Step Sisters
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Step Sisters

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Psychedelic




"Week in Pop: Step Sisters"

Nashville quartet Step Sisters are readying the release of their Thick EP for February 26 and present us with the world premiere of their lyric video for “Dumb Love” that is the perfect addition for your next thrash-rock karaoke party. A jam brought into being in a warehouse-like setting of a brewery in the middle of the night, vocalist/bassist Matt Johanson, percussionist Nate Smith, along with guitarists & vocalists Adam Swafford & Clint Wilson bring about a sibling-esque bond codified by brash, crunchy chords and Southern steeped rhythm. Step Sisters’ passion for blazing chords and heavy as lead sound is a prime example of what keeps the entire world fascinated by the proliferation of Music City’s citizens that are committed to a craft of eternally intriguing electric visceral fury.

Step Sisters bring the big thunderous dumbed-up sound of “Dumb Love” full of earth smashing, teeth shattering smart licks and the biggest power chords the Nashville-four can muster. A song of pulling away from the paved texture paths of feigned hearts of emptiness commences with one of the biggest opening shred-fests that you probably haven’t heard since 1996 where a minute and 10 seconds pass before the lyrics spill forth. Amorous meetings in the obfuscation of darkness finds a pair of clueless lovers engaging in the feigned acts and arts of attraction spelled out in the loud chorus burst of, “I break, my head, so I seemed confused, I rake, my heart, so it feels used, dumb love, dumb love, this is me and you….” The ignorant mutually asserted displays of affection continue through the fake smiles and gestures that plays out through the motions that the disenchanted associate with the futility of relationships, the pains and pressures of compromises, and all the needless complications that naturally go hand-in-hand/heart-in-heart whenever two sentimental and emotional begins are involved together in a bond (no matter how dubious the connection may be or seem). After the following lyrical video debut for “Dumb Love”, read our interview with Step Sisters featured below.

Describe the sibling like connection that brought Step Sisters together as a group.

We were pretty good friends before we became sisters, and, as several other musical projects were coming to a close, we started hanging out more and playing music. We would get loud a couple times a week and have tacos and margaritas afterwards until we were having too much fun to stop. Then we became Step Sisters.

Tell us about what it was like recording your debut EP Thick; any favorite moments, and anecdotes that you all care to share?

Recording Thick was a lot of boozy fun. “Vox Pop”, “Witness”, and “Dumb Love” were recorded in a local brewery in the middle of the night, guerrilla style. The place was like a warehouse so it helped capture a heavy, roomy sound. “Nerve War” and “Your Picture” were recorded in a theater which helped to mirror the tonal vibe we had from the first session. The theater recordings were concluded with a game of tequila soccer. You can figure that one out on your own. Needless to say, we’re really good at having fun and getting loud.

Generally speaking, there are two ways we approach our writing. A lot of the time we’ll just play for awhile, and, if something sounds rad, we end up messing with it until the skeleton begins to take shape. The meat of dynamics, melody, and lyrics come later and from all different sources within the band. The other main way we write stems from an individual’s idea conceived out of the practice space and brought in for the others to explore. Either way, we write almost totally as a group with the exception of lyrics because no one should be subjected to hearing someone trying to come up with words to a song.

Interested in hearing how you all approach song writing and recording.

As far as recording is concerned, we try and do our songs the greatest justice. We try for a really honest approach to recording so that Step Sisters sounds like a band that is tight as fuck and that’s why we do all of our basic tracking live. It’s important for us to find a good room to record in so that we have honest sounds to mix with. That’s why we called this EP Thick: these are truly heavy sounds from the source.

What is good these days in Nashville, you all always have something awesome happening out there it seems!

There’s been a pretty big influx of venues in town, a lot of which foster the DIY mentality and allow a vast array of artists to perform. There’s always something going on, it’s just a matter of keeping your ear to the ground. We’re also really good at sniffing out stale, musty beer bars.

2016 plans and goals?

