Sister Swire’s female-led rock band is a spirited group that harmonized pop, punk, and folk influences to create a heavy-hitting and edgy force that challenges its listener to its wittyful sentiments.
A dynamic group led by a talented performative artist, Sarah Swire. Sarah’s background is steeped in diverse artistic accolades not limited to her musicianship. Along with her title as a singer/songwriter, she is an actor, choreographer, and theatrical performance artist. She uses her diverse talents and experience to incorporate theatrical undertones into her songwriting discography.
Upon the release of Sister Swire’s self-titled studio album, the dynamic “She’s Fun” is a record that features in this new body of work—produced by the Canadian musician and producer Joel Plaskett. Sister Swire touches on their new album stating, “The album speaks to fans of classic rock & pop with punk & theatrical undertones, but from a narrative perspective, the album speaks particularly to those who have struggled with addiction, obsession, anxiety, paranoia and the dangerous coping mechanisms that lead to an uncanny duality in personality. It’s a study of guilt for how one's behaviour affects their community, world, and love for themselves.”
When listening to the song, you are immediately immersed in the presented theme's chaotic, paranoid, and obsessive aural dramatization. Sister Swire achieves just that. Lyrically, you’re taken aback into the mind of a paranoid and anxious state of chaos. Singing with exhilarating force, this engulfs the listener into a neurotic world of someone caught between the world of guilt brought on by the isolation of a dissociative tendency, attempting to keep the chaos at bay.
Dive into the "She's Fun" chaos, available everywhere now.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Sister Swire, and congratulations on your latest release, "She's Fun." There is a distinct evocation of a paranoid, anxious, obsessive state in the song, both lyrically speaking and in its production. Is this what you’re imagining mentally in a narrative sense?
Oh yeah, 100p. Like, I’m crucially tired of lethargic, sad songs. I self-medicate with music, and they seem to make everything worse. I know there’s evocative sensuality in vulnerable truths and fragile voices, but that's not how I feel. I articulate my emotions to my peers and therapists to be comprehensible and tolerable, but the true nature of my thoughts is violent and bonkers. And Sister Swire is an opportunity to channel the obtuseness of my impulses that Sarah Swire monitors to be socially graceful. Cameron Reed (electric guitar), Nicholas Posthumus (bass) and Lawrence Libor (drums) arranged for this song in a way that makes it feel like a real bloody spit take. I love them dearly. They are geniuses. This album is what it is because of their compassion and artistry.
Can you share the creative process in an intense emotive experience such as the one in “She’s Fun?"
In the timeline of my heart, I was waking up every morning at 4:30 am full of rage, going into a trance and screaming at people who weren’t there. For hours. Then I’d get a coffee, make it worse, and deepen my unhealthy codependency with my tarot deck. But in practice, back in 2020, I flipped through a thesaurus, slapped my finger down 3 times, and made a story out of the chaotic constellation of terms. It was on point with my misery. And I think that book permitted me to take the screaming away from the mirror and in front of people.
What’s it like working with Joel in the studio?
I’ve had the privilege of working with many brilliant artists, but no one is as incredible and unique as Joel Plaskett. I’m also a choreographer, and his relationship to sound feels more like a dancer improvising than a musician gear-shifting between systems & techniques. Everything moves, in listening, in playing. The parts that touch strings generate sound, but from what I can tell, the rest of his body is just electric intuition. It’s…unbelievable to watch. There’s something spooky about analogue spaces. The machines become player 2, and you must bend to its humour. And for that reason, there’s almost less work to be done; choices are made for you. In the infinity of a high-fidelity digital space, the magnitude of choice casts such a wide net of options that ideas initiate from a basic place to ground yourself in the decision-making process. In these analogue spaces, control is relinquished to these unpredictable, invisible, separate imaginations. And you work together. We both enjoy a podcast called Weird Studies - one of the hosts, JF Martel, once said about the limitation of a rhyme scheme, “You work with it to tease out symbolic correspondences.” Which I think also applies to Joel and Thomas Stajcer’s studio, Fang Recording.
This is a very raw and honest look at addiction; if you’re comfortable sharing, how have your life experiences led to the creation of this album?
I had a weird out-of-body experience that let me view ‘My Addict’ as separate from myself. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn't. That, and some unbelievable friends who were brave enough to tell me my whiskey breath and snake eyes at 11 am ‘weren’t good enough.’ It’s changed my view on reality and, consequently, art. I am in deep & constant surrender to something larger than myself. A huge struggle for addicts is the inability to identify their true selves outside the addiction agenda. Or as a multitude. Currently, my addict and I ‘co-exist’ as a sort of host/parasite situation LOL, and in so many ways, it is Sister Swire. I’m letting it talk so the dynamic feels playful instead of powerless. Also, alcohol and drugs made me brave. It taught me how to argue; it offered me the confidence and lucidity to articulate my weirdest and most passionate opinions. I needed both experiences: rock bottom and its slow recovery. I know that’s not true for everyone, but it is why I am making music now.
What would you like your listeners to know about your WHY as musicians? At a fundamental level, what inspires you to do what you do?
I don’t know. I truly don’t. I get a ‘funny feeling,’ and I act on it. I’ve been doing that since I was a child. And if I carve the time & space to flow it out, really cool things happen.
I could try and articulate it better, but it would feel disingenuous. It’s just a simple, subtle, funny feeling. I think most musicians would say the same.