Sunday 24 March 2013

20 Questions w/ Sideburn

Well, I'm yet to venture out my home for nearly a full 24 hours, due to the Arctic conditions (Ahem slight overstatement), therefore I thought I present another interview for your attention. 

Well when I originally sent the interview, either I am losing my (exemplary, ahem) touch or I was thinking of another band, but as you'll see the interview didn't get off to the best of starts, when I mistakenly referred to Sideburn's music as southern rock.  (Sorry guys).  Luckily Morgan, lead guitarist and chief protagonist of Sideburn, didn't hold it against me.  I can't get it right all the time!! 

Anyway heere is what we had to say about their new record when we recently reviewed it, a few weeks back.  Although this is the first time I’ve come across them, Sideburn have actually been around since 1998, and since then have released a number of demos/singles, and four full-length albums, of which 2012s ‘IV Monument’ is the most recent. The album combines a powerful stoner metal sound reminiscent of bands like Black Label Society and Godsized with a beautiful touch of progressive influence from prominent 1970s bands like Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash. This creates a very interesting and original take on the traditional stoner sound, which is especially recommended for fans of Mastodon, Black Label Society and Baroness. Words by: Tal Fineman
So, as they say, on with the show!  Here is the full interview with Morgan from Sideburn and notice my Editorial amendment in reference to their style of music.  (I may have still got it wrong?!)  Thanks to you guys for reading and giving a crap!  Enjoy the interview and show your support by liking their facebook page or even buy their music, if you dig what you read.  Cheers Aaron.

Morgan Zocek
Morgan, How are you? I appreciate you taking the time to talk to the Sludgelord. 

Morgan: It's my pleasure .. 

Q) How are things in the Sideburn camp? What are your immediate plans with Potentially a full year of band promotion ahead of you?

Morgan: To the promote the hell out of the new record ..

Q) First of all, congratulations on your Recent release IV Monument. Personally I feel the record has all the elements of a classic southern rock infused record with a heaviness of Dimebag Darrell or Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo) type riffs Can you tell us about the record and the process of putting it together?

Morgan: No offence but i can not hear the southern rock influences (NB, I actually meant Southern Groove, a la Pantera), our main influences are bands like Sabbath / Zeppelin / Rainbow / MSG and a lot of bothering old and new stuff, but no southern rock, maybe you can hear a little bit Zakk Wylde of an influence in my guitar playing.

Writing a New albums always begins with me and Jani sitting at home throwing riffs and arrangements around, then we presented it to the rest of the band at rehearsals, sometimes we'll have full songs Already written That we just let Martin and Fredrik leave Their pitching on , and sometimes we arranged Them together at rehearsals.

We Begun the recording in Feb 2012 at the BAS studio in Stockholm after a month of more intense Rehearsing preparing for the recording.

We also have to mention the magnificent Jonas Edler who is the owner of the studio and has been the fifth member During the recording as an engineer / co producer, mentor. A fantastic guy to work with.

We worked on and off on the record August Until then it was released in the beginning of Oct. by Transubstans Records

Q). I recently read your interview with Sea of Tranquillity and your bio on Transubstans records, Which you talk about the history of the band. For the benefit of readers who may not know your band, could you tell us a little about the Sideburn first formed? Current band members?

Morgan: It was another lineup of SIDE BURN around the 95 (just me from the current lineup and three other guys), but it was not as serious.
The history of the current band Begun in 98 when i advertised in different music stores after a new singer and found Jani Kataja, we meet Martin Karlsson (Bass Player / Keyboards) through mutual friends in 02 i think it was when he just had moved to Stockholm from the Northern part of Sweden.

Frederick Broqvist was our drummer on our previous two albums "The newborn sun" and "The Demon Dance" and Frederick in known from back in the school days, and he's still with us as a stand-in drummer When Haake has other commitments, great Guy and drummer.

