Rehearsal)’ very soon. How did the idea come about to release the live stream concert as an album?

Jimmy Hitula: Yes, releasing it tomorrow — October 30th! We kind of had the idea floating around already in the making of the live stream. We made sure we had great mics and stuff put up during the gig so we could capture the sound as cleanly as possible just for that future purpose of maybe releasing it as a live album. So when we heard the live stream, we thought we really had something to work on. So during this down period with Covid-19, it was the perfect time to put out something for our fans.

Sleaze Roxx: How much touching up did ‘Raw & Mean (Live From Rehearsal)’ get and how did you decide what needed to get touched up?

Jimmy Hiltula: Not all that much really. There was some obvious stuff we wanted to fix at first just to make the listening more smooth and coherent, some guitar and bass parts. Other than that, we just added a bit of backing vocals basically. It’s a fine line to keep the live feel. Once you start adding stuff, the whole thing quickly falls apart and it’s no longer a live album.

Sister Sin‘s “Chaos Royale” video from Live From Rehearsal:

Sleaze Roxx: How did the band members come up with the setlist for the live stream? You included a song [“Running Low”] that had never been played before so there must have some discussions in that regard.

Jimmy Hiltula: We didn’t discuss it too much actually. We had already made a few setlists for the summer gigs we had planned, so we just tossed it around a bit and came up with the live stream setlist. We went through some of the more rare tracks from our albums and felt “Running Low” would make it a bit more interesting, and we all think it’s a great tune!

Sleaze Roxx: It appears that ‘Raw & Mean (Live From Rehearsal)’ will be getting released only in digital format for the time being. Is there any thought of putting it out in other mediums like CD, vinyl, etc.?

Jimmy Hiltula:¬†Digitally is the quickest way to release it and the most accessible for people these days so it was the obvious first choice. We’ll see how things pan out with it. If there is a big enough demand, we will certainly look into releasing the album in a real format.

Sleaze Roxx: I think that it’s the first time that Sister Sin release music without a label behind it. How does it feel and is that the way that the band will be proceeding in the future?

Jimmy Hiltula: It’s a very liberating feeling to release something on our own. It’s been quite sometime since we had a label and we don’t miss it all that much really [laughs]! If there would be any more recordings in the future, it would probably be released this way again. It’s just easier and more comfortable to do it like this when you don’t have a label.

Sleaze Roxx: What can we expect from Sister Sin in the future? 

Jimmy Hiltula: What the future holds is very uncertain. We were just planning to do these shows in 2020 and then put the last nail in the coffin, saying goodbye properly in a way. But with this pandemic, everything is on hold so I really can’t see past the shows we will be doing when the world gets somewhat back to normal again. We are on a whole different level anyways after breaking the band up five years ago up until now. We certainly do not have any plans on bringing the band back to life like the old days at least.

Sister Sin‘s “Outrage” video from Live From Rehearsal: