|Steve Sitkowski – Outcry Collective|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Wednesday, 23 December 2009 13:45|
One of the great things about writing for a music website is when you discover a band that literally blows you away. This has happened to me quite a few times this year (you can read more in the Review of the Year due later this week), but most recently it was an album called 'Articles' by Outcry Collective that took my head and unapologetically slammed it into another musical dimension.
Such was the immediacy of the band's music, and my eagerness to share their story with you guys that I tracked down their singer Steve Sitkowski, at their recent Cardiff Barfly show and literally press ganged him into an interview later that week.
So, what follows is a bit of a crazy mix of surrealist banter and outright compelling musical debate...Enjoy.
Steve thanks for taking the time to catch up with us at Uber Rock. You've spent most of 2009 seemingly gigging everywhere, how's the year been for the Outcry Collective gang?
This has been the quickest year of my life - we worked like fiends. We finished recording the album at the beginning of the year and just hit the road hard.
And the most recent Tour with Gay For Johnny Depp and Blakfish how did that go?
It was one of the best tours we've done in my opinion. Everyone on the tour was really cool and every night we partied hard. All of the gigs were great in their own way. Quite a few things happened that I'm sworn to secrecy by 'what happens on tour stays on tour' but if anyone reading this buys a T-shirt off me after a show and asks me I'll tell them everything.
The overall reaction to 'Articles' has been a pretty unanimous thumbs up all round, how does that make you feel?
I know how I feel about the album - I'm really proud of it. It's funny because you can tell just from reading the reviews if someone's listened to it and paid attention or whether they've just labelled it as sounding like another band. I had someone come up to me on the tour and say it was the best album that they bought all year and that they were inspired to start a band themselves. To me that means everything ............
So what's the story behind Outcry Collective then, I mean Surrey isn't exactly known for fierce rock n roll is it?
Long, long story short is we got together and jammed Rage Against The Machine songs. I was a depressed and angry kid who just wanted to let it out on the microphone and then it just naturally evolved into what we are now. I know some people might think a heavy rock band can't come from Surrey but we've proving them wrong every time we get on stage.
I caught up with you at your recent Cardiff show, and that was certainly thirty minutes of pure anger and vitriol, where the fuck does that come from?
(And if you weren't doing this then what the hell would you do to release that anger?)
I used to think that there was something wrong with me like I was cursed or evil or something. I've never taken it out on other people - ask anyone that knows me and they'll say I'm pretty chilled. When I'm by myself I can be pretty self-destructive and stress a lot. Being in the band gives me some release - without it I probably would have ended up doing something bad like be a serial killer or go straight for the heroin (No offence to anyone that does either).
Of the songs on 'Articles' and played live you certainly mix things up sound wise what influences do you guys draw on? Is there a nod toward some possible Madchester influences on 'Crystal Clear' for example?
With the album we wanted to combine our heavy sound whilst wearing our influences on our sleeve - RATM, Arctic Monkeys, Prodigy, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Strokes, Queens of the Stone Age. We're not concerned with what's considered cool right now, we just like what we like. 'Crystal Clear' was very much a nod to Oasis but with positive Incubus-inspired lyrics.
So what direction can we expect you guys to go off in for album number two? And are you writing for that already?
I got off the phone today from Chris our guitarist who says he has been recording riffs onto his computer. I've been spending time writing poems and complete songs - I'm confident that we're going to be pushing ourselves. There will be more melody on it but I know that I'll be making sure that we have some heavy tunes on there. At this point it's up in the air but I think our fans should be excited and have faith - we won't let you down.
Looking into 2010 what do you guys want to saying you've achieved this time next year?
We should do another interview this time next year to see but I want to tour heavily and have another album recorded. All we can do is work hard like we've always done - it's up to the fans how big we get. Oh but I'd like to play Reading - we've yet to do that.
You've played with more bands than we probably get CD's from over the space of 2009, who should we be looking out for other than you guys in 2010?
We see a LOT of bands play whilst on the road but every now and then I see a band and I think they're truly special. I thought that with both 'The Dead Formats' and 'The Computers' and they're both carving their own paths. We toured with 'Young Guns' when we were both starting out and they're going to be HUGE. 'Untitled Musical Project' already broke up but they are wicked. We played with 'The Naturals' in Bristol and everyone was saying how good they were. I don't know much about them but I'd put money on 'Duck Duck Goose' doing well.
Anything you'd like to plug or tell our Uber Rock readers about Outcry Collective?
We've dedicated our lives to doing this band and really enjoy playing to crowds of any size. Our album 'Articles' is available and we'd appreciate it if you buy it because it's 2009 and musicians are getting seriously fucked from illegal downloading. Keep an ear out for future dates .....
Just to finish off we always like to do the usual Uber Rock Ten random either/or questions quiz. All that we ask is that you answer with your first answer with a brief explanation and not necessarily think too much about the answers.
OK? Lets go
Pizza Express or Pizza Hut?
Pizza Express. I love gimmicks and there is nothing more gimmicky then a stuffed crust pizza.
W.A.S.P or Kiss?
Kiss but only because I prefer kisses to wasps.
Religion or War?
They sort of go hand in hand but I'll say religion - I think the Buddhists have it down.
A Great Day for The Crows or Dead In The Water?
A Great Day For The Crows is about an artist that drives himself insane with insecurity and burns down his mansion with himself and his art in it. Dead In The Water is about staying positive. Ah! I'll say both.
The Bronx or Fucked Up?
We've played with Fucked Up before but I'm a huge fan of The Bronx. Everyone should check out their song Past Lives.
Jeremy Kyle or David Cameron?
Jeremy Kyle is brutal. I don't have TV but whenever I've caught his show he's petrified me.
Saviour Stranger or Crystal Clear?
Saviour Stranger is about a girl that I used to like who blew me off. Apparently she thought I was wierd - no shit
Monkey Tennis or Panda Triathlon ?
Wow I have no idea what either is but I'll go with Monkey Tennis. I'd pay to see that.
Turbonegro or Gay For Johnny Depp?
Gay For Johnny Depp - we got pretty tight on tour and yet they surprised me every night by how fucking insane they are.
Christmas Eve or New Year Eve?
Christmas Eve - as a kid I never used to sleep. Last Christmas Eve I had toothache and couldn't sleep. This year I hope to break the curse and get drunk on whisky and eat a load of vol-au-vents.
And with that over and done we'd like to say thank you so much Steve for taking the time to talk with us here at Uber Rock, we hope you have a fantastic end to 2009 and an even better 2010 and we look forward to seeing you live on the co headline tour you have set up with The Computers for March 2010.
Cheers - Merry Christmas everyone, Steve
The band's new video 'Dead In The Water' is out now