Described as ‘dramatic, sophisticated and stylish’ by Chris Hawkins of BB6, Sylvette is a five-piece art-rock group smashing their way through the indie music scene. We had a chance to speak with frontman Charlie Sinclair (CS) about their new single ‘Kelpius’, musical evolution and being fish.
OSR: How was the band formed?
CS: The band formed after we met at the Royal Northern College of Music five years ago. Initially, we were just a trio playing songs I’d written in my teenage years with Ash on bass and Pete on drums, but then over the next two years, the lineup expanded and we settled on the five-piece with Jack on guitar and Philip on violin/keyboards.
OSR: Has your musical journey had a deliberate direction or did it gradually evolve to this point?
CS: There has never really been a deliberate change, but the evolution of style has been reflective of how we have changed as people. We were 18 when we met and now we’re all 23/24 and very different people so we couldn’t make the same music if we tried. Our taste in music has evolved and grown so we now are excited by ideas that wouldn’t have interested us at the start of our career. I feel there are elements of us that remain constant through the change, but I wouldn’t put any money on where our sound will end up on the years to come. We love not knowing what’s next.
OSR: What is your creative process like?
CS: It varies a lot. Sometimes a song comes out very quickly and is a direct expression of a specific feeling or thought but sometimes it takes a lot longer. We alternate between writing with instruments and writing into a laptop/studio because they have very different results and can inspire us in different ways. Lyrically, I take a lot of inspiration from film, literature and art, but I also love writing personal music when there is something worth talking about in my own life.
OSR: What is the backstory to ‘Kelpius’?
CS: We wrote ‘Kelpius’ about a fictitious cave-based cult. Through the song we follow the unknowing Messiah of this cult that fulfils the prophecy of being the human sacrifice that ends the famine.
OSR: If you could open a show for any artist who would it be and why?
CS: The Frank Zappa hologram so we could say we supported a ghost.
OSR: What are your favourite and least favourite venues to perform?
CS: Our favourite venue we’ve played is Band on the Wall in Manchester. It has such a clear onstage sound and the stage is only just higher than the audience so it feels very intimate. Our least favourite venue would have to be the RS bar in Sheffield. Nothing personal on the venue, we just had a memorably terrible gig there when we were starting out.
OSR: Have you collaborated with other artists?
CS: No, we haven’t yet, but we plan to on the next record. We’ve started working on ideas for a track we want to make with a Liverpool-based artist who we all adore.
OSR: What do you think of long-distance collaboration?
CS: I think it can work. We’ve had some interesting lockdown collaborations, but nothing really beats being in a room with other musicians.
OSR: What is the worst advice you have been given?
CS: ‘If you want to have a career as a band you need to make less weird music.’
OSR: On a scale of 7-191 how happy are you with the released version of ‘Kelpius’?
OSR: If you were a school of fish, what type of fish would you be and why?
CS: White-spotted pufferfish so we could spend our days making beautiful patterns on the ocean floor.
OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?
CS: Watch the original Dark Crystal film.