Interview by: Mike Farley
here for a review of Sinomatic's
I recently had the chance to talk to Ken Cooper, lead singer of the band Sinomatic, while on a day off during their current tour supporting Buckcherry. Sinomatic's self-titled debut release is selling well and their label, Atlantic, is about to release their second single "You're Mine." Here is what Ken had to say about the new album, life on the road and what it's like to be living a dream.
Mike Farley: It's been three months since your debut release on Atlantic. How have things been going as far as CD sales and airplay?
Ken Cooper: "Bloom" was the first single and did well on the Modern Rock charts. It made top 20 and while it did well, we're hoping "You're Mine," the next single, will do even better and we'll build off of that. We're kind of taking a grassroots approach right now and trying to sell as many CDs in new markets as we can. And our CD is selling better now than on any other tours we've done. "Bloom" was more of a "rock" tune, while we're hoping that songs like "You're Mine" and "Girlfriend" will cross over onto the pop charts. "You're Mine" also got picked up for a soundtrack for a film called "Joyride," so we're hoping to get some video play, especially with M2 getting stronger and stronger for lesser known bands.
MF: Landing the opener for Buckcherry on their tour is a great gig for you guys. How have you been received so far?
KC: Great. We've geared up a little heavier to match the headliner a little better. We're doing shorter sets, 35 to 40 minutes per venue and we're selling tons of CDs. Some nights even more than Buckcherry, though maybe that's because their fans already have their CD and we're a new band to them.
MF: People who aren't in bands think touring is so glamorous. What's your take on that?
KC: It's not. At this level it's not anyway. It's a lot of hard work. There's a lot of downtime, and how you choose to occupy your time is important. I'm a songwriter, so that's how I occupy my time. Basically you're driving five to 10 hours to the next gig. It's two to three of what people think -- playing the show, the meet and greet with the fans. But the other 21 or 22 hours are very tedious. But the main thing is I'm still doing what I love to do, and I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.
MF: So you've been writing material for the next album while on the road?
KC: Yeah, I've got about 15 songs finished. The hooks are there, and by the end of the tour we should have enough material. When we're on a break in August I'll be at home starting to track for the next album.
MF: Do you have any funny stories from the road?
KC: Laughs. Well, we've had a couple of breakdowns, like when our new trailer broke down at 2:30 in the morning and we had to wait by the side of the freeway until someplace opened to get it fixed. Things like that are not funny at the time, but you can look back on them and laugh.
MF: I listen to your CD and I hear, among other things, a heavier version of INXS. What are some artists you get compared to the most?
KC: We get INXS a lot, which is interesting to me because I never really listened to them that much. Their only album I had was Kick and I didn't even buy that; it just wound up in my collection somehow. What's funny is that different age groups compare us to different artists.
Like when a college newspaper reviews us, they compare the band to Stabbing Westward, Nirvana and STP, while the older generation makes comparisons to INXS, U2 and Aerosmith. I'm a big U2 fan, and I grew up on bands like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Aerosmith. I consider us to be an American band with European-type melodies. The guitars are more American/roots based.
MF: Our Website features a lot of sports topics and beautiful models. Our readers will want to know what the groupies are like on the road.
KC: It's what you'd expect it to be. There's always a group that wants to hang out after the show.
There's something about being on stage, something that women are attracted to. What you do about it is a matter of personal choice. I've kind of chosen to behave on this tour.
MF: Are you or any of the guys sports fans?
KC: Yeah, all of us are. We're pretty much baseball/football/basketball guys, and those are the sports I played growing up. Being from Youngstown, some of us are into the Pittsburgh teams and some of us the Cleveland teams. I've always been a Yankees fan too. In fact, one of our songs, "My Time" was licensed by ESPN and they are using it on
MF: You guys are returning to Northeast Ohio soon (opening for Buckcherry at the Odeon on August
11th). How is it going to feel playing back home?
KC: Well, it's been a while and we're an entirely different band than when we started the tour.
It's like when you're almost competing with the headliner, you start to pick up things like not only how they play, but how they entertain the crowd. It's really kicked us in the ass, and totally refined our sound, to the point where the live show sonically matches the sound of the album. That just happens when you're playing five nights a week on a tour -- you find your groove that way. And what's cool about us coming home is that our friends and fans are actually planning their vacations around it to see us.
MF: What was it like opening for AC/DC at Gund Arena?
KC: That was awesome. We did five dates with those guys. It's weird because I grew up learning their songs, and here we are sharing the stage with them. There's nothing like that feeling when the lights go down at an arena and 20,000 people start screaming.
MF: I'm going to give you a series of words or phrases, to which you can answer if they are "rock" or "not rock." Are you up for it?
MF: McDonald's food
MF: Playing Gund Arena
MF: Barry Manilow
KC: Not rock
MF: Britney Spears
KC: Not rock
MF: Pamela Anderson
MF: Mark McGwire
KC: I think of him as more country, so not rock
MF: John Rocker
KC: He doesn't even qualify!
MF: Getting up early for a radio appearance
KC: Not rock
MF: If there's one statement to leave your fans or potential fans with, what would it be?
KC: Please come out and see the new show. It's really a totally different band now, and everyone will be impressed.
Sinomatic will be opening for Buckcherry Saturday, August 11th at the Odeon concert club in Cleveland. For a complete list of tour dates, check out their website at http://www.sinomatic.net/.