Melbourne’s Sydonia recently released a brand new track, ‘Eyes of Sand’ and hope to have album number three out at some stage this year. Known as one of the best live acts around the country, the guys hit the road at the end of this month in support of the new single as well showcasing a handful of tracks on the yet to be named new record.
The band said goodbye to long time guitarist, Sam Haycroft last year as he sort more family time. His replacement, Ant Connelly, from fellow Melbourne band Jericco, has been a welcome addition adding a more powerful punch to the Sydonia sound, in what bass player, Adam Murray, has suggested in the following interview to be a more, “meaty” sound. We caught Adam fresh from a call of duty, so to speak (he was in the dunny) to speak about album three, Connelly’s input, touring and a bit of reminiscing about some Sydonia history.
Adam, thanks for your time mate. ‘Eyes of Sand’, an awesome entree to the new album. Killer riff, some heavier tones, yet still melodic. Will the new album be a similar theme, or bits and pieces of usual Sydonia flair like the previous two records?
Look the songs that we’ve got so far, they are coming out a lot heavier but there is still the stuff we’ve always sort of done. Without having Sam Haycroft in the band anymore, the vocal section, harmony side has gone. I’m doing more the backup vocals now so it naturally goes the heavier path. Dana is writing some really dark heavy stuff. It’s going well.
On the new album, any title forthcoming?
No mate, no title as yet, just Syd’s 3 at the moment. We will come up with some sort of name eventually.
Where are you at with the recording and what can fans expect?
We’ve only recorded ‘Eyes of Sand’ so far but we’ve got all the songs as demos and a couple that aren’t quite finished yet. The plan is as soon as we’ve finished this tour we’ll smash straight into the recording and the aim is to have the new album out by the end of the year.
The Sydonia sound of course is hard to stack into one genre. On one hand there’s a bit of progressive stuff, mainly from the first album, then some heavier stuff and melody. Will that continue or has the input of Ant Connelly added a heavier touch?
It definitely has. The riffs that Ant is chucking in are real meaty so we’re just going down that natural progression. The most awesome thing that Ant has brought to the band has been a definite lead element. Dana and Sammy are really ‘feel’ players but they weren’t really musicians to bust out a shredding solo whereas Ant loves to bust out a solo. It just fell really well to our more heavier style.
About Antman, he’s from Jericco of course, how has he fit in with the mechanics of the band? A similar personality?
We’ve known Ant for a while, he’s a really cool dude. He’s probably more similar to Sean than Dana or me as we’re both self-taught and he’s more classically trained so he’s got that musician mentality. I’m stoked. He’s worked out better than what we could have imagined as a replacement for Sammy.
What are his main influences or background besides Jericco?
All sorts of stuff, from metal. He’s off in Europe right now seeing a few festivals, seeing Rammstein and the like. He likes varied stuff, much like the rest of the band. I’m the same and Dana likes everything from Smashing Pumpkins to Tori Amos, Sean is into death and Meshuggah. I think we have such wide influences that’s why our songs come across as so eclectic.
Yeah mate I can. It is a mate’s band but I heard the song on YouTube before I actually got told about the band. The band is called Swidgen. Look up YouTube their song ‘Destructive’, the song is just killer. I’m loving that at the moment. Real sort of gloomy, stoner, doom stuff out of Melbourne. I can’t wait to get to one of their shows.
So, you have a tour coming up to showcase the new song, are other tracks getting aired for the first time?
We’ve got about four other tracks that will be going into the set to showcase bits of the new album.
I have to ask as well, being from Perth, we miss out this time, but anything in the works for maybe later this year? It’s been a while since we’ve seen you guys play on the West Coast.
Absolutely mate. It’s just money at the moment but we’re definitely, 100%, coming to Perth once the new album is released and we’ll play in a few places over there. Perth has always been good to us and we aim to get back there and hang out man, for sure.
You’ve also got a spot along with a bucket load of other bands on the Big Sound showcase. Has that been an important date for you guys to spread the word etc., I’m pretty sure from memory you’ve played on that before?
2014 we played. Look, for the actual bands it’s important to make sure you play your arse off and be really nice to anybody you meet, haha. It’s more about the managers. We’re looking forward to it though, heaps of bands and because we played it before, we sort of know what’s going to go on but it’s a very cool thing for music and to meet people in the business.
There’s a lot of love from Lamb of God towards Sydonia. It obviously stems back to your tours together a while ago. It must be quite surreal when Randy Blythe goes on YouTube and professes his love for your band?
Oh mate, fuck yes! I still remember the day Dana called me up and said he got an email from Randy Blythe from Lamb of God. I was like, ‘what the fuck is going on here’! Seriously mate, Lamb of God, Slipknot, Korn, Soulfly, those bands back in the day, they were my bands, that was the music I was into, I was listening to. That heavy influence for me as a young teenager made me want to play, so getting to play with these bands was a massive tick off from my bucket list.
I‘m really satisfied what we’ve done (as a band). I mean, we all work day jobs, we haven’t made money off of our music but I think we’ve got enough respect in the industry to the point where I’m satisfied. I’ve got no expectation for this new album because we’re at the point in our music where we’re doing it for ourselves. Just keep it going because we do have people that want to come out and see us and want to hear our new stuff and that in its self is enough to keep us going.
Looking back on the history of Sydonia, you had a rapid rise, taking off to tour the U.S with some big names, then personally invited to support the likes of Slipknot, Korn, Lamb of God etc on their Australian tours. It seems that momentum kind of stifled until the second album, Reality Kicks?
We had really bad management back then, I’ll be straight up, I don’t give a fuck; she was bad. For the amount of good stuff we did do, the amount of bad apples from it far outweighed the good. Just little things. It’s so important to keep pushing your band, not becoming complacent. We did a big U.S tour and we thought we’d come back to Australia and have people want to interview us, but we came back to nothing. We had our first interview with Triple J from America and even that in itself, for us, was like, ‘fuck, why we being interviewed now, we’ve been around for ages’.
Mate, it may have just been the time period, ten years ago the music scene was a hell of a lot different to what it is now.
Exactly. It could be that, like I said, we learnt so much over that time. We’re just happy going into this third album, having good management, Tim Price, Pricewar Music, he has helped us so much. Just a rad bloke and I’ll back him anytime, he’s really helping our ball roll again.
How hard is it these days juggling family and I’m guessing you have 9 to 5 job? Is it harder and harder trying to get everyone together for not just recording but for these type of shows you’re putting on this month?
It’s really hard mate. I’m a full time single Daddy. I have my girl 24-7. We all work day jobs. I mean I’m the one in probably the most difficult situation getting time off and organising baby sitters but I’m lucky I’ve got really good friends I can trust. As you get older it gets harder and harder. The tours are now over weekends. We’ll do a full tour but it’ll take two months not two weeks. My advice for touring bands, is while you’re young and don’t have kids, no commitments, fucking get in a van and tour your arse off. If we had our time again that’s what I would have done. Got the guys in a van and ‘bang’, just go. That’s the awesome thing about hindsight.
Adam, thanks for your time mate.