Back in 2012 I brought you interviews with three very different music acts, electric pop princess Kristina Smith of Mooli, rap artist LnC and progressive melodic metal band You Win Again Gravity, in a bid to help each get the exposure that they well and truly deserved. Of that trio it has been Mooli which has gone onto see some relative success with their August 2013 single Automatic amassing over half-a-million YouTube hits to date.
Today I am immensely excited to to introduce you all to Sister Gracie. The reason as to why I am so enthused about this lot is because this band are more me than any other artist that I have interviewed or reviewed. This is the kinda’ stuff I enjoy listening to.
Sister Gracie singer Max Walker, 23, has a voice with an abundance of character – it’s dark, fraught and mesmeric. It enters the blood stream rapidly and once one song is over you find yourself scratching around for your next fix.
The best way I can possibly describe Max’s voice is a cross between an authoritative projecting Morrissey and then throw in a bit of mystery similar to that of Tom Smith from indie rock band Editors. It’s very Joy Division. All of this creates one heck of a concoction.
Attack – the debut EP featuring five alluring tunes – was released on Thursday 3rd April 2014. The track listing is as follows:-
2. White & Grey
Despite each song having a nervy modern feel, Fires in particular, this EP has an abundance of character that will throw you back 30 odd years, closely imitating the new romantic style of old. Should you close your eyes you end up dazing off into a musky world that replicates a Blitz club night from back in the late 70’s/early 80’s.
It’s not often that you’ll be able to find an artist who serves up such an eclectic mixture to its audience. Sister Gracie’s debut EP Attack blends both hard synthesizing and potent beats to a tee. And then comes the mastery of Max’s vocals; powerful and dominating. His voice miraculously manages to out-punch the strong sound that he has created.
This five song folder lasts for the best part of an exceptionally slick 20 minutes, faultlessly blending an old skool notion with contemporary electronic beats.
Remarkably it has taken the best part of four years for the London based musician to get to this position and release an EP. As my assessment testifies – it has well and truly been worth the wait.
Originally Max had intended to go the pop route, he reveals, “When Sister Gracie was formed back in 2010 there was a totally different concept behind it, I had wanted to create cheerful pop music with and upbeat tempo and catchy choruses. All of this quickly fizzled out when I wrote Black. I found myself drifting more towards the darker side.”
The official video for Black was released a few days prior to the EP going on sale, in truth, this particular song warrants much more exposure than it has seen to date. I’m sure many of you would agree. Check out the video below!
Despite possessing a talent for being able to play pretty much any instrument that he can lay his hands upon, it’s rather surprising that Max focused his attention more toward the modern conventional way of making music – via a computer. “Fortunately my school was blessed with computers that had the latest music software. I remember the very first time that I opened up the Propellerhead Reason 3.0 software. I knew from that day that this is the path I wanted to head down. Although we were taught the basics of music production I went ahead and purchased a copy for myself and began self tuition.” The rest – as they say – is history.
I’m fairly certain that many listeners of Sister Gracie, principally older heads or those with a wide knowledge of music, liken them to some sounds of old. I was intrigued as to where Max’s inspiration came from. He replied, “Inspiration has always been a difficult thing for me to answer. I tend to find that musicians aren’t always the ones that inspire me, it tends to be more my surrounding than anything else. Lifestyle choices, trips, art and films. An idea is rather a mood. I’ll sit at my keyboard simply staring at it for a while whilst playing around with some sounds in my head. Then I try to replicate it. It’s all very much trial and error – for which I am a great believer in. Mistakes can often be the thing that gives your song an edge.”
The opening song to this EP – the single Attack – begins with an hallucinogenic trance before breaking out in commanding fashion. White & Grey is sharp yet bewildering and a real head-bouncer. Where does ones extraordinary ability to keep you on such tenterhooks come from?
On the sound that he creates Max went on to say, “Sound for me is forever changing. My latest records hold an essence of what is trending at the moment – but with a twist. I try and make things unexpected so that the listener keeps on their toes, they are left guessing as to what’s going to happen. I wouldn’t like to try and categorise but I’m sure somebody else will!”
I’m sure that some exciting times are on the horizon for Sister Gracie. There’s a short European tour in mid-May with stops in Switzerland, Germany and France. A UK tour is in the offing too. No beans were spilled – “All I can say is that for now you’ll all just have to keep an eye on our social media outputs for information!” claimed Max.
Sister Gracie’s debut EP is OUT NOW! You can download it from iTunes priced £3.95. It is also available through Amazon and some other online stores. You may stream it from popular streaming sites such as Spotify, Deezer and many more. There is a limited print of CD’s which can be purchased through the Sister Gracie website for £6.99, click here. And rather splendidly you are even have the option of a 10″ vinyl, thus ensuring you hear the raw quality of the final mix and all the distorted tweaks and hidden frequencies you cannot hear via MP3 or CD.
As the discussion drew to a close Max was keen to express his gratitude to a few people. They are as follows…
His girl friend Alexandra Cook – “Although she doesn’t join me on stage or contribute to the music, she has been there since day one. She does everything from Artistic Direction and graphic design through to merchandising. Although I am a soloist, Sister Gracie is definitely a ‘we’ rather than an ‘I’. My girl friend is always there to help me make the right decision.”
DJ Latto – “I’m now being joined on stage with an old friend, DJ Latto. This is a work in progress to what I hope will bring a new dynamic to SG’s live set.”
And with special thanks to; Percy Lau (glasses designer in the photo for the EP cover), Rachel Pengruiqio (EP cover photographer) and David Pears for helping me take the next step.
“You know I need your love…” Well Max Walker – you sure have all of ours.