Interview: Brett Kennedy of Sierra
By Kayla Schultz
I had a chat with vocalist of Mt Gambier’s Sierra, Brett Kennedy to talk about the band’s new EP ‘Reality Redefined’ which is due for release tomorrow (5th of September)
You’re about to release your new EP Reality Redefined which is out tomorrow. What was the writing and recording process like?
B: It was a bit different to the first one. Both haven’t really gone I guess traditionally. Our first EP which was in 2013, we recorded in 2012. The first lot was done in May of that year, with a different drummer to the second half of it, which was done in November. This time round it was the five of us, we did all five songs but recording wise, we all went up separately. So no one overlapped; I think there may have been some bass guitar overlapping a little bit as far as studio time goes but we kinda had to put faith in each other that, what we were recording, cause once you start, well the drums started and basically once the drums are down we can’t change anything in the songs. so writing wise it was different to the first time around recording because we had to make sure that we knew exactly what we wanted because once that first day of recording was done, there was no turning back but I think we matured in a song writing sense so when we got to the studio we knew what we wanted things to sound like and rather than spending time trying to say restructure something or add a bit in, we could just refine what we already had and also just experiment with adding different instruments or different layers into areas of the songs so overall it was probably a bit more creative.
Well it sounds great!
B: Thank you
So where did the band find inspiration for the songs on the EP?
B: Our two guitarists Logan and Jordan, do most of the song writing so Logan’s strengths are probably in his riffs so the faster, heavier songs on the EP come from him. Whereas the more melodic side is more Jordan’s forte. He writes a lot of melodic pieces, so it mainly started with those two, coming up with different riffs or different leads and from there, you know you add in the bass and drums and then finally the vocals. Inspiration wise, we have a sound that we are going for but it’s not a defined sound. It’s not like we are trying to emulate anyone. We just know what we want to sound like, so the boys just try to continue on in a more mature and stronger way than what our last EP was
How about inspiration for lyrics? Is it from personal experiences in life?
B: It’s a mix. It’s definitely some of my experiences and some of my views and thoughts from things, but it’s also a mixture of metaphorical and literal interpretations of that in the lyrics. So a lot of the songs, I mean I’ve already started to see a few people make assumptions about what the songs are about. They’re very much open to interpretation as none of the songs specifically relate to a certain thing that’s happened or anything along those lines. I try to be relatable, you can’t just make it all about yourself and I think I’ve achieved that.
You’re streaming the EP via killyourstereo.com at the moment. What has the reaction for the EP been like so far?
B: It’s been good! We’ve obviously had the two songs come out, the video singles but I think people are enjoying the three new songs that they haven’t heard. Some people have said that these other songs that they’ve only just heard for the first time are so far their favourite which is good from our point of view because it shows that we had depth in the record. We chose the two singles that we personally enjoyed the most but the fact that people are finding a favourite in these new songs means that we didn’t just write two good songs and the rest was just on the record. People seem to think that across the board that it’s a pretty solid release so we can’t ask for much more than that.
You had preorders for the EP online and they sold out in like less than an hour right? That’s a pretty good effort! Were you surprised at how quickly they sold out?
B: Yeah, it was. We worked out it was about 45 minutes! We had previously done a similar thing with our last EP and that sold out over a few weeks. We hoped that they would sell well but we didn’t think in under an hour. It was evident that from the moment we posted them that people had been just waiting for them to come up, which is pretty crazy. I’m glad they sold out quick because they are going to be the only copies of the CD that we do for public sale. There’s obviously a few extras for ourselves and people involved in the making of the record but there’s only ever going to be those 100 that were available for the public. The rest is all going to be digital now so it’s nice to know that people really wanted to get a piece of that.
You’ve said on your Facebook page that like your first EP, no two songs are of the same vein. Do you like to do this to keep things interesting?
B: It think it’s just how it pans out really. With the two different guys writing, we just always try something different. We originally wrote eight or nine songs and we cut three because they were just a bit too far outside of the five songs we ended up with. They’ve all got their different strengths and I guess different appeal but at the same time they’re all linked with a few similarities. They sound different but you can still hear the common link that it’s us. It doesn’t sound like there’s five different bands. It’s us in five different versions.
Touring wise, you’ve been part of some awesome tours in the past few months. I remember just getting in the doors to see your last couple of songs at the ‘Earthwalker’ tour. What has been your favourite tour so far this year?
B: The In Hearts Wake tour was definitely unreal! There’s very few things I can imagine that would top it purely because we’ve obviously toured with Being As An Ocean before so we are quite good friends with them and Endless Heights from Sydney have been friends of ours for a long time as well so just being able to share it with them and hang out with them for a couple of weeks was really cool. In Hearts Wake, we went to Tasmania with as well just before the mainland shows, so we formed a bit of a bond with those guys and the tour manager Pees, has been pretty important throughout our last twelve to fourteen months of being a band so just being able to spend time with all those people alone made it worthwhile and obviously all the shows sold out, well most of the shows sold out which was a big bonus to have those crowds. Also hanging out with Dream on Dreamer, getting to meet them for the first time, because they’ve been a well-known band for quite some time in Australia. Everyone was saying it on the last night, it was just a really good group of people and a lot of people said it was the best tour they’ve been on and I think we would all agree that that’s what it was, purely from the people in it and then the shows spoke for themselves with the amount of numbers and reactions so yeah we probably can’t top that one.
Yeah the atmosphere at those shows was just amazing!
B: Yeah it was rad!
What do you think has been the band’s biggest strength over the years?
B: I guess we’ve always just tried to be, I guess our biggest strength would have to be our motivation, in the sense of why we have been a band. For us, we’ve overachieved more than anything we thought would be possible. When we started, we didn’t set out to play these big shows or reach the profile that we have, and so we’ve never really taken it for granted. Since we’ve never expected it, every time we find out something new, it’s just always been a bit of a thrill. It’s really allowed us to just make the most of everything and by doing that it makes us perform better. We prepare better for things like that and it has really just kept us heading in a positive direction.
So what is next for the band for the rest of the year?
B: So the EP comes out tomorrow. Hopefully that will gain a bit of momentum and just build up the profile a little bit and then show wise it’s pretty quiet for the rest of the year because it has been such a busy year with international tours coming through and also some Australian bands touring that it kind of removes a lot of our friend’s bands that we would have like to have played with in say a tour in November or December because they are all busy. We are going to be holding off until next year to tour with the EP, early next year, just so we can involve more friend’s bands, it’s always good to catch up with them. We do have one show in November, on the 15th at ‘UnFun’ festival in Sydney that’s being headlined by Kisschasy and they are playing one of their albums in full for that. That’s a festival that gets a lot of pop punk, we will probably be one of the heavier bands on the bill and we’re not considered really heavy, it’s more of a pop punk, hard rock, kind of alternative festival as opposed to a heavy kind of festival so it’s something different and it is at a pretty cool venue too so we are looking forward to that one.
Thank you to Brett for taking the time to chat!
You can check out Sierra’s new EP ‘Reality Redefined’ on its release date tomorrow (5th of September)