We’re hoping to record again this Spring and hit some summer tour dates pretty hard. Playing some festivals would we pretty dope, too. We’re usually just driving to get loud and have fun, and if we’re doing that, we’re doing it right. Other than all that, it’d be rad to get a Yuengling sponsorship and be guests of Ellen DeGeneres, either on her show or at her home. Oh, and we will be releasing our as-yet-untitled coffee table book in time for the 2016 holiday season.

Step Sisters’ forthcoming Thick EP will be available February 26.

Catch Step Sisters playing the following shows:

10 Foobar Too – Nashville, TN with Uzi, BUHU
26 The Basment – Nashville, TN (“THICK” Release Party) with Reality Something, Heinous Orca
27 Preservation Pub – Knoxville, TN with Chew - Impose Magazine

"Exclusive: Nashville’s Step Sisters Premiere the Starkly Unromantic Video for ‘Dumb Love"

If it’s a healthy dose of cynicism you’re looking for this Valentine’s Day, Nashville garage-rockers Step Sisters have just the thing.

The quartet comprised of singer-guitarists Clint Wilson and Adam Swafford, bassist Matt Johanson and drummer Nate Smith (who are bonded by neither blood nor marital ties) are prepping their debut Thick EP, and ahead of its arrival later this month, Diffuser is excited to premiere the video for closing track “Dumb Love.” Check it out below.

Step Sisters serve as the narrators in the video for their latest single, playing a bleary house party doused in red light and littered with crushed beer cans. The clip opens with its end, then jumping back in time to uncover the protagonist’s discovery that the guy she came with ditched her for another girl. As it unfolds, interspersed with trippy run-ins with costumed partygoers, the Nashville four-piece’s howls and titanic, fuzzed-out guitar rock perfectly capture the angst of it all.
“’Dumb Love’” sketches the lengths people go to in order to combat loneliness, even if it compromises the reality that two people share,” guitarist-vocalist Adam Stafford told us. “The video depicts this in a more literal and illicit way than the lyrics do while maintaining the general feeling of isolation.” - Diffuser

"Get "Thick" with Step Sisters"

Thick. There it is, right on the front of the album. Thick. Before you even hear a sound, you know what you’re about to get. Thick. Then the music starts and you get a taste of those riffs. What about those riffs? Thick. They’re thick.

Every part of "Vox Pop," the lead single off the upcoming EP from local four-piece Step Sisters, suggests a nice pop tune that was left out in the sun a little too long. From the fuzzed-out bass to the dripping, decaying vocal effects, what you get is a soupy mixture that remains undeniably irresistible.

Stream "Vox Pop" below and catch Step Sisters live at Foobar Too next Tuesday, 01.19. -Austin Phy - The Deli Magazine (Nashville)

"Step Sisters Bring The Heavy"

With the garage rock resurgence in full swing, rock 'n' roll is returning to the days of packed, sweaty house shows, DIY releases and handmade band merch. And I couldn't be happier.

Nashville, particularly the east side, is a hot bed for lo-fi gold, and local psych punk 4-piece Step Sisters are my latest find.

Catchy enough to get stuck in your head and heavy enough to let you know they mean business, Step Sisters are doing grunge right. And their 4-song release, dropped earlier this year, is like smashing a lava lamp and pouring the contents directly into your brain. See for yourself and grab the EP here. -Caroline Bowman - The Deli Magazine (Nashville)

"Exclusive /// Step Sisters Premiere “Nerve War”"

I’ve been hibernating and buried in layers of clothes and bedding, seeking a certain remedy to wake me from this seasonal slump, and I’ve found it in Thick, the upcoming EP from Step Sisters. It’s like the Southern resurrection of the Seattle scene, based in “Lithium” and recorded to tape to bring you into a fuzzed-out, punk-stained world that’s infinitely more gritty and alive than whatever the Nashville vibe has been these cold and dreary days. The local four-piece makes a total and lyrical ruckus on the soon-to-be-released EP, with tracks like “Dumb Love” living in the low end and “Vox Pop” making you recklessly move. And then you hear “Nerve War,” and you feel the embodiment of the EP title. “Lyrically, Clint and I tried to describe what the first minutes of a panic attack feel like. It switches from an internal monologue to third-person, which allows the listener to sort of embody the split experience of your external and internal presence during a panic attack,” says Adam Swafford, guitarist and vocalist. Combine the heavy lyrics with the utter chaos of open chords and manic vocals, and you have a track that is undeniably thick and consuming.

