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Jan Sleigh meets Silvermaker
| || || We first heard Silvermaker at a kitesurfing event last year. They then returned for Kitejam in North Wales in 2006. Unfortunately after their first set, the plug was pulled by the |
police following complaints from the beachside residents. So instead they did an awesome ‘unplugged’ set around a campfire on a relatively warm Welsh beach! Skip several months later, and whilst editing the Boardseeker DVD, we knew just whose sound we wanted to match to the action. So in time with the release of our DVD in early December, we asked resident music critic, Jan Sleigh, to review their self-titled album and interview the band.
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When you wake up in the morning and you have a song going round in your head, it usually means you heard it somewhere the day before and that it’s a very catchy tune. Whether you like it or not is a different matter.
I woke up the morning after my first listen to Silvermaker’s album and was signing “Rock Star” to myself. Yep it is a catchy tune and yes I do like it – it’s damn good.
Silvermaker’s self-titled, self-distributed album opens with the pumping guitar riff laden “Only the best”, with the infectious anthem “Rock Star” flowing close behind. Front woman Annelies slows the pace down with “Soul Destroying” a beautiful, insightful tune that demonstrates more of her vocal ability and the bands tight musical skills.
It always seems unfair to try and compare a relatively unheard of band to others but for me their poptastic rock made me think Natalie Imbruglia meets Courtney Love’s Hole – and that is a good thing. The sound is pop and rock, infused with punk, melodies and rock & roll star attitude.
The velocity picks up again with the penultimate track “Come On” which is a rockin song that you’ll bound around to and is definitely a good motivational track for being on the water!
Overall Silvermaker has a polished, professional feel - but not so polished that it removes the raw energy and enthusiasm from their music. After one listen, you can easily imagine yourself at a Silvermaker gig dancing, jumping, bouncing along to the groovy vibe and rock beats.
Their musicianship is unquestionable so, with a bit of luck and a little mainstream airplay Silvermaker have what it takes to be very good Rock Stars.
More of the Band: www.silvermaker.co.uk
My space: www.myspace.com/silvermaker.
Next gig: 9th December at the Pavilion Theatre in Brighton with The Stirring, My Federation & Floors and Walls. Tickets £7.50/£6 pre purchase Call 01273 709 709
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Silvermaker: The Interview
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Describe your sound?
It’s rock/pop sometimes punk with phat guitar riffs, catchy melodies and solid grooves.
Did any of you experience a childhood musical epiphany?
Quite the opposite, our musical epiphanies only happened in adulthood. That said, I did have a sudden realization at the age of 15 that I wanted to be a rock star (if that’s what an epiphany is), but have no idea what led up to it, it just suddenly happened, just like that.
How long have you been together?
Ben and I started writing in 2001, formed a band in 2002 when Nic joined, we started gigging in 2003 and Max has been in the band since 2005.
What is your secret musical indulgence?
Nic plays in an abstract jazz band and Max sometimes gets drunk by himself listening to Bon Jovi. Ben really likes the new Christina Aguillera funky track and I was rocking all summer to Frrrrrrrrom Paris to Berlin!
What CD is in your car right now?
This minute Wild Dreams Of New Beginnings by Admiral Freebee – the biggest rock act in Belgium at the moment, and really good stuff. I met him through myspace and there is a possible support slot for us on his next summer tour, so watch this space (!). I am from Belgium myself and it has a great music scene with some internationally known bands: Soulwax (Too Many DJs), Deus, Admiral Freebee and Sarah Bettens are doing great in the States. Also I like Wolfmother, Jet, Fall Out Boy, Stadium Arcadium by the Chillies…
Where do you draw your lyrical inspiration from?
Things that have happened to us or others or our current situation or life in general. I like to tell a story where I can. Sometimes lyrics just happen, and a song really writes itself. I like those the most. It reminds me how powerful your subconscious is and how important a change of scenery can be for inspiration.
How long do you spend writing?
We do stints of writing every day for a few weeks, and then have to have a rest cause it’s a bit like giving birth (or how I would imagine it to be)! All in all I would say about a week a month in bits and bobs, but that’s because there is a lot of other stuff that needs to happen to keep us moving forward at the same rate. If we had our way we would just write and perform all the time. This will happen at some stage.
