Name: Sidney S. Thompson aka Sid Le Rock
Recent release: Sid le Rock's Invisible Nation is out via Beachcoma.
Recommendations: Book: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson; Music: The Red Shadow Singers – Ghost Dance Songs
If you enjoyed this interview wit Sid Le Rock and would like to dive deeper into his work, visit him on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
There’s not a whole lot happening as a teenager living in small town in northern Ontario, Canada. Back in the early 90s, a group of friends and I kept ourselves entertained by producing these tedious pause tapes that contained our favourite hip hop loops du jour, and laid our vocals to this.
My first gig ever was performing at a Hair Stylist convention. I believe we even came up with a rap for one of the hair products. Well, it wasn’t quite the street credits we were seeking, but it certainly initiated my creative sparks that still continues 30 years later.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
I process music differently from one day to the next. For me specifically, I suppose it has much to do with the moment in which I’m hearing or creating music. Music can be extremely engaging if it’s met with purpose, function and even vulnerability.
Much is the same when I am composing music, but it has to have that spontaneity, with hopes to achieve a certain quality of sustainability. This initial spark of hearing a song can be fooling, but our brains are usually on point.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I’ve had my share of influences but it was never my pursuit to replicate. Yeah sure, everything that is inspiring, is in some matter borrowed but, my development as an artist really came from the many mistake I made to achieve that “personal voice”.
I owned up to all my fuck-ups, and I turned that in to ah-ha moments and music breakthroughs.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I retain somewhat of an open mind and I listen to what I think is good music. But the older I get, the more stubborn and picky I’ve become as a composer and, especially as a listener.
Getting older is great, time becomes more valued and my opinions are less filtered.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Will I still personally enjoy or regret this a year later? Is the approach to my art.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
Who can really offer truth or define these topics with certainty?
Personally, innovation just feels like a lazy word that individuals or brands often make use of in order to gain profit, based on an idea or concept that most often doesn’t provide original thought.
With regards to timelessness, at least that has provided proof. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
I will have to go with the answer I always go with for this question – My two ears and a heart.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
Everyday is different as a musician / composer. But if I were to get struck by a truck, I would be wearing clean socks.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
For my new album Invisible Nation, I pored through many hours of traditional and ceremonial music by Native American Indigenous peoples to expand on my previous knowledge and personal experiences as a person of aboriginal descent. In recreating the drumming and chants, this laid the foundation to many of the tracks on my concept album.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
I’ve worked in a collaborative setting, where I felt it to be inspiring. It can be hazardous in a fun way, but overall, I prefer my solitude.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I create for self-fulfilment. However, if I can provide a little happiness in a world that is bleak, I am deeply humbled.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
The big topics definitely play a major role in contributing to how I produced, as well as how music is received. For myself, it is not a question of understanding; it is an expression of personal experiences that contributes to our creativity and consumption.
Music is like provided advice or a prayer that’s already been answered.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Music is a science. Both use mathematical principles and logic, blended with creative thinking and inspiration to arrive at conclusions that are both enlightening and inspirational.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
A coffee maker has its limitation on settings. Music is like a bottomless cup.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
Man, I wish I knew.
Though, if I did know, I certainly wouldn’t reveal its many mysteries.