Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Sidney York - BIGSOUND Live 2013 Feature Artist

As BIGSOUND gets closer and closer, we're getting more and more excited for all the amazing acts we're going to have the opportunity to see. One of those artists we're particularly impressed with is Sidney York, a Canadian duo whose fun pop sound has been impressing people all over their home country, the USA and the internet.

Soon they'll be in Brisbane impressing us on day one of BIGSOUND Live, September 11, so you should probably check out the full program over at the BIGSOUND site and grab your one or two day passes through Oztix and QMusic, before they sell out, but until then, the lovely Brandi and Krista of Sidney York were kind enough to answer some questions for us.

Sidney York
Performing live @ the Press Club - September 11, 2013
as part of BIGSOUND Live
Interview by Jo Michelmore

Welcome to It’s My Kind Of Scene! Some of our readers may not be aware of your fabulousness yet, can you introduce yourselves to them? Who are Sidney York?

Brandi: Hi, I'm Brandi, nice to meet you. And this is Krista. She's the cool, reasonable one. I am the neurotic, head-in-the-clouds one. We are rockers born of a classical music, band geek upbringing. 

Actually, now that I mention it, who is Sidney York? Is Sidney York a person or how did you come up with that name?

Brandi: Nobody is Sidney York. Sidney York is a purely fictional character.

Krista: Like Carmen Sandiego. I'm pretty sure she doesn't exist. No one ever actually figures out where in the world she is.

Brandi: We started using Sidney York (a pseudo-anagram of my last name) to hide from the classical music world that we were into pop music--we wanted to keep our two musical worlds separate. The reason seems a bit melodramatic now, but the name remains.

Tell us about your sound. I hear so many different things and so many different instruments. How do you describe yourselves?

Brandi: Fun energetic indie pop. Done by former classical musicians that couldn't help but bring their 7th grade band instruments onstage.

Krista: But, you know... without being TOO nerdy about it. Or something. Sometimes we call ourselves nouveau pop, or avant-pop, but that's sort of just a pretentious way of saying quirky.  

Brandi: Think a cheery Fiona Apple meets Hawksley Workman.

You play some instruments that are not so common in current ‘popular’ music styles. What are your favourite instruments to play and what’s the most ‘interesting’ one you’d like to introduce to Sidney York?

Brandi: Clearly, I cannot decide which instrument is my most favourite to play. Perhaps this can be chalked up to indecisiveness, but I play guitar, keys, ukelele, and French horn in every Sidney York show.

Krista: I have two degrees in orchestral bassoon performance, so now I hook that thing up to guitar effects pedals and try to get the most un-bassoon-like sounds out of it that I possibly can. I also play keys and synth, and I pretend to play ukulele on occasion too. (LITTLE-KNOWN FACT: Anyone can convincingly pretend to play ukulele! Find me after any Sidney York show and I'll give you a crash course in pretend-ukulele. You'll be impressing your friends and family in no time.)

Brandi: As for new crazy instruments to bring into the Sidney York fold--we actually are great friends with an Canadian indie rock harpist. Maybe there's room for a cameo harp performance in Sidney York?

Being an independent Canadian band, how did the BIGSOUND performance come to be? Are you excited about playing?

Brandi: This is Sidney York's first time in Australia, and we have really been looking forward to playing here! I did my masters degree in classical voice at the University of Melbourne, and it was when I was living in Australia that I actually started writing pop songs. The Australia indie music scene really influenced and inspiring my songwriting. Particularly Bob Evans. That dude writes some rad songs.

Tell us about your live performance. Why should someone come and see you at BIGSOUND Live?

Krista: When we try to describe ourselves, with the weird instruments and the classical backgrounds, it's sometimes hard to get across how much fun we actually have onstage. Kids raised in strict households with a lot of rules always go nuts the first time they leave home and realise they can do whatever they want - and that's kind of exactly what happened to us when we left the classical world, except we've been going nuts for a couple of years now with no signs of slowing down at all. Plus, as previously advertised, I'm offering pretend-ukulele lessons following the show. Two-for-one!

Your last album Apocalyptic Radio Cynic was released two years ago and your next is expected in 2014. How will the new differ from the last and for a new audience like Brisbane, which song do you suggest new fans start with?

Krista: If you've never heard us before, the song 'Dick and Jane' is a good place to start - you can't really go wrong with a whistle-along ukulele tune (and hopefully you'll be having such a good time that you won't even realise you're jamming along to a bassoon by the end). The new album is maybe a little heavier, but we're pretty big fans of wrapping dark and twisted lyrics in a sparkly-sweet musical shell.

What is to be expected from that new album?

Brandi: Expect more synth, a little more grit, and more distorted bassoon.

Krista: Obviously.

Anyone you are looking forward to seeing or meeting on the BIGSOUND Live lineup?

Brandi: We've been into Trouble With Templeton since SXSW. Simone and Girlfunkle also tops my list.

Krista: Ginger and the Ghost too!

Brandi: and, of course, we're excited to see some of our Canadian pals that are headed to BIGSOUND. The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer are a must see.

If I was the artist and you were the blogger, what would you ask me?

Krista: I think I'd ask you for your favourite lyric of all time, because I'm kind of fascinated with the way a particular combination of words can resonate with someone so deeply and individually. Although don't ask me that now - with questions like that, I always give terrible spur-of-the-moment answers and then spend the week following the interview thinking of at least twenty-five things I wish I had said instead.

Brandi: Where can I find the best hot dog in Brisbane? (I know, it's not a deep and meaningful question. It's just something I really want to know.)

I can probably answer that last question and hopefully I'll get to when I see them at BIGSOUND Live this year. Am I excited? About the music AND the hot dogs? Yes!

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