Sika formed in 2002 in Minnesota. Aleksey (bass), his brother Sergei (lead guitar), originally from Russia, joined Nate (rhythm guitar) to form the original line-up. Nate and Aleksey had met as teammates playing D1 tennis for the University of Minnesota, and the three of them formed the band out of Nate’s mom’s basement. Nate eventually asked his friend and former band mate Dave to join the band on the drums. The band became complete with the addition of John as keyboardist and programmer of electronic sounds.
From the beginning the band set out to create a sound they had never heard before. The idea was to combine their various influences and integrate them into one style with no rules but their own collective taste. The band draws influence from such diverse sources as Muse, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Rammstein, and others.
After months of practicing, Sergei's visa expired and he was forced to return to Russia, and it was unclear whether he would be able to come back. Then one night on a dark Russian street, he was jumped by several thugs, mugged and severely beaten. Sergei suffered swelling of the brain as a result of the beating he took that night, and underwent a total of three brain surgeries, as well as some plastic surgery. After the operations, he fell into a coma, and it was uncertain whether he would ever wake up. Upon hearing the news, the band was devastated. Sergei finally emerged from his coma after 10 days. After his accident, the rest of the band unanimously decided to name the band after Sergei's traditional Russian nickname: Sika. Strangely, while he was in his coma, Sergei had a vision of himself playing with the rest of the band at a large venue. Although he has indeed been unable to return to the United States thus far, he was honored and happy to learn that the band decided to name themselves after him.
So, in 2003, Sika crystalized as a four-piece band, but they still lacked a lead singer. After auditioning many singers without success, Aleksey stepped forward and volunteered, despite having no previous experience as a vocalist. But through perseverence and a work ethic honed to a razor's edge from a lifetime of Tennis practice, he proved himself to the band beyond all doubt. Nate then moved to lead guitar duties in Sergei's absence, and Aleksey continued playing bass in addition to his new vocal duties. In January of 2004, the band's first demo CD was completed and Sika performed their first live show in Duluth, MN in front of 250 people. Sika’s music was generally well-received, but still the band was young and in-experienced, their new sound innovative, but so far immature. In the next year and a half Sika played every venue they could in Twin Cities and performed at their first outdoor festival in Wisconsin, Newpalooza in the summer of 2006.
In early 2007 Sika released the critically acclaimed “Phenomenon EP” featuring four songs, and began playing more favorable spots locally with hopes to become a recognized band on the scene. In 2008 Sika came out with their second EP, “How To Dream With Your Eyes Open” which again was well received in the Twin Cities music scene. Further developing their sound, Sika's musical taste and skill continued to climb with the release of their second EP. Sika began opening for numerous national live acts such as The Secret Machines and The Helio Sequence, and found their way to #62 on the internet Cities 97 radio chart scoring over 2,200 plays.
Unfortunately, the band had to part ways with John (keys) and Dave (drums) in 2011, Nate (guitar) and Aleksey (vox/bass)are as determined as ever to make a career in the music business and create a new sound. They recently relocated to Los Angeles in search of more music opportunities and are currently making great strides towards their dream by singing four contracts to license their music in TV and film. Sika also released it's first ever LP "Destiny" in the spring of 2013. Meanwhile, Sergei remains the band's biggest fan, and even though he has been denied a visa five times at the American Embassy, he still hopes to someday come back to the US and rejoin Sika.
Aleksey Zharinov - Lead Vocals/Bass
Nate McLain - Lead Guitar/backup vocals
Evan Stueve - Drums
"The Phenomenon EP" (released 06.28.2007)
"How To Dream With Your Eyes Open" EP (released 02.21.2008)
Single "Stranger" from the "How To Dream With Your Eyes Open" EP reached #60 on the national online radio station Cities97 New! with over 2,200 plays
Single "Voice" released on iTunes and other major online retailers on 12.13.2008
Single "You" and "Destiny" released in 2011
Single "Labyrinth" and video to it released in June of 2012
"Destiny", bands first official LP released on 4/17/13
Sika CD Release Show at The Varsity Theater on 2/21/08 (John Behm)
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Sika released their second EP, How To Dream With Your Eyes Open, last Thursday night at the Varsity ...Sika released their second EP, How To Dream With Your Eyes Open, last Thursday night at the Varsity Theater, a respectable feat considering the band is still unsigned. Though the house was less than packed, a group of their local fans was on hand to witness the show, which despite a few early mic problems, was very good.
For those of you not familiar, Sika has been on the local scene for a couple years, though they have largely stayed under the radar. The band wears its influences on its sleeve – namely Radiohead, Muse, Sigur Ros, but manage to create something new as well by combining the musical styles and adding a dose of their own creativity to the mix.
Sika - Photo by Jon Behm
Lead singer Aleksey Zharinov is a great deal similar to