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Interview: Siniestro

by Ivona Bogner

At the end of 2018, Swedish killer band, Siniestro, released EP “Arctic Blood” via Black Lion Records. It was more than a good reason to talk to Siniestro’s vocalist and guitar player, Linus Öhrn.

Since this is your first interview for Metal Jacket Magazine, can you introduce Siniestro to our readers in short lines?
Siniestro is a chaotic mix of blackened thrash with the punk attitude of GG Allin. I come from the northern part of Sweden, north of the Arctic Circle and The Machine (Drums) origins from Santiago in Chile. We met in Stockholm around 2010 and we founded Siniestro in 2013. Since then we have released two EP’s and one full length album. We are currently working on our next full length that will be released in 2019.

Recently, Siniestro released EP “Arctic Blood”. How is the feedback by now? It seems people either love it either hate it, at least in my surrounding. 
Music is an art form and it is impossible to please everyone’s taste. We have received tons of positive feedback and most of the negative feedback has been that “Arctic Blood” is way to short. So mission accomplished. It is exactly what we wanted it to be. A teaser and warm up for the full length album coming in 2019. 

The album supposed to be released in May 2018 if I remember well. Why it was postponed?
Originally it was supposed to be released in May 2018 but due to touring and some overbooked dates in the studio we had to reschedule the whole recording. It was actually done already in September but its the record label who decides the dates of release etc.

BassRiot had left the band earlier in December. How does it effect on Siniestro? He had been a part of a band over than two years.
It is always hard when a band member quits. Riot has been a great member in Siniestro and he has given us so much of his passion and knowledge throughout his 2 years in the band. I’ve known him for several years before he joined Siniestro and nothing of this will effect our friendship whatsoever. He is a brother to us for the rest of our lives and I know he will get back creating music again. In what form and when, is for the time to tell. Whoever gets to play with Riot is lucky.
We have received so many messages from bassists all over Europe who would like to join Siniestro so we got quite a few people to try out before we will decide about the replacement.

“Arctic Blood” promo pics are amazing! Tell me something more about cooperation with Jens Ryden?
Jens is supertalented and professional.  He is also the vocalist for the Swedish viking metal band Thyrfing. Working with him is easy. In his mind he is able to see the finished product before he even turned on the camera. I usually got an idea of a theme for the pictures and then we discuss it to make up a plan. His studio is located down below a car parking garage in Stockholm that is filled with a lot of old exclusive cars etc. We always leave the place looking like a murder scene with all the pig-blood. Last time we were there, a security guard came yelling and wondered what the hell we were doing down there in the garage!

The band name, translated to English, is Sinister. How does the band name fits your character?
Siniestro translated is something filled with evil and darkness. It is the core of the band and the core of the music that we are creating. The Machine came up with the name since he is from Chile and Spanish is his native language. People call me “El Comandante Siniestro” in Latin America so that suits my character excellent.

As far as fans can see, you are the wild one, Sabastian seems to be total opposite. Is that duality the key of success?
Sebastian might be the calm one off stage but as soon as he is behind the drum kit he becomes The Machine. He is wild beast, full of energy and passion. To see him release his inner demons behind the drum kit is a true pleasure to experience. I am so honored to share the stage with him. 
When I enter the stage my mindset is that I’m going to a war zone. Nothing will ever hold me back and I need to release everything that is buried inside of me. Call it a ritual if you want. I’m not a spiritual person but there is something special about performing in front of an audience that cannot be compared to anything else. When I get off the stage I’m totally drained of energy and sometimes I feel like I have to puke. That is a sign that I gave everything I had and that is what the audience deserves for supporting us. Our key to success is our determination, passion and aggression that we turn into production.

Siniestro does not fit in any specific metal genre. But, what I have always liked is that slight flirt with punk. 
Well that was the first thing we said when we started Siniestro. We do not care about any specific genres. We do not care about fitting in, following trends or pleasing someone else. We do what we do and we do not compromise or apologize for anything we do.

