Interview: Sikhara

Sometimes with experimental music you get this overwhelming sense of disengagement between the performer and audience, which I suppose you can empathize with, but still, you crave bit of attention – a glance, anything. And then there are times when a performance literally burrows into your brain, shakes your entire foundations, and leaves you disturbed. That’s exactly what Sikhara, the tribal voodoo collective headed by Scott Nydegger, intend to do. They give you an experience that frankly leaves you thinking for days on after. And you know what, it’s just the kick to the face that the scene here needs. Last night, I got to dig into Sikhara’s past, future, and the unique musical journey they’ve been on. Here are some of the highlights of my conversation with Scott and frequent collaborator David Howard, before their show tonight at XP which promises to be even more shocking (expect a longer vidoe version in the future).


“Bring Voodoo Back”

The origin of Sikhara really is voodoo music and tribal rhythms…it was around that time I decided I couldn’t handle any ‘normal’ life – got rid of all my shit, got rid of my house and directly started the band so it became this nomadic kinda tribal thing … trying to put the culture from any place we go and mix it in and create this language in music that nobody can understand but everyone can understand equally…something that people could of done a thousand years ago… this thing that has the properties of music and performance and ritual that we’ve always had as humans and use the materials we have now and be very much in the current time

On Coming To China

You’ll immediately meet the best people..the guy who does what you do but in this place… you come around twice a year for ten years people take you seriously. It’s about building these relationships and getting to know a place…if I could I would travel continuously and play all the time..but China has been good to me

You used to mean something in Europe when there was a weird show by some foreign band..but you don’t get curiosity seekers anymore..people only come to see the band if they want to see the band…unless you know exactly who they are they don’t care…but China still has that

The Scene In China

The conditions here are still comparatively bad…in Europe you have squats where you have artists with no money…with big beautiful places to do things…in America, if you have a few friends you can go to some place a buy a house with a basement where you can practice and have shows…I find a lot of the time in Chinese music they seem uncomfortable…they just haven’t had the conditions or place to play…they can’t imagine that …having to put a little more effort into things is exactly what needs to happen

Because people don’t have to struggle for it and of course with music and any kind of art…shit’s got to be hard…there is something to that…if you don’t have obstacles in your way you’re never gonna have the same spirit…so I think they’ll definitely be an explosion here. it’s a good time to be in this place

On Their Sound

The point of a live performance is you have something to show …everything is pretty choreographed…every movement I make I try to make sure there’s a reason behind it. Last time we did a pretty good job of scaring people but I hope tomorrow they’ll be genuinely disturbed people. It’s a really hard thing to scare, that’s why the best film directors out there never make a horror film…it’s difficult to do something extreme and scary without looking funny. I want to people to be genuinely uncomfortable, and have to process what they saw for twenty minutes after before they can even have an opinion about it…a brutal experience

And if you can’t engage them you can always throw a drum at them

Great chat guys…thanks! If you want to see what they have in store tonight get over to XP where Sikhara play alongside Little Red, Small Little Red and Mini Heart Train.


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