With an excellent alt-rock sound, heavily influenced by the late 90s / early 2000s, Argentinean band Siva have recently released another fine single - 'Reset' - to add to their burgeoning oeuvre. Guitarist / Vocalist Kari and bassist Julio took some time out to answer a few questions for BBMATB on the band, making videos and the rock scene in Argentina amongst other things. Don't forget to check out the band at www.linktr.ee/sivarawk - fans of the alternative rock scene of the 90s won't be disappointed!
Siva are Kari Mana (Guitar/Vocals/Keyboards), Julio Moreno (Bass) and Cristian Guida (Drums).
EPs 'Longer Day' (2017) and 'This Connection' (2019) and singles 'Wrong City' (2017), 'The Rockstar', 'Last' (both 2021) and 'Reset' (2022) are available on all the major digital sites. A new EP should be with us later in 2023.
Hello Kari, Guys, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for 'Ballroom Blitz's Man At The Back'. First off, for those readers who might not be familiar with SIVA, could you give a short history of the band? Kari: SIVA was originally a solo project I started in 2017, as a bit of fresh air after having played in another band for over 15 years (Hyperstatic). I was feeling a little trapped inside the whole band dynamics and burned out about the whole music industry, we were a signed band, things got too tense, and I needed a break. I wanted to see if I could write a few songs with no expectations other than the music itself. I also wanted to go back to a bit more grunge, nineties sound, reminiscent of bands like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins. SIVA released a debut EP called 'Longer Days' late 2017, with my former Hyperstatic bandmate Cristian Guida on drums, and some good friends of mine who guest on guitars and vocals. Then we had to put together a live version of it, we did a few shows, and eventually the project turned out to be something we could continue working on. Julio Moreno came into the fold in 2019 as a bass player, bringing also new song ideas, and the power trio came to be what it is now. The band released another EP, 'This Connection' in 2019, and since then we´ve been steadily releasing singles and videos.
And who would you say were the main influences on SIVA?
Kari: I think there´s a lot of guitar rock from different decades that inspire us. If you listen to the band you´d think definitely early 2000s, alternative rock. There´s like two main elements that I believe make up the sound; the groove-oriented post grunge riff songs, and the indie mid-tempo ones, that take you back to a time when Veruca Salt was on MTV all the time. We mostly focus on well constructed guitar riffs, catchy vocals and big rhythm sections. I think there´s a lot of Stone Temple Pilots, Hole, and Aussie rock, since I lived there for a while, so bands like Shihad, Magic Dirt, The Superjesus are a huge influence as well. You have recently released a new single - 'Reset' - do you have a sense of how it is doing out in the 'big wide world'?
Kari: 'Reset' is doing quite well! The video is getting lots of plays, and we received great reviews both locally and overseas. We are very happy with it, because we took a bit of a risk on that one. It´s a song that has a lot of different vibes into one, it can fool you into thinking is punk pop, but then it's got a huge anthemic chorus with lots of vocals harmonies, and a string section on the outro. We took the time to add a lot of detail like percussion, piano, we recorded the keyboards ourselves in Julio´s home studio. it was a bit of an experiment but the whole thing came together nicely. It was mixed again by Oscar Rai Lama, whom we worked with before on 'Lonely Satellite'. He's a mixing engineer from Chile, he gets what kinds of sound we´re after. Where did you record the single - somewhere you've recorded before?
Kari: 'Reset' was recorded at Maya Studio, where I work as a producer. We´re lucky to have studio time there, because it allows us to record and learn ourselves how to produce our sound, and experiment. And is the single a precursor to a longer release - an EP or album - or is it a stand-alone release?
Julio: 'Reset' is part of a new EP, that we are going to complete with the release of the next single in mid-2023, it comes to close a moment in our lives, something we feel that will remain in our collective memory.
You've released a couple of EPs - 'Longer Days' and 'This Connection' - and a number of singles since you started back in 2017. Do you have any favourite songs that you've recorded and if so why?
Julio: We understand that all our songs have a certain topic or speak of a particular moment, of something that we´ve experience in our real lives and put it into songs. 'Lonely Satellite' is one of the favourites, because of its meaning, the story behind it, the idea of being able to still be connected to a decade that gave us so many beautiful memories, like the ´90s.
Kari: Yeah, definitely that one is a favourite and also the audience seems to have connected with it. The song talks about the concept of a forgotten satellite orbiting in space, transmitting only news from the past. That´s all of us, in a way.
And are there any songs that you've written that you're looking forward to release in the future?
Kari: Yes, we have another single coming up, that we wrote back in 2020 at the same time as 'Last'. Very excited about this one, since it´ll bring the whole EP to a close. It will be out around April 2023. You've a Youtube video to go with 'Reset' - do you enjoy making videos or do you see them as something you need to do in this day and age as a band? https://youtu.be/3S2yGUFSbcE Kari: Personally, I have to say I've grown to like making videos. It always comes down to how much energy and expression you can put into the performance, so I know a lot of that responsibility falls onto me, being the lead singer, I have to give the video a certain character because people always connect first with the song´s vocals. Luckily we´ve had a great experience working with great directors who have a lot of respect for the band's aesthetic, and the meaning of each song. We´ve never felt like we were doing something out of our comfort zone, and it's always something that really represents SIVA visually.
Julio: We really enjoy each instance of a new single release, as well as preparation when writing, and post-production. It makes us very happy when it´s finally out there, because we see our hard work shared with the world. We live in an era in which you have to constantly share your music in different ways, platforms and social media. We know not all music fans choose the same platforms to listen to new artists, or keep an eye on new releases, so we understand that exposure is important. We want our work to improve, and keep growing our fanbase as much as we can. Do you have any live shows coming up where people can come and catch you? Kari: Yes, we´re working on the 2023 schedule, there will be a lot of out of town gigs, as well as a couple of bigger local gigs to celebrate the release of the EP. Hopefully at some point we´ll be doing some gigs across the borders as well; looking forward to it. What have been the highlights for SIVA since you started back in 2017?
Kari: There’s a few highlights like performing live early 2020 at Cosquin Rock festival in its 20th anniversary edition (alongside the biggest rock acts in South America). Also releasing our first 2 EPs on physical CDs format in 2019. Our previous single 'Lonely Satellite' getting lots of Spotify plays in Europe and USA, and raking up over 8000 views with its official video on Youtube. Back in 2021 we got to work with my friends in a great Aussie band called Riff Raiders from Melbourne, they featured on vocals and guitars on The Rockstar (calling the 90´s). Finally, all of SIVA´s latest singles were published globally by MS Publishing, which is a Sony Music subsidiary in Argentina. We intend to keep writing more songs, and growing this year. Do you feel there is a good alternative rock scene currently in Argentina? Any bands from the country you would recommend to readers?
Kari: Well, you know Argentina has always had the "best live audience in the world" fame, but I have to say that fever goes mostly for international bands only. There´s a huge indie and alternative scene growing and evolving since the 90s, we all in the band have been a very active part of that ever since. Mainstream music nowadays has shifted into urban music and pop, so guitar music is mostly out of the equation. But still, the scene is alive and well, and I guess rock is somehow back where it belongs, in a more underground word-of-mouth way, where you go to see this exciting new live artist before it becomes popular, and probably overproduced. We all struggle with the same issues, but I feel there's a huge rock audience that needs to find out that local bands are just as good or better than the latest trendy act to play at Lollapalooza. And finally, what plans for SIVA going forward in 2023?
Kari: SIVA is currently about to release an unplugged session on the official @sivarawk channel on Youtube, which was recorded live to an audience at Maya Studio last November. We performed all of our latest singles, as well as a cover track by an Argentinean band from the late ´80s called Man Ray. Also, we´ll release a new single in April, and are working on touring the country as well as working towards booking our first shows across the border.