Syd.31 is a project formed by front man and producer Dr Magic as a showcase for his songwriting and a desire to create an exciting sound that he, as a fan, would love to watch. Bored of paying big bucks to watch formulaic bands; he decided to merge his love of hardcore punk, industrial metal and sickly sweet pop music to create angry, powerful anthems design to connect with freaks, weirdos and outsiders.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Dr Magic - Vocals, guitar, production and programming. I’m a solo studio artist but rely on backing performers to play live.
Kara Wolf - additional vocals when in the studio and drummer at all live gigs.
Harry ‘Shavo’ Sutherland - live guitars and scowls
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to SYD.31? How long has the band been around?
Dr Magic - I’ve done bands on and off for a few years. I started out forming a punk band called Freaks Union waaay back in the 90’s. I then focused on a career, but eventually formed my first electro project called [POP]ulation before forming Syd.31. The current project has been around for about 7 years, but I’ve only been proper serious for the last 3 years or so.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
I wanted to change the sound and feel of [POP]ulation, when my dad passed away I took that as a sign to change. His name was Sidney and he had me quite late in life. He was born in 1931, hence I changed the project name to ‘Syd.31’
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Dr Magic - I produce it and write and it all. My hobby is songwriting and I can’t seem to stop. I’ve mostly focused on angry political stuff, but recently I've been focusing on matters where it feels like your world is ending for you - loss, suicide, grief, heartache etc. I also mostly write biographical stuff now, as it just feels right. As a man of a certain age I want to focus on challenges I’ve faced in my lifetime, to hopefully inspire young men that life is hard and its ok to feel lost or scared. Its important to be role model for young men, as we generally don’t talk about shit until its too late. That kind of bullshit needs to stop.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Dr Magic - Wow, we are spoiled for choice nowadays. It’s mostly post-punk bands for me now, such as Idles, Shame, Blinders and the incredible Slow Readers Club. Also a BIG shout out to hardcore punk screamers Amydala and their new album ‘Our Voices Will Soar Forever’.
Add that to my established favorites, such as Misfits, Discharge, Fear Factory, L7 and Soulfly etc. and shit loads of drum ‘n bass like Chase ‘n Status, or Black Sun Empire too.
Kara Wolf - Stuff like the Prodigy, Fear Factory and a lot of post-punk bands too.
Shavo - Any band that can hit me with a wall of sound tbh, or make me wanna move or break something, some bands like crim3s, varukers, infernoh The Melvins turbowolf ect
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Dr Magic - Most of my life I wanted to be a songwriter for other people and not be in a band myself. God knows how I ended up being a solo artist. However, I think the band that made me go ‘fucking yes! I wanna do this’ was discovering the Misfits in about 1994. After overdosing in 1995 I decided to get a healthy hobby and six week later formed a punk band, just as Rancid, Green Day and Offspring broke out. Uncanny timing hey?
Shavo - Not really actually, I just formed my first band on bass because me and some friends lived in a small village with nowt to do, they asked me if I wanted to learn bass and form a band, so I did.
Kara Wolf - For me, I kinda got added to Syd.31 because of my image and personality.
Dr Magic - Hah, yup, she was someone that would walk into a room and made it feel like a gig. She needed to be put in a band!
Kara Wolf - Ha, but I'd say the band that inspires me to be in a band is Sonata Arctica.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect …
Dr Magic - I always end up pacing up and down until the doors open, I hate the hanging around and can't wait to chat to people and catch up with friends and fans. That always puts me in a good mood before I hit the stage and go bezerk. I also always avoid alcohol too.
Kara Wolf - Apart from rehearsals, I work out for about an hour twice a week to keep me in shape for bashing my drums. Just before a gig I'm normally relaxing before we head on stage.
Shavo - Couple pints of lager and re-applying my lipstick usually
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Dr Magic - I think buying myself out of my former record contract. Most artists never survive a dispute with their label and break up or give up. For me, its brought me a huge sense of freedom and got rid of creative clutter. I used to think “why the fuck am I arguing with a label that I can outspend and outperform?” Its like I can breath again, and ever since then the gigs have been brilliant and I’m writing better songs. I have a new album out at the end of June and its the best material I’ve written. I’m so fucking proud of it and its punk as fuck.
Kara Wolf - I'd say our recent two gigs, Night Shift at Sheffield where the room was packed and the audience couldn't get enough of us and Alice's Wicked Tea Party where we pulled all of the crowd despite we only did a short set!
Shavo - I haven’t been with the band long but what really is standing out so far is just the hype in getting listening to the new material (coming soon) but we’ve many a gig coming down the pipeline sooo..
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Kara Wolf - I'd love to tour with Heilung as the are amazing live and have so much energy in stage, however we are far, far too different from them.
Dr Magic - yeah, Heilung would be an amazing choice. For me, it would probably be Discharge, Exploited or Misfits in about 1982. Just that utter raw passion and desire for a relentless wall of noise to melt into.
Shavo - probably Ho99o9 or Vengaboys
Dr Magic - Yeah, now you mention it, I have to say Vengaboys too. And we ain't being ironic. They are fucking awesome party people and politically active too. They always put on a good show when we go see them.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Kara Wolf - I’m Looking forward to seeing how this year plays out for the band as it's gonna be a very busy time and we seem to be gaining momentum.
Dr Magic - very true, the intensity of people at our gigs has been mind blowing. People have got tattoos after seeing our gigs, so god knows what it will be like in the next couple of years. Come see us before we burn up.
Shavo - Fake blood tastes awful and stay hydrated!