By Flora Decide, Deputy Music Editor
Sierra are in an odd repair. Having made the selection to determine roots in Bristol in the beginning of 2020, any plans for Thekla takeovers have been shortly thwarted by pandemic mundanity.
‘I’ve been right here for 12 months and have solely been in a position to do issues for a month of that. I don’t actually really feel like a correct Bristolian but, regardless that I’ve been residing right here.’
Says Charlie Kempson, who heads up Sierra as singer-songwriter, guitarist, bassist and first producer. Becoming a member of him is guitarist and Instagram supervisor Harry Bowden-Ford and Richard Discombe, who’s official position is outlined as ‘going loopy on guitar’. Collectively they create music that goals to ignore the arbitrary obstacles that encompass indie rock and as an alternative expands to incorporate funk and electronica infused touches.
Regardless of the shortage of alternatives for rock-n-roll residing supplied by a metropolis whereby all the things is closed, Sierra have been singularly proactive of their means to take COVID-19 limitations of their stride. Over the previous 12 months there was an intense effort to get pre-existing tracks recorded, resulting in a streamable back-catalogue extra intensive than many bands who’ve been at it for years. Produced in a house studio, the standard of the songs is an impressively far-cry from the standard lo-fi bed room efforts. Elaborating on the deceptively humble course of Charlie admits: ‘The one manufacturing background is from being in studios earlier than. I principally discover movies of artists I like and replica it’ including that ‘Harry and Richard are nice, as I’m no good at disciplining myself with issues; Harry has a superb ear for element.’
The scope of their ambition is palpable, with singles akin to ‘Thoughts/Physique’ traversing an expansive soundscape that transcends suburbia.
‘We simply determined to get our arses in gear, actually’, Charlie explains of the quickly mounting again catalogue that has appeared on Sierra’s Spotify over the previous 12 months. ‘We’d been pretty unproductive… I all the time felt I’d get to the age of 40 and need that I’d given the band a go. As a result of I’d been ticking alongside at 60 per cent and saying, “we should always do that someday”.’
Now having existed in some iteration for the perfect a part of the last decade, Sierra emerged in its larval kind when Charlie and Harry have been simply 13, looking for different individuals at their secondary faculty to make music with. Earlier names dropping by the wayside — first Atticus (struck down as a result of ‘we discovered that was the identical title because the clothes model from Blink-182’) and later Eve and the Animals (‘bizarre as a result of our drummer was going out with somebody known as Eve on the time’). Sierra got here into its current self when Harry met Richard whereas learning at Bristol. Uni had the band strewn throughout the nation, with Charlie far afield at Royal Holloway; it was a numbers sport that had them gravitate in direction of Bristol after commencement.
Rising from this seemingly premature transfer is an sudden optimism, mirrored in music that ‘solely will get happier and happier.’ Charlie highlights that ‘what’s good about being locked indoors is that we may give music a correct crack – if issues have been regular, I’d really feel extra responsible about spending a lot time on music. There’s the old school sense of “oh it is best to have a correct job; you have to be doing this, that, and the opposite”, however we are able to’t actually have correct jobs!’
The relocation was, unusually, not Sierra’s first encounter with the town; they loved a shocking prelude once they landed a gig on the iconic Fleece, performing because the solo venture of Charlie Kempson. They hope that this bodes nicely for future stay endeavours, jokingly answering ‘Wembley’ to questions of the place they may goal subsequent.
But the band recognise the problems that face musicians getting into a scene with out having an already established presence within the midst of the pandemic. Richard recognises that, whereas ‘stay units are a improbable resolution, tailor-made in direction of bands that might have already been enjoying stay anyway’, they face problem as ‘many of the venues don’t know who we’re as a result of we solely turned up within the final 12 months.’
Whereas that is understandably irritating, the band once more appear to be remarkably sensible concerning the restrictions they’ve confronted: ‘the final 12 months or so have seen us fully shift away from a thought course of the place we’d say, “we’re doing nicely if we’re enjoying gigs”.’ Whereas a scarcity of stay viewers has supplied the privilege of quite extra out-there manufacturing methods, the bands present line-up is unlikely to be everything of their stay outfit. They might love to trace down a drummer who can also be in a position to drive, if any aspiring native musicians match the invoice, they might love you to get in contact.
Eliciting essentially the most pleasure is the prospect of a future music video for his or her single ‘Lonely Spring’: ‘we’ve managed to wrangle ourselves an hour and a half on a passenger ferry when it opens up, simply us and the crew. Purchase some foolish costumes, go alone with our devices — who is aware of what’s going to occur?’
‘Who is aware of what’s going to occur?’ is the operative query with Sierra. With a exceptional spine and an inclination for resilience and progress in less-than excellent circumstances, it’s thrilling to see how they tackle the world when it opens again up.
Featured Picture: Catherine Cranefeild
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