Sidekick Interview - A Scholar of Life

Meet Sidekick, one of Australia’s promising producers and lyricists. Today Sidekick released his first major work, Chilli Chips & Cigarettes, an introspective EP exploring the intricacies of the human condition. We had a chat to Chris, the man behind Sidekick to explore the project, EP, and his future direction.

Futuremag Music: Hey Sidekick, what's new in your world?

Sidekick: I’m just trying to be a scholar of life, friend. Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new about this world. So I can’t say that I’m the best student, but I’m doing my best to keep up with everything between Love Island and Elon Musk.

Futuremag Music: Jumping into it, can you talk us through your relationship with music over the years? How did you move into production and writing music?

Sidekick: Well, I was a shit head in music class during high school and thought music making was for hippies, but through my experiences with life and a family holiday to Hawaii when I was 17, I ended up finding myself writing raps with a friends’, older-brother’s friends. Their parents were on holiday and we had a bunch of 15 year olds and another group of 20 year olds in a parent free house for two weeks, smoking weed, playing video games, blaring music and writing raps. 

That led to me dabbling in writing after I put up some “solid bars” (trust not my words), around that time I was shown my first ever Tyler track, and that fucked me up. It was the perfect mix of punk, wit, and hip hop, full of tasteful melancholy accents and odd grooves. I was in love.

A few weeks later I was in Hawaii trying to figure out how to bring that energy home to Australia. When I got back, I had two homies making beats in the area, so we linked up a few times and experimented. That put things in a simple perspective. We brainstormed a whole lot of magic during that time, then I started asking questions about the beat making. They told me about Sydney’s Ableton Liveschool, and a few months after that, I was enrolled in the Produce Music course & learning the mastery, that is production. 

That’s the short version of that story, but my starting process was a balancing act of learning to make music, being a good boyfriend, keeping my adolescent mental health in order and starting a label with a bunch of friends. At times, it was too much for me to handle and I suppose I wasn’t adequately contributing to maintaining peoples standards, lol. Music to me is not about anyone else as everyone has a different relationship to music, that’s why I do it and will remain to pursue it. It helps me just be me.

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Futuremag Music: With the release of your EP, Chilli Chips & Cigarettes you've encapsulated outstanding production and vivacious lyrics. Can you outline the EP's theme, and how you went about translating that theme into music?

Sidekick: The theme of this is that life’s not a grande old trip, and you shouldn’t expect this world to give you happiness. You gotta work for it. Mentally, spiritually, physically, however the fuck you define happiness and what contributes to that happiness, it’s not a right to posses that.

You have to put in time and effort in to figuring out what the hell you want in this world and how to achieve obtaining that. You can’t rely on people and just be the wind in someone else’s sails. One day they won’t need you, and all you will have left is your ability to handle that pain and circumstantial change. People that successfully live that life, in my opinion, don’t ever see the big picture that’s provided to us. That saddens me, and so my EP is at part, a reflection of that sadness. Something I want to get out of my system and leave in the past.

It’s grim, but I can’t make music that’s full of joy and fake bull shit, I’m sure as fuck not going to make music to put people who listen to the radio at ease. All of this is who I am, and the start of my greater message. I’ve seen a lot of people grow, for better and for worse, and I’m sick of putting time in to people who aren’t on a similar wavelength. The sounds and unorthodox take to my music is just me getting, “pen to paper” or “idea to DAW”, as quickly as possible. Most of the time I like how it sounds and feel that’s what people need to hear. 

Futuremag Music: What are some of your favourite aspects of the EP? How did you produce/write those parts?

Sidekick: I want people to know that a few of these are very lazy ripped off beats, shoddily sampled and layered with new drums and a chatty, often out of key bassline, but this project in particular is more about how I felt and what those songs made me feel. That’s what I love doing sometimes, in all it’s hideousness, transpiring from the raw emotion I felt. That is the mentality behind this project. Sometimes a song I hear that isn’t mine, can push me to have an epiphany that sends my life in a direction, I couldn’t have previously anticipated. I was compelled to sample what I did, as it was what spoke to me the most at that time in my life. I just wanted to create the closest thing I could to what I was experiencing, leading to me (as I said), shoddily ripping off people’s musics. This is more like an audible scrapbook, if anything. A colour pallet of emotion, that is heard rather than seen. That being said, a few tracks are originals and I have a lot more music ready to go that is completely, “Spotify/Apple Music friendly” content. This is a prologue to the bigger story that’s in the works, like a draft. Something I feel I owe to SC for being so loyal all these years, helping me put up these wacky, half finished songs, getting heard and that love from peers and friends I didn’t know existed.

Futuremag Music: What does the future hold for the Sidekick project?

Sidekick: A lot right now, but I’ll be brisk in saying that I’m not planning on holding back. Some stories I’ll be sharing will be honest and people won’t appreciate my tellings.

This is all going to be very real and true to my heart, mind and soul. I have written a short film I want to finish storyboarding. I am also planning a showcase of all my recent work, of both audible and physical artistic mediums. It’ll be an immersive experience, one that’s unparalleled to anything seen in Sydney by an independent artist, you have my word.

Futuremag Music: Wrapping it up, if Sidekick was a cocktail, what would be in it to best describe yourself and your music?

Sidekick: I’d be a Manhattan, made with an aged makers mark. Because style & sophistication is an iconic duo, and this cocktail in particular literally lives/breathes/shits these two elements. 

I’m simple, yet extravagant, timid, yet full of flavour. That and a tightly rolled backwards is enough to put me in Zion