Interview by Miriam C.
I’ve always asked myself why it’s so hard to appreciate and listen to the music without forcing any useless musical categorization on it. We should enjoy music for what it is – take it o leave it – ’cause in this case the categorizations can be quite misleading. Try it and see for yourself: the official press release states that Sinistro play ‘ambient doom rock’ and instead Metal Archives ‘sludge/doom/post-metal’ tho’ one thing is clear, one day or another I’ll go mad with all this crap. Anyway, the real focus here is Sinistro and their second album “Semente” out now via Season of Mist. It’s interesting how the Lisbon based band associate, like in a dreamlike state, their Portuguese lyrics to the visuals (take a minute for your precious time to watch their videos “Reliquia” and “Semente”) but if you would to get a real introduction to this band, you have just to take 5 minutes and read directly from the singer Patricia Andrade how everything worked out. This is the brand new Mediterranean wave of doom!
Hi Patricìa, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine! How are you? It’s a real pleasure to have you here and thank you for finding some time to reply to my questions!
Hello Miriam! I’m fine, thank you for your interest in knowing more about Sinistro, it’s a pleasure.
Although you’re about to publish your second album, it’s the first time that we have the chance to interview you, do you mind to shed some light on the band’s history?
Sinistro started in 2011 with Fernando, Ricardo and Paulo recording the debut self-titled album. All of them had other bands at the time but in a Summer morning they decided to go to the studio and create songs exploring new sounds and a more cinematic feel.
It’s peculiar how your musical adventure with Sinistro started: you were welcomed on board after the mutual effort of “Cidade”. What can you recall about that album’s session and how was your first approach with the band?
I was singing for a band called Pedro e os Lobos and Ricardo went to see a gig. I was later contacted to collaborate with them on Sinistro‘s second release. The composition was completed and they wanted me to sing on it. I was given total freedom to write and sing whatever I liked so I listened to the songs and I immediately started writing, it was a very intuitive process. The melodies, the guitar work and all the ambient was suggested by the city, its people and movements. Concerning the vocals, “Semente”‘s sessions were also very intuitive and spontaneous, the connection was very natural, it was once again a merry encounter. I felt the music and created lyrics and vocals according to what the band was delivering, it was more than just a mere collaboration, this time it was more like a dialogue and an act of sharing.
As said before, “Semente” was released on 8th April via Season of Mist. How and when was your first encounter with the label and how did you get signed with them?
We didn’t expect Sinistro could have an international label and play live much. We were discovered by a person who listened to “Cidade” quite accidentally and then proposed it to show our work to a few friends and partners. We were put to the test, we had a few months to deliver a full, finished record and sometime later, Season of Mist appeared in Sinistro‘s life and we are very happy with it.
In addition, what can you tell us about the genesis of the album?
“Semente” is a road where you can find several ambiences to illustrate reflections, feelings, memories and contradictions. Explore the inner self, memories of a character such as in “Relíquia” or the dilemma of doubt like in “Partida”. “Cidade” was more conceptual, it speaks about the city, people in general and their actions. This album is more focused in particular questions, more intimate.
So, the press release suggests that “Fado [can be] one of the band’s aesthetic resources” also it makes a significant list of band/artists (Massive Attack, Ennio Morricone, Boards of Canada, Howard Shore, Radiohead, Faith No More, Angelo Badalamenti, David Bowie, Swans, Unwound, Mogwai, and Crippled Black Pheonix) of which we should consider as useful points of reference but where does the band’s true [musical] soul lie?
Fado is more a heritage than a direct influence. We are Portuguese, we sing in our native tongue and the energy of our culture inevitably transpires in what we do. Most of the bands you named are, directly or indirectly, a reference but most of all we are 5 people with different tastes and influences and Sinistro is the result of that.
Also, what I’ve really enjoyed about your releases is that you stayed true to the core and you kept publishing album in Portuguese, your native language. What are the pros and cons of this conscious decision and, behind this, there’s any specific reason/goal?
When I was first contacted by the band, the idea was to sing in Portuguese. They had an album already out and even though it was an instrumental one, the songs were named in Portuguese, so that was the starting point. Singing in Portuguese is easier because you are directly connected with the emotions behind the words you’re singing, it’s your native tongue, after all. In the past I thought it would be harder for a non-english singing band to go international but now I really love and most of all we are very proud that the language is not an obstacle. There are no cons at the moment, only pros. Music itself is communication, language is just a part of it.
You also had the opportunity to shoot two videos for both the title-track and the song “Partida”, both directed by José Dinis. Could you tell us a bit about the concepts behind it and the filming?
José Dinis was essential. All seven videos were directed by him, he understood our universe, what we wanted to express and translated it into video. It was an easy process: we all threw ideas in and we kept the ones we liked the most. As a band we’re very interested in developing collaborations with other forms of Art. The work with José was one such collaboration and a very pleasant one.
You’ve collectively stated that “Semente” is “a turning point in our career, a landmark on a personal and professional level”. Why?
Sinistro never played live before. Our first show was late in March, just a few days before the release of “Semente”. With Season of Mist and Aisa we are not a studio band anymore, we now have the chance to play our music live, tour, get in contact with a broader audience and that definitely changed our personal and professional life. The goals are more defined now and our standards were also set higher.
Now, I’d like to focus a little on you, Patrìcia. What can you share about your artistic background? I’ve discovered that back in 2008 you’ve participated as a choir member in Moonspell‘s album “Night Eternal”…
I’m an actress and I dub cartoons. Music appeared later. I had several music projects such as Intimist and participated in Pedro e os Lobos. Then Sinistro came and became one of my priorities along with theatre. About Moonspell, it was a participation in the Crystal Mountain Singers for the Moonspell choir that featured Sophia Vieira from Cinemuerte, Carmen Simões (ex Ava Inferi) and Sílvia Guerreiro from Goodspeed Society. It was a honor and a privilege being part of it.
There are scarce informations about your other project Vanity Chair, what insights can you partake about it?
Vanity Chair was a nickname as a DJ. In the past me and along two friends, Dora Carvalhas and Silvana Costa, had a DJ collective. Now every once in a while I do some Battle Rock sessions with other DJs in Sabotage Club, Lisbon; it’s same club where we released “Semente”.
Where can your fans catch you in the next days? Do you have any plans for a full EU tour?
In some street of my beloved Lisbon or at Amplifest, Porto on August 20/21 or in Warsaw at Asymetry Festival on the 23th of September. We are working for a tour to happen as soon as possible.
So, Patricia, it’s time for your parting words – I really thank you for your time – please greet freely our readers and your fans. Thanks again!
Thank you so much for the interview Miriam, I hope to meet you soon. For the Femme Metal Webzine: I hope we can share a heartfelt Sinistro show with all of you. A share. Always a share! Thank you!
Photos by Joana Linda