Syteria: The New Sonic Revolution from Jackie Chambers of Girlschool
Meet Syteria, the brand new sonic revolution from Jackie Chambers of the legendary Girlschool. Their debut manifesto Rant-O-Bot is packed to the brim with raging anthems of metallic punk rock rebelliousness that will make you want to take on the world at large! In addition to the searing lead guitar work of Ms. Chambers, Julia Calvo supplies the impassioned vocals with a stunning sense of urgency, sending the thought provoking lyrics into the stratosphere and beyond. And then there’s the dynamic rhythm section of bassist Keira Kenworthy and drummer Pablo Calvo – driving it all home with a fierce vengeance. We recently caught up with Jackie Chambers to find out more about the almighty Syteria as well as the her iconic work with the hard rocking Girlschool. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Syteria, and how did the project come about? Introduce the other members and how you met them as well.
I’m Jackie ‘Jax’ Chambers the lead guitarist in Syteria. Keira Kenworthy plays bass, Julia Calvo is the lead vocalist and Pablo Calvo is the drummer. I also play lead guitar in Girlschool, and whilst we do play a lot of gigs, I decided to put another band together for when Girlschool weren’t busy.
I live in Yorkshire, so I talked to people online about musicians here, met up with them for a drink and chat – then it all just fell nicely into place. We originally had a girl drummer but it didn’t work out, so we brought Pablo, Julia’s brother in to help out originally – but we loved his playing so much we asked him to join. We began playing and recording together with Pablo in January 2016 although we’d recorded an Xmas song to introduce ourselves to the world in October 2015.
How does the music of Syteria compare to Girlschool? And what do you find in Syteria that you do not find in Girlschool?
Well Malcolm Dome of Classic Rock magazine and Total Rock radio described us as early Girlschool which is interesting . I’m not trying to sound like Girlschool – but of course we are going to musically a little as I tend to write most of the music in Girlschool and do the same in Syteria. The way it is different is that each of Syteria bring their own influences and style to the music and we all do backing vocals, so there are a lot of harmonies in there which Girlschool don’t tend to do… live anyway… lol.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the title Rant-O-Bot?
Well most of the songs on the album I have tended to rant a lot about things that are goin’ on in the world – and let’s face it – there’s a lot going on right now to rant about. So live, I happened to say that the song New World Order was a song that I ranted about pretty much everything… I thought maybe we should call the album Random Rants and when I mentioned it to the band on our journey to a Scottish gig, we threw around ideas about it. I said “Rant a lot” and Julia misheard and said yes I like “rant o bot”… and it stuck.
What is the inspiration or story behind the I’m All Woman lyrics.
I wrote that about people who go out on the pull thinking they are God’s gift to men or women, pick people up and use them, hurt them and move on and just don’t care about the consequences or others feelings. Those who don’t believe in love, just lust.
Select any other song from the upcoming Rant-O-Bot album and what inspired the lyrics.
Revolution: I wrote whilst I was on a tour with Girlschool and Raven a few years back, everywhere I went in the world was starting to look the same, a McDonalds, a Starbucks, the usual corporations taking over from the smaller companies putting them out of business and it all being so…… clinical… they’re probably set up on the moon already and heading for Mars as I type this. So I particularly have a pop at the fast food chains as we have a serious health problem here in the UK, our kids are becoming obese and unhealthy and it seems to be getting worse. The companies don’t care as long as they are making money out of us all.
Then there’s all those people shaking tins in our faces everywhere for charities and goodness knows what else. We have no idea where the money goes to half the time or if they’re even genuine – some of them and most of us have a hard enough time putting food on the table for families as it is.
I get in a pop at all sorts of things I have a bug bear with, corporations, governments, traffic wardens, homophobes, bullies and the list goes on
Who did the fantastic album cover art for Rant-O-Bot and how much input did you have in it?
A friend of mine called Richard Stone, he’s also a musician and has done quite a few band album covers. I gave him a quick run down of what I could see in my head and he ran with it and came up with this picture. It actually wasn’t what I envisaged, but I loved it so we went with it. He also drew the cover for our live album, the caricature we have as our profile picture and t-shirt – fabulous artist!
What could one expect from a live Syteria show?
When we play we love every second of it and we hope that shows in our performance. We have a lot of energy and a lot of fun. We’re not one of those “stand still and look at the floor” type bands, we like to interact with the crowd too – so look out and join in everyone who comes along
Would Girlschool and Syteria ever want to do a show or tour together – or has that already happened?
Yes we have a show booked this year in Whitehaven a festival called Haveandhell so we’re all looking forward to that. There could be other ones too, we’ll see, watch this space
What was the highlight of the tour you did with Girlschool and Crucified Barbara in the States in 2015?
Oh, that was a fun tour! We all got along well as we traveled together the whole tour. Highlight was Portland again, I don’t know why, but every time we play there, the crowds are amazing and on it from note one. Love it there and of course Oregon seems to be the state where there are a lot of vegetarian and healthy eating places.
Will either Syteria or Girlschool be making their way to the States to do some shows anytime soon?
I really do hope so. I love playing there. We do plan to do shows there but it’s so expensive, before we even start
we have to get Visas etc but here’s hoping.
The Queen Of England invites Syteria to play one song for her at a Royal Command Performance! What song would you perform for Her Majesty and her guests and why?
Think I’d like to play God Save The Queen – the Sex Pistols version of course. Don’t have much time for the royals so I doubt I’d go anyway.
What was it like working with Lemmy of Motorhead in Girlschool?
I’ve really enjoyed all the tours we’ve done with Motorhead over the years and the festivals too. Lemmy had a great sense of humour – and on the very last tour he did, which Girlschool were on too, I was fortunate enough to get time with him during sound checks and he was making fun of my Yorkshire accent as usual (cheeky) and doing part of the 4 Yorkshire men sketch by Monty Python… lol
What’s up next for Syteria?
Our debut album comes out May 30th, we have a few festivals and gigs lined up to promote that this year. We’ll be doing a few videos too to introduce ourselves to the world
Any final words of wisdom?
Don’t eat yellow snow… oh you mean about the album? Keep going along to live shows everywhere, for all bands to keep music live and the venues open… Stay calm and listen to Syteria and buy the new album, keep us in beer money, we’re a thirsty lot Thank you!
(Interview by Ken Morton)