HOT VOX POP QUIZ WITH SIFAKA
Who are Sifaka? Where you’re from, how you met, how long have you been playing together etc.
Sifaka consists of: Sam Wilson (vocals, keys), Danny Davis (guitar), Mike Deakin (drums), Teddy Roberts (bass) and Nicky Pilkington (sax). Sam and Danny met in 2011 in university halls of residence in their first year of uni. After some pretty experimental jams in the halls piano room that left some residents concerned about a UFO landing, Sam and Danny realized they had a unique musical chemistry as well as an incredibly similar music taste spanning classic Soul, Blues, Folk, 60s and 70s Rock, world music and psychedelic music. For the next 3 years Sam and Danny went on the open mic circuit as ‘Sunyata’ playing some of the weirdest and most absurd gigs imaginable whilst forming a solid song-writing partnership. Sam met Teddy and Mike in the university music school while looking for a band to play his 21 st birthday alongside himself and Danny. After overcoming some extremely sensitive decibel limiter issues at the Bath Asssembly House, we finally had played our first gig as a band at Sam’s 21 st birthday in 2014 – Sam and Danny finally had found their band. Yet there was still a piece missing. Nicky came and joined us for a jam and the chemistry was instantaneous. Nicky’s sax ripped and whaled above the funky soulful grooves laid down by the band and we knew we had something special. For the past 3 years we have been writing songs together and playing gigs across the country. A couple of people have come and gone in the band, yet the five of us still remain strong.
Who came up with the band name and does it have a story or any meaning behind it?
Sam came up with the name ‘Sifaka’ and we all agreed to it pretty quickly. It is the name of a rare Madagascan lima which moves around by dancing and skanking (seriously watch a video). The name reflects the energy of the band; we like to get people moving at our shows.
If you had to describe the band using just five words, what would they be?
Soulful upbeat rock n’ roll.
Who are your biggest influences musically?
Traffic, Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Muscle Shoals, Grateful Dead, Santana, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Dire Straits
What’s Sifaka's biggest claim to fame so far?
In 2017 we played on the Main Stage of Bingley Music Live alongside Pete Doherty and Kaiser Chiefs. We have also supported the incredible desert-blues band Imarhan on both of their shows in Leeds.
What’s your songwriting process?
Different for different songs, but generally either Sam or Danny will come up with an idea which may be just a riff or may be a whole song or something more concrete. It then gets taken to the band and we work on it and arrange it together till we have the bones of the song ready. We then record a couple of demos of it and listen back and work on it till we are happy – sometimes this takes months and sometimes it happens very quickly. Then if lyrics didn’t come instantly with the song Sam or Danny will go off and write some lyrics for it. Although, sometimes the process is more jam oriented and a song will come out of a jam that we have as a full band – this is why we record all our jams - cause you never know when magic may happen.
If you could go on tour with any current band or artist, who would it be and why?
Maybe Gary Clarke Junior cause he is one of the best blues players around today or possibly The Black Keys or Alabama Shakes because we have quite a similar sound.
If you could put your dream team band together consisting of any musicians from the past or present who would the band members be?
B.B. King – guitar, Robert Plant – vocals, Steve Winwood – organ, John Bonham – drums, John Coltraine – sax, Phil Lesh – bass.
How would you describe your live show to someone who has never seen you perform before?
A sweat-soaked rollercoaster of infectious grooves, soulful melodies and soaring solos.
Do any of you have any pre-gig or post gig rituals? If so, what and why?
Not as far as I know, although we do like to have little a hug after the show.
What would your ultimate rider be if you could have anything without being accused of being a diva?
I think Nina Simone had it right with ‘Champagne, cocaine, and sausages.’
If we were to browse your music library what is the most embarrassing song we might find? Or who is your guilty pleasure artist?
I think the key here is browsing the right member of the band’s library, if you were to browse Ted’s library, I’m sure you would find no end of cheesy pop songs.
Tell us one thing your fans would be really shocked or surprised to hear or learn about the band
At our first gig we also had a violin player.
If people want to check you out online where is the best place to go?
Finally, What does the future hold for the band?
Big things! We plan to release or first album in 2019 followed by a tour!
The Camden Assembly,15 November
The Underbelly,15 November
The Borderline,17 November
The Camden Assembly,24 November
Notting Hill Arts Club ,24 November
The Workshop,30 November
The Camden Assembly,01 December
The Camden Assembly,08 December
The Camden Assembly,26 January