INTERVIEW: Syd.31

in Interviews

After their recent single drop ‘Bulldoze Everything’ we caught up with Syd.31 to see whats the score and whats to come.

It went a little like this…

How are the studio sessions going? Utterly brilliant! I’ve progressed from being a home producer and now spend a huge amount of time in the Oscillate Recordings studios. I love that studio, its miles from anywhere and attached to a huge Georgian mansion. I feel like a proper fucking rockstar when I’m there. Which is what we all really want to feel like.

Its just amazing to be able to scream like fuck in that huge vocal room. It also feels great to be smashing the hell out of my guitar all over again. The guitar sounds better and works better too now that I’m playing it all it because its part of a holistic approach to song writing and production.

Studio Chris has been wonderful in helping me keep it all together and helping me experiment. Its been fantastic chemistry.

One of my favorite studio bits was using a can of Lynx aerosol into the microphone to recreate that Martin Hannett snare sound used on Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’.
Yeah, I’m proper in my element here.

I think this is the happiest I’ve ever been recording. Doing every part on an album yourself takes 10 times as long but is just so incredibly rewarding. I also think the quality of the new tracks speak for themselves.

What can fans look forward to on the new music front? Something far more tribal and heavier than what I’ve done before. I’ve gone back to my roots and sounds from growing up in Zimbabwe and hearing all that amazing percussion. In the West we tend to see ‘tribal’ stuff as almost nice and safe and twee. Even the term ‘tribal’ is a bit patronising.

What I remember from Zimbabwe is the local football teams playing against each other on a Sunday night and each set of fans trying to fucking intimidate each other by playing ever more aggressive drums. That stuff was terrifying. And THAT is what I want to bring into my new stuff. Be afraid of the drums and be very afraid of my live drummer too – Our Kara Wolf is feral. I’ve also paid for some licenced work from a Ghanaian drummer and a percussionist who worked with The Cure and The Eurythmics which I re arranged for these specific mixes. I’m very pleased with the result.

One top of that I’ve added in a whole load of metal this time too, lots of Sepultura guitar vibes, Code Orange, Entombed etc all mixed in with my usual punk aggro, stealing all the ideas from Discharge, Exploited and GBH.

A recent influence has been the new wave of angry indie stuff, such as Manchester’s own Cabbage, as well as Shame, The Blinders and lots more. The Idles are probably my favourite band of the moment and how could I not be influenced by these guys? There’s no bullshit, just raw anger down a mic. Lets just say with all that inspiration I’ve turned it up a notch on this one.

You look very original with your visual – where do you draw inspiration from? I’ve always been a big fan of artists who put on a visual show, such as The Misfits or The Damned and especially Grace Jones. She is a fucking god to me. I guess now that I dress up, those vibes clearly comes through, along with my obsession with Mad Max films.

I used to gig in just blue jeans and a white t-shirt but the more I messed about with the dressing-up box and the wilder I looked, the more punters loved it. It got kind of addictive.

But there is a serious message being it all. The fake blood is an anti-violence message. There has been far too much violence and its always the minority groups that are targeted – goths, queers, refugees, the disabled, etc or whoever people see as ‘outsiders’. Its always us that end up covered in blood.

What can people expect from your live shows? Utter fucking chaos. I try not to over-rehears as I want to feel like no one knows exactly what will happen – not even us. There is a lot of shouting, a lot of swearing, far too much fake blood and a lot of things being bashed about. We literally have to re solder Kara’s drum kit after every gig. Whatever you do, don’t stand too close to us if you don’t want stained clothes. All this over banging techno, breakbeats, glitchy bass and thrashy guitar. There is literally no one on Earth like us.

What live shows do you have coming up? Where can people get tickets? We have Sonder Fest in Manchester this month and we are headlining a punk Halloween party in October. Then hammering the gigs again from December onwards. I try not to provide a long list of gigs on my page as I find people tend to pick and choose them. It also makes every gig less unique. You just have to keep checking the band pages for next gigs. More information on Sonder Festival

Whats next from Syd.31? It’s a very good question indeed. I really want to go wherever my imagination takes me. I recently bought myself out my contract with the former record label which gives me ownership of my back catalogue. I made changes to my backing band too. I really can’t function as an artist when my own backing band is telling me they can replace me or that I’m not allowed to make decisions. Nice try but nope. Simply fuck off and take your drama with you.

I’ve now got creative control and I want to see how far I can push myself. I’ve hired a good PR company and I’ve produced my best video with help from Videoink. It cost me a fortune but I’ve demonstrated what you can do when you are firing on all cylinder. So I intend to keep being me because that is the only thing I can say I’m proper alright at.

In the short term I’m gonna spam the fuck out of bigger promoters and decide whether to go with another label again or set up my own production company to release the new album and a couple of other artists too, like Kara and the Wolves. It’s a tough decision.

I’ve got next year’s gigs nicely lined up, with some great festivals but I really need to start gigging in Europe so that’s what I intend to do. Oh, and release the album too. Come catch us at some sweaty gig somewhere.

If anyone fancies us ruining their stage, just drop us a message.