Melodic hardcore seems to be gaining popularity at the moment, and when the scene is populated by bands like Sierra, it’s easy to see why. 2013 was an extremely successful year for the Mount Gambier five piece, who went from releasing their EP independently in February to performing at the recent Soundwave festival. We were lucky enough to chat with them ahead of their performance.
Hi Sierra, thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us. You guys must be so stoked to be opening for the SA Soundwave! How did getting a spot on stage come about?
We were fortunate enough to be selected by staff from Triple J through their Unearthed competition. We’ve had our tracks up there for sometime now, and they’ve always been great supporters of ours, but this is something we didn’t expect. Certainly a major tick off the bucket list.
Are you nervous at all about playing in front of that many people?
We all go about preparation in a different way, but I’m sure we’ll all be feeling a little nervous before hand. We’ve been lucky enough to have some big opportunities which in a sense have prepared us, but at the same time this is a completely new experience.
What are you most looking forward to on the day? Do you get any perks for being on the line-up?
We’re looking forward to performing in front of friends who don’t necessarily attend local shows, but do attend the festival. Obviously being given the opportunity to meet some of our favourite bands will be a bonus, but most importantly we just try and absorb everything in. There is a lot to learn from being in the backstage festival environment.
You also opened for the Vans Warped Tour (Adelaide show) last December. What was that experience like?
Again like Soundwave, it was a privilege to play, and meet some of Australia’s and indeed the world’s bigger bands. But there is plenty to take on board. The important thing for us is to not take it for granted and just let the day slide past us. We’re sharing the stage with people who do what you want to do for a living. There is a reason they’re there, and you can pick up a little of what it takes simply by paying attention.
These festivals add to a fairly solid repertoire of shows you’ve played, sharing the stage with some great Aussie and international bands. Is there anyone you’d love to play a show with that you haven’t yet?
We’ve already been quite lucky to tour with a couple of our favourite bands, and support others. Throughout our whole time as a band we’ve played a number of mixed genre shows, so definitely playing with bigger bands that may not necessarily be within our defined genre but share in similarities would be a great “next step”. However, to throw some names, personally being able to play smaller shows with a band letlive. Or alongside Architects would be unreal.
You guys will be playing at Saviour’s last show in Melbourne. How does it feel to be supporting a fellow band for the last time?
It’s always sad to see a band calling it a day, but we’re fortunate to be sharing in the experience. Saviour have been a great ambassador for emotive music in the Australian alternative scene.
It’s been a bit of a rough ride for the Aussie music festival industry over the past few months and years, numbers at gigs seem to fluctuate a lot too. What are your thoughts on the Aussie music scene at the moment?
Cause and blame for this is hard to pinpoint. Is it the punters who just aren’t willing to get out to shows anymore? Or are bands and festival line-ups not fulfilling expectations? We all have a role to play in the health of live music, bands need to continue to strive to perform to the best of their ability, while faith needs to be shown by the punter. A band or festival may not be exactly what you’re after at the moment, but if we don’t support growth, we may never see just where these acts or festivals could end up.
You’ve been at this for a number of years and must have learnt a few things along the way. What have you learnt that you wish you know a lot sooner?
That taste in music is irrelevant when it comes to making friends within the industry. I wouldn’t say this necessarily was a big issue for us as we have always endeavoured to be approachable and accepting, but I just think some people tend to write off others simply for the music they create, rather than the person they are. The reality is when you’re out touring or playing a lot of shows, the importance of being surrounded by good people far outweighs a personal taste in what is ultimately a commodity.
Got a piece of good advice for young bands looking to establish themselves in the industry?
Referring back to the previous point, make friends. Network. I don’t mean instantly hassling random people on Facebook to check you out or share your page. Get along to shows, talk with like-minded people online, build friendships over time and see what happens. Everybody wants to climb to the top, but there’s no fast track. So rather than solely focusing on your own project (which is still important), be inclusive when it comes to others.
What will you guys be working on this year? What direction are you heading in with your sound and music?
A new release is our main focus at the moment, we’re pushing to have that out before mid-year. Direction wise, we are trying to diversify our sound and explore what we can achieve. We have an ultimate goal of releasing a full length album down the track, so everything we are working on now is building up to that point where hopefully we will be refined in our chosen direction.
Got a tour or any other gigs coming up?
We had previously booked a tour for May, but that has since fell through. This will leave us with more time (and money) to push our next release, and the touring we will do from it. We’ll look to challenge ourselves with an increased amount of headline appearances this year to truly see where we stand.
Stay up to date with the latest news from Sierra at www.facebook.com/sierraband