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Interview with SIDDIUS

by Vpower

siddius1The Band: Siddius

Country: USA

Answers by: Khalid Stetkevych (guitars)





Siddius has been in my headphones since I discovered the guys’ debut album «When Time is Time Again», I can’t just unplug it. Classic heavy metal in the vein of bands like Savatage, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and so on. This is an awesome display of elegant and catchy songs with a big guitar execution by Khalid Stetkevych, and even a slight prog approach on some tracks. No doubt, labels will go crazy to sign them up and deliver their first album in proper cd edition, vinyl too, I presume.

siddius logo

First of all, we would like to know more about Siddius. We know you are from Indiana and that you play high class heavy metal, but apart from that we almost know nothing

Alex and I have been friends for over 20 years, and we started playing music together in 2003 – when we were about 13 years old. We came up with the name Siddius in 2005. We took a hiatus between 2008 and 2014 as Alex and I went to separate universities.

I am a huge fan of Savatage, so when I read your album’s title I cannot stop thinking about Savatage’s song “Tonight he grins again” when it says that of Time and time and time again I’m just looking for a friend… So, something to do with that or just my imagination flying away?

I’ve never even heard of Savatage. Just kidding. They’re one of my favorite bands

Apart of that, I do feel a Savatage sound in some of the Khalid’s guitars, for example in On the Open Sea

When it comes to guitar tone, I have always loved Criss Oliva (of Savatage). I’ve learned from the way he structures a guitar solo, but I have definitely been more influenced by Marty Friedman, of Megadeth fame, in regards to licks and inflection.

siddius3This is your very first release, Khalid. How long have you worked in that piece of good taste and amazing heavy metal that is your album When Time Is Time Again?

Some of the smaller ideas go as far back as 2006, with a couple structures dating pretty far back as well.  «On The Open Sea» has some ideas that date back to 2006 or 2007, while «When Time is Time Again» was first drafted in 2008. Most of the music was originally structured during our hiatus, but they developed considerably in 2015.

Apart of Savatage guitars, we also can find classic influences as Dio, Rainbow, etc. But this is my opinion, what bands have influenced you?

Alex, Andrew, and I grew up on the likes of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Helloween, and Savatage. I’ve loved the works of the legendary Heavy Metal producer Martin Birch: Deep Purple. Rainbow. Black Sabbath’s «Heaven and Hell», and Iron Maiden. Our keyboardist is the older brother of our bassist, and he was the one that really introduced Alex and me to Heavy Metal. Our drummer has been huge fan of Tool, but he also grew up as a very advanced violin player. Hayden is a big fan of the classic rock/blues rock singers – Coverdale, Plant, (David Lee) Roth, Scott, and Johnson.

A family with good taste indeed 🙂 I don’t want to disregard any member in the band, but Khalid, your work on guitar is just divine, amazing riffs, amazing solos, great atmosphere in a word

Oh my, Mr. Alberto, you’re making me blush.

siddius 1Just the truth, my friend. Khalid, when did you start playing guitar and who were your “guitar heroes”?

I started playing in 2002. I am a huge fan of the work and stylings of Marty Friedman. Any of my extended arpeggio ideas are inevitably born from Marty’s influence, while the idea of the climatically held wailing notes is from that Criss Oliva influence. As an adult, the players whose styles have affected me most are probably Marty Friedman, Uli Jon Roth, Steve Morse, Allen Hinds, and Carl Verheyen.

The majesty that runs throughout When Time Is Time Again would no be possible, however, without a rhythm base that does what is needed to be done in every moment

I wouldn’t quite say that our drummer and bassist “do what needs to be done”. If anything, I would say that their parts are quite note-y and over-the-top. Alex Welp is a prolific riff writer – or the prolific riff writer – and he completely wrote all of the riffs found on “A Conversation Between Death & Man” and “On the Open Sea”. I pushed him and our drummer, Pat, to really flex their musical vocabulary – I wanted the music to be living and breathing.  There are parts where I wanted it to sound like the music was crumbling apart so we could all come back together with an extra sense of authority. While it is very much a “produced” sounding album, with layered voices and cascading harmonies, I did not want it to sound as quantified as many modern albums.   I wanted nothing to be perfectly repeated, so you get these very real and living performances from the bass and drums. Because of this, some of our simpler arrangements are less obvious because of the way that each instrument develops over the course of a song.

Andrew Welp work on keyboards contributes to create that incredible atmosphere you transmit

We worked on trying to avoid that Yngwie/ Jens Johansson sound. As much as we love his work in Stratovarius, I wanted to avoid those power metal synth tones. So we tried to diversify tones, putting an organ tone through a Marshall for the Jon Lord leads, using a clavinet sound, throwing otherwise cheesy synth sounds through a wah pedal, and so on. Of course, we used plenty of straight piano.

siddius2And last, but not least, Hayden Frasier is a powerful vocalist that almost can do anything at any time

Hayden can nail almost any Rock ‘n’ Roll voice, so we spent a lot of effort on making sure that we found his voice. Alex, Andrew, and I had almost all of the lyrics and vocals written before we started working with Hayden, but once we had him in the studio, he pulled and twisted things.  Hayden and I reworked a lot of the lyrics and ideas together, and it was a wonderful process.

What are the lyrics about?

The album is about approaching the end. While there is something of a narrative, I would rather the listener unravel it for themselves.

I like very much the cover, it has that 80s air from the classic heavy metal acts

We worked together with Tristan Thompson to get some of my sketches into full form. The artwork for the album is actually based on the imagery from the songs “When Time is Time Again” and “On The Open Sea”.

We get only 8 songs in the album, but they are like 8 gold grains. Any favorite?

I couldn’t possibly choose a favorite. “A Conversation Between Death & Man” is the most riff intensive. “Nothing’s There” has a wonderful dueling section between Alex (bass), Andrew (keys), and me. It has the biggest chorus. “On the Open Sea” has a huge duel between bass, guitar, keys, and ride cymbal, which culminates into one of the big climaxes of the album. “Don’t Be Afraid to Run” ends with probably the longest single solo on the record. “Surfing on the Sands of Time” is a neat little duet between bass and guitar that has drums for support.

“When Time is Time Again” is the album’s epic. You get probably the greatest performances from Mr. Frasier, while you also get an extended instrumental section with lead work from every member. “Frayed Chords” is a little piano diddy that builds into … “Broken Strings”. This song features the singer quite heavily, and it ominously drives the album to a finish.

Awesome. Have you played already in front of an audience?

Our original incarnation gigged consistently for about 4 years, while this current group has been more or less confined to our area in the last two years of gigging. We are hoping to be able to expand our reach now that we have finally finished our first album.

It will surely be something not to miss. After listening to your album I cannot still believe you have not been signed by any label, or am I wrong?

Now that we have a product, we would love to discuss possibilities.

siddius 2How can anyone purchase your cd?

You can download or listen to the album on Amazon, iTunes, and Spotify. Otherwise, our product is completely D.I.Y., so we are still working out some of the kinks in regards to the manufacturing and distribution of physical copies.

Please, advise me when you have your physic CD ready, I book a copy from now. And last, the composing machine is off now or you continue working in new songs?

We already have the building blocks for another album or two. We’ve begun to work out some of the material for our next recording as a group.

Yeah! Thanks, Khalid, wish you the best!

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