BOTTOM kinda grabbed me by my ears and shook me real well the first time I heard them. So I knew I had to interview them. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
Sina: Life. My songs are about going through it—the struggle, strength, battle and joy. I write songs to exercise my fears, ambitions, dreams and to tell the stories I need to hear. When I’m not writing/playing I feel really out of sorts. Music is my church, my practice, my dogma. It’s the way I make the connection between life and the spirit. It guides me in times of darkness and gives me strength when I can’t go on any further. It’s also the sonics of when I feel awesome. Those are the songs I write.
How is this new album different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
Sina: All BOTTOM records are a bit different. They are all journeys. Hug Myself..All the time is just that, I needed a big one. Originally, I had wanted to write a concept album which my character goes through complete breakdown, insanity, loss, failure and has to rebuild. I started on the path, little did I know I would go personally through the complete journey.
Originally planned for a 2009 release, BOTTOM had line-up changes and over the course I experienced a lifetime of stuff: I lost a major love. I was betrayed by good friends and bandmates. I seriously lost reality for a bit, but came back. I found life and love again and I had a child. I exhumed my band. Then as life brings twists, I got a near fatal illness (Myasthenia Gravis) and had/have to deal with that. All the while, Billy Anderson (engineer/co-producer) jumped from a burning house clutching the only copy of the masters. So we had to go on. It’s been an intense ride. I think you hear it in the tunes. Nietzsche: what doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger. Putting this one to print was a victory and I’m glad it’s done. Ready for the next chapter!
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get?
Sina: I dig it when people find them inspirational. I write them to keep me going, to exorcise the demons, to get the darkness out! so when I get that reaction it’s awesome, it means the listener has journeyed too. I found it a highest compliment once that a reviewer felt scared for me, he went along for the ride and felt it. If you feel like everything is daisies and lollipops after listening, then you’re not listening to BOTTOM. I want you to jump in to the depths, the bottom and emerge stronger.
Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands do you indentify with?
Sina: I love so much music. I grew up playing violin, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven so I get inspired by orchestral music. On a pop level I turn to Kurt Cobain, Layne Stayley, John Lennon. I love the riffs of Pantera, Slayer, Helmet, LambOfGod, classics like Metallica, sabbath. Being one of the oldtime stonerrock crew, I dig my brothers MonsterMagnet, High on Fire, Kyuss et al. Newer bands I like are Gojira, Arch Enemy.
How did you go about chosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
Sina: Just like the album, I struggled with hundreds of images and ideas. The painting artwork is by Jeremy Geddes! His paintings are amazing, haunting, transforming with amazing craft. Born in New Zealand, he lives in Melbourne. He balances darkness and beauty to perfection. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect BOTTOM companion. I’m an art school kid myself; man, I’d love to have a Geddes original on my wall one day!
What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
Sina: Universal life stuff: Love, hate, death, sorrow, overcoming, strength, spiritual awareness on a daily level. Lots of metal songwriters deals with cars, aliens, cartoons, fantasy elves and stuff. I’m just more into the human condition. The real shit. In a nut shell: how it feels to be alive.
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
Sina: My bandmates joke I’ve created BOTTOMology, my own language. It includes sounds, math, spelling and definitions. I like to bring that culture into the song titles, they are typically extractions from the lyrics then word-smithed into BOTTOM-lingo.
Is digital a format that fits your music? Is digital killing music?
Sina: Recording is an art form. It’s important for musicians to be stewards of the art. The problem with digital is that anyone can do it. While I think anyone should express them self, not everyone should be behind a recording device and certainly not release that crap for the rest of us to be tortured. The worst is listening to lo-fi mp3s loud. Slayer dumped down to some horrible quality mp3 is just horrid, thin, lame. Powerless. I hate it.
That said, BOTTOM records have all been recorded using both analog and digital. I prefer analog tracking and mixing. It’s just real time. Whatever happens in the studio at that moment the red light is on is the moment that lives forever. Audio would be better if we all had record players with needles that pulled across an actual pressing. Unfortunately that’s not our world, plus ol LPs aren’t as handy as an iphone.
My feeling about digital is the same as all art: crap artists put out crap from content to technical quality. The opposite is also true.
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
Sina: I love playing live! I live to play live! BOTTOM was a touring band for a decade, playing 320+ a year from Vancouver to Croatia. We loved our marathon tours, 100+ in a row, sometimes playing 2 shows a day for stretches. As of late, we’ve been playing local shows. Touring has been on the back burner due to line up changes, my health, I had a son, etc… We’ve been are working to get our live format together and want to get back out there. It’d be great to get a decent booking agent again and line up shows. We’re ready.
What lies in the future?
Sina: BOTTOM albums have creepily foretold what’s to come: Made in Voyage brought us to endless touring. Feels So Good When You’re Gone ended with a death in the BOTTOM family, mass breakups and 911. The lyrics of YourNext almost all came true. I nearly needed a straight jacket creating Hug myself..all the time. After the last albums, I’d be smart to try concepts like health, happiness, gold limos and too much cash. Who honestly can predict the future. I’m praying for more songs, more adventure, more BOTTOM!
Thank you for this interview. I wish you all the success you seek!