In 2012, high school friends Matt Santagata and Nate Lukas collaborated at the Chariho High School’s “Battle of the Bands 2012”. This collaboration stemmed from an earlier concert that another musician, Tyler helped make happen. They played and won first place for the acoustic section. A year later, they played again as seniors, consequently winning time at a local recording studio, and thus, Sidecar was born.
Both Santagata and Lukas are gifted musicians. Santagata’s musical career started when he was 11. “I originally got my guitar to impress girls (Santagata suggested that I to insert a winky face emoji here).” Lukas, however, started playing later on. “In ninth grade my dad’s friend gave me a really old guitar. I strung it up and started playing. I really came to love it and realized I had a passion for music.”
“[I play] guitar, ukulele, vocals, bass, and piano,” said Lukas. Santagata, plays electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocals, bongos, and keyboard. The pair writes and edits their music themselves.
All musicians draw their inspiration from somewhere or something. Whether that influence comes from an artist’s surroundings or Satan himself (looking at you Lady Gaga) is another thing. When asked about their own influences, Lukas said, “Probably the Beatles, honestly. They’re my favorite band. Personally I take inspiration from Jack Johnson and Miniature Tigers, too. Generally we take our favorite pieces of things we’re listening to at the time, and incorporate them into what we’re working on.”
“Some of my inspiration comes from the Decemberists,” said Santagata. “Also the Head and the Heart. I like when someone else has a cool idea, because it makes me want to try my own way. People don’t realize that you can do so much in the studio, if you have the ear for it. You can do intricate things that really add to the overall song. Like layered vocals and multiple instruments. We’re only two people so what we can do live is way different from the music we make in the studio.”
Lots of people often wonder why artists write the music they write. “Half the time we write music based on what we’re feeling emotionally”, said Lukas. “Relationships are easy. Writing the lyrics is the toughest part. After that everything just falls together. Sometimes we try to make up different stories or narratives, which is (a technique) inspired by The Decemberists.”
Sidecar doesn’t really have a set genre or style. When asked how Santagata and Lukas would describe their style, they said, “Pop folk? Folk pop? Polk Fop? Simon and Garfunkel meet the new era, I guess?”
So far, Sidecar has released three albums: “Whitewalled”, “Overtaken” and “Souvenirs”. Their next album, “One Word”, is in progress and they’re expecting to release it this spring. When they aren’t in studio, Sidecar can be found performing at the Memorial Union’s 193 Coffeehouse open mic nights. Plans are in the works for a live release of “One Word”. This release would be complete with musicians that would play critical instruments which used in the album but otherwise would not be live as there are only two official band members.
For more information, follow Sidecar on their Facebook page.