Sixx:A.M.

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“Fans expect new material a lot sooner and we wanted to give it to them”, explained SIXX A.M vocalist James Michael ahead of the band’s upcoming release ‘Volume 2 Prayers For the Blessed’.

“We are in an age of instant gratification so we knew that we were gonna be under pressure to create a lot of new music and we welcome that challenge. We had a blast making these records – in fact, we’re already writing songs for another record we are going to do next year. I think it is very important for bands to keep new material coming.”

Following on hot on the heels of ‘Volume 1 Prayers for the Damned’, Michael says the band feels vindicated by its decision to record two albums simultaneously and release them half a year apart.

“We’re really excited about ‘Volume 2 Prayers For the Blessed,” he enthused. “It’s been a long journey for us. As you know we had ‘Volume 1 Prayers for the Damned’ that came out earlier this year and we’ve been eagerly anticipating releasing this one since then. It’s really been a master plan that we had to release two records this year and everything has been going great. We’re very, very excited about our new single  We Will Not Go Quietly, which we’ve been playing live for the last couple of weeks but overall everything that we set out to accomplish with both of these records has come to fruition. It’s very gratifying to us as a band and exciting to be at this stage of SIXX A.M’s life.”

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The plan to record two albums  worth of material with separate release dates may seem to be an unusual decision, but according to Michael, it was a tactical decision made for the right reasons.

“When we went into the studio last year to create both of these albums we knew at the time that we were going to write and record two separate records that were going to compliment each other,” he said. “Two records that were going to be musically and thematically connected but also that could stand alone so we could release them separately. We did 22 or 24 songs at one time and we broke them into the two records and the process of doing that was really an intentional one for us but then something interesting happened. Once we finished mixing ‘Volume 1 Prayers For the Damned’ we took a break from the touring and went out and did a month of festivals here in the U.S and we did a month over in Europe and what happened as a result of that is we went back into the studio, wrote a couple of new songs that weren’t even intended to be on ‘Volume 2’, and then added those and switched stuff up a little so although there are similarities, ‘Volume 2’ is like another transition of SIXX A.M. It was a couple of more months of hard touring and playing all around the world with a lot of great bands and we brought that back into the studio so I think the listeners will notice a difference in energy and progression and passion between the two.

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One of the possible drawbacks of releasing an album months after it was written is the risk that some of the material may become outdated given the ever-changing worldwide landscape, but Michael believes all of the content is still relevant and pertinent to the times.

“Both albums were created during an insane time of our lives. Globally there’s so much to deal with right now. There’s so much that we as a society are having to process and work through that there was no shortage of relevant and current issues to deal with. We have songs like Rise or our new single which clearly deal with larger, global society issues but then we have songs like Maybe it’s Time or even the cover song we did Without You which really brings those things down to an intimate and personal level and that’s something that SIXX A.M has always done through all of our records. We’ve found a way to take very dramatic and very heavy global issues and deal with them on a personal level and I believe that is why we are connected so much with our fans and why the fans keep coming back to the music for a sense of acknowledgement or a sense of salvation in a way.”

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As well as putting thought into the writing, recording and releasing process, there is also meaning in the title variation between the two albums: the first record titled ‘Prayers For the Damned’ and the second ‘Prayers For the Blessed’. While not indicating any dramatic shift in musical direction there is an important degree of differentiation

“That’s a good question,” Michael enthused when asked about the opposing nature of the titles, “and that’s really what excites us… that question that you just asked me is really a question that I think we’re asking through our music. We have a song like Barbarians which is also subtitled Prayers For the Blessed and that song is addressing the very concept of being blessed versus being damned or being cursed. It raises the question of what really defines a person as being blessed or being damned and it kind of flips in that we as a society have our own impression of what we think being a blessed person is. I think that what SIXX A.M has done is flip that perception and forced us all to ask that question. Who are the damned? And why is that? And a song like Barbarians is really flipping that belief and saying, you know what, all along we always felt like we are the damned but maybe we’re actually the blessed. Maybe the misfits are the ones who are the blessed and maybe those that are in a position of power and the elite; maybe they aren’t as lucky as we all think they are.”

Originally put together just to record the soundtrack for bassist Nikki Sixx’s book, The Heroin Diaries, SIXX A.M were never meant to be a touring, functioning

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band but managed to strike a connection through their music that resonated with fans and forced the members to reevaluate their position.

“The Heroin Diaries was really used as something to inspire us to write music. When we made that soundtrack we were just three friends getting together and making music. We literally didn’t even have a name! We had no intention of ever touring and we certainly didn’t expect to have a hit on the radio. It was absolutely a labour of love,: a labour of passion but now here we are nearly ten years later and we are out on tour and we have fans singing every word to every song… I gotta tell you it’s a dream come true but a dream none of us were prepared to have.”

While having someone as recognizable as Nikki Sixx in the band opens many doors initially, Michael agrees that it was important for SIXX A.M to establish their own identity and not be ‘Nikki Sixx’s other band’.

“I think it’s something… the music has always come first with us. There really aren’t any egos in this band. We’re grateful to have created something that people are interested in and people return to for more and we are aware how difficult it is to have any success in this industry so we are constantly reminding ourselves of how lucky we are to have a platform from which people can react and respond to. It is very important to honor that expectation that people have of us to create music that is of the highest quality and that connects with people on a personal level.”

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Finding a balance between attitude and music and then translating that component to your performance is critical in the modern music world, with even the smallest details of a band’s life and career under constant scrutiny. One seemingly compliments the other but are both equally as important to a band’s career.

“I think if you don’t have strong music that connects on a primal level with people then you don’t have any purpose to have good imaging or create good visuals,” Michael mused, “so it starts with the music first and foremost. But then along the way you have to be able to put on a show. You have to be able to entertain people and that’s something that I think we are really blessed to be able to have Nikki’s years of experience with Motley Crue. He has always been a master at figuring out how to connect with an audience in a sincere way and a dramatic way and SIXX A.M has benefitted from that experience and applied that to our shows as well, and I think that we are seeing that same level of passionate commitment from our fans and I think a lot of it is due to the whole thing. We’ve realized how important the songs are. We’ve realized how important it is to be honest with our message but we’ve also realized how important it is to dazzle people and put on a show and entertain because after all we are in the entertainment business”

Wirtten by Kris Peters

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Listen to Sixx:A.M.

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