Tuesday, 2 April 2013

SIDEBURN Interview with Morgan Zocek

One of my personal favorite discoveries in 2013 has been Swedish quartet Sideburn.  Their sound is a refreshing melange of individual and modern elements with (perhaps, typically) under-utilized classic elements which create an organic sound that is adaptable to different styles.  For more of this kind of analytical B.S., read my review of Sideburn's most recent record 'Sideburn IV - Monument'.  The record was the No. 1 selection on the Top 25 albums list on the latest Saturday Doom Charts (see here).  For places to find clips and links to buy the record, follow the links above and scroll through, don't be afraid to click on the links.  'Monument' is also available on iTunes.

1. Hi Morgan, it’s great to talk with you! How are things with you and the band?

Morgan: It´s fine, we are booking a lot of shows, doing a lot of interviews and promoting the album in every possible way.

2. Are you happy thus far with the response ‘Monument’ has received from press and fans alike?

M: The responses have been fantastic, with top notch reviews from all over the world and good sales of the album.  It´s also on many top of the year album lists for 2012, so it feels great and inspiring.

3. How would you compare this to the response to your previous efforts?

M: I think the responses have been better and better for every album that we have released, I can compare it to climbing a mountain and i think that we are near the top now.

4. The band started in 1998 I believe and ‘Monument’ is the band’s fourth record. How has the band developed in that time and has it been a surprise or is it still pretty much the original vision of the band?

M: I think that we are more of a classic/Timeless hard rock band nowadays, with DOOM and some progressive and BLUES influences supposed from when we started when we were more "Stoner influenced" by bands like KYUSS,FU MANCHU a.o, the sound has developed over time as we have grown as songwriters and instrumentalists and i think we have more in common with bands like B. SABBATH(more the DIO/Tony Martin years), RAINBOW, SCORPIONS, M.S.G, ALCATRAZZ and we will always have a little bit of a LED ZEPPELIN influence in the backbone of our sound.

5. The new album was my introduction to the band. Do you feel your ‘profile’ has increased with this new record?

M: We always try to reach a new level both with the songwriting/Performance/Production for every new album and gaining more fans.

6. Obviously, without the internet I would never have discovered Sideburn. What do you think the impact of the internet has been on the band?

M: It has opened a lot of new doors for us, as you can reach so many people with just just posting/spreading your material at the "right" places

7. And what do you think the effect of the internet is on music in general?

M: Both good and bad, you don´t sell as many records any more, but you can reach so many more people just in a blink of an eye, and get more people to attend your gigs when they have "discovered" you on the net etc..

8. With that in mind, how important or relevant do you think the live rock n roll show is in the internet age?

M: Very important, there you can meet the Fans/Friends eye to eye and I love playin' live ...

9. Do you have any pre-show ‘rituals’?

M: Just chillin' out with a beer/cider with the rest of the guys and havin' a lot of laughs, listenin' to some good music that sets us in the mood for the show.

10. As a band it seems you guys are pretty well plugged into the overall music scene in Sweden. Is there a strong sense of support and community there? If so, how vital has this been to the band’s development?

M: We have some band´s that we connect with on a regular basis and help eachother to book gigs share contacts, etc.

11. Sideburn has a distinctive sound. Are there any bands out there today that you feel are close to your band in terms of sound or style?

M: One I come to think of is Spiritual Beggars, but I think we have a broader spectrum of influences, and they don´t use the 3 part vocal harmonies that we do as an integral part of our sound, i think that sets us apart from most of the bands in our genre.

12. Regarding that distinctive sound, what is the songwriting process like for the band?

M: It often starts with me and Jani working on our own at home on riffs and melodies before we present it to the other guys at rehearsal so they can ad their bits and pieces ...

13. Generally, is there a particular mood or feeling the band tries to evoke on each song?

M: You just have to listen for yourself to get the moods from the songs, i think it´s very individual how you do that.

14. How long did it take to write and record ‘Monument’?

M: We began to record it in Feb '12 at the B.A.S. studio in Stockholm with Jonas Edler as a co-producer, he´s also the owner of the studio and he´s been a fantastic guy to work with during the whole process, our hats are off to him, he´s been like a fifth member in the band. We then worked on and off on the record until Aug 2012 when we had the finished master in our hands.

Before that the writing process began a couple of months after our last record "The demon dance" was released in 2010, i begin to jam and try to come up with new riffs, usually the first riffs that comes out when i start to write for a new record is shit, but after some time the riffs will increase in quality..

I can only speak for myself, but I always feel emptied when I've completed writing and recording an album, but after a couple of months the HOLY RIFFS begin to come to me again, it´s just magic :)

15. What inspired the new album’s title?

M: I´ts a very epic sounding title and sounds like a statement, and that´s what´s the new record is to us, it´s our MONUMENT that will withstand the test of time.

16. What non-musical influences went into the record?

M: Everyday life with it´s ups and downs

17. Okay, the album is out, the new single is out. What else is going on with the guys in the band? What are your plans for 2013 and beyond?

M: To do a lot of promotion stuff for the album, Interviews etc, a lot of gigs will be played, and to begin to write songs for the next album is on the agenda(some killer riffs are already written).

18. Do you have any gigs / tours you’d like to promote?

M: We will do a lot of gigs and festivals in Sweden during the spring and summer, we will also go to Germany in the end of April for a tour, and we´ll be back in Germany in November for another tour, also tours in Spain and Italy/France are in the planning stages, a lot of great things are coming up..

19. Thanks so much for chatting with me. I really like the new record, I appreciate the effort and honesty of the music and I wish you guys all the success in the world. Before I let you go, do you have any final words or messages to impart?

M: We would like to thank everybody that has supported us over the years and all our newfound Fans(Friends) and we also like to thank you Lucas for the interview, you keep us ROCKING!!

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