Who the hell is Siiickbrain?

Say hello to Siiickbrain: the screamo-electro artist putting self-expression and authenticity first…

Who the hell is Siiickbrain?
Zoya Raza-Sheikh

“Why would I want to look like everyone else?” Siiickbrain questions with a grin. A new wave pillar of the alt. scene, the genre-defying artist's big break almost didn’t happen. Hailing from North Carolina, Siiickbrain – aka Caroline Miner – longed for something different, however the singer’s paralysing anxiety stopped her dead in her tracks. From a young age, the breakout star has suffered from severe agoraphobia (a fear of crowded spaces and leaving home), which hampered her aspirations. Growing up in a conservative home town, Siiickbrain found herself conforming to what was around her: long highlighted hair, playing golf, and riding horses. It wasn’t until a close friend tragically passed away that she found herself reassessing who she really was. It was that “moment of shock” that pushed her to challenge her fears and pursue the creative career she believed in.

With her new single Jealousy out now, Siiickbrain is here to prove she’s more than an online phenomenon. Garnering the approval of Skrillex, Machine Gun Kelly and WILLOW, she is undoubtedly one to watch. In the first instalment of our new Who The Hell? series, we caught up with Siiickbrain to hear more about her crash course journey into the industry.

Siiickbrain is a pretty distinctive name. How did you come up with it?
“Siiickbrain started as my Instagram handle. I didn't think of it as an artist name at the time. I have been diagnosed with mental [health] problems. I'm wired a little bit differently. I wanted to embrace that. Being unique is cool and has the double meaning of sick. It's cool and being a little bit unwell is okay – that's where Siiickbrain came from.”

You’ve been releasing music since 2020. What kickstarted that passion?
“I got into music because I've always wanted to. My family didn't pursue music as a career, but everyone has some sort of musical talent. I've always been super inspired and I've grown up listening to so many different types of music. Growing up, I had a lot of anxiety and I wanted to be under the radar because of that and my agoraphobia and mental health. I wanted to do music, but I was really afraid. Fast-forward to 2020, my best friend passed away and I realised that life is really fragile. It was a moment where I was like, ‘Okay, this is what I'm gonna do.’”

You’ve written extensively about your struggles with mental health. Does music help you tap into that self-expression?
“It definitely made me want to speak on it within my music, and it kind of gave me a foundation for what I'm doing. I write all my own music [and] lyrics. It's very personal to me. It gave me a purpose to write about certain things and bring awareness to how common these feelings are. If I can write a song that one person can relate to, then that makes me feel like my purpose is bigger than just making music. I don't want people to feel alone because I felt that for so long.”

You’ve mentioned you came from a conservative background. How did that shape you as an artist?
“A lot of people in my hometown listened to country music or whatever was on the radio. I definitely resonate with [alternative music]. I personally enjoy it a lot but I don't limit myself in terms of genre. I have a lot of music that I've been working on and it's just very different. I have some songs that are fully acoustic and raw, then I have really weird emo-screamo with Radiohead-esque sounds in it. I don't want to limit myself and do anything that anyone else is doing. I want to do what feels right to me and experiment.”

Your image has become a big part of what makes Siiickbrain. Do you feel your music and art manage to capture who you are?
“Yes, but I didn't plan to look like this. It just happened over time. Growing up in a conservative environment, I didn't fit in and on my 18th birthday I got my first tattoo. I didn't limit myself and then, aesthetically, it fell together. It's the same with my head being shaved. My hair was honestly really damaged and I was over it. One night, I was like, ‘Fuck it, let me just shave my head’ and I like it this way. I never grew it out since then. I don't really care if I look different – I think this looks cool and fun.”

You’ve blown up on TikTok and across social media. Do you see yourself as an online artist?
“I definitely am an online artist and, because of the pandemic, it had to be that way. I want to be an artist who people are excited to go see live. I love being creative [and] I definitely want to leak out of the online space. I have this fear that I'm gonna be looked at as an extension of someone else because I am a different type of artist. I'm very lucky to be recognised by iconic artists like Skrillex and WILLOW. It's my fear that I will be looked at as an extension of anyone, even if it's just my friends like Maggie [Lindemann]. I definitely want to continue to push myself in being a unique artist and pull myself in a direction where people don't look at me as that.”

You recently teamed up with Maggie Lindemann for the release of break me!. How did both of you end up in the same circles?
“She's my best friend so it wasn't a work thing, and that's the same with all of my collaborations. All of the collaborations that I have including Skrillex and WILLOW, they hit me up to do these things, which I was really taken aback by. I thought it was a joke. It was a very organic thing. She's always been so supportive of me. We started with GASLIGHT and made Dopamine the next day. It's been great working with her.”

Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
“The first song that I wrote was Cigarettes And Cartier, I wrote it in February of 2020. It was close to my friend passing away and it's about him. Life is so much bigger than judgement. I'm only human and I definitely get a little nervous, but if I like it I don't really give a fuck.”

You mention your friend a lot. Does releasing music in his honour help you sustain that bond between you both?
“Oh, absolutely. He comes through the music in ways that I can’t explain. I want to live my life to the fullest because I know that he couldn't do it. He couldn't finish what he should have been able to finish. I definitely want to honour him by giving my all into everything that I do. Whether it's my career or life in general, I want to be the best I can be.”

You’ve just released Jealousy, which feels uncompromisingly Siiickbrain…
“Yeah, definitely! My manager is trying to get me to save all the really good shit because I have songs that I've wanted out for so long. But I wanted to put Jealousy out and I made that a couple of months ago. I have songs that I made in 2020 or 2021 that, in my opinion, are way cooler and better.”

When can we expect to hear some of that material?
“Hopefully before the end of the year. I want to put out the ones that I'm obsessed with.”

In the meantime, you’ll be touring with Bring Me The Horizon soon. Can we expect new music before then?
"I'm definitely putting out singles leading up to tour but, hopefully, before the end of the year I can put out an album.”

What do you hope to prove with a full-length record?
“I want to prove to myself that I am not just a feature artist: I want to be me, I want to be Siiickbrain. I want to be my own thing. I stand alone as my own thing with my own sound. I want to put out a cohesive body of work that really shows who I am as an artist [and] a person.”

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