The Knockturnal was fortunate enough to catch up with Liam Magill, front man of English alternative rock outfit Syd Arthur, before he took the stage at Terminal 5 on September 27th. Syd Arthur’s new album, Apricity, drops TODAY October 21st.
Where did the name Syd Arthur come from?
We all like literature, so it’s from the Hesse book Siddhartha, and we kind of played on the word—the title of that book—and we referenced a couple of people in the name. And we called it Syd Arthur.
You’ve described your new album, Apricity, as “the distillation of everything that [you’ve] been exploring in music,” and I wanted to know if you could tell us how your journey with music has lead you to this point.
Sure, well we started out kind of like a house-band at the local scene, playing all the parties, and it was quite kind of a jam, quite an instrumental for years. And then we started to get more into song writing, and over the years we’ve just been creating our sound.
Two of your brothers also play in the band, and I’m an only child, so I have absolutely no understanding of how that dynamic might work. What is it like working with your brothers?
We’re just like a bunch of friends really, no different, you know, just a tight crew of friends who are just all on the same level you know? No hierarchy, we’re just on the same level, and the same music, and we get along well. We’re just all on the same page in a way.
Last night I listened to your new album and just walked around my neighborhood. I found it to be both psychedelic and very fluid, there’s a lot of movement going on. You have a very unique sound, and I was wondering if you had any particular musical influences.
There are so many influences we’re drawing on it’s hard to single out an influence in specific. We listen to a lot of psyc-rock, and 70’s and 60’s rock classic stuff, and we listen to a lot of electronic music. We listen to lots and lots of things, so it’s hard to single out something; we’re just pulling on so much really. It’s cool that you were walking around listening to it, that’s a good way to do it.
I find that’s one of the best ways to listen to music. So far, my favorite tracks on the album are No Peace, and Sun Rays. Do you have a favorite song on the album, or one that you’re the most proud of?
I was quite proud of Apricity, Coal Mine, obviously No Peace; I’m proud of all the tracks. Evolution was something that I was quite proud of, and that’s something that’s been brewing and that I’ve been working on for years. I was really happy that got onto the record, cause that’s one we’ve worked on for a long time.
Could you tell me a little bit about your song writing process?
It varies a lot. It’s always different; sometimes it’ll just be, in the classic sense, me writing a tune on the acoustic guitar. With Into Eternity, Josh, the drummer, wrote the verse, for instance and I took the verse and wrote the rest of the song around it. But often the title or something lyrically, that’ll start something. I’d probably say I’m dominating the writing, but when we’re all in the room figuring out everything together, making our parts gel and everything, that’s really where it comes together
On a thematic level, what is Apricity about?
Apricity is feeling the warmth of the sun in winter. It ties into the album artwork with the golden sun.
So you’re actually playing a show at Terminal 5 in a few hours. Is there something you generally do before a show?
Not really. I don’t really eat before a show; I just chill out, have a smoke, have a drink, we all hangout together. I play my guitar pre show quite a bit. Warm up my guitar playing, warm up my voice. Drink copious amounts of tea.
What’s it been like touring with Jake Bugg?
We’ve been hanging out with the guys, and we’ve been getting on really well. His crew has been helping us out, and the shows have been really fun.
What’s next for Syd Arthur?
When we get back to England we’re going on tour with White Denim, and then we’re going on a headline tour. We’re still figuring out next year what shows we’ll be playing, and touring. We’re writing new material always, and everyone in the band is working on tracks, so there’s lots of new music already.
Do you think you’ll be coming back to New York?
Yea, early next year we’ll be back in America touring, so we’ll definitely be back in New York