Take a listen to this exclusive premiere of “Nerve War” from Step Sisters before the EP comes out tomorrow, and get to The Basement tomorrow night at 9pm for their release show with Reality Something and Heinous Orca.

-Katie - Lockeland Springsteen

"We Banged Our Heads With The Step Sisters Until Midnight"

Little did I know powerhouse band Step Sisters from Nashville, Tennessee was up next. Loud, in your face, and full of passion, Step Sisters turned the dial to 11. Punk, garage, psychedelic rock and roll with a tinge of country badass is the best way I can describe this band. With the last of our energy we banged our heads with the Step Sisters until the show came to a close at midnight. - Play Too Much

"Step Sisters EP Release feat. Heinous Orca & Reality Something"

On the new EP Thick, which is being officially released and celebrated tonight, Nashville’s own Step Sisters recall the days when fuzzy, guitar-driven power pop ruled, but bands still made room for weirdo psych freakouts in an effort to keep things from getting too saccharine. On the song “Vox Pop,” the melodies are catchy and the riffs and vocals combine to present just enough swagger to stay on the right side of cocky, and on the song “Dumb Love” there’s an undeniable Pacific Northwest-circa-1996 vibe (though it is more polished than anything that would’ve appeared on Sub Pop around that time). But even if they’re recalling the sounds of yesterday, Step Sisters aren’t just regurgitating what we’ve heard before — they manage to deliver their jams with a modern rock flair that keeps them from being the sonic equivalent of an ironic Nirvana T-shirt hanging on the rack of Forever 21. MEGAN SELING - Nashville Scene

"[NO COUNTRY PREMIERE] Hear Step Sisters’ “Vox Pop” Ahead of New EP | Catch Them TONIGHT at fooBAR!"

Local rockers Step Sisters quickly caught our eye, after coming together in 2014 and releasing a self-titled EP early last year. We’ve told you about the group a number of times, notably as part of some great local shows, and the relative newcomers are quickly becoming a “need to know” band on the rise.

Step Sisters are prepping to release a new EP called THICK on Feb. 26, and we’re very excited to premiere lead single “Vox Pop” for you today! With poppy, punk-tinged hooks fused with fuzzy, garage rock riffs, the hypnotic track has us already penciling in a spot on our Best of 2016 list in anticipation of the album. Despite its accessible sound, don’t think the song lacks substance. The band tell us that “‘Vox Pop’ showcases the short sightedness of the push and pull between an American society that is dictated by, and thrives off of media-driven fear.”

You can listen to the new track below, pre-order THICK right here, and catch Step Sisters live tonight at fooBAR, as part of a stacked Palaver Records anniversary blast, as well as Jan. 19 and Feb. 10 at fooBAR, and Feb. 26 at The Basement for a record release show! - No Country for New Nashville

"Step Sisters Stepping It Up with a Debut EP"

Behold, a family like bond that echoes in their musical chemistry, Step Sisters is a grunge pop progressive band from Nashville with an eclectic sound reflective of their four diverse members. Although their mainstay influences include Zeppelin, ELO, Nirvana, Sabbath, and the Beatles, they are able to transcend a traditional rock genre because of their prevailing motto. “Okay, how can we fuck [this basic song] up in a great way that no one expects,” states guitarist/vocalist Adam Swafford. With that, it is inevitable that the band will stir up the music scene with their memorable hooks and hypnotic melodies.

Although the band was established in 2014, it is only now on February 26th, 2016 that they will release their debut EP, Thick. When asked why, they admitted they already had four songs recorded by the end of 2014 and then continued to record five more songs in 2015. With a total of nine songs recorded, through meticulous honing and tweaking, they were able to put forth their best five songs. Over this long process, their songwriting has become more intense. Their live stage experience has helped to contribute to the process and onstage improvisation has helped to direct their creativity in the recording process. Furthermore, the competitive nature of the Nashville music scene has inspired them to constantly improve themselves.

