The quickly ascending musician teams with Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot to take on the the status quo with a brand that is as versatile as it is volatile.
In the span of short year, Caroline Miner Smith’s multi-dynamic persona in Siiickbrain has asserted a stranglehold on the landscape of alternative music. At the core of the intrigue surrounding the model/vocalist is her fluid meld of authenticity and artistry. It’s a common denominator that has played out in a collection of singles that steadily surfaced in the last 12 months.
Frequently labeled as experimental, Siickbrain’s brand is one that thrives outside the genre lines and works well in keeping the listener guessing – she’s articulates a unique message of empowerment throughout her music without repeating herself creatively. From her alluring introduction in “Cigarettes and Cartier” to her Maggie Lindemann-aided “GASLIGHT!” no two tracks tread familiar musically, yet manage to convey the same self-awareness that arguably make Siickbrain such a formable creative force.
For the first release of 2021, Siickbrain has aligned herself with Nadya Tolokonnikova of counter culture pioneers Pussy Riot for another dominate showing in the single, “Power”. The tandem of powerful voices, combined with the track’s message of individuality and command make for yet another example of why Siickbrain’s stock continues to soar.
Coupled with the visual that taps the cinematic cult classic of David Fincher’s ‘Fight Club,’ Siiickbrain’s understanding of the complete presentation in conveying her message of conviction is what substantiates the hype. The emerging vocalist offered her take on her ascending trajectory and explained how being versatile and honest are one in the same.
There are those times when a song and video seem so perfect a match it was almost like the idea for the video came before the track did. What inspired you to run with the Fight Club vibe?
Fight Club is my favorite movie of all time and recording this song made me feel super powerful. When I record a song I always visualize it so the Fight Club idea came pretty much immediately.
Tell us how the collaboration with Nadya of Pussy Riot came about – was this a partnership you seeked out was this more of a chance connection?
I had known about Pussy Riot through the media and had been familiar with everything they stand for and speak out about. The courage they have for speaking out on topics that could put them in a tough situation is super inspiring to me. I believe people should speak out and stand up for what they believe in no matter what the consequences, so that really resonated with me. I saw Nadya’s support for the song GASLIGHTING that I did with Maggie Lindemann the same day or the day after I recorded POWER and immediately knew I had to ask her if she wanted to be on the track. After that it all happened really quickly.
There seems to be a very obvious message in “Power” – was there anything in particular that prompted you to pick up the pen for this one?
I love working with Drew Fulk Who produced the track because when I’m writing I feel like I can be fully honest with him and write really meaningful songs. This particular day I think I was frustrated because I realized that I keep falling into this pattern of feeling powerless. Once I began recording I became more angry than anything, and that’s what inspired this song.
There really does seem to be a sea change in aggressive music where women aren’t just contributing but they are leading the charge. Do you take any stock in being a part of a new generation of artists that confront the status quo?
Of course I would love to be thought of as someone who plays a role in women in the more hardcore alternative genre; but I’m just making the type of music that feels the most honest to me. When I go into the studio, how I’m feeling directly reflects the type of song that I’m going to make. Not all of my songs that are out yet are songs that I consider to be aggressive.
Your music is often categorized as experimental. Do you find that label lazy – like it’s a catchall for not being able to fully explain it?
I think that experimental is definitely not a bad thing. When someone makes a really good song, it comes from experimenting with things that haven’t been heard before. I also don’t really want be put in a box even though I know that my music is in the alternative lane. I think it’s important for artists to make music that is honest and sounds that they like. If they like it someone else will. If artists continue to do that, I don’t think that genres will be something that exist forever.
The range of emotion that emits from “Cigarettes and Cartier” to “Pin Cushion” is kinda unreal. Where does it start for you. The music first, or the message? Do you tap into a feeling you want to explore in a song then match the music to that or do you sort through tunes and let the music bring out a feeling? What’s the process like for you?
For me it depends on the day. For example with “Cigarettes and Cartier” I knew what I wanted to write about, for “Pin Cushion” I heard what was going on sonically and it put me in a headspace to write about feeling like a pin cushion. Most of the time it is sounds that put me into a head space to write about certain topics. When I get to the studio usually the producer will catch a vibe of how I’m feeling or I’ll tell them how I’m feeling and if I want to be more upbeat or less. Then I write.
Can you remember the first time you heard yourself scream like that on record and what they feeling was like?
The first time that I screamed like how I scream in my music was in my car listening to Ohio is for Lovers by Hawthorne Heights. I was just singing along and then when the screams came I just screamed it. It came really naturally for me and was a major shock to myself and my boyfriend at the time who was in the car. He had me do it like fifteen times in a row after he heard it.
Given the kind of substance you put into your music lyrically, you seem to have real intentions with your art. What do you hope fans that enjoy your music take away from it?
I definitely pour my heart into my lyrics because I’ve always used writing as a form of therapy. I hope that whoever listens will feel like they can relate and have hope that whatever the topic of the song may be, that they will be okay, because I am. I also hope that they will be inspired to be themselves and do what they love no matter what anyone else thinks. Because that’s what I’m doing with music.
“Power” from Siiickbrain featuring Pussy Riot can be streamed – HERE