Out Now: “The Sickness”, the New Sidetrack Walker Album

The new Sidetrack Walker album, “The Sickness”, is out now! I am very excited and proud to finally be sharing these songs with you. So be sure to check them out and let me know what you think! Of course, the album is available from your preferred streaming/download service. But as always, Bandcamp is the best place to get it.

Also, and please don’t take this as a cliché or empty phrase: if you enjoy the music and want me to continue creating it, please do support me by actually buying “The Sickness” on Bandcamp. For, contrary to popular belief, the process of making a quality album is hard work: writing, recording, producing, even releasing and promoting music takes a lot of time and effort. This holds true for Sidetrack Walker and independent artists in general. And even musicians and bands backed by larger labels need your support more than ever. Remember that music is art and plays a significant role in your daily life, offering support, comfort and entertainment – don’t take it for granted.

Now I’m off to prepare tomorrow’s release party!

Deprivation Bulletin #2: The Delay

Thanks to my habit of always dating my song lyrics, I can tell you that “Deprivation” was first written in March 2015, more than six years ago. Why did it take me so ridiculously long to record and, eventually, release it?

Back in 2015, I was in a band called Memoirs. At the time, all of our songs revolved around either piano or acoustic guitar, except our live covers of “Roads” by Portishead. With “Deprivation” and its trippy Rhodes sound, I was hoping to bring something fresh to the table. At the time, though, we had so many other songs in the pipeline and so few gigs where we could play them that this track was no immediate priority despite my enthusiasm.

When Memoirs folded the following year, Sidetrack Walker became my main focus. I started working on “Come What May”, which was supposed to be a mostly acoustic, ‘natural-sounding’ affair (cf. Bulletin #1). A heavily Trip-Hop-infused track like “Deprivation”, therefore, would have felt out of place. What’s more, the album was so laborious to produce that I had little energy to spare for additional creative endeavours.

Perhaps more importantly, I still lacked the necessary skills to make my ideas for “Deprivation” work. It took time, research and experimentation, including the tentative electronic flourishes on “The Art of Starvation”, to feel comfortable enough around sequencing and sampling. When I pulled my old Rhodes backing track from the archives in 2019 and started creating the beat for “Deprivation”, everything finally fell into place musically.

Yet it took another two years for this single to see the light of day. “Starvation” was already well underway and required most of my attention. Subsequently, releasing and promoting it left me feeling totally burned out and frustrated by the lack of interest. I took a radical break from music (more on that in my two-part interview with Withered Hands Podcast: Part 1, Part 2), and it wasn’t until November 2020 that my creativity returned, thanks to a fresh attitude and approach.

Between fiddling around with fresh new ideas, I finally took the time to make “Deprivation” ready for release. After all this time, it’s a testament to how non-linear my ‘career’ as an artist has been so far. Releasing it feels all the more gratifying.

Deprivation Bulletin #1: The Sound

Sidetrack Walker has always been about authenticity. For a long time, I implicitly assumed there was only one way to accomplish this on the technical/production side of the equation: by pursuing a natural, transparent type of sound with strong acoustic leanings. At the same time, this felt like a con job because I often have to rely on virtual instruments and then try and make them sound as ‘real’ as possible, the strings on “The Art of Starvation” being the best example. Financially, there’s no way I could book a professional recording studio for everything I do, nor buy all the hardware instruments (I wouldn’t even know where to put them). And just like everybody else, I have to make do with a 24-hour day, which makes daunting multi-instrument projects like “Come What May” unfeasible in the long run. So how to overcome this conundrum?

“Deprivation” offers a possible solution, marking a departure from the above-mentioned approach. There have been earlier hints of this direction in “Savour” and especially “Broken Heartbeats”: you’ll recognise Sidetrack Walker trademarks right off the bat, but in a new guise, liberated from the shackles of trying to ‘simulate’ an acoustic type of sound. Vinyl hiss, lo-fi samples, processed beats and heavy character compression all highlight, even embrace, the fact that this is a studio production. Instead of trying to work around the shortcomings of my budget and setup, I am now learning to capitalise on them.

In many ways, this approach actually furthers my own sense of authenticity. After all, I’ve been an avid listener of sampling-heavy styles such as Trip-Hop and Drum’n’Bass for many years, and it’s been my dream all along to integrate them into my sound. “Deprivation” is a clear statement to this effect, offering a first glimpse of what the future might hold for Sidetrack Walker. While it is an isolated track bridging the long wait between albums, the next full-length is already well underway, and I’ve since refined my techniques further. The new material explores this dirtier, grittier and production-heavy side from various angles while maintaining enough depth and clarity for the audiophile to revel in. That said, this upcoming single should prove that the tried-and-true atmosphere and feel of Sidetrack Walker still remains intact. Here’s hoping that you’ll be just as excited about a fresh sound as I am!

New single “Deprivation” out soon!

Hi everyone!

