Tell us about your latest project and, if an album, which movie could it soundtrack?
SVR - My latest project is my first solo album “Dream State Treasure”. I recorded, mixed, and produced most of it as well as playing most of the instruments. The process of it kept me company during 2020 and it continues to keep me good company on my walking escapes from the house. It’s definitely the soundtrack of my life at present.
If you could re-sequence/record any of your albums, what would you change, and why?
SVR - I would remix the first Black Ryder record and turn the vocals up.
3) Is there anything unreleased in the archive, including tapes/acetates etc. from school bands?
SVR - There must be, but I don’t have it. I expect a surprise one day.
4) Have you done ads/jingles, collaborations or uncredited appearances fans may not know about, and have you ever thought of doing a compilation of your side-projects?
SVR – No, but I recorded a voice over for an ad once after being asked. It got rejected. Probably had something to do with the American accent I was faking.
5) Where were you when you first heard one of your own songs on vinyl, and when was it, and what was it?
SVR – I think it was a room I was renting when I first moved to LA from Sydney in 2010. I had sold most of my belongings prior to the move so was basically living out of two suitcases (although I had brought a very small collection of vinyl). I had gotten a small portable record player as a present, which is where I first listened to the U.S. vinyl release of the first Black Ryder record “Buy the ticket, take the ride”. It was the only thing I had to play music for a few years there other than my laptop, so it got a lot of use.
6) What was your favorite record shop when you started out, and did you make any great ‘find’?
SVR - There were 2 or 3 amazing record stores in Sydney that I used to visit when I was a teenager. They were in the city though and so I had to walk, get a bus, and then a train for a 90 minute trip to get there. A city trip was a big deal as a kid. Red Eye Records had two stores and Phantom records was also a big deal back then. Both of them ended up becoming distributors as well and releasing lots of local bands as well. I was very much into 60’s/ psych / Swamp rock back then.
7) What was your first record bought with your own money, and what’s the last album you bought?
SVR – First record?.. Man, I have a really bad memory for that stuff, but I do recall these 3 records getting a lot of play on my turntable when I was in school.
The Church’s “HeyDay”
The Cult’s “Electric”
Also, The Triffid’s – “Calenture” also got a lot of play.
8) What record made you want to do music for a living/was most influential on your style?
SVR - The Church’s “heyday” was easily the biggest influence on me. Steve Kilbey is still one of my favorite lyricists, and both Peter Koppes and Marty Wilson Piper were guitar heroes to me at that age. It’s the period of my life where I was a sponge musically, and I was listening to a LOT of the Church. They were also living the music career that I wanted. While they were successful at home in Australia, they were not the biggest band, but… more importantly they had this audience all around the world. Living in Sydney and seeing that they played the US college circuit or European shows, was the dream to me.
9) Is there anyone in your family history who was a musician?
SVR – One of my uncles (not blood related) was a nightclub crooner I hear.
10) Did you ever write songs under the influence of any ‘substances’? If so, what’s a good example?
SVR – I’ll refer you the record: “Buy the ticket, take the ride” by The Black Ryder.
11) Have you kept studio notebooks of your albums or other such memorabilia/photos?
SVR – I’ve never been a notebook or photo guy. I only just started writing a journal for the first time in my life last year. Songs have been the only history I’ve been leaving for myself.
12) What would you ask your living music hero/person you admire, and who is that?
SVR – I’m not sure I’d have a specific question for him, but I wouldn’t mind sitting next to Daniel Lanois for a few weeks while he’s making a record.
13) What’s the oddest place or circumstance that’s inspired a song?
SVR – happiness maybe?
14) Is there any unusual/interesting story surrounding a record/s that came into your possession?
SVR - Almost - An old band mate was once captured by security after attempting to steal records from the store we had just done an In-Store appearance at. It was a large chain store too, so the repercussions were as bad as you can imagine.. The album was removed from all stores.
15) Which of your songs is the most personally meaningful to you, and why?
SVR - “Lucifer” always provokes the most emotional response. I still listen to it and can’t believe that I did it. The emotion and production on it makes me feel extremely proud. “The going up was worth the coming down” is also special to me as it was a style of song that I had wanted to write for a long time.
16) What backstage incident/anecdote that fans won’t know about makes you laugh/cringe the most?
SVR – “I was backstage in our room at a Jesus and Mary Chain show in Sydney. I’d been talking to someone who I thought was an old friend of Jim Reid’s for a while and while talking about playing, I casually asked him who he’d played with. He then said “The Jesus and Mary Chain. I was in this band”. I had been talking with Ben Lurie (who I knew was in the band 1989 to 1998) and simply not recognized him at all. He was very nice about it though and to be fair, did look very different. It did feel horrible though.
17) Do you keep a diary, and do you plan a book?
SVR – I started keeping a journal for the first time in my life during 2020. I write in it every morning for about 30-60 mins. As an introvert that lives alone, it’s helpful to talk to someone that understands. No book planned but I am starting to enjoy writing.
18) Is there a myth about you that you’d like to set straight?
SVR – No, myths are great. I wouldn’t want to correct anything.
19) (Other than this one) Which question do you wish people would stop asking you?
SVR – What’s your music like?
20) Who’s your favorite songwriter, and what’s their best lyric?
SVR – It’s not a lyric as such, but the album title “Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to” by Spacemen 3, is one favorite line that comes to mind.
21) If you’re lucky enough to die peacefully on your deathbed, what’s the last song that you’d like to hear, and why?
SVR – This may sound egotistical, but it would be something I’d done that meant the most to me. To remind me that I’ll be leaving something beautiful behind. I’m working on that.