"We had a more concise vision this time..." - hmv.com talks to Syd Arthur
Canterbury rockers Syd Arthur's debut album On An On became a real sleeper hit, earning the band rave reviews with its sprawling grooves and epic psychedelic wall of sound. They're just about to release their second record Sound Mirror, which keeps to the same path, with bigger production and bigger choruses and even features a collaboration with one Paul Weller. We chatted to frontman Liam Magill to find out how the record came together...
Your album Sound Mirror is due out is out on June 2nd, how are you feeling ahead of release? Nervous or excited?
"Excited! Really can’t wait for the new album to be out there for people to hear. We’re really proud of what we achieved with this album."
When did you finish the record? Have you been sat on it for a while?
"The album genesis and completion was quite a swift process for us. We were excited to have connected with our record label partners Harvest/Virgin and this also gave us an opportunity to upgrade our studio space. So by the beginning of the new year, Sound Mirror was done."
When was the album written?
"Over the previous year. Some tracks began their life a little longer ago, and we also wanted to keep an aspect of freshness to the album, so a couple of songs were crafted in the studio."
What was recording like? Were you in the studio for a long time?
"All in all, it took a couple of months. We were engineering and producing ourselves so it took a little longer in that respect. We stayed at the studio around 5/6 days a week and threw ourselves into the project fully. It didn’t seem like a long time to be working on the album."
How do you feel this album moves on from On An On?
"We hope it is a progression. We had a more concise vision this time when we started and the songs also shared this motive. We wanted to stretch out and also hone our ideas down so they were delivered to the highest level they could. We also approached the album differently in that we wanted to showcase a slightly different side to us – we realised the difference from playing live to crafting a more studio album, and wanted to explore this."
You produced the album yourselves, why did you decide to do that?
"It's just something we have always done. We are very interested in working with others, but at the time we felt like we still had so much to deliver ourselves. It's hard, but I don’t find the ultimate goal very rewarding otherwise."
'Hometown Blues' is a collaboration with Paul Weller, how did that come about?
"When we released On An On, there were rumblings and many a good review. But with a lack of distribution, Paul couldn’t find the album anywhere to buy (he still likes to go to record shops...) We had a mutual friend who was working in his studio one day and just happened to be wearing a Syd Arthur pin badge – and that was it… We were invited up that day and dropped into his studio with vinyls and CDs for him. Since then we have stayed in touch and he invited us on the road to support him last September. After that he kindly invited us into his studio for some exploratory sessions, one of which lead to this song. He’s such a great supporter of young bands and up and coming, interesting music. It's inspiring to see someone still care as much as he does."
What does the rest of 2014 look like for you?
"Busy! We are touring in the USA right now, supporting Sean Lennon’s Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger project from the west to the East coast. Its going really well and it's exciting to be here and get such positive reactions. And then we have a busy festival season in the UK and a UK tour planned for later in the year."
Finally, what are you listening to at the moment? Are there any new artists that have caught your attention?
"There are always a few… I’ve been enjoying Midlake and Morgan Delt a lot recently..."
Syd Arthur's new album Sound Mirror is released on Monday (June 2nd) and is available for pre-order in hmv stores now. You can check out their back catalogue in our digital store by clicking here.