It’s been suspiciously quiet around Sidetrack Walker of late. But today, I’m bringing you some exciting news: the new single “Deprivation” will be released on May 28! Pre-orders are now live on Bandcamp and will launch elsewhere on May 7. That same date is also the next Bandcamp Friday, so I’d suggest to order your download then and there: as a Bandcamp customer, you’ll receive an exclusive bonus track that won’t be available anywhere else. More details on that, and on the release as a whole, will follow each Friday up to the release, starting tomorrow. So stay tuned for deeper insights: what do the lyrics mean to me personally? Why has “Deprivation” been gathering dust since 2015? And is it indicative of a larger change in musical direction? Eccentric as I am, I’ve been keeping to the sidetracks, so expect the unexpected.

Thanks for your support so far, and I sincerely hope you’re going to enjoy this short, but special new release. Be well! (And rest assured: there’s a lot more new music on the way!)


Interview: Withered Hands Podcast (Teil 2)

Teil 2 des Interviews im Withered Hands Podcast ist jetzt online, und ihr dürft euch auf einige Überraschungen gefasst machen. So gibt es vorab zwei exklusive Auszüge noch unveröffentlichter Tracks meines elektronischen Projekts The Real Redeemer zu hören! Und damit nicht genug: Ich hatte die Ehre, die Audiobearbeitung des zweiten Teils selbst zu übernehmen und ihm so eine eigene Note zu verleihen. Das Interview ist damit zu einer vollwertigen Kollaboration und ausgesprochen bereichernden Erfahrung geworden. Viel Freude damit!

Interview: Withered Hands Podcast (Teil 1)

Im August hat Tom (Withered Hands Podcast) ein sehr ausführliches und offenes Interview mit mir geführt, in dem wir über verschiedenste Themen gesprochen haben. Heute erscheint endlich Teil 1. Fans von Sidetrack Walker können sich auf etwas ganz Besonderes freuen, also hört unbedingt rein und teilt gerne auch eure Eindrücke mit mir! Der zweite Teil wird auch nicht lange auf sich warten lassen. Ich möchte Tom von Herzen für seine aufgeschlossene, zugewandte Art und die viele Zeit danken, die er sich genommen hat.

Wo ihr schon hier seid, werft doch auch mal einen Blick auf die Presseseite, um euch die bisherigen Reaktionen auf The Art of Starvation anzusehen.

Out now: The Art of Starvation

Das neue Album von Sidetrack Walker, „The Art of Starvation“, ist ab sofort bei allen Anbietern verfügbar. Sichert euch auch rechtzeitig die limitierte CD (100 Exemplare)!

Mein besonderer Dank gilt der Landeshauptstadt Kiel, die dieses Projekt großzügigerweise finanziell gefördert hat.

Erste Pressestimmen:

„reich an dunkel funkelnden Kammerpop-Juwelen“

Kai-Peter Boysen (Kieler Nachrichten), 20.05.2020. Vollständigen Artikel lesen

„[W]as mich an Will to Leave am meisten überwältigt hat, ist die beachtliche Eigenständigkeit. Sidetrack Walker bedient sich einer Vielzahl von Genres […], was dem Sound eine atmosphärische Intensität von alchemistischen Ausmaßen verleiht.“

Amelia Vandergast (A&R Factory), 15.05.2020. Vollständiges Review lesen (Englisch)

Beitrag im Campusradio Kiel am 15. Mai

Das Campusradio Kiel hat mich kürzlich über „The Art of Starvation“ und den allgemeinen Stand bei Sidetrack Walker interviewt. Daraus entsteht nun ein Beitrag, der am kommenden Freitag im Rahmen der Sendung „Gemeinsam durch die Krise“ (9–11 Uhr) ausgestrahlt wird. Merkt euch diesen Termin vor und schaltet pünktlich den Livestream ein!

Vielen Dank an Nikita Mädge für das nette Interview!

Jetzt bei Bandcamp: The Art of Starvation

„The Art of Starvation” ist ab sofort bei Bandcamp verfügbar. Wie angekündigt, wird der Download des Albums für eine gewisse Zeit kostenfrei möglich sein. Auch die CD-Ausgabe könnt ihr nun vorbestellen. Sie wird auf 100 handnummerierte Exemplare limitiert sein, also zögert nicht zu lange!

Als regulärer Veröffentlichungstermin für andere Plattformen sowie für die CDs ist der 22. Mai vorgesehen. Denkt allerdings daran, dass ich bezüglich des CD-Lieferdatums nichts versprechen kann; Umstände, die sich meinem Einfluss entziehen, verhindern aktuell noch die Pressung.

Hoffentlich kann das neue Album einigen von euch in diesen unsicheren Zeiten etwas Ablenkung, Trost und Inspiration bieten.

Neues Album: The Art of Starvation

Die Instagram-Nutzer unter euch wissen es bereits: Das neue Sidetrack-Walker-Album trägt den Titel „The Art of Starvation“. Es wird bald erscheinen, also bleibt dran! Hier die Tracklist:

1. The Odd Moment
2. Only Silence Knows My Name
3. To Invite the Haunting
4. Broken Heartbeats
5. Worlds Collide
6. Wake-Up Call
7. Off Limits
8. Missing Pages
9. Last Line of Defence
10. Will to Leave
11. The Host