Fredrik Haake (Drummer) joined in 2010 i think it was, we where playing together in an Ozzy covers band with the fantastic name "THE OZZY cover band" and When we had fooled around with a couple of other drummers When Frederick Broqvist had left, Haake one day asked if he could join. and that's the story ..

Q). Which band or artist you guys turned onto music and Specifically Introduced you to Heavy Metal and wanting to form a band?

Morgan: For me in the beginning it was KISS, MAIDEN, SCORPIONS, JUDAS PRIEST, EUROPE, RISING FORCE / ALCATRAZ when i was about 12 years old, then a little later discovered in the evil heaviness of B. SABBATH and Their ilk

Q) What was your motivation to start the band, Because members you were previously in a band called Rooster? Did you all know each other before you formed Sideburn and did you have mutual fondness for facial hair (Just joking)?

Morgan: No i did not know any of them before the meet Jani in 98. We all love facial hair, the more the merrier, or what you use to say ..
Q) Since your inception, was your plan always to write and release your own music?

Morgan: As a 15 year old kid it was a dream to release our own records and i feel very privileged to do that nowadays

Q) In your experience, how easy / Difficult was it for your band to get coverage and get gigs in the early days in Sweden and how does that compare today?

Morgan: We did not had the experience and the tools to the promote the band really way back then.  We were happy just to rehearse twice a week and do a gig once in a month if we're lucky.

Q) It might sound like stupid question but, is playing live important to Sideburn because touring can depend upon work commitments etc? Often touring is the main source of Promoting your band.

Morgan: Very important, It's When You can meet new and Old fans eye to eye, and i love that

Q): Based on your own experience, what do you think is the most important thing for a new band to do in order to the promote themselves?

Morgan: Play a lot live, interact alot on all the new social media Such as Facebook, spread your music as much as you can to get it reviewed, and overpriced to get radio airplay and interview requests. It's also good to have a strong record label behind you

Q) You are part of a great roster of bands on the excellent Transubstans Label. Switch Opens for example released a great record a few years back, called Joint Clash. It must be pleasing to Be Associated with Them? Do you think there is the same significance attached to being signed to label as Their once was, with bands releasing music on bandcamp, etc.?

Morgan: I still love to release "physical records" so there present i think it is important to have a label behind you That can help you out financially with the recording and who have a good distribution net
Q) What are some of the Difficulties / frustration of being part of Sideburn, Because there are many other commitments Such as family, work, etc. That perhaps restrict the Amount of time you can dedicate to the band? Obviously loss of band members can disrupt the momentum of any bands?

Morgan: Communication Within the band is very important, we have regular band meetings where we discuss upcoming tours and let our hearts out if it's anything we need to discuss Within the band, it helps alot               
Q) Do not think about this too much, but If someone was Unfamiliar with your band, what words spring to mind Immediately When you think about your sound?

Morgan: I would describe our sound as Timeless / classic Hard Rock with influences from doom, blues, stoner and progressive

Q) Tell us some of your influences / heroes bothering musically and artistically, both metal and non-metal? There are hints of Dimebag Darrell or even Eddie Van Halen in Morgan's playing Specifically IMO?

Morgan: I listened alot to Van Halen in my teens and i adore Eddie Van Halen and think Dimebag that was a fantastic player, but my main influences would be guys like Michael Schenker, Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Iommi and Page

Q) It might sound like a stupid question but, how important is the band's chemistry When writing and performing?

Morgan: very important, but we have known each other for years so we have a stable friendship to begin with.
Q) What were your ambitions for IV Monument and how do you feel about it now that it has been in the public domain since the end of 2012?

Morgan: The response have been overwhelming and it has opened alot of new doors for us, i think its our best album to date bothering in the songwriting and production, and we have never played better ..

Q) I'm assuming any musician likes to talk about the gear they use, so with that in mind, what do you use in terms of guitars, amps and why? Also what tuning do you use?

