Syd Arthur are a band on the up. Their hard work and endeavour has seen them take on SXSW already this year and their new album ‘Sound Mirror’ making all the right noises. We caught up with the Canterbury four piece to find out more…
Hello! How are you today, and where can we find you answering these questions?
Hey! We are enjoying the sun on the outskirts of Canterbury whilst getting ready for our month long tour across America with Sean Lennon’s band, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. It’ll be our first extensive trip across the country, so we can’t wait.
We hope that goes well! For our readers who may not be overly familiar with your music, can you describe your sound?
Well we get asked that a lot, as you might imagine. It’s always hard talking about your own music, as you want it to speak for itself really. But there is a psychedelic theme running through it all for sure. We are into contrasting rhythms and heavy grooves, strong melodies. We love music both past and present so there are quite a lot of different influences that end up in Syd Arthur’s sound. We love making records, and we love to stretch out the tunes live and take them into different places that the studio wouldn’t be able to capture in the same way. We try and take our listeners on the most colourful journey we can really.
You’ve had quite an interesting story getting into the music business with a very DIY approach. Can you give us a run down on the story of Syd Arthur?
Basically, since we all left school we spent all of our time hanging out and making music. We put on stages and threw parties for us and our friends to play at. We did the UK circuit as much as we could, played as many shows as we could, you know anything from a back room in a pub, to Raves in the woods, to festivals, even Jazz clubs a few times. All the while just building on what we had. When we weren’t playing shows, we spent all our money and time building up our studio chops and learning how to record and mix our own music. We then started our own record label and used that as a platform for us and a few mates to release our music. Getting some people to do our PR in the early stage, whilst hustling ourselves for coverage helped too.
SXSW played a pivotal part in your rise as a band. How did it come about getting there?
A good friend of ours suggested that we apply for funding through the PRS to get a contribution towards the costs of going to SXSW. They kindly felt that all the work we had done and the music we were making warranted us heading out there, so we went for it, and it turned out great! You know we did the classic thing, got 5k flyers printed and managed to get 4 shows out there, we spent all our energy meeting people and talking about what we were up to. It seemed to have worked.
Did you ever think about giving up before you managed to get signed etc?
No. We have been though some hard times for sure, but we have overcome any situation that was causing issues, and surfaced on the other side, stronger and wiser for it.
What advice would you give to bands who find themselves in similar situations as yourself starting out?
If you are starting out, then just focus on the music. Then build on the foundations that you have laid down. Gig as much as you can, use the internet as creatively as you can. Also really enjoy it, the connection that a real band has should tangible, you spend so much time with each other, playing music, travelling. All these things add to your output as a unit, and ultimately enrich the music.
What would you say is your career highlight so far?
Supporting the Pixies in Big Sur is one that stands in my mind right now.
What music do Syd Arthur listen to on their tour bus?
All sorts really, sometimes we use the stereo in the van, or we have our own headphones and are individually checking things out. Sometimes listening to live recordings, new demo’s, rough ideas…Writing tunes on the road on a laptop. Going though music in our heads. Between us I’d say there is very broad musical spectrum being digested.
Is there any new bands out there you can recommend for us to keep an ear open for?
Bison Bonasus, Morgan Delt, Bullion, Hejira…How long can this list be?
What is next for the band; do you have a record coming up / tour / festivals?
We have a busy summer of gigs, kicking off with this tour across America with GOASTT, then festivals, then our own UK/Europe tour. And our first record for Harvest/Virgin which is called ‘Sound Mirror’ is out now!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just a thank you, and hope to see as many of you as we can whilst on the road. Big love.x