#TBT Be Optimistic – An Interview with Steve Thill of Sinner Sinners

Sinner Sinners new record “Optimism Disorder” is exactly what the punk and metal world needs right now. Pure original punk brutality that’s bound to shake hardcore and metal fans alike to their very musical core with it’s deep, harsh-reality induced, lyrically ass kicking themes dealing with anxiety, culture-shock, and escaping from depression by staying focused on your bands future. Sinner Sinners is keeping punk rock alive and “Optimism Disorder” will be remembered as an album that saved the punk genre from damning itself.

By Chad Thomas Carsten 
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Sinner Sinners looks to have a lot of Punk Rock influence. Can you define punk rock in your own words?

Steve Thill: That’s a tough one! Mostly not going mainstream, I guess. Do something alternative. That’s what punk rock means, really. That’s a little cynic, I know. Which is why pop punk never really made sense to me because it was two opposites.

Are you able to get into more detail behind the background of your album title “Optimism Disorder”?

Steve Thill: It’s mostly weird talking about, but it was a bunch of friends growing up and we all just turned thirty. So that’s why in Europe growing up your always expecting more out of life. We kind of eddicated in a way that you think; like a lot of younger people I know still believe today that their going to be millionaires someday. They might but chances are your not. The thing is like it seems that a lot of people hit that age where you kind of supposed to be settled in, but fall into depression because even though their life is actually alright, but they go on the deep end because they were expecting more. It’s something that I think is around me so much. But you know it’s not that bad. You can always find something worse, I guess. I don’t really know how to say it in English, but you know like the grass is always greener on the other side. It is always wanting what other people have. Not realizing what you have. Its a generation problem. Get you that goal, but don’t let it ruin your life. That’s what I was trying to convey in our press release. That’s why we called it Optimism Disorder. That’s the short version of it.

Did you have any main set goals planned when first recording “Optimism Disorder”?

Steve Thill: It’s weird. This one really took awhile because usually for our older songs I’ll start writing stuff and demoing from home. So I’ll start with a bass line or a guitar line and write music like that and record it then keep coming back to it. I guess for some tracks on the record that I’ve already been f*cking around with it for over a year. Coming back to it thirty times or something to change stuff. We started recording in the spring of 2015, I think. We recorded most of the stuff in LA and then we got a tour offer with Eagles of Death Metal in the Summer. We were set to finish the record in the summer like after August, but the guy that was working with us at the time said, “I won’t be available any more” So we replied with, “Never mind we’ll finish it when we can” So we stopped.

Then we went on tour and then I guess like a month later that’s when Eagles of Death Metal were in Paris and that whole tragedy happened. Because we’re from there and because those guys are some of our closest friends and we have a lot of friends in Paris, it basically f*cked us up for about six months. We couldn’t do shit, really. Barely able to function and work. So the whole recording we didn’t really feel like playing music at all. It took us six months to get back into it. Everyone that’s close to the music world took a hit on this one. Then after that we had to find someone to finish it, so we talked with one of our friends Michael Patterson that’s a producer in Hollywood. He’s done a lot of work with Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G., he’s a pretty big name in LA. He told us that he was going to help us but he’s obviously way out of our price range. He hooked us up with Adam Greenspan, who produced Refused. So that was a perfect match cause some of the songs we were trying to add like a Refused light to it. Something a little bit more messy. We went back to Adam during the Summer of 2016 and went to Rancho De La Luna to finish recording some of the tracks with Joshua Tree. Then once we were done recording then Adam jumped in to finish the vocals and did some production work to really help us to where we should take the songs. Which was a pain in the ass because the way we do it all the time is we’ll record the music and then whenever we’re ready for vocals and we’ll do the vocals on top of the music. It’s not something we think before hand. The vocals was always kind of a problem for me to write vocals at the same time that I write the music. Because it was so long in-between a lot of the tracks, we already had the tracks for almost a year before we started recording the vocals on it. Then you get to that point where you want to start to tweak everything and you go through like three thousand different ideas in over a year and go “I’m going to do it like that” and then you change it. It was nice to have Adam to have try a bunch of stuff and pick the best one. It was a pretty hard record to make. We’ve never worked on a record so hard before.

If you had to choose one word to describe the difficulty of recording Optimism Disorder, what would it be and why?

