by Michael Thomas
Sidney York is not your average indie band. And that isn’t intended to rehash the old line about a band not sounding like anyone else out there, even though that’s certainly true to a degree. I mean, how often do you see a bassoonist on stage? With Sidney York you do.
What I meant, though, is that they’re a band that’s geographically scattered and somehow make everything work. Lead singer Brandi Sidoryk divides her time between Calgary and Vancouver. Sheryl Reinhardt is based in Calgary, and Krista Wodolet spends her time between Calgary and Toronto. That’s quite a web of connections, but the band has a secret weapon: WestJet. As it just so happens, both Sidoryk, as well as Wodolet’s sister, work for the airline.
“Which is probably the only way any of this is really possible,” Reinhardt laughed.
The origins of the band can be traced back to the Calgary area. Sidoryk got into music early on in her life when her mother made her take piano lessons. While Sidoryk didn’t like the lessons so much, her piano teacher recommended she taking singing lessons.
All three band members met in the Alberta Honour Jazz Band, and the three all went on to get classical music degrees.
“I think this band has quite a heritage of band geekery,” Luke Cyca, the band’s “honourary member” and drummer said.
It took Sidoryk a little longer to get into the world of indie music, though. “I did so much of the opera and classical world that I didn’t really start doing indie music until I went to Australia,” she said. There she witnessed the fierce love that Australians have for their local musicians, and it inspired her to become part of Canada’s own scene.
Fast-forward to 2011, when the band’s first full-length album, Apocalyptic Radio Cynic came out. The band had the album’s ten tracks produced by three producers- Ryan Guldemond, Josh Rob Gwilliam and Russell Broom.
“It was really great to work with different people and see the different ways they interacted with the music and the direction they took it. We were really lucky, on that front, to do that,” Reinhardt said. Listening to the album will definitely reveal the different production influences.
The band has seen great support from their “home base” of Calgary. “We always have great turnouts when we play in Calgary,” Reinhard said. She added, “There’s a lot of opportunity to branch out and showcase new things in Calgary because the scene is still developing.” Not to say that Calgary is bad place for musicians- far from it. Rather, it still has time to reach its full potential.
Sidney York also has found great friends in Vancouver. In fact, they are linked via band members to fellow acts Rococode and Beekeeper. The band’s love of collaboration probably has some roots in their solid connections to other acts.
The band tours frequently- in fact, they built a tour across Canada in order to arrive in Toronto for Canadian Music Week, touring with the Fortunate Isles and Violent Kin. In the past, they toured with the oh-so-awesome Honheehonhee.
So what’s next for the band?
“Lots of songwriting,” Wodolet said. “We’re working on a more collaborative model.” Sidoryk wrote all of the songs from Apocalyptic Radio Cycnic.
“We all have a clear vision of what Sidney York is, and we all should be a vested part of the songwriting for that reason,” Sidoryk said. The band expects their next album to release in mid-2013.
On the road the band has listened to a strongly Canadian playlist of bands like Mother Mother and Rococode, and especially Honheehonhee.
“We get really into our touring partners,” Wodolet said.
The band played two shows during Canadian Music Week. Check out their website for everything you need to know about them,