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Into The Scene: Sidelines // Breaking The Boundaries

They’re the amalgamation of loud and sad that 2020 absolutely needs.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taken a massive swing at the music industry, with most live event shows for 2020 already being cancelled and the rest in a limbo of unknowingness, label and PR companies unable to fully operate in-house and artists across all boards being constrained in their abilities to make and market their art.

It’s also left the little person, that being small and local artists, unable to fend for themselves or rely on the plush album sales and record labels safety net of money in these hard times. Here at 3 Songs & Out we want to show our support and admiration for the foundational core of our scene: the underground. ‘Into The Scene’ is a project launched to support local and small bands. Our local scene is the boiling pot of fresh new talent and we want to support that in any way we can.

South East London five-piece Sidelines are revitalising 2020 with a much-needed dose of angst fuelled, emotional bangers to get you through these trying times. Breaking through their local scene in 2016 with their self-titled EP, this Metalcore quintet has risen through the ranks with their brutally honest lyricisms, catchy hooks and core message of diversity and self-acceptance.

You might be thinking to yourself “Who are Sidelines and why should I check them out?” alright alright, let me get to it.

Describing themselves as “be an amalgamation of loud and sad”, Sidelines are the perfect mix of a good ideology upheld by emotionally grappling lyrics and mouth-watering instrumentals. Easily comparable to the likes of We Are The Ocean, Casey, Architects, and While She Sleeps for their style and overarching message, their sound is almost a Frankenstein made love child of melodic 2013 Metalcore riffs, mixed with some Post-Hardcore stylings in their later works, with a helpful sprinkling of 2000s Emo influence to really grate your emotions down to every last tear.

But what sets this five-piece aside from the cliché is their representation and values as a band. In a cis, white, male dominated industry Sidelines are unapologetically crashing through with queer and poc representation. Guitarist Kiran Solanki spoke of his experience navigating through music not seeing many young South Asian men like himself on magazine covers or at shows, ‘I never really saw a lot of people of my culture at shows or gigs, and when I did I was like “oh my god, there’s another one.” I never felt like I was out of place or anything like that, but even at local shows I’m usually one of the few people of colour in the room and it’s something you get acclimatised to over time. Seeing people like that in the room is very heart-warming because there really isn’t enough diversity out there, at least not to me.’

Representation is crucial for music, as the dawn of “woke” culture sets a new precedent for society, representation in all pockets of life has become an absolute necessity rather than a luxury Diversity creates new narratives, it introduces new styles and genres - it creates disruption, and oh boy does music love to be disruptive. Solanki comments the representation is “important across all aspects of life” and though he does believe the Metal community is open and welcoming, when it boils down to festival line ups there’s a lot left to be desired. “If you look at a festival line up how many people of colour are actually on that line up? I feel that in order to uplift voices the whole community really needs to work together. That means fans or promoters or booking agents, I think it’s something they should all take into consideration.”

If you peel back the layers of their phenomenal instrumentals, you’ll be slapped in the face with some barbarically heart-wrenching lyrics. Vocalist and one of the primary songwriters, Joshua Venzetti, makes almost every track an open window into his tooth and nail fight with his mental health and the complexities of life. “Music is my main catharsis and the primary things I feel the need to release are my thoughts on self and my mental illness” he explains “lyric writing isn’t really a science when it comes to me. Sometimes I’ll hear the instrumental and just know what the lyrics need to be. Sometimes I’ll have a pre-written verse or chorus that I edit into an instrumental. It really depends on the mental state I’m in and what I want to say.

If someone brings up a particular line to me and wants to discuss it, then I need to be truthful and honest about the meanings and thoughts behind it, otherwise it’s not true catharsis, it’s just words. I think that’s why our scene is moving towards these subjects. We have a mental health crisis that hasn’t been managed or countered and people are finding that music, especially alternative music, is a great place for you to

find people that can honestly say “yes I feel that way too”. It helps you feel less alone and more understood.”

Solanki chimed in and added that “At the end of the day when we’re writing music it’s for ourselves, whether that be for cathartic release or finding a way to cope. So if somebody can’t connect with that, then that’s not a bad thing, it just means they can’t connect to it. You can’t connect to everything you listen to. That’s just making music. We’re just trying to make music that’s important to us, special to us, and as long as it succeeds at that then that’s what is important.”

Sidelines released their 'Year Asleep // Sour Dreams' EP in 2019, but they’ve got a new single coming up in the forthcoming months. Check out their latest stuff below:

Article - Yasmine Summan

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