Interview: Sissters

Sissters - Photo courtesy of Sissters

Sissters - Photo courtesy of Sissters

Made up of guitarist and vocalist Mika Risiko and drummer Phillip Rau, Sissters is punk-inspired duo that plays melodically raw and unapologetically raucous tunes to the backdrop of Germany’s capital city.

The two initially met in Münster a few years back and played in an assortment of musical projects together, none of which ever lasted very long.

Regardless, Risiko and Rau discovered they were a musical match, and began to play together as a twosome. Eventually, they moved to Berlin and formed Sissters, debuting live for the first time in August. And the duo works in ways neither member can explain, other than the fact that it just does.

“We don’t know how it actually works to play what we’re playing,” Risiko said, referring both to the instruments they play as well as the songwriting process.

In June of this year, less than a year after the band’s premiere, their debut full-length, “there’s a party in my mouth but you’re not invited,” was released on Coraille.

“I’m pretty amazed by how we pulled this off,” Risiko said, referring to the album. “It’s just a collaboration of friends basically.”

She went on to explain that the recording, mixing, mastering, screenprinting, and more were all done by different friends, a process that gives the album a uniquely synergistic feeling.

As for the music itself, while the band plays unpolished rock, Risiko admitted both members do have the tendency to err on the side of perfectionism, while still remaining in that unrefined realm.

“We wanted to have…an older, dirtier, warmer, vintage [sound],” Risiko said of the specificity of the recording. “We want to make it as DIY as possible but also as good as possible.”

And in the end, she and Rau both ended up pleased.

“It’s a very perfect piece of art,” she said of the LP.

As for inspiration, Risiko said there is no one source of it that stands out among the others. However, she also shared that what Sissters does is try to stay away from the trap of creating a sound that combines and emulates the music of its members’ favourite bands, a process which comes too close to copying, as opposed to being innovative.

“[It’s difficult] to always come up with something new, to not be repetitive,” she said.

This also applies to the process of following up a debut.

“[The next record] should be different,” Risiko said. “We don’t wanna…stand still.”

The band won’t be playing many more shows this year, instead taking that time to work on new songs, in addition to preparing for a month-long tour in March with Des Ark.

It will be Sissters’ longest tour to date; in the past, the most the two have been on the road is approximately a week, with the majority of tours being short, four-day weekend stints.

Risiko said that she’s looking forward to it, because live performances bring out a range of emotions that make playing music worthwhile for her.

“My ideal of playing music is…not thinking about anything,” she said. “It goes…all through, just like one whole thing. And sometimes, even if you’re playing a show and you’re on stage and there’s an audience…you get sucked up in the music. And…all you feel is just…tunes and notes and stuff like that…it’s a very immediate feeling.”

Sissters plays on 17/12 at Subversiv in Berlin. The show begins at 21.00.

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