by Jay NeSmith
Balance is an important virtue in life. Much like a well-made mixed drink, The Sidekicks, hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, manage to maintain a freshly entertaining and exciting blend of indie and punk music for a musical concoction all their own.
Utilizing rich vocal melodies fused together with driving guitar and a strong, upbeat rhythm section, they walk the thin line between musical genres but refuse to fall under any one category. Their most recent release, Awkward Breeds, is an 11-song record that is well-paced and well-produced, cementing them as one of the top bands to watch the rest of this year and in 2013.
The Sidekicks return to Omaha tonight at the West Wing and will be joined by locals Thunderbolts and Timecat, along with Blanket Truth from Seattle. Sidekicks drummer, Matt Climber, answered a few questions about their history and musical inspirations in anticipation of the concert.
Hear Nebraska: First, could you provide a brief history? How did you come into existence?
Matt Climber: Steve (Ciolek) and I met in our freshman year of high school and formed a friendship over our similar taste in punk music. He said he had been playing in a band with two buddies but they didn't have a drummer and that is where I came into the mix.
We started jamming together and eventually picked out our name, The Sidekicks, which has stuck with us until this day. Matt Scheuermann joined that band in late '06/early '07, and Ryan Starinsky joined that band in the summer of 2010.
HN: Who were some of the artists that sparked your interests in music?
MC: Speaking for myself, I know that some of my biggest influences growing up were bands like Rancid, The Clash, The Ramones, amongst others. We all grew up on punk music, and I would say it holds close to us to this day. Since we've grown older, our tastes have continued to grow and we are all into various different types of music that mainly involve the indie/punk/rock/pop genres.
photo by Matthew Masin
HN: How is your local music community? Has it made a difference in your upbringing as a band?
MC: The local music community in Columbus and also our roots up in Cleveland are both going really strong and it has had a profound effect on our upbringing as a band. I would say we are most influenced by our friends bands and are always pushing ourselves because of it. Not in a competitive sense but in a, "Holy shit, (insert name here)'s new record is so good, let's write some new songs" kind of way.
Bands such as Tin Armor, Delay, Reverse the Curse, Two Hand Fools, Signals Midwest, Annabel and many others are big influences on us. The scenes in Ohio are strong and filled with friendly people that care about music and bands a lot. It's the kind of place that I feel lucky to be a part of and wouldn't change it for the world.
HN: For someone who has never heard your music before, how would you describe it?
MC: I would describe it as loud rock 'n' roll with deep roots in punk and indie rock. We incorporate a lot of vocal harmonies while continuing an upbeat sort of rock sound. I'm not very good when it comes to comparing us to other bands (laughs).
HN: I've noticed that your sound has evolved in a fairly short amount of time. What do you attribute to the overall growth and maturity of your sound?
MC: I would say the biggest thing to the evolution of our sound would be that we all keep growing as people and musicians. We are all music lovers that listen to a wide variety of things and are influenced by our surroundings. Columbus and Ohio in general have a very rich music scene with so many talented bands/songwriters that it is always pushing us to keep growing as musicians.
Also, the addition of Matt and Ryan to the band has also kept us moving and evolving into what we are today. Matt's voice has allowed us to incorporate so many harmonies into our songs and Ryan has added input to songs and also real chemistry between him and I as a rhythm section.
photo by Matthew Masin
HN: The lyrics on the new album are quite poetic. Is there anything in particular that inspired it? More broadly, where do you find inspiration in the song writing process?
MC: Unfortunately, thats a question for Steve (laughs). I don't want to misinterpret or speak for him when it comes to that stuff. The beauty of music, though, is that I feel as if people will take whatever they want from lyrical content and relate to it in the way they feel fit to do so.
HN: Finally, is there anything in the works? Are you working on any new releases?
Mc: At the moment we are 12 days into a two-month tour. Once we get back from this tour we have been talking writing the next record. Only time will tell, but we will either be touring quite a bit or writing the next record. It will be an exciting year for us no matter what.