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Interview with Shireen | Welcome to sound world of witchpop .



Shireen is a band that comes from Netherlands and has managed in a little while to form a completely personal sound which is constantly evolving.
By mixing folk and acoustic rock with ambient, pop and introducing the use of electronic samples and beats in their music they created their own genre they call Witchpop.


They debut in 2014 with EP Unmarked and in 2016 released the music video of the song Umai , in 2017 they released three Digital Singles proguns of their first full length album titled Matriarch, also released in 2017. The "acrobatics" between varius genres produces an excellent result that dresses the wonderful voice of Annicke, frontwoman and Shireen's lyricist.
Shireen are particularly active as a live act having played in major events such as Castlefest, Elfia, Wave-Gotik-Treffen and others they are experienced gigers. Their appearances have an atmosphere of great energy, lyricism and theatricality.

Without hesitation I can say that a band with so much talent and hard work as Shireen will do great things in the future.


Annicke Shireen - Vocals
Marijn Sies - Drums, Percussion
Hein Bles - Bass
Sophie Zaaijer - Cello, Violin
Guido Bergman - Drones, Beats, Noise
Berend De Vries - Electric Guitars


Annicke very kindly gave us an interview about the band's work and dreams.


What motivated Shireen to go on their own genre and what reactions do you get when you say “We play Witchpop”.

The genre we play (or actually, not conforming to a set genre at all) has never been a choice for us. We write whatever we like, and don’t try to “fit” it somewhere because that would only retain us from using the full scale of possibilities. So it happens naturally that our music usually floats in-between genres. We get our inspiration from a lot of different artist and music styles. We gave our style the name Witchpop to get rid of the “describe what you play” questions (wich actually didn’t work haha). But even if people don’t know the genre, they immediately have a general idea or a feeling about what kind of music we play.


When someone listens to your works for the first time might be surprised by the contradiction that comes of the atmosphere of your music and your lyrics, how do you manage to combine social and inner matters (like the human cruelty and endurance or femininity and modern religion) in a style of music that in its "traditional" form is more "out of this world" and how the audience responded to it?

I don’t feel there is a contradiction in the style of our music and my lyrics. I write the lyrics and sing vocals exactly how I feel them. The rest of the musicians in the band are really attuned to what I mean by it, and every single one of them has their own unique influence on the sound when writing songs. I strongly believe in using people’s strengths as good as possible. When we write a song for me it feels as if it grows like an organic thing. People who like our music sometimes tell me in person that they are very touched by the lyrics and their meanings, that is the most rewarding thing for me.


How do you evaluate Shireens musical evolution since 2014 and Unmarked, until today and what changes brought the new member addition to the Shireen sound?

We took it slow, deliberately. I’d rather do things good than rush it. I don’t want to make “fastfood music” anyway; bringing out singles for the sake of exposure, or fill an album with less good songs just to finish and be able to sell the album sooner. The whole modern world is already filled with stuff like that, and I feel, and hope that people also feel that there is no soul in it. We all deeply enjoy the positive reactions we get from people, and it motivates me to make new things. Every new bandmember has a big influence on our writing music. When Guido joined us with electronics he brought a complete new world of possibilities with him, and we started to (re)write songs to implement his amazing sounds. So does Berend our newest bandmember and guitar player bring in his style and we get inspired by the new possibilities of it.


Starting on the Umai video we can see a character like an alter ego (?) developing and we find her again on the covers of Shireens 3 digital single releases and of course on Matriarch album cover, is this character going to be Shireens optical signature?

I have always styled myself quite dramaticly for our live shows. It is like a ritual, I always do my own hair, makeup and design and make my own stageoutfits. I try to catch this feeling in a sort of character design that I then wear and become it. It’s not like becoming different person to me, it’s more like “wearing my extra special skin”. I just don’t like “normal”, So I would say yes, as long as I’m the frontwoman of Shireen it will probably always be a dramatic signature style.



Last month on the Middeleeuws Winschoten Festival Shireen played a new song and recorded a live single, what do you want to share on your new song/single?

We played it but didn’t record the live single yet, we plan to go to the studio to record it in the near future. But this single called Cloudweaver, although being a true Shireen song to the core, is also a new episode. It took us 4 years to make Matriarch and we are ready to develop into a new chapter of our sound, and write on a new album.


Before the last question, i want to thank you for your kindness and the time that you spend on this questions and wish you the best for the future and speaking of the future what dreams do Shireen have on their future ?

We would love to have more shows abroad, write more songs and hopefully make more video’s. Making music is our life’s joy, and hopefully we will allways be able to continue making it.

Interview Editor : Andreas Zeis, Chris Mouskos


Black Velvet Radio

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