Interestingly enough, every single band member contributes to the musical content. “Sometimes one person will come in with part of a song or an almost completed song and we all put something into it to make it a ‘Sisters’ tune…[other times a cool beat or riff is expanded upon],” comments Swafford.

However, generally speaking, Clint Wilson sings and writes lyrics the most in addition to playing the guitar. Adam Swafford plays most of lead guitar, sings, and also contributes to the lyrics. Matt Johanson plays bass and Nate Smith rounds out the rest of the band with his drum act. Together, they have faced some minor challenges, one being recording through a mobile setup. The posed problem is finding space thus forcing them to find interesting sounding places such as warehouses and theaters. Another problem is lack of funding, leading them to renting microphones and preamps, which stretches their budget a little bit in an effort to expand their “sonic horizons.”

When asked about the strengths and weaknesses of this debut album, the band refused to divulge or admit to any and leave the critiquing to their audiences. Surely, each person will have a different perspective on the EP. However, “Whatever that recording is, is a statement of where we were for that time. And we think this EP gives a pretty distinct statement.”

The objective of this EP was to provide the audience with a classic quartet lineup and a full, rich musical experience. Some of the songs written by Swafford address personal experiences or current events. For example, the song “Witness” is a response to the Ferguson trial and controversy. Moreover, this is a testament to the societal oversaturation of media and the constant influx of negative events thrown at society. Not all songs on this EP are as tumultuous and thought provoking. “Your Picture” is a purely fun song. On the contrary, the song that best captures their sound and the song perceived to be the best per Swafford would be “Dumb Love”. The entire project was produced by the band itself, completely their own hard work with the contribution of Ben Weber who aided in basic tracking. “We all have such love and admiration for classic recordings so we like to get interesting but keep the analog style in mind.”

The band hopes that the audience will soak in this EP and are excited to share what they do with everyone. To learn more about Step Sisters, check out their Facebook page. - That Music Magazine

"Nashville's Step Sisters Releasing "Thick" EP on Feb. 26th"

Nashville, TN garage rock 4-piece Step Sisters will self-release their debut EP, ‘Thick’ on February 26.

The EP is available for pre-order here.

A track titled “Vox Pop” is premiering today on No Country For New Nashville (“With poppy, punk-tinged hooks fused with fuzzy, garage rock riffs, the hypnotic track has us already penciling in a spot on our Best of 2016 list in anticipation of the album.”)

Step Sisters was born in a basement and baptized in a neon cathedral where the holy water is poured by the pint. As their name implies, this Nashville-based quartet shares no blood, yet their cohesion suggests a placental sharing in the womb of rock and roll.

As the summer of 2014 blazed, Step Sisters cut the umbilical cord and began fashioning their version of raw & heavy, where cyclonic rhythms driven by maniacal drums and face-melting fuzz bass tumble amongst caustic guitars and ominous voices. An impressive growth spurt landed the Sisters in an undisclosed warehouse locale, to record their debut EP, ‘Thick.’ An EP that demonstrates a sonic scope and ingenuity that may come to define the group. In the wake of this early 2016 release, Step Sisters will be found in and out of Nashville, wrecking necks and ear drums alike. Behold, the birth of Step Sisters! - The Hype Magazine

"PREMIERE: Stream Step Sisters' Raw 'Thick' EP"

Formed in 2014, Nashville's Step Sisters are anything but what their implies. Smattering guitars, heavy riffs, fuzzy bass whiskey-drenched, unapologetic vocals neatly tie up the band's anything but neat sound. Their raw sound was fostered in their basement beginnings and have earned them fans inside Music City. Now, the band is ready to unleash their Thick EP to the world, which you can check out a day before its release above. As can be heard, the group's sound adheres to their garage rock ethos and their unapologetic sound is a strong sign of things to come.

Step Sisters' Thick EP is out tomorrow - Pure Volume

"What's Progressive Pop? Listen Up."

New EP from new project Step Sisters worth waiting for and coming soon

Remember Adam Swafford? He’s the bass play-er for Shark Week who was quoted 11 months ago as saying, “No one ever remembers the bass player…” Well, I remember Adam and what I didn’t know at the time was that he and drummer Nate Smith were working on a side project called The Volts.

