Here's my interview with singer Shawn Sidetrack
How'd you get started in music?
I started in a band when I was 16. A friend of mine that I had class with invited me over to listen to him and some other guys messing around with playing some guitar and singing through a PA that they had. My friend asked me to sing some Nirvana covers and I found my click in being a vocalist. From that day, we started our own band called XFO, which over the years had different meanings (starting with Xtremely F'n Odd to currently X-it From Ordinary).
Throughout the years, I have been involved with several different bands and songwriters. In the early 2000's, I was the lead singer for my other friend and guitar player's band called Cyndi Cyanide. We made 2 albums and ultimately called it quits around 2004. From then I did alot of solo writing and went on hiatus musically around 2011. Then in 2020 around the time covid was at it's fullest impact, my brother introduced me to an app called Bandlab. Instantly I was back into songwriting. On Bandlab, I started writing music again with my brother (who goes by Unomandojo). We wrote and recorded an entire punk rock album and other material under the moniker 550 Rounds.
Since I was introduced to Bandlab, through the app I have met many musicians and collaborators to write, record, and release music with. I now make music with artists such as the awesome Reckless Velvet, Seventh Sound, Brian Emerton, and Fallen Piipl as well as write solo stuff.
Being a vocalist and lyricist has always been my main focus in music. I play guitar and bass, but primarily just for writing. And there you have it...the history of Shawn Sidetrack.
Who are your inspirations or influences?
I am heavily influenced by the grunge and post-grunge era of music. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Silverchair, and Bush just to name a few. I am also influenced by punk rock and metal bands like Bad Religion and Metallica. My later years I became inspired by simpler music, such as folk. It is an intimate songwriting muse for me.
My inspirations are everyday things and circumstances and also good, rocking music being pitched to me by awesome collaborators. I like to tell interpretive stories with most of my lyrics. When people hear my music, I like them to take what they hear as their own and create their own versions of it. A flexible listening experience that can guide them through the day or evolve with any circumstance they are dealing with.
What advice would you offer aspiring performers?
Find your niche, but mesh your genres and make them uniquely your own. Example...If you like folk and metal, take an attribute from each and make a new genre. Or stick with a certain genre to succeed. I am still trying to find a primary genre. But ultimately...do it for the love of doing it. Never mold a passion just to get followers. You want listeners, not just followers.
How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?
Lyrics. I keep my lyrics to a relatable level for everyone. Every now and then I will dive into obscurity, but keeping the words open to interpretation I feel keeps listeners interested.
Also my vocals. I keep my vocals at an underlyingly angsty and soulful level. The more soul and passion that I put into my singing, the more feeling that comes across. Feeling is the key.
Any new gigs or albums in the future?
What do I not have going on?? (Laughs)
I have so many projects on the backburner. 2022 is going to be a busy year for me in music. I've got alot of punk stuff to put out, more acoustic stuff to put out, and many more collaborations to do this coming year. Demand and creativity is good and will only trend upwards.
I can't say that for gigs, though. I am primarily just a songwriter and recording artist, although I am aiming to put out some more virtual performances and increase the Youtube content definitely so...get ready ;).