Morgan: For the most of the time i use Dean Flying V's (Michael Schenker custom) who i also have a sponsorship deal with, I also use a Ibanez Les Paul and a Gibson Les Paul Standard, my amp is a 50 watt Marshall Jcm 800, we USUALLY tune the guitars down to B, (for the heaviest tunes) but we usually use drop C and a regular D tuning on some songs

Q). How important is support from your peers and how do you feel your band has generated been Rreceived and does it still surprise you When people buy your music and merch?

Morgan: The reception of the new album have been fantastic, it has gotten exceptional reviews and we have gained a lot of new friends (fans) from all over the globe ..

Q) Taking a more general view of the changes in the music industry as a whole, what with illegal downloads and perhaps more pressure on mags to feature 'scene' bands or bigger artists. How Valuable are blogs Such as the Sludgelord to bands and artists covering your music? Does all forms of media coverage translate to people buying merch, downloading music, etc., coming to shows?

Morgan: Blogs like yours is very important, and we are very grateful to all that support us, both in magazines and on line and all the radio station That play our music

Q) Quick fire question, what's your preference? Cassette, CD, Digital Download or Vinyl? And why?

Morgan: I mostly listen to Spotify nowadays, where you can listen to the music directly on your phone, but i occasionally buy some CD's with my favorite band. Vinyl i buy only for the artwork nowadays so i can have it on my wall ..
Q) What sets you apart from your peers and what are your thoughts about being part of any scene?
Morgan: I think we are a little bit more melodic than the usual band Within our "Genre" and we have a more 80's influence When it comes to the riffs and the shredding solos. and another thing i think sets us apart is the three part harmony vocals in the style of KANSAS and Uriah Heep, i do not think you hear that much nowadays ..
Q) Getting back to your record 'IV Monument, it comes a couple of years after you released your record' The Demon Dance 'Do you learn anything about the band from the recording and touring of your records, That You wanted to change or Incorporate in your new record?

Morgan: We Aimed for a little more modern sounding production this time and had the latest record by Symphony X (Iconoclast) as a reference

Q) Did you have an agenda, When You Began writing the new record? What is the significance of the title 'Monument IV'? A monument is USUALLY something to commemorate a person or important event.

Morgan: First and foremost it's very strong word "monument" sounds really epic and heavy and kind of mystique just like the record turned out to be ..

Q) Do you have any interesting stories from your tours, favourite places you've toured and bands you've toured with or band you'd like to share the stage with?

Morgan: A band i like to share stage with  is the excellent Spiritual Beggars, i feel connected to musically Them and They are a great band, we'll see what happens in the near future

Q). Reflecting upon your time together as a band, what have been some of the high and low point in your career. Are you a stronger unit now, than When You first started 15 years ago.

Morgan: It's more "for real" nowadays, When we started out it was more of a hobby, and our goal was to maybe someday be Able to release a record, but now we have released our 4th record and have Begun to tour more and more

Q). In terms of the band, what are your plans for the rest of the year? Can we expect new music or big tours ahead?

Morgan: We will tour alot in Sweden and do some festivals During the summer and go on two mini tours to Germany, one at the end of April and one in Nov., tours in Spain and Italy are in the planning stages .. Some new song ideas have Just Begun to pop up in my head, but no full songs ready yet, but someday soon.

Q) Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, you've got anything you like to say to your fans?

Morgan: We like to thank all our Friends (fans) who support us in any way, without you we would be nothing, and hope to meet as many of you as we can at our upcoming gigs and tours, in the mean time check out our latest album, the mighty "SIDE BURN IV MONUMENTS"
and thanks to you Aaron for the interview ..

Cheers.. / Morgan

As always show your support to the band. You can buy the CD here and DD at the usual places. Thanks to Morgan for originally getting in touch with me for the review, interview and for being gratious enough with this time to answer my questions. Check the links below for all your Sideburn needs and you can read our review here