Sidney York: Keeping unconventional cool

Last Saturday at Music Matters Live with HP 2014, Canadian act Sidney York gave a blistering performance at the Fountain Stage, armed with unconventional instruments (a bassoon, anyone?) sliced over catchy tunes and pop sensibilities.

These girls, with a killer and refreshing attitude to boot, just might be the next big thing in Canada — but don’t be too quick to compare them to their more famous Canadian counterparts Tegan and Sara, or even an Emily Haines-fronted Metric.

We sat down with Brandi Sidoryk and Krista Wodelet of Sidney York before their set, and talked about famous Canadian people, their insanely fun music videos, and their latest record, <3s (Hearts).

Hey Sidney York! You’re from Canada, the home to all things musical and great. Any famous friends to date?
Famous friends [laughs]? I guess it depends, because the acts that we think are big, aren’t that big internationally. You could be really good in Canada, but not so big in the rest of the world, or you could be really good internationally and no one’s heard of you in Canada. We’re friends with these bands, Mother Mother and The Odds, who are huge in Canada.

“We didn’t mean to write a breakup record, but as we were writing for the album, both of us were going through really tough breakups unexpectedly”

Let’s talk about your newest album, <3s (Hearts). What is the inspiration and meaning behind the album?
It was a breakup record. We didn’t mean to write a breakup record, but as we were writing for the album, both of us were going through really tough breakups unexpectedly. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t help but write that shitty break up song [laughs].

We like to have a lot of fun on stage and we don’t like to take ourselves too seriously, so even if the lyrics are dark on this album, it’s not often found in the music. It’s quite a big contrast between the dark lyrics and the upbeat, pop-y music — we like that contrast because it leaves a inner meaning for people to listen a little deeper. It’s really fun to listen to at first, but once you get into the record and  listen to the songs a couple of times, you’ll realise that Krista and I were kind of messed up [laughs]!

Your music is really interesting, something under the umbrella of indie… and pop, but then there’s also this certain edgy vibe to it. What genre would you classify your music as?
I would call ourselves indie pop. We’re the indie pop musicians that listen to those indie pop acts, but we love St. Vincent and we want a little bit of that dirt in there too. I would say we’re schizophrenic indie pop [laughs].

With two females fronting the band, do you get compared to any other artists?
I think we’ve gotten compared to Tegan and Sara, just because we’re both Canadian and duo-female fronted acts. We’re big Tegan and Sara fans, and we’re happy for the comparison, but we definitely have some differences musically. We’ve been told that we’ve been quite similar to Metric as well, or a happy Fiona Apple; Katy Perry meets PJ Harvey, or a new-age The Go Gos. Krista and I are the dorkiest popstars you’ll ever meet.

“…we’re schizophrenic indie pop”

Your music videos are amazingly fun! Who comes up with the concept for the videos and do you think they convey the actual spirit of the band?
We have hired a number of specific directors, mostly from the same production company in Vancouver that we work with. We are really involved in concepting [the ideas] and we love it.

More times than not, we come to the table with an idea that we’ve already gotten attached to and we say, “Can you direct this music video with this idea?” and usually they say, “You’re crazy, absolutely not!” and then a week later, they’ll say, “Okay, yeah we can do this.”

Oh, and for this new record, we’ll be doing a music video for every song on the album.

Oh right, so you guys are pulling a Beyoncé?
Exactly! Except that we’re less of a surprise, we let everybody know what we’re doing.

[youtube width=”450″ height=”340″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suT_q_kVuCI[/youtube]
By Evan Woon

Check out Sidney York’s crowdfunding campaign for new album <3s here.