I am old enough to know who Slade are. THE SLYDE has a name that could easily be mistaken for that classic band but this Canadian lot are way too different, as you will hear once you listen to them. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
Nathan: The Slyde formed out of the ashes of a previous melodic death metal band that I fronted called Atma. At the time, I just wanted to continue creating music in this idiom, but incorporate keyboards, piano, and synthesizers; add more pop, alternative rock, and classic prog elements; move away from the screaming vocals that Atma did (and did very well I might add by my brother Daniel, who was the lead vocalist in Atma), and just focus on clean melodic vocals. Over the years, the band’s purposes have changed drastically, and this can be heard in the evolution of the music from our 2009 demo, all the way to our recently released full length album ‘Awakening’.
How hard is it to come up with a sound that is all yours? What bits’n’pieces do you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
N: I have such a wide range of influences and inspirations that contribute to the sound that is The Slyde. I love bands like Megadeth, In Flames (pre-Reroute To Remain era), and Soilwork just as much as I love 90s video game music, 80s pop, and classic prog bands like Pink Floyd. I wouldn’t say that it is difficult to come up with our sound, as it feels very natural to write and create music in the style and instrumentation that we have – we’re more concerned about writing a piece of music that gets listeners to think about what it is what we’re singing about, but also rock the f*ck out with us! Above all else, we love making high-energy music.
I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
N: I’m always coming up with song ideas here and there, and the creative process mostly consists of me composing the songs from scratch, writing and arranging for all the instruments, presenting the arrangements to the band members, and each member tweaks the parts to make it their own, and make it more musical. For instance, I’m not a drummer, but I love to write drum parts, so when I present an idea to Brendan, almost every time he makes the part 100% better because he’s such a musical guy and the same goes for the rest of the band mates. Lyrically, I tend to write the majority of the lyrics, but often we’ll collaborate on concepts and ideas and work together on the lyrics.
Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release only single songs because that is what is demanded to stay atop and therefore you end up killing the album for example?
N: I’m very on the fence about this idea. I understand why it’s important to stay relevant and be periodic with releasing singles, but I’m so stuck in the old school way of releasing albums and enjoying an album as a collection of songs and as a whole. That being said, we’ve been a band for almost 10 years, and we just released our first full length album, so there’s something to be said about that. We found that EPs are the way to go, because you can focus on a small collection of tunes, and release music more often. But for ‘Awakening’, we said ‘f*ck it, we’re doing a full length’!
I for one feel that the change in how people listen to music today, by downloading it and expecting to get it for free, will kill music as we know it. What kind of future is there for music?
N: Personally, I avoid digital consumption of music, because again, I love having an album in my hands, and I avoid streaming platforms even more. Eventually I’m sure I’ll come around, but I’m holding onto my CD collection for as long as I can. With iTunes being phased out in 2019, it further hits home that people aren’t even buying music digitally anymore, and streaming platforms are taking over, and it’s a double edged sword for artists, because on one side, your revenue decreases drastically, but in contrast, your music is so readily available and accessible to the masses. If you’re a low-level exposure band, sometimes you need to think of all this as an investment in time and money, in something that you are extremely passionate about, and get your music out there, and if it’s good, people will talk about it and share it.
What kind of responses do you get to your music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
N: I think the most common reaction we get from people who see us live is: “Wow, I’m not really into metal/prog rock, but I really liked your show”. The other one is, “your voice sounds like Geddy Lee”. Sarah is also an x-factor for us: she’s a phenomenal musician with an insane amount of dedication to her craft that few people possess, and her dedication transcends across all idioms she plays, including classical piano. And she gets a lot of attention at our shows, because she’s so awesome! Oh, and Alberto and Brendan are incredible musicians too!
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
N: Apparently our YouTube analytics show that Russia is ranked 3rd in most views on our channel. We’ve also had SOCAN reports of our music being played in numerous countries in Africa and Asia. I did a radio interview with someone in New Zealand years ago who randomly found out about us. For better or worse, the Internet has and continues to reshape the music business model and the industry as a whole.
Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of a greater community? What has music brought with it that you would have otherwise missed out on?
N: This goes without saying, but you meet so many interesting people, both on and offstage. Other artists, music lovers, passionate fans, etc. We’re all very fortunate to be a part of this community.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
100%. You absolutely HAVE to do live shows. Yes, there’s many avenues that can be taken now with YouTube and social media, but in my opinion, a live music performance will always trump anything.
What plans do you have for the future?
N: We have no plans of stopping any time soon. We’ll be doing a lot of post-release content, now that the new album is out. Some video playthroughs, more shows in the Summer and Fall to support the new album, a couple more music videos, and possibly a web series of live off the floor, in studio performances, with an A/V crew and sound engineer. And, of course, a new EP for 2019.