Sylvain (from Speyside)'s interview
by John Molet - August 2003

Well, Sylvain, you're the guitar player of this talented band, Speyside, and we'ld like to know more about your band. When and how was it created, where you're from ....

We're a rock band from les Yvelines (western sybburb of Paris, France), influenced by bands from the 60's and the 70's. Julien and I started the band in the fall of '95 while we were still in high school. It was first a common passion for AC/DC which made us closer. Then, Arnaud joined us on guitar first, back in '97. After we played the Free Wheels, in 2001, we really decided to live by the music only. Our singer, Seb, was not interested and he left the band and that's how Arnaud started singing. We, then, started working on the album (our drummer had left the band), and we took the name of Speyside because we love Scotland and its local specialities.

I really liked to see you performing at the Free Wheels two years ago (you played with the name Jelly Rodgers back then) and I was really impressed by your cover of Freebird. It seemed you know the solo parts note for note. What does Lynyrd Skynyrd represents to a young guitar player ?
For us, Skynyrd is just the best southern rock band around. I didn't play guitar when I first heard "One more from the road" and I must admit it had a great impact on me. Julien discovered them because of his brother with the "last rebel" album. He brought back from the US some albums. We're really attracted by southern rock as, to us, it's a mix of all the american different kinds of music, and this music is really oriented around the guitars, which isn't that popular right now.

Are you a die-hard southern rock fan or do you appreciate other kinds of music ?
We like southern rock, mostly Skynyrd, but we also like the Allman Brothers Band or the Outlaws. But as I already said, we also love bands such as AC/DC, the Stones, the Faces, Led Zep, the Who, Deep Purple, Aerosmith. In fact, we just loce rock'n roll of that era. But, it's mainly AC/DC, the Stones and Led Zep which gave us the desire of playing music.

And what about the other members of the band ?
We mainly love the same bands. Julien is a real blues fan and Arnaud listens to a lot of jazz.

You released an album a couple months ago. Can you tell us about it ? Who got th idea ? How did you make it ? Which way did you record it ?
We were, the three of us, at the end of 2001, a bit disenchanted, but we started working on our demos. Julien's brother listened to them and liked 'em. He told us about starting our own record label, as he was already experienced with that kind of situation. We liked the idea as we could release the music we wanted without talking with many people who would tell us what to do... So was born "Label 70". We rent a rehearsam room, microphones and we recorded everything on a 16 digital tracks recording machine with a friend of us, Brice, a great sound engineer. We recorded the rhythm parts live, the old way which is for us the only way to keep the music alive. We released the album in 2002, which can be found on our website (

What is you way of working ? How do you organiez the rehearsals, who write the songs ?
We have rehearsals at Arnaud's home, as he set up his basement. The songwriting is done by the three of us. Arnaud and I brings riffs, Julien takes care of the lyrics. We record the demos and write the arrangements all together. We always try to all be involved in everything, finding gigs and all that stuff. Nicolas is in charge of the website.

Are you only living by the music ? Do you have a regular job ?
We try to live by the music. We're gonna try to find a part-time job to get spare time for the music. With our production company, we have some video projects.

Is it easy for you to find gigs around Paris ?
It's not that easy to find a gig when you're playing electric music because of the sound level and the rules the bars and clubs have to take care of. In fact, there are less and less places to play. May be the solution is to go and talk with the bikers as they often organize great events.

We recently met at the European Custom Show in Mantes la Jolie. You had a problem with your drummer. Is this problem solved ?
No, we're stiil three. We gave some contacts but nothing has been finalized. Good rock drummers are not that easy to find. The main problem is the fact the music we play is attracting older people and these guys don't really want to go back to the tough situations they've been involved in a few years ago. While waiting for the right solution, we work with professional drummers, but the problem is the money, these guys are usually expensive.

What is your way of approaching the music ?
Music is our passion and our life. We do everything we can to live by the music. It's real hard, gigs are hard to find. There's only a few people who try to promote the bands. The bikers, also, usually do not hesitate when you need a little help (we got an article in the Free Way magazine). The city we're living in doesn't do anything for us. It's really hard to be distributed by the major labels. But we still believe in our music so let's see....

Do you know the french bands such as Natchez, Peter Alexander, Reverend Blues Gang, Calibre 12, Truckers ...?
Of course, we know Natchez and Calibre 12 as we both played at the Free Wheels. We know only the names of the other bands, we never met them. We heard Reverend Blues Gand got a few articles in the press recently.

If I tell you Molly Hatchet, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gov't Mule, and I could give you more names, which one of these bands do you feel the closest ?
Il'd say this is Led Zep. The way of playing, the singing, the songwriting are really impressive with that band. But they're not the only band which inspires us.

What are your best musical memories ?
I believe playing at the Free Wheels was a great moment for us, as it was our first festival and because the bikers had faith in us (we knew them for only a few months and they saw us playing only twice). We also played a gig in Pirmasens, Germany where te crowd was great.

Which projects are you working on ?
In fact, we're gonna record an accoustic single in september. It's gonna be a new song and it's gonna be a good thing as we wanna tour accoustic in the parisian bars and clubs. It'll be a great way of working on our next album which should be released in 2004 (we already started working on twenty songs).

If you had to spend the rest of your life on a desert island, which five albums would you take with you ?
Only five ... it's hard.
For me :
AC/DC : If you want blood you've got it
Rolling Stones : Sticky fingers.
Led Zeppelin II
Faces : A nod as good as a wink.....
Lynyrd Skynyrd : prononced lehn-nerd skin-nerd

For Julien :
AC/DC : If you want blood you've got it
AC/DC : Back in Black
Rolling Stones : Exile on main street
Led Zeppelin III
Lynyrd Skynyrd : prononced lehn-nerd skin-nerd

Thanks a lot for answering these questions.


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