A musician’s life is an odd thing, though. Often you don’t wind up where you were meaning to go, but frequently you wind up where you needed to be (thank you, Douglas Adams, I miss you). The point is that whatever The Volts started to be, somewhere along the way they morphed into Step Sisters, a band whose debut EP will be ready for release any day now and, in the words of the legendary Maya Angelou, “it totally kicks ass.” (Citation needed.)

Smith and Swafford (who is playing guitar for this project) are joined by Matt Johansen on bass and Clint Wilson on guitar. The three non-drumming members share vocal duties. You know the players; you know the instruments; now the $3.50 question is: What do they do? That’s the tricky part.

Some bands I can pin down less than a minute into their first song. Other bands require a great deal more thought and Step Sisters is definitely the latter. I’m going to tell you what I call them, then I’m going to spend too much time explaining why I call them that.

“Progressive pop.”

Those two words don’t even look right next to each other, but that’s how I’m calling it. There is a definite prog-rock feel to what they’re doing, but they aren’t quite “out there” enough to be prog-rock. Certainly they are more accessible than much of that genre tends to be for the uninitiated.

On the other hand, the tunes I’ve heard are, well, catchy, with nice hooks. Simply put, there is a lovely balance between technicality and “listenability” that ought to allow them broad audience appeal while simultaneously earning the respect of their peers.

Having listened to the EP several times and given a good deal of thought to it, three influences come to mind, in this order: Weezer in the early ’90s, The Police and Robyn Hitchcock. Weezer makes sense, given that the fellas are all essentially ’90s kids and, say what you will, Weezer’s first two albums (although the second was a commercial failure at the time) are now commonly regarded as two of the best albums of the ’90s.

I reference The Police specifically for trying to capture the “prog” feel of a band that isn’t actually prog. Step Sisters doesn’t (yet) feature a bunch of odd time signatures and weird key changes, but the chord progressions are sometimes surprising and the melodies frequently venture (to great effect) into unexpected territory.

Robyn Hitchcock is a very specific reference to some of the guitar work. If the guitarists aren’t Robyn fans, they ought to be.

As usual, there’s no space left to talk about the songs on the EP. Fear not, I intend to take a close look at the EP itself in next week’s sidebar. It absolutely merits the extra attention.

In the meantime, satisfy yourselves with Step Sisters’ Facebook musings, upcoming schedule and info on when said EP will be available. - Chattanooga Pulse


THICK EP (2016)



In February of 2017 Step Sisters entered the studio with Jeremy Fergeson of Battle Tapes in Nashville to record their first full length record. With the freedom that Jeremy provided as a knowledgeable engineer and co-poducer, Step Sisters recorded the majority of the 12 song album “Berseker” in just 4 days. The recording exemplifies the album’s title bringing unarmored, unhinged emotion and music that attacks with reckless abandon.“Caterpillar” and “Waste My Head” are crushingly heavy and laden with thick guitars and fast pulsing bass, while “Be Strange” and “Whistler” show a focused intensity that shows their range in songwriting ability. Mixed and mastered by Fergeson, “Berserker” will be released on December 7th, 2017.

Step Sisters formed in the summer of 2014 after longtime friends Nate Smith (Drums) and Adam Swafford (Guitar, Vocals) went looking for additional members for their new project, The Volts. Matt Johanson (bass) and Clint Wilson (Vocals / Guitar), were asked to rehearse a Volt’s set. The foursome’s musical connection was immediate with this lineup and within three months the newly formed Volts were performing around Nashville. When the musical fingerprint of the band started to emerge they group toured under The Polish Falcons before finally becoming Step Sisters.

With a handful original material now written, Step Sisters employed the help of friend and collaborator Ben Weber to record their first EP. In true DIY form, Adam and Ben combined microphones, cables, computers, and tape machines to set up a studio in a still-under-construction brewery to capture what would be the basic tracks for the majority of Step Sisters’ debut EP, “THICK”. Shortly after “the warehouse sessions” Step Sisters reassembled at an unnamed theater to record “Your Picture”, “Nerve War”, and 3 more songs that would make it onto later releases.

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