Steve Thill: Life-Sucking. *Laughs* A lot of sleepless nights and anxiety.

Going from France to California must of been a pretty big culture shock. How does it relate to your track “California”?

Steve Thill: It’s about realizing more about LA. We call it California, but it’s really about Hollywood. Coming here the first few times over a year or two and you’re still completely stunned by Hollywood and how crazy and rad everything is. I had alot of my friends that were local telling me they never play LA and their reason is it “F*cking Sucks”. No it doesn’t, it’s awesome! But then you start realizing what they mean. We’ve been here for nearly seven years and it feels like the traffic has tripled!

How does your track “Last Drop” relate to your own personal life?

It’s really about where we’re from in France. It’s a really small town with very high unemployment. One of those small cities that’s kind of dying. There’s a lot of alcoholism related issues. It’s kinda like we knew if we didn’t get the f*ck out at some point that’s where we would have been if we had stayed. It’s more like an anxiety song. Fear of what could be. Our town was not much. We used to own a clothing store, so that was pretty brutal already. Having your business in a city with a bad enconomy is not really the best choice. But then when we started the band we stopped working. But pretty much everything is closed on Sunday and Monday and there’s not much to do.

So you have to rely on your imagination for entertainment where you used to live in France?

Steve Thill: There’s not much entertainment. That’s why a lot of people have bands in my home city because there is really nothing else to do. But that’s also how we discovered a lot of music and a lot of bands. We don’t get a lot of people stopping by there on tour. Pretty much every single show with an electric guitar we were there! We would go to every rock show that was stopping in town. That’s the main difference in LA. In LA it’s completely oversaturated with bands and that’s why it’s hard to exist here. Whenever your playing, nearby there are three to four other bands doing the same thing. When we moved here we played in Pomona and it was pretty cool. There’s a university there. It’s a little bit outside of LA. But we were playing their in a club and we learned that the same night that Lemmy Kilmister band Head Cat was the guest that night. They were doing a free show next door! So yea that was tough night! *Laughs*

Were there any certain life moments that inspired the writing process when you first wrote Optimism Disorder?

Steve Thill: It’s weird because I’ve never really thought about writing lyrics before and on the second record it was really more basic themes and just like regular, “Oh it’s a punk song let’s just do the punk thing” it wasn’t really personal I guess. But this one it was as I’ve said it was huge pain in the ass because I had never really done it properly before. I guess like the album before that I couldn’t really speak English that well. It was a little more complicated to start speaking more English and understanding what I’m talking about. When we did our first demo for our record in France nobody really understood the lyrics when saying them. Nobody really gave a f*ck about it. And even me. I was just writing stuff that wasn’t really grammatically correct and I didn’t have a problem with it. It just sounded English enough to be on the record. Once you start understanding what you say, like there’s a lot of those songs I won’t even play live anymore because it’s so bad. They don’t even make sense. This time I wanted to actually be able to say something. It’s weird. It took me forever! The producer was like, “Alright. Send some lyrics” “Okay I gotta get to it” and I told him we were to tour Europe last February and I’ll be in the band all day, so that’s what I’ll be doing is writing lyrics. Of course I didn’t do shit. I didn’t write a single song.

Then when we went to Rancho De La Luna where we recorded in the desert, it just clicked! I don’t know why. I was just by myself. They like a little house that was lost in the middle of the desert behind the studio and I just went there by myself and started writing one song. After that first one came, it just became like natural. I was good and I just became able to write the rest of the lyrics in a few weeks. But you see I had ideas already, like drafts and I went back to it re-invented the whole thing. Of course when we went into the studio with Adam he would proof check me or something and make sure it was English and actually meant something. There were also some stuff that I was trying to convey, like stuff in France that really don’t have a meaning here.So back to the “Last Drop” song, that’s what it is. The last drop that makes the vase over-flow is how we say the last draw that broke the camel’s back. That’s the same expression. I learned that later. “Last Drop” is a double sense in that situation.

What do you want to accomplish with Sinner Sinners in the next five years?

Steve Thill: I’m going to try to just look at this coming year and pull off as much as we can. That’s really where we’re having a blast. Our live shows is where it’s at! Come see us.

www.sinnersinners.com

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