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In Words: Sideburn

- Lionel Roland & Boris - March 2011 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

© Sideburn

Lionel Roland & Boris - March 14th 2011 (by email)

Swiss rockers Sideburn just released their latest piece of music which is called Jail. To learn more about the Swiss band which is active for many years, I shot them some questions. Here we go!

Let's talk about your past a bit, coz outside your home country many people still don't know you. Sideburn arose from the ashes of Genocide. You re-defined your sound and soon released your debut Sell Your Soul (For Rock'n'Roll). The album got you some support slots incl. opening for Kiss in Zurich. That's for many a dream-come-true situation - and probably raised hopes... Did it feel like a break-through is just around the corner?

Roland: It was really unbelievable and it was for the Farewell tour, this was the gig to do, a dream come true. It did raise hopes, but unfortunately few months later 3 members of the band left and we had almost to restart from zero.

Line-up changes slowed you down, but you keep releasing albums. You play a lot live in Switzerland and opened for more legendary bands. Did this keep you going?

Lionel: What keep us going, is the passion, we simply love to play music and naturally having the chance to play with such incredible bands is challenging and keep us fresh and focus.

In 2006 you celebrated your 20th anniversary as Genocide / Sideburn with a release called Archives. Such an anniversary is always a time to reflect things... Most think of Krokus and Gotthard when thinking of Swiss bands...Did you ever had doubts?

Roland: Certainly, when Fred and myself were in 1998 just the 2 last member of the band, we thought that we should stop the band for a while or forever, but fortunately we found Michel & Lionel almost right away. So the doubt didn't last that long.

In 2008 Cherry Red was released and Six Feet Under was chosen for an episode of 24. What was your first reaction when you heard it? Is it an honor for you?

Lionel: It was a great surprise, for a while we couldn't believe it and we waited to see the Fox's contract before to open the champagne. Yes, it's an honor to be picked, this means that our productions is of a decent quality.

Are you fans of 24?

Lionel: Personally not, in fact I've never looked at this TV show on purpose, cause I'm sure that I would be addicted..., but I know that I will start to look at it pretty soon.

Cherry Red made it onto Rockband 3 for Xbox 360. What do you think about this kind of games? A good chance to spread the word?

Boris : Certainly yes, it's a good way to promote the band around the world and it's cool that kids can have fun by playing with Sideburn.

At least to have it in your portfolio isn't a bad thing... Did you see an effect of it? Did it got you some new fans?

Lionel: Partially yes, those kind of things give us more credibility, which means that we're getting more interest from the general press (not musical) in our country and we are also seeing sales increase on Itunes.

Did you start writing right after Cherry Red? Or took a break? Is the song writing a team effort?

Boris: We didn't start right away, but as the sales have been good, we had to play a lot of gigs. We started the writing of Jail during the live period, in between shows...all the band was really tight and focus on the live energy, so the writing was short and intense, and yes, it was a team effort, each member of the band was really involved into the all process, and I think you can hear that on the record.

How long did the recordings take?

Lionel: It took 2 days to record the drums, about a month and a half to do the guitars & bass, 5 days for Roland to record the lead vocals with Beau Hill and a couple of extra days to do the backing vocals, the editing and some guitar solos. Then Beau did the mix during about 10 days.

For your new album Jail you teamed up with Beau Hill who co-produced and mixed the album. Why Beau Hill?

Boris: For the past records we teamed up with producer Jürg Nägeli and were really happy of what we did together. For the new album we felt that it was time for a new challenge and looked after a new producer. We contacted Mike Frazer and Beau Hill, both were willing to do the album.
We choose Mr. Hill, because is more a producer instead of Mr. Frazer that is more a sound engineer, and we needed someone to produce the vocals, which is the most important thing on a record, and we are really happy of the final result.

How much effect had Hill's work on the final result?

Boris: Most part of the music was already produced before Beau Hill got involved. He teamed up with Roland (lead vocal) to produce, record and enhanced the vocal parts and they did a great job together. During the mixing process Beau Hill added his 'magic touch' !

Why did you choose Jail as the album title?

Lionel: We initially didn't want to call this album with a track name, cause we did that for all our other albums. But once that the set list was done, we thought that Jail sounded good and that we could easily find an interesting cover around that theme. It sounded rock'n'roll.

Did you already get some feedback? Satisfied so far?

Boris: The feedbacks that we had received so far are really good, it seems that our fans are really enjoying the new album, and that is the most important thing for us.

Reading the track list made me think of some bands... Long Beard And Boogie sounds like you're talking about ZZ Top... And Creedence Vibe seems to indicate an influence of CCR... What inspires you?

Boris: Long Beard And Boogie is a tribute to ZZ Top. We actually really love this band, it has been so influential, the way they took the blues to make it something unique is very impressive. Creedence Vibe isn't really influenced by CCR, we had this idea of a muddy down-to-earth blues with a southern-rock vibe in it, slow and burnin'...perfect for ending a high voltage rock album !

For people who joined your mailing list you offered Lazy Daisy as a free download. Why this track?

Lionel: We picked up that one, because it's the type of song that our fans like and it's the first song that we have played live and the reactions had been excellent.

There is a promo video for Jail.... Would you like to do a video clip? Which song would you choose?

Roland: Yes, we'll shoot a video clip for the song Jail. It will be filmed in a 3D prison, this should be great. We'll shoot it in about 2 weeks and it should be released in April.

A few years ago Airbourne came out of the blue and released their debut which got praised by fans and media - at least by most. Any idea what's their secret?

Lionel: Their secret is that they have a lot of energy, they are good and certainly the most important point is that they tour a lot and the more you play the better you get !

AC/DC were the forerunners of the Aussie rock and they are still active. Would you like to share the stage with them before they call it quits one day?

Roland: For sure, we have been fortunate to play with most majors band of the industry, but AC/DC is naturally a dream for us and certainly for a lot of bands in the world.

Any news to share?

Well we've just learned that we've entered the Swiss charts at position #81 this week, so after all this years this is a real great news.

Many thanks to the guys for answering my questions! Let's see, if they can get a decent tour to present their new album live... Remember to check their website for updates and make sure you won't miss the video clip!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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