What would you say, considering your life style, is it more punk or metal?
I think that is more of a punk attitude rather than a metal attitude where everything sometimes needs to be so true or whatever. Our music is of course way more metal influenced than punk but the attitude is definitely a mix. It reflects back to my life also. I always believed in myself and what I wanted to create and as long as I live, I will continue my mission.

Couple years ago you have visited my hometown, Zemun, Serbia, when you replaced Acerbus in IXXI. Can you recall any memories from here?
I definitely remember that tour. It was also my first visit to Serbia. I quickly sensed that Serbs and Swedes share a strong brotherhood and sisterhood. I met so many great people that I have developed a great friendship with after that. I have also toured with Serbian bands like The Stone and Infest since then. I’m looking forward to bring Siniestro to Serbia in the future! I am actually getting a custom guitar but to me in Serbia right now. It was Mr.Vandal from Infest who hooked me up with the guy who also builds his guitars. And of course I need to mention that goddamn rocketfuel “Rakija” hahaha. That is fucking insane! Swedish moonshine is like water compared to that stuff. It’s Satan in a bottle haha. If I didn’t have so much Rakija I probably would remember 50% more from the tour!

Besides music, it seems work out and tattoos are great part of your life?
I practice Krav Maga and I also do some weightlifting to keep my anger in control and to stay in shape. I need keep my energy levels up so I can perform and play my music the way I want. Playing heavy metal and touring is nothing fancy at all. It’s dirty and it’s hard I want to be as prepared as I can to keep on fighting till the end of days. 

Tattoos seems to became a trend in past few years. Everyone gets tattoos, mostly meaningless. Can you remember your first tattoo?
When it comes to my tattoos I’ve lost track of the numbers. I must have been under the needle like 50-100 times. It’s almost like one big tattoo nowadays. I got some really talented friends that are tattoo artists and they know what I prefer so usually I just give them an idea and they freehand the stuff into my skin. My first tattoo was a snake on my forearm. I was 16 years old when I got it done. It represents the snake from the Pantera album “The Great Southern Trendkill” and I will wear it with pride until the day I die. I’ve always been looking up to Phil Anselmo and when I started getting tattoos I thought his style with the black n grey full sleeved tattoos were badass. If you gonna get tattoos, go big or go home. I think it looks better that way than to have a small one here and there but that is just my personal opinion. I have no regrets for any of the tattoos I’ve done. They all represent a specific time in my life. Good times and bad times. I wear them with pride.

Most of us in underground (musicians, writers, photographers) don′t work for fame and money and have regular jobs. What is your “normal” job?
My normal job is to operate drill-rigs and pile driving machines. I also do some welding. It’s a tough job and I have to work outside in all weather conditions but I’m used to it. So you could say that I penetrate the earth for a living.

It seems you are having really crazy fans, weird shows, you are pushing the boundaries all the time. Can you remember the weirdest show you have had by now?
Standing in front of a wild and crazy audience is the best feeling in the world! We have had people crashing into the amplifiers, stagediving with spikes and bulletbelts, raging hell, spitting blood all over the stage and I just fucking love it. Our stage is your stage.

At the end of a year, we are all making our lists of favorite albums. Can you range at least five favorite albums in 2018?
This is not in any particular order but these albums are the ones that I find best for 2018:
Unleashed – The Hunt For White Christ
Necrophobic –  Mark of the Necrogram
Judas Priest – Firepower
Funeral Mist – Hekatomb
Marduk – Viktoria
Drudkh – They Often See Dreams About the Spring
Hank Von Hell – Egomania
Nokturnal Mortum – Verity

Any chance to see you in Serbia soon? 
I need to pick up my custom guitar in Serbia so I hope that I can bring Siniestro to play a couple of shows in the same trip! I’m working on it!

New Year’s wishes on personal and professional (music) plan?
I don’t do wishes or new year resolutions. I try to improve myself as a person and musician every day. I will never ever be complete in any way,  but as long as I follow my path I promise you that black magic shall occur from the depth of my mind.

Linus, thank you for your time and cooperation. I hope in 2019 I will see you somewhere on the road. Stay true!
Thank you for the great questions Ivona! I sure hope we meet on the road soon! The we shall drink some Rakija together!! All Hail Metal! 

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