Coming to you from Columbus, by way of Cleveland, The Sidekicks are bringing their own blend of Indie/Pop/Punk to Cincinnati with Punk Rock heroes The Gaslight Anthem and Post-Rock/Emo newcomers (and personal favorite) Gates this September 11th, at Bogart’s. Combining elements of such seemingly disparate genres might strike some as dangerous, but as explained by drummer and founding member Matt Climer, it makes a lot of sense – and even more importantly, works incredibly well. Having toured with such bands as Say Anything and headlining their own tour with Hop Along just before joining The Gaslight Anthem for the run that will bring them to town, the 6 year old quartet have a lot going on this year, and even more to come in the months ahead.
Sincere thanks to Matt for taking the time to answer these questions!
A lot of our readers are likely unfamiliar with your music. Can you give them a short primer on the band?
Yeah, absolutely. We are a 4 piece indie rock group from Columbus, Ohio. We write pop songs that are rooted in indie rock with the liveliness of a punk band if that makes any sense at all. In the end, we are a rock quartet I would say. We've released three full length records, a handful of e.p.'s and splits and toured extensively in the last 6 years or so. Our singer Steve and I started the band when we were freshman in high school and have kept going since.
Things seem to be picking up musically in Ohio, can you tell us a little about your local scene, and how you think it might fit in to the regional and national scenes?
Columbus has an incredible local scene with so many amazing bands. There is such diversity to the acts that are here in this city. Bands like Saintseneca, Delay, Tin Armor, Goners and Way Yes are just a few examples of that. The scene is close knit here and at any point you can be playing a show with 3 other bands that aren't alike what so ever. It's a special thing to be a part of and something we hold close to us without a doubt. It really covers all genres and I feel like that's the best part of being around it. We all feed off one another and it makes is push ourselves even more as a band to continue to grow and become better musicians.
Most would identify The Sidekicks with the burgeoning indie scene that’s been gathering strength and notoriety over the past few years, with labels like Topshelf, Run For Cover, Count Your Lucky Stars, and a few others bringing a lot of new talent out to play. What’s it like to see this happening, and, for the band, to be a part of it?
I think overall it's been pretty exciting to see what has been going on with the "indie" scene or underground scene. It's been great to see our friends bands and smaller labels that we know garner greater attention from more and more people everyday. Whenever I'm walking around Columbusand I see someone wearing a Joyce Manor shirt or a Cheap Girls shirt and I don't know who that person is, it makes me pretty happy. There's a lot of really fresh and exciting bands making interesting, well thought out music right now and to be considered as part of that is really special and flattering. None of these bands, including us, are reinventing the wheel but I think it's just pure and honest music being performed by people who love to make music.
Since this is a Cincinnati-centric site, we like to know if bands have had any experiences in the area before. Has the band been to the area? What was your time here like? If not, what’s it like coming in to an area you might not have played before?
We've been to Cincinnati several times over the course of our existence. Our experiences have always been really positive and the shows have always been a blast. We have a lot of friends in the area which is always a plus and the shows have been progressively better every time through. Our friend Jerry who plays in Vacation used to live at a space called The Bike Haus that would put on shows. I loved playing there because it was just such a rad place and had a great vibe. Also, the last time we came through we played at the Frankl Manor which used to be a church. The show was insane and everyone had a blast. As far as I can remember, Cincy has always had some of the best and most unique DIY venues in the country.
The last couple of years, things have really picked up for the band. Can you talk a bit about the changes you’ve seen, and how you’ve all responded to and handled things?
Well, I think as a band we have always taken a slower, more methodical approach that has seemed to work for us so far. It's just more of a one step at a time kind of deal. After Steve graduated from college we knew that we wanted to play music full time and make the band our top priority. Tour a great deal, write, record, so on and so forth. We just want to keep trying new things as a band and keep progressing as musicians. It feels like every time we head out on tour that there is always a few more people at shows or a few more singing along to songs and that's a pretty nice feeling. Overall though, there hasn't been much to handle outside a few more emails and more touring haha. We love playing music and it's a pretty satisfying and mostly stress free kind of situation. We are just appreciative of any attention people are willing to give our band and our songs.
Case in point, this month and next you’ll be touring in two rather different scenarios – first on your own with Hop Along, then meeting up with The Gaslight Anthem. How do you prepare for playing such different size rooms and to what is likely a very different crowd with The Gaslight Anthem?
I don't think we honestly put too much thought into it really. We did a support tour for Say Anything last fall and that was the first "bigger" tour for our band. Playing bigger rooms to an audience that for the most part had never heard of us. We've always been a band that has just got on stage and played our songs and let people make up their minds from there. The biggest thing we learned on those bigger stages was to turn down our amps a bit so that front of house sound system could do more of the work. We like to play loud but a good mix always helps hahaha. No matter the size of the crowd though I feel like we play our set like we always do, with energy and just try to have as much fun possible.
What’s next after the Gaslight tour? Any plans to record and/or release anything in the near future?
Yep! We are actually in the process of writing the new record as we speak. We have a good amount of it done but still a little ways to go. We are hoping to have it out by the middle of next year at this point. Other than that, we will be playing The Fest in Gainesville, Florida again this October/November and also making a stop at Riot Fest in Chicago this September.
Anything else you would like to add or mention?
Feel free to check out all of our upcoming shows at sidekicksohio.tumblr.com orFacebook.com/sidekicksohio. You can also find our music on iTunes, Spotify and all other digital and most physical retailers.
Thanks so much for your time! Can’t wait for the show, guys!
Thanks for taking the time!