Tuesday 10 April 2018

An Interview With Jason Taylor From SIERRA

I've been a huge fan of Sierra ever since they released their debut EP and full length album both back in 2013. Both records showed a band with keen eye for melody and heavy Doomed Out Stoner Sounds.

Sierra have toured quite heavily over the last few years and that's seen the band adapt a heavier Progressive Sound that's firmly rooted in the 70s. Though they still know how to play a hard rocking modern Doom/Stoner riff.

Sierra have just released their superb new album - The Mirror. Which sees the band carrying on the Progressive Rock sound they created on the acclaimed EP - 1972. Though this time Sierra have included elements of Hard Rock, Classic Rock and even Heavy Metal.

It's been a while since I caught up with Jason Taylor (Guitars/Vox) from Sierra and he's kindly agreed to do this interview. Where we discussed the making of the new album and their constant ongoing search for a Drummer to join the band. (Spinal Tap, eat your heart out...)

Hi guys. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.

Things are good man, thanks.

You’ve just released your superb new album – The Mirror. What can people expect from the album.

You can expect a completely fresh sounding record. Anyone into progressive music or heavier stuff will dig it and our fans are going to be stoked.

What is the main theme and story of the album.

This album has more of a personal vibe than our last release, 72, which was a full blown concept album with characters and all that. This one is more of a collection of songs with us talking about things like addiction, regret, mankind’s destructive tendencies, and daily frustrations. Mainly a look in the mirror for both Robbie and myself.

Who is releasing the album and what formats is the album being released upon.

This one is self released. At the moment just on CD and digital. We’ve been sitting on this one for way too long, and we had to get it out. I’m sure it will be released on vinyl eventually when it makes sense to do so. We have tours coming up and vinyl takes forever.

What influenced you when writing and recording the album.

Daily life. Being on the road more than ever before also. This is our first full length album since becoming a “touring band”, so I’m sure that influenced us on some level. We’ve been around the block a few times now. The one thing we set out to do though was make this a solid live album. Something that will slay live. We’re stoked to get back on the road and play this. There’s a few songs that have been in our live set for a while now, but playing it front to back is going to be great.

Was recording the album an easy or hard experience.
This was actually the best experience we’ve had recording. It was just Robbie, Phillip, and myself in the studio. We were super prepared and laid it down fast. We had more time to be creative at the Jam Room, which is my favourite place in the world.

What I admire about your new album is how you’ve took the progressive themes of your last release and merged it with the some classic heavy rock/metal sounds. Is that a fair assumption to make.

For sure. We’re huge prog nerds, so the progressiveness will always be there.

You’re working with Philip Cope (Kylesa) on this record again. Was that an easy decision to work with Philip. Did you have discussion in working with somebody else to record the album.

We’ve done every album with Phil. We’ve had a few people say they’d want to record us, but we always knew we’d go back to the Jam Room. They care about us there, and Phil is like a member of the band at this point. We will continue to record there.

Does Philip or anyone else from Kylesa make appearances on your new album.

There’s one or two Phil screams in there.

Will you be promoting and touring this album heavily. Or will you just be focusing on gigs closer to home.

We plan tour as much a possible. We have a tour with Irata at the end of April which hits the east coast of the USA. We know we will be out on the road in the summer also, and if it all comes through it’s going to be a killer bill.

What’s the deal with you guys and drummers

We haven’t found the right guy yet to commit full time. Its getting very Spinal Tap at this point. We either find a guy with the chops, but wrong attitude, or has the chops and can’t hold their booze, or decide that they can’t tour last minute because of their job.

We are always ready to go with somebody for when a tour comes up. Ky Anto has always come through for us, and we have some great dudes who can fill in whenever we need.

We would love to find the right person though. If you think you have the chops, quit your day job, move to Kitchener, get a temp job, and sleep on our couch. 

The album cover is very cool indeed. What’s the story behind the album cover. Who designed it and how much input did you have into the final design.

Branko Vranic did the cover. He’s a local artist. He’s done some great work for our dudes in Hawkeyes.

I gave him a very small reference for what I wanted but then he took it a million miles further than what I had expected. We gave him the album to listen to and he came up with it. Its pretty obvious that he took inspiration from the song Falling.

The artwork on the inside is incredible too. Definitely want to get posters made of it.

You guys are from Canada which is provided a ton of great bands for the Doom/Stoner Metal community to fully appreciate. What’s the scene currently like over there. Do you have an active scene where you can perform on a regular basis.

There’s some great bands here for sure. In terms of stoner/doom stuff locally we have the mighty Hawkeyes, who we share a jam space with. Those guys are our blood brothers. In Toronto, which is just down the road, you’ve got some great bands like Ol’ Time Moonshine and Low Orbit. I’m a huge fan of Mountain Dust too which has some ex-Kitchener members but are based out of Montreal now.

We started out by playing house shows in town almost every other weekend. Now we try to tour more than just doing one off shows. Its always great ending a tour with a homecoming show, which will happen on the Irata tour at the end of the month.

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go do you have anything to say to your fans. Best of luck with the new album.

We’ll see you on the road soon. Check out The Mirror, and tell your drummer friends about us.

Words by Steve Howe and Jason Taylor

Thanks to Jason for doing this interview. You can buy The Mirror on CD/DD via BandCamp now.