SUNBOURNE RD – MANNERS MAKETH MAN (Q&A)
Alex Siodmak is from Casale Monferrato in Northern Italy and with the assistance of friends, Davide Ghione, Sebastiano D’Alessandro and Riccardo Marchese, he is Sunbourne Rd. Now available on CD, and previously only available as downloads, the 19 tracks present on “Manners maketh men” represent all of the 18 tracks included on Sunbourn Rd.’s three digital releases. Buy it at Kool Kat Musik.
Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Alex about experience, inspiration, and the experience of total freedom.
And, of course, about “Manners maketh men”. Power Pop Rock Perfection!
How did this record come together?
Alex Siodmak: Here’s how it started. Ray Gianchetti, the boss at Kool Kat Musik, contacted me because he was particularly interested in one of the three works I had recently made, “Teenage Lyrics,” a collection of singles. From there, it was easy to decide to merge a bit of my recent career and bring the last 2 EPs on the very same album.
I appreciate the variety of this cd. The songs are very different because the three discs we put together come from different experiences. My writing has changed a lot in the last period.
Ah, the disc price is also excellent. There are 19 songs. I keep you company for an hour.
How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?
Writing is such a cathartic experience. And even though I now know how to master the tricks of the trade (I mean that I am well aware that I can also write on request), certainly starting from my experience and inspiration is something else. Maybe I’m a little selfish. After all, the music I make must, first of all, meet my standards, and curiosity is one of them. I am always curious to know what I did a few months before: what I felt and how I explored this condition in musical form.
As an artist, you chose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?
Absolutely! As I said before. There is no better way to open up to the world than through your music. But when you want to do it in real life, just by talking, here come the filters. You begin to evaluate a bit of everything, including the consequences, more or less practical, of the things you will say. For me, writing is singing your emotionality, and it proves to be an experience of total freedom.
You can pick three co-writers to write new songs with. Who? And why?
Oh, God. Ok, this will be a “no Beatles answer” because it would be obvious.
I would say: John Prine; he had this refined eloquence; Ken Stringfellow, he’s probably the most underrated artist of recent years, and in the 60s, he would have given Brian Wilson a hard time. I love him so much, and sooner or later, I wish we could cross our paths; and – continuing the dream -.
Alex Chilton, I wish I could say “we wrote this together,” even if it was a little bit horrible. He is my point of reference: not musical because we are on very different steps, but in seeing the relationship between music and life. He didn’t pursue success (even if he had and deserved it). It is said he didn’t give much of a damn about the consent. He just wanted to keep himself creative and free. This pushes me to do my thing even today with the same enthusiasm of 20 years, and this time I am a little more mature!
When was the last time you thought, ‘I just wrote a hit!’?
I am always very focused on the song I am recording at that particular moment. Once the work is finished, my interest shifts to future projects. Therefore I am always chasing a new hit – as you call it – hoping that people will enjoy hearing my creations. I hope there is fun on both sides.
Lyrics are too often taken for granted. What is the line of text, or are the lines of text that you hope listeners will remember? And why?
“True to myself
That’s what I need to be,
You searched for love
That’s what we’re made for”
Because it’s damn simple, but by the association of ideas, you could talk about it for an entire evening. And also because if you manage to put together in the same sentence “true” and “love,” you are either banal and short of ideas, or you wrote your next hit.
Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?
Help! – The Beatles
Thirteen – Big Star
Buddy Holly – Weezer
Be Mine – R.E.M.
The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash
Recording music. What’s all the fun about?
My goal is to capture the essence of the song, that magnificent thing that I touch the moment I just wrote it (maybe just a sketch), and I decide to take it to the studio to refine it. It is important not to stray too far from that vision. The continuous rehearsals and the overdubs often take you somewhere else than at the beginning, and I can’t deny that at times it is fascinating if it works. Yet, I always prefer the spontaneity of the song just composed. Especially today, I am moving in this direction. I am looking for fidelity to the origins. So fun is not building on it but taking away from it until you reach something beautiful and pure essential. How many times can I do it? You will have to buy my album to find out.