Syd.31 is a project formed by front man and producer Dr Magic as a showcase for his songwriting and a desire to create an exciting sound that he would love to watch. Bored of paying big bucks to watch formulaic bands; he decided to merge his love of hardcore punk, industrial metal and sickly sweet pop music to create angry, powerful anthems design to connect with freaks, weirdos and outsiders. Armed with a punk vitriol, a rock ‘n roll swagger and backed by feral stage crew, Syd.31 is now set to make waves in the US after smashing the UK. Expect BIG things.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in a coal mining village in England, called Kilnhurst. It was also famous for being built on a raw sewage dumping ground, where crap was taken from the nearest cities by train. 3 million tons of human shit ended there so when people say they come from a shit-hole, this is gonna take some beating. I grew up in Zimbabwe and fell in love with the music I heard coming from the Manchester scene, many years later I finally moved here for the music and parties.
When and where did you start this project?
It started about seven years ago, but I think I only decided to really go for it about three years ago when I realized that I was making music that no one else on the planet was. I had originally fallen out with my vocalist for another project, the usual musical differences, just after I had moved to this city. I plodded along with a local record label, but had a proper eureka moment, just over three years ago. I then bought myself out of the record contract and so now I’m gonna see just how far I can push it, especially with the new album. It’s really odd being a one man band and solo artist, but lets just see what I can do.
Your video ‘Bulldoze Everything’ is an awesome marching sound of terror, congrats on a great video. Was this self produced, who did you have working with you on the creative side?
Awww, cheers guys, that means loads to me. It feels odd talking about it as it makes me either look like a power crazed diva or a fantasist when I go into the details of it. I produced and directed it along with making the props, getting the visuals right etc. For example I used old images of a Renault FT-17 tank from the interwar period, as I knew that would be politically neutral instead of having fascist, communist or modern western armor that could be used out of context. It took me weeks to research and find copyright free film footage just so they could be used for a few seconds on the background. I hand painted and dry-brushed all the props, such as the guitars, adding rust stains on them and on the mic stand too. The most fun I had was choosing the right colored throwing powder – hours and hours of videos on color tones and watching people have powder fights. I also had lots of fun doing people’s messy make-up and directing them too, “more snarling!” I can’t edit for shit so I got the talented Video Ink crew, who filmed it all, did all the editing, visual fx and lighting for me. They had just done the new video for The Damned so hell yeah I was going to use them again. The amount of work I managed to do was incredible, even down to organizing food, water, taxis and transport, the stuff you never get to see in a video. Im so fucking proud of what I did and when people appreciate it, I could burst into tears with joy.
As an artist, what message would you like to give to the world?
It’s an important one to me and very relevant to my life recently – never let anyone tell you that you will be nothing without them. People who say that are leeches, which seems to apply to a lot of the music industry. Why the fuck do some people want to keep others down unless it involves them is a mystery to me. Go out there, go and do the thing and be fucking amazing.
We love your punk influenced vibe, who are some of your punk rock heroes?
Ah, I’m so pleased you do. Wait, that’s not very punk is it, hah! I’m supposed to be angry and full of righteous anger. I’ve been getting a lot of love from people and it’s made me smile non-stop, which is odd considering the music I’m influenced by. I’d have to say my punk rock heroes are Discharge, The Misfits and The Exploited, all very noisy stuff. With a huge slice of Billy Idol for the confidence, Vice Squad and The Damned for just being so fucking cool and confident. Let’s never forget the most punk rock of them all – Grace Jones! She is my god.
Describe the Syd.31 live show, who are the musicians and what are their roles?
Imagine you are teleported into the future where you get to see a gig with the very last punks on Earth. Imagine the sounds and tension as the planet dies all around them and society is collapsing. That’s the vibe at our gigs, there is nothing like it – I can guarantee you. Helping me out on stage is Kara Wolf on drums. Get in her way while playing and she will rip your throat out. The only drummer I know that plays so hard she has passed out at gigs. On guitar at gigs we have Harry ‘Shavo’ the sexiest fucker to ever play a punk riff and armed with a deadly snarl. We also have ‘Beta’, my onstage foot-triggered drum machine and sampler who plays the heaviest bass lines known to man. Beta will melt you.
Your upcoming 10 song album ‘Walk Amongst The Rebels’ drops June 24th, 2019. Is there a tour coming or festival performances planned?
There are lots of gigs for the next 18 months. I normally don’t like listing them too early as it gives people a chance to say “Oh, I’ll just see them at another gig” which can be unfair for each promoter that books us. They end up trying to compete with other promoters to get fans out. We played Alice’s Wicked Tea Party festival last weekend in a barn on a sunny farm and it was fucking brilliant. Everyone was just up for it. On the other hand, we are playing Whitby’s famous Tomorrow’s Ghosts festival around Halloween, along with Wain Hussey (The Mission). It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be dark and very spooky. I can’t wait. In the meantime, we post details of coming gigs on our social media pages, that’s the best way to find out more, such as our next London gig in July in Camden with some really good friends of ours too. Expect dark, sweaty times.
To literally not be the last punks on earth… We need to keep music rebellious and forward thinking. I want to push and inspire other artists to use technology and their self worth to create exciting experiences. We can’t just sit here regurgitating the same old stuff that’s been done for 50 years and then moan that people prefer to sit at home with game consoles. I want to keep gigging and putting on one hell of a show and I want others to do that too, I want people to keep inspiring me.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
There is so much beauty in the light, and in the light of the world but it would all be meaningless without the beauty of the dark. For every glorious sunrise there is the moonlight too. We make our nights darker so that others may have a brighter light.