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The SIXXIS : "Hollow Shrine"
The SixxiS - from Atlanta, U.S. of A are a bunch of highly talented and entertaining musicians, blending heavy, alternative, and Prog Rock on their debut album, "Hollow Shrine". USA and Euro tours with acts such as Wishbone Ash, The Winery Dogs, and currently Spock's Beard, the first step to world domination. Consisting of Vladdy Iskhakov (vocals, violin, piano, guitar), guitarist Cameron Allen (winner of the Bend-Note Guitar Competition in Paris), Mark Golden (bass, synth), JBake (drums) and Paul Sorah (guitar), are all experienced musicians having performed with artists such as Mariah Carey, Ledisi, Divinity Roxx, Ashton Jones, Jennifer Holiday, Angie Stone. etc. Find out more about the album and its melodies, here's : The SixxiS
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
So far the reaction has been really great. We had amazing reviews from both the press and the fans that were able to get the CD before the release. The enthusiasm really carried over from the EP we released last year.
Have you guys always been the fan of complex time changes, breakdowns, and passages?
As musicians, its something that makes playing more interesting. It gives more variation to the song, and makes it interesting to listen to. We try to break the monotony of what the song could be... music has so much to offer, it would be a total waste not to utilize all the different things that could be used.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish?
I think the entire process took about a month from the first day of pre-production to the last day of mixing and mastering.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to recording
The sound we were trying to go for was something that had a lot of emotion and power but not to the point to where it would get overbearing. Also, a sound that had an inner intensity about it.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
David Bottrill (Tool, Peter Gabriel, Muse, Mudvayne, Stone Sour, Placebo, The Smashing Pumpkins) was very instrumental in developing the sound to what it is now. His comments and criticism helped shape our sound. One of his biggest influences had to do with the song structures. He took a song that was written by musicians for musicians, and was able to re-shape it for the more mainstream audience by "trimming the fat" of the songs. He is very methodical in his approach to our sound and what we were trying to go for.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Absolutely! We could not be any happier with this album. From start to finish, it was an amazing process and we are very happy with everything.
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
David introduced us to some really cool ways of "mic"ing up the guitar cabs and different ways to use the guitar amps to get some really beefy tones. He also did some really cool things with the guitar effect pedals we were using, and the violin tones.
Would it be fair to say that some of your songs has an Eastern European feel?
Yes. Vladdy is from the former Soviet Union, and growing up with Easter European pop music had a huge effect on his songwriting.
Any overall theme of mood/sound that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
Intensity is the first character that comes to mind when writing a song. Tool is a great example of a band that has this quality. We dont sound like Tool, but their intensity in their music is undeniable, and that is definitely something that has an overall vibe of the songs we try to write.
What's the story behind your moniker?
The SixxiS project was started on June 6th, 2006 (06/06/06). When one of the guys noticed this, we decided to take advantage of this coincidence and be creative with the name.
Mike Portnoy - an important figure in the life of the SixxiS?
Absolutely! He is an important figure not just for The SixxiS but for many other bands that are coming up in the progressive rock genre. He gave many bands, including us, an opportunity to display their talents using his platform. He really is a great ambassador for Progressive Rock, and we give him all the respect in the world for it.
What can you tell us about your personal background and music(al) history?
As individuals of this band, we all come from very different musical backgrounds. Some come from Classical music backgrounds, some from Gospel, some from Fusion, Rock and Roll, Bluegrass...you name it. We are allmusicians that went through vigorous studies in music performance, education and composition. We are also form very different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. All these differences make us who we are in the band, and only help us connect on a very high level when we create music together.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
Again, because of our differences in musical preferences, we all have different influences. Just to name a few...
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do
Thank you very much for taking the time out to do this interview. We hope that the audience and listeners in Sweden give our album a chance, and we are sure that they will not be disappointed. This album is something we are very proud of and we hope the people will give it a chance.