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Which songs do you prefer to play live and why?
Rock Star, Only The Best and also our 2 new tracks Give it A Little More Love and Hedonistic Days.
These are all quite dancy tracks and fast-moving. When an audience doesn’t know your songs yet these types of songs work best. They are also the newest tracks in the set, so exciting to play. I might give a different answer when we’ve released some stuff and are playing festivals with huge crowds singing along to every song.
Rock Star is definitely a crowd-pleaser and we always get the crowd to sing along to the chorus so the vibe in the room is great. It has a kind of ‘We Will Rock You’ vibe. All the lyrics in Rock Star are a true story about Ben going on job interviews and not getting the job cause they would ask what his ambition was and he couldn’t lie: “Well, I want to be a rock star.” It’s an important answer - we wouldn’t be doing this interview if he had said otherwise.
Only The Best is also a fast-moving tune and gets the blood flowing nicely. Max and Nic both get on the mic for this one so we’re all up front. There’s also a filtered dancy noise in the middle that makes you want to stick your hands in the air.
Hedonistic Days is a new track and new tracks are always fun to play live. It’s even faster than the last two with a great melody and BVs and it makes you want to move.
Give It a Little More Love is slower at a typical dance-track speed, with a groovy bass-line that makes you nod your head and wiggle your arse, whether you want them to nod and wiggle or not! It has a different vibe to the others and the vocal has attitude so it’s great for prancing around and getting eye-contact with the crowd. This track is now on our myspace at www.myspace.com/silvermaker.
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Silvermaker on the water
Tell us about your windsurfing/kitesurfing career? When did you start?
Ben (drums) comes from a sailing background and was already windsurfing when ‘we were crappin' in our hands and rubbin' it on our faces’. He started windsurfing on the Queen Mary Reservoir on some seriously retro kit at the age of 11, apparently effing and blinding to onlookers until he got it right. He then did a couple of seasons in Vassiliki, Greece where he met me. I was a mere punter and beginner, he was a top level windsurf instructor, I was sold (both to the sport and the guy!) We eventually moved to Brighton together, got into kitesurfing about three summers ago and we love it to bits. Since then we’ve taken Nic (bass) to the beach that has done all the body-dragging bits and is now ready to tackle the board. Max got into a wetsuit for the first time ever in Newquay the other day when we all went surfing and was riding waves within two hours, so it will be interesting to see how he does.
Why did you get into it?
That first time in Greece I was just on holiday with a friend whose parents had booked us all lessons and I was pleasantly surprised. Kitesurfing seemed like an obvious progression because there are a lot more kiteable days than windsurfable days here on the UK South Coast. Ben had an older brother who was already doing it so there was no way he was just gonna sit back and let him be better at it! I think sometimes that’s what happens with me too, I try to compete with Ben, but he is slightly crazy and therefore always wins. I think the main reason we all love it so much and stick to it is because it really does give you a release from every day life.
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Even being a musician you are often stuck inside a smelly studio (the boys’ doing of course), and getting out on the water provides a great contrast and gives you lots of inspiration. There is also something really special about looking at the mainland from about a mile away and realizing you really are detached from it all for a bit. Well, and apres-kite beers taste the best.
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How often do you get out and where mainly do you sail in the UK ?
In the summer we try to get out as much as possible which means about 2 to 3 times a week. Shoreham is our favorite spot because it’s the nearest one with a large beach, kiteable on all tides, easy parking and a great beach community. Lancing is very good too, but there are groynes that can get in the way at high tide. We often do downwinders from Lancing to Shoreham. Ben and I went kiting in the ballistic conditions of El Medano, Tenerife this summer. It was a good introduction to wave riding but very challenging and we realized Shoreham & Lancing are definitely very consistent and safe spots for those interested in learning.
Have you ever written a song about windsurfing/kitesurfing?
Almost. There is definitely a song in me on that subject that will come out soon, but as an afterthought the chorus of Trying To Stay Alive fits perfectly!