Cruel Sister: “It’s a frank exploration of my own mental processes, and mental health”

by James Hendicott
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Cruel Sister, the stage name of Dubliner Nico Faith, named for a traditional murder ballad, is very much its own distinct thing.

Faith goes it alone, pointedly, producing much of her work in her own bedroom to growing acclaim, pouring her heart into a highly fraught, emotional sound. The latest example of her work is ‘Turgid’ an EP that screeches with emotion, both literally and metaphorically.

“It’s a lot darker than my previous EP, a frank exploration of my own mental processes and mental health, and how that changes how I interact with the world around me,” Faith explains. “It ponders my own insecurities in life, love, and just day to day stuff. I guess it’s pretty deep. I wrote the songs without really planning an EP, but they were written in the same kind of period of life, the last year and a bit, and I guess they kind of take on a kind of theme. The theme became apparent to me when I put them all together.”

“It’s quite cathartic to perform. This EP has a lot of very screamy vocals going on,” Faith says. “It takes a lot out of me to do, and it’s quite daunting putting something so raw out there. I’m not sure at each gig if the audience will be into this kind of music. But it’s what I’ve got to say, which is, basically, argh! Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t. But I love performing so much, it’s my favourite part.”

“When you put a song like ‘Turgid’ or ‘Lenny’ into the world, after trying so hard not to censor yourself, you hope people might connect to it. I know that when I see somebody doing something that looks quite authentic, I appreciate that in a world where we’re used to so much quite over-processed pop music. I have a lot of appreciation for authenticity, and I guess I hope when people see me live, they can see that and relate to it.”

“I produced this EP myself, which is a big part of why I started Cruel Sister”, she continues. “I’ve always wanted to do this kind of music, and I always thought it had to be in a band. I do play with a band, but I came to the realisation that I needed to write this alone. It’s about listening to the voice inside you that says that this is what you want to do.”

“For most of my life, I thought I was going to be a visual artist,” Faith continues. “At the age of about 19 I changed to wanting to be the person who made the music, the producer. So I did that in college, with the support of my dad, who’s a musician as well. I always played music, but I’m entirely self taught. I was very young when I started writing my own songs.”

“I put a lot of reverb on to start with as I hated the sound of my own voice. Now I feel much more confident as a singer, I’ve exercised the muscle.”

“I’m still thinking about what’s next. I feel like an album is a huge piece of work, an undertaking of such work and thought, that I’ve got to ask myself what’s next, what sound do I want to make. What I’m enjoying is changing constantly, so much that I’m almost already done with the sound of my new EP and ready to move on. I think I’ll know what comes next when I get to uncovering the new songs.”

Cruel Sister’s new EP ‘Turgid’ is out now. She plays the Ireland Music Week showcase this weekend.

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