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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Interview with The SixxiS


What started as a collaboration of different musicians on June 6th, 2006 became a powerhouse band consisting of world class musicians. The SixxiS, initially the brainchild of the lead singer, Vladdy Iskhakov, went through all the bumps and turbulence of an original band trying break out into the mainstream. 
After catching the attention of Grammy Award winning producer, Malcolm Springer , The SixxiS immediately hit the studio, and tracked a 5 song self-entitled EP that they released in 2013.
The SixxiS jumped back into the studio with multi Grammy Award Winning producer, David Bottrill (Tool, King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Silverchair, Stone Sour, etc) and tracked their first full length album entitled “Hollow Shrine”.
The SixxiS now consist of Vladdy Iskhakov (lead vocals, violin, piano, and rhythm guitar), Mark Golden (bass guitar, synth), and Josh “JBake” Baker (drums, percussion, pads, vocals). They have also recently added multi-instrumentalists Paul Sorah and Cameron Allen to their lineup.





1.Hello there, I read the band´s history goes all the way back to 2006. Why did it take so long to release your first EP in 2012?
Vladdy-Initially, the project was started when I was going to college. I was going to a music conservatory as a violin student, and a few friends of mine that also attended the school started this band. We went through the trials and tribulations that all bands go through, and there ended up being frequent member changes. At the time everything started, I don’t think anyone knew what we were getting into or thought that it would get too serious, but it did. There was not much stability until around 2011 when we solidified the core group consisting of Mark Golden on the bass, Josh Baker on the drums, and myself on the guitars and vocals. Once things were consistent with our sound and the overall structure of everything, we began investing money into having a proper EP, management, marketing and other things like that. It was definitely a long process, but I guess good things are worth waiting for. I think everything that happened definitely happened for a reason because we were able to go through the process of becoming what we are behind the scenes and not infront of everyone.


2.Your hometown Atlanta is widely known for it´s great music climate with artists like Sevendust, The Black Crowes, Collective Soul, Butch Walker, Mothers Finest etc.
Is it easy for a local band to find clubs to perform at?
Vladdy-The rock scene is not what it used to be by any means, but if a band has determination and a good work ethic they can always find gigs. With the growing trend of EDM and POP music, its more difficult for rock bands to get noticed, but again, it takes a lot of hard work and determination to make it happen.

3.You worked with producer Malcolm Springer on your first EP and then with David Bottrill (Muse, Tool, King Crimson) on your full length album "Hollow Shrine".
I think Bottrill did a tremendous job on the production on your debut album, what would you say is the biggest difference between Springer and Bottrill?
Vladdy-I think when we worked with Malcolm we were still a very young band and did not really know what to expect working with a producer. We always wrote our own songs, and did not rely on outside perspective. With David, we were a lot more mature going into the process and were a lot more prepared for the process. They do have completely different personalities. Malcolm has a very unique and fiery personality, and his approach was exactly that. He had an outward intensity about him and tried to fire us up all the time throughout the recoding process. David’s approach was completely different. He was a lot more laid back, and was very efficient, methodical and calculated with his approach. He had more of an internal intensity. We spent a lot more time together with David because we were tracking a full album as opposed to an EP.  


4.I think The SixxiS has found it´s home soundwise in the alternative hard rock genre with traces of prog, I hear both King´s X and Alex Lifeson´s solo album "Victor" in your new songs.
What are your main influences?
Vladdy-A lot of the influences came from bands such as Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, System of a Down, and Muse. 

5.My favorite songs are the awesome instrumental "Coke Can Steve" as well as "Forgotten son" and "Waste my time". Is there any particular song that is more fun to play live over the others?
Vladdy-Every song we play has something about it that really fun to do live. I would also say that Coke Can Steve is fun to play…I get to play the violin on that song.

6.Last year, your band went on tour with The Winery Dogs feat Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan and Richie Kotzen. Did you feel you had to focus harder to make a 100% performance live when you were on stage before such virtuosos?
Vladdy-I think we lucked out by playing together with several bands already that have amazing virtuoso players, and if there is one thing we learned, its that you have to bring 100% intensity of the performance every night, and it does not stop with just one good show. The important part was to perform on a high level consistently, and we definitely learned how to do that. Seeing guys like Mike, Billy and Richie doing their thing every night definitely raised the bar for us as far as performance level, and where we needed to be as a band every night.


7.Gene Simmons of Kiss recently said Rock is finally dead, he usually make some controversial quotes but in this case, I´ve seen other artists that agree. Gene is referring to the internet file sharing. What is your opinion, do you think there´s a future for rockmusic?
Vladdy-“Rock and Roll aint noise pollution, Rock and Roll aint gonna die.” Trends are going to rise and fall very frequently with social media. Its evident that it takes one thing to go viral for it to become relevant amongst millions of people. You can never say that something is dead with social media being active the way it is, because you never know what the next big thing will be. There are still Rock bands that are successful…they are not the same rock bands that share the sound of Gene Simmons era, but they are still very successful. It all comes down to the evolution of Rock. I think there is a future, but the sound that is “Rock” will continue to evolve and be re-defined for every generation.   

8.I just love the violinparts in your music, it´s not that common with violin in the hard rock genre. Some of the most famous bands with violinplayers are Kansas, U.K, E.L.O, Dixie Dregs and Mahavishnnu Orchestra. Is your setlist only made up of original songs or have you ever included any covers of so called "violinbands"?
Vladdy-We have never done any covers that are from the “violin bands”

9.Are there any plans on going over to Europe for some shows?
Vladdy-We are currently on tour with Spock’s Beard in Europe. After this tour we are definitely looking forward to coming back and touring Europe more. 

10.Can we look forward to a new studio album anytime next year?
Vladdy-I think it would be closer to 2016 before we release another album. It all depends on what our touring schedule will look like for the foreseeable future.


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