Sydonia's Dana Roskvist Discusses The Band's History And Future
Melbourne, Australia based rockers Sydonia released a new single titled "Ocean of Storms" earlier this year, and recently finished up a run of tour dates alongside Korn. Despite being more on the rock end of the spectrum than the metal side, Sydonia has managed to perform with acts such as Between the Buried and Me, Slipnkot, and Machine Head. Sydonia's Dana Roskvist took some time to discuss the band's history with Metalunderground, as well as the "Given to the Destroyers" album and his take on why the band's music appeals to both rock and metal fans.
xFiruath: Tell me a bit about the history of the band and how the all the members know each other.
Dana: Adam (bass) and I have been playing and writing together for 15 years. We met when a drummer I was jamming with at the time was air drumming to “dazed and confused” in a pool hall. Sydonia has been together 7 years, Sean (drums) being introduced to Adam and I through a work friend – “I've got a drumming mate who likes the same rubbish you do,” and Sam (guitar) having been in bands with Adam years before and moving to the same city at a fortunate time.
xFiruath: What bands and musicians have been the biggest influence on how you perform music?
Dana: Hmmm... that’s an interesting question, not writing; performing. Our performance is very natural, any theatrics are really happen stance, and arise from the music and the crowd making you feel depth and intensity. As far as performing tightly, having great sounds and being professional, I'd say our biggest influences are bands we've had the pleasure of supporting: Lamb of God, Stone Sour, Dead Letter Circus, Slipknot, Machine Head, and Korn. Especially in the case of Stone Sour, with Jim giving us guitars in upstate New York and he and his guitar tech Martin helping us with set ups and stuff like that.
xFiruath: How would you define Sydonia’s sound to a new potential fan?
Dana: Tricky that one. It’s sometimes easier to cross reference artists that don't really belong together. So I'd say it’s like Radiohead or Jeff Buckly meets Sepultura or Slipknot. Of course we don't actually sound like that, we sound like Sydonia, but it’s a way of describing where our sound sits in the sonic spectrum, haha. We're a little Kaleidoscopic, so two songs can sound quite different, whilst still being characteristically Sydonia.
xFiruath: Tell me about the “Given To Destroyers” album and where it was recorded at.
Dana: It was recorded at Backbeach Studio, which no longer exists, in Rye, Victoria, with the help of DW Norton. We recorded and mixed it in 14 days.
xFiruath: Is Sydonia currently working on new material?
xFiruath: What’s changed in the new material from the earlier album?
Dana: The new stuff is more succinct. Our average song length has dropped from 6 minutes to about 4, and its hookier, vocally and riffage-wise.
xFiruath: What do the lyrics in your music generally deal with?
Dana: They are usually quite personal. Love, loss, hatred, joy and social “concerns.” Poetically it can be abstract and metaphorical but the subject matter never is.
xFiruath: How were your recent tour dates alongside Korn?
Dana: Amazing. The crowds really warmed to us by mid way through our sets, and in Melbourne we we're lucky enough to have Ray Luzier jump on stage, along with his drum tech and Korn’s Lighting guy, with us for a drum piece we do called “Bateria.” Korn themselves were incredible, just, so on!
xFiruath: Do you have any new dates lined up for the near future?
Dana: We have Woodford Folk Festival coming up over new years, which will be huge, it’s one of the biggest festivals in the world, with, I think about 130,000 people attending during the week? And on New Years Eve we're playing at the largest venue, so that should be huge. Then we'll be touring with Melbourne buddies Jericco round Oz in Feb/March.
xFiruath: You’ve been connected to a lot of metal bands like Lamb of God and Machinehead, but it would seem that Sydonia is much more of a rock act. Where you do you think you fit into the metal world and why does your band appeal to fans of heavier acts?
Dana: I agree, we are a rock band. Maybe it’s that we're a bit darker and moodier and that appeals to the beautiful men of metal that have helped us on our journey. Although, as pointed out by Jim Root, when he was trying to describe us to people at Fender, we're hard to define, quite diverse, and we're doing our own thing, and I think as musicians that's what attracted them to us.
xFiruath: What bands and albums have you been listening to lately?
Dana: This is just me, I can't speak for the other boys. Massive Attack – “Hegioland,” Gojira – “From Mars to Sirius,” Deftones – “Diamond Eyes,” This Will Destroy You - self titled, Dead Letter Circus – “This is a warning,” Meniscus – “Absence of I,” MM9 – “The Air in Between,” Brian Eno – “Small Craft on a Milk Sea,” Hans Zimmer - Inception Soundtrack, Fleetwood Mac - Best Of, and Edith Piaf - Best of.
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