Siva Six

The Art of Channeling Emotions into Musical Narratives

Z, of Siva Six, says:

I hum a melody on the phone and then record it in my home studio

To create means not to have boundaries 

I’m so proud and happy that many bands have remixed our tracks

I become one of the characters, or the main character of the song I’m working on

The Electronic Corner had a chat with George Z from Dark Electro / Industrial duo Siva Six.
Z is a man with lots of interestig things to say, so, let’s start!

Sir Joe: The song Fight The Machine is included in your latest album, ‘Deathcult’, and also on an EP of the same name relased few moths ago which includes 7 remixes of it.
In the lyrics, it says: “We are fighting the metaworld”, and at the end of the accompanying video, the machine is identified as the dollars, so money.
Can you elaborate more on that?

Siva Six: I think the situation should be pretty clear. There is a group of elites trying to control the rest of us. This has been ongoing for the last 1000 years, a natural progression.
Enforcement of control used to be put in practice with standard ways, now it’s changing into digital platforms and social media.
At the end of the day, it’s the same story: a person trying to take advantage of others’ work, time, and discipline for personal profit. The game has always been always a dirty one.
We should be aware and understand that there is always danger, no matter the age or tools we work with. People taking advantage of other people is the history of humankind.
Politics, for example, are not carried to serve the land as they should, but to gain a personal profit.
We must be careful and try to save our personalities and our souls, learning to see through the glass.
SJ: Your music is quite hard, yet you ofter use piano and sometimes strings. To me, the piano is in fact the signature sound of Siva Six, more than the harder sounds.
There are also plenty of interesting melodic elements, like an extensive use of minor chords, that create a gloomy, menacing atmosphere.
All of this made me wonder: When you compose your songs, do you mostly start with melodies and mellow sounds and then add the harder elements, or do you start with the beats and add the melodic elements at a later stage?

Siva Six: When I compose a song, I always start with the melody.
Most of my songs start with a melody that I have in my head, which I then hum on my cell phone or in a recorder.
Next, I record it in my studio with a piano or synthesizer sound and work on it. Then I add a basic drum kit and gradually create a song.
If the result catches my attention, then I know I have to work on it. I never start with a beat or drums.

SJ: In 2016 you relocated to Leipzig. Has this relocation affected the way you create your music? If yes, how?

Siva Six: Subconsciously, definitely, since the environment and people are a nonstop stream of influence.
My relocation to Leipzig and my bandmate’s relocation from Athens to Stuttgart somehow formed the conditions under which we came out with our latest album.
Living in Germany had definitely an influence, both subconsciously and consciously.

SJ: I read somewhere that you consider ‘DeathCult’ as your best album so far. What makes you claim that?


Siva Six: I can’t be the best judge of my own music, but I strongly feel that ‘Deathcult’ is at least one of our best albums ever.
I’m still undecided between this album, ‘Black Will’ and ‘The Twin Moons’, but many people we talk with, including in interviews and in online reviews, mention Deathcult as probably our best album.
Being in the band for more than 15 years, I consider this as an honor for us, and it makes me think that it’s worth our effort and time in the band.
After all those years, knowing that our latest album is considered probably our best one makes me really happy.

SJ: I can fully understand that, because it means people perceive that there has been an evolution in your music.
Many projects start with a ‘boom’, but then loose their inspiration over time. You seem to have been following the opposite pattern.

Siva Six: As a person who I strongly admire and respect once said: “People who create are either entertainers or creators”.
Entertaining actually means not really progressing, but copying your own self, perhaps because you are afraid to abandon yourself to the flow of progress.
Creating means not having boundaries. Of course we do have boundaries, because we are moving around a specific subgenre. However, as you mentioned before, we use the piano a lot, and our music has a soundtrack-like atmosphere.
I’m not afraid to try something with a different point of view. This is about progress, and if you don’t progress, you’re not a creator, you’re just an entertainer.
It’s really a big compliment for me to think and feel that probably I’m on the creative side.

SJ: Your tracks have been remixed by more than 60 bands.
Which elements of your project do you think make your music so desirable, when it comes to remix a track?
Could the melodic elements we mentioned before, which make most of your tracks as candidates to be remixed in different genres be a factor?

Siva Six: True, more than 60 bands have so far remixed our music, and it feels great.
I mostly don’t have a clue about the motivation behind it.
The contact is usually established with people we shared the stage with or that we know because they play in other bands. We just have a talk like: “Would you like to remix one of our song?”, and things evolve from there.
Also, sometimes remix slots were offered by our labels to their roster.
I’m very proud and happy that many bands have remixed our tracks. They have truly remixed our music, put so much work on it, brought on board their own style and elements, and expressed their happiness about working with our songs.
If you listen carefully to remakes albums and remixes that we have released in the last 17, 18 years, you can’t fail noticing a big variety of influences and music genres, that we are really happy to include in our vision.
For example, ther was a black metal remix, a folk remix, a heavy rock remix, and then electro, noise, ambient.
We totally welcome any music genres, and creators are free to do what they feel like. This is what a remix should be about.

SJ: You have performed more than 100 shows in 19 countries and shared the stage with bands such as Front 242, Suicide Commando, Clan of Xymox and many others.
Since I’m a big fan of Type O Negative, though, I was wondering if you had any interaction with the late Peter Steele when you shared the stage with his band, and what memories you have of him.

Siva Six: We shared the stage with Type O Negative 15 or 16 years ago. When we received the offer, there were no second thoughts about it, we immediately said: “Yes, we’ll do it!”
Actually, we never thought we would have the chance to share the stage with such a great and successful band.
All the band members were totally cool, easy going. We drank beer together, we chatted, and as we were sound checking, they were there, listening to our soundcheck.
They told us they really liked what we were doing and were really supportive, with an anti-rockstar attitude.
We saw a couple of them, I think it was the drummer and the keyboard player… while we were on stage, they were on one side of the stage just banging their heads and having fun with our music.
I had a small talk with Peter Steele. He had a very positive and calm aura, a very good vibe.
He’s a great singer, his voice is really unique, just like the songs of his band.

SJ: Which tools do you have with you on stage?

Siva Six: We try to be flexible and to carry as less gear as possible. It has also to do with the financial part of gigging around, since touring or having just a single live show make a difference.
So, on stage, we have a mini clavier, a 3 or 4 octaves synth for some special sounds the keyboard player uses, a laptop and a sound card.
For my voice, we mostly use reverb and delay. All the so called distortion is happening inside my throat. It’s a guttural thing.

SJ: Actually, I was about to ask if you use many effects to make your voice growl like that, or if the sound that comes out both in the studio recording and live is mostly natural…

Siva Six: It’s mostly natural. Of course our producer uses delay and reverb, a bit of this and a bit of that, but it’s mostly happening in my throat.
I don’t like an overdose of effects because it deforms too much the natural instrument, which is the voice.

SJ: I didn’t ask you yet which tools you use in your studio because I know that you are going to show us something right now.
Do you want to introduce the subject, before we dig into the details?

Siva Six: To be totally honest, I’m not a tech freak, I’m not a studio freak and I’m not a genius, when we talk about technology or any tech gear. I try to keep it minimal and use just what I need. For example, my main DAW is Cubase and I don’t use many plug ins, maybe five or six, no more.
I use a lot of Kontakt, Nexus, and a few more plug ins, like Serum. I just have a midi keyboard which has been with me half of my life, nothing special, a couple of near field monitors, and a compressor/limiter rack for my voice. The most important part of sitting in my home studio is not to admire the gear I have around, but to feel the vibe and stay focused. I don’t like talking or interacting with people before I sit on my studio chair. I want to be focused in the feeling that the track I’m working on is giving me.
I try to be a part of the world that the track is creating. I become one of the characters, or the main character of the song. It’s about feeling and experiencing the whole atmosphere, the lyrics, and the emotion of what is going on. For example, I could write a part and suddenly start to cry, because I’m there. It’s part of my life, because most of the stories I write are not some sci-fi things which come up in your mind, although I have done a lot of that in the past. It’s about being there, being tortured there, suffering there, or enjoying the part.

(Now I invite you to watch the following video, starting at 25:49, for a tour of Z’s home studio).

We say thanks to Z of Siva Six for sharing his musical world with an open heart.

Don’t forget to visit the band’s official website

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