Monday, 10 October 2016


From left to right - Mike, Dan, Marco and Niall
SISTERAY are an indie-rock band made up of Niall Rowan (vocals), Dan Connelly (guitar) Mike Hanrahan (bass) and Marco Polo (drums).

This Camden based quartet share a love of The Smiths, Velvet Underground, The Clash and The Replacements and this is hown to us within their upbeat melodies but lyrical observations of the 21st century.
As well as this they also have high-octane live performances which make their shows ones which are unmissable.
I managed to catch the boys of Sisteray live for the first time at AMP Live Fest and it was amazing, I also got the chance to interview them which can be read below:

Live at AMP Live Fest
How was it that you all first met?
Dan: 'Good question. Basically I'd been playing guitar for a few years and dabbling in writing songs with my brother cos he played drum and we starting banding and we needed a singer then I met Niall at the Twelve Bar Club in Denmark Street, it's not there anymore. We were jamming to some death metal gig or something that isn't even our music. Three weeks before our first gig we didn't have a bass player and Mike had never played bass before but we asked if he fancied it, all he had was an old broken guitar which he used in rehearsals. The first time he ever played bas was at our first gig, my brother left and went to uni and then we got Marco the crazy muppet drummer guy.' 
When was it you all realised music was something you wanted to pursue? Was there something specific that triggered this?
Marco: 'Getting my first free beer.'
Niall: 'We are all in jobs we don't particularly enjoy, this seemed like the only valid option. We share a love of music and we are all into different stuff but there are a least a few bands that we all like.' 
Dan: 'For me I always wanted to be Mick Jagger but then I realised that I couldn't sing but I had to do something so I half learnt how to play guitar and now I can half play guitar. Marco has always been a star haven't you?'
Mike: 'Yeah, Marco he's the real star of the show.'
Where did the name 'Sisteray' come from?
Dan: 'It's a Velvet Underground song which is about 25 minutes long, cos I'm a massive Lou Reed fan and I've got Lou Reed lyrics on my arm though we have spelt it slightly differently so we can't get sued.

Do you have any pre-gig rituals? If so, what are they?

Dan: 'Michael has to give me a kiss on the neck.'
Mike: 'We don't really have any do we.'
Niall: 'No not really.'
Dan: 'I think its cos like today the car broke down and we only just got here in time, we often stumble on stage.
Mike: 'Marco might have his portion of chips before gigs.'
Dan: 'Yeah Marco has a portion of chips before every single gig, that's his ritual.'
Niall: 'That's the only ritual.'

Which song of yours get the best reception at your gigs?

Mike: 'Wise Man Said.'
Niall: 'Yeah that one everytime.'
 Megan (other blogger present at time of interview): 'That's the one I heard in Topshop.'
Dan: 'You heard it in Topshop?'
Mike: 'Really?'
Dan: 'Wow, oh shit. What's the guys name that owns Topshop?'
Mike: 'Ian?'
Niall: 'That one who just sold BHS, Peter?'
Dan: 'Yeah that's it, Peter Green. We'll send an email to Peter Green who owns Topshop cos he owned BHS as well to stop playing our songs. Definitely that one though, our club night that we run in London 'Welcome to the Monkey House'. Last time we played that we done an encore and we played 'Wise Man Said' for the second time that night and there was a stage invasion on which load to 300 pound worth of damaged equipment so yeah that probably gets the best reaction.'

How did you just find playing AMP Live Fest?

Niall: 'It was good, it was very good.'
Mick: 'We were surprised because obviously we had quite an early slot obviously its the first day of the festival and we had the earliest possible slot and when got in there and there were actually peple in there we were quite surprised to be honest. We come North quite a lot an usually its quite good but with it being this early we thought it would be a bit hit and miss but obviously it wasn't and that shows people care and that's quite nice.

Do you get surprised like that often?

Dan: 'We've been pleasantly surprised a few times because we played Southampton on Wednesday and ten minutes before we went on stage it was dead and I thought 'this is a long way to travel for a rehearsal but then the doors opened and everyone just piled in. It's weird cos when you are playing your hometown like when we're doing a gig in London we know it's going to be busy and we know the kind of reception we're gonna get but like when travel up North, everyone is so lovely up here, so lovely and welcoming and friendly. This is what, our sixth Yorkshire gig this year.'
Mike: 'It feels good to have finally played Sheffield because we've gone past so many times but not actually played here ever.'
Dan: 'On the way to Leeds.'

Do you have any fond memories of Sheffield? If so, what are they?

Dan: 'This is my first time in Sheffield so my fondest moment is about 20 minutes ago.'
Niall: 'I've bee here once but that as because my cousin was at uni here, we went to that club that everyone goes to. The one in the Arctic Monkeys song.'
Dan: 'It's great to finally play the new American Alex Turner's hometown.'

For those who haven't heard of many or any of the bands from the AMP Live Fest line-up, who would you recommend that they listen to?

Mike: 'We're big fans of Paves who are playing later on today, in a few hours. They're obviously London boys.'
Dan: 'We've also heard good things of No Hot Ashes.'
Mike: 'The Blinders, we've heard a lot about.'
Sophie (myself - the interviewer): 'Ah, they're from where we're from.'
Dan: 'Where are you from?'
Sophie (myself - the interviewer): 'Doncaster.'
Dan: 'That's where Bang Bang Romeo are from.'
Mick: 'JUDAS we're good friends with, we're playing with them in a few weeks.'

What is the best advice Sisteray can offer to bands / artists who are just starting out in music?

Dan: 'For me you've just got to have an unrelenting will to never ever ever ever ever give up and never look down on yourself, kinda never have down days because its so easy to get like that cos there isn't a lot of money in anything these days. I feel like music is similar to other industries due to the wages ain't high enough and with new bands coming through, venues are closing down all the time and there's less opportunities but they should still never give up, it is so easy to do. Like we work full time jobs. Marco drives ambulances and will be again at 5am tomorrow morning through London and it was the same when we were in Southampton on Wednesday and we are like travelling around the country and still working so I'd say never ever lose that kind of idea of why you're in a band. Have a collective reason why you're in a band and do not stray away from that and you'll always keep on point.'
Mick: 'You will play shitty gigs, you should play every gig like its you're last gig and make sure they're all to your full potential and it'll be worth it.'
Dan: 'Cos it is worth in the end, hundred gigs and I'll you'll hear is the barmaid squeaking glasses and you'll do that one gig and it'll sell out and people will go mental to songs you've written in your bedroom and that's when it feels it has all played off. It sounds cliché but its true. Particularly with us and other bands from London and other cities but mainly London cos it costs so much to get from one part of London to another and that's why you can't think of the short term cos like you'll go to gigs and they'll be hardly anyone there, you won't get paid by the promoter and you will think like 'oh fuck this, why am I doing this' you gotta think long term and like I said think why you're in a band and why you started a band rather than just we're doing this for the gig, getting paid a few girls might fancy us afterwards.'

What else can we expect from Sisteray throughout the rest of 2016 and the beginning of 2017?'

Dan: 'An awful lot. We're playing the Music Venue Trust's fightback gig in just over a week, at the big Roundhouse in Camden which is about 1,500 capacity, that should be pretty amazing (you can buy tickets here). We just put our demo for 'Gentrification' out and it's getting played all over Radio X and they are using it as the theme song for the fightback gig. We are tryna do anything we can to help small venues and fight the tory mess that's going on by trying to gentrify in London so expect a fightback from us and us kinda sticking up two fingers to the establishment and us kinda getting our message out there.'
Mike: 'Doing more things for our club-night. We try to find bands we actually like, like if someone sends us a track and it's a good track then we'll put them on no problem so we'll always have them on. We sometimes play the night to and we DJ there. We like to play all bands but we definitely like finding and playing newer bands.'
 You can listen to the bands demo for their song Gentrification here:

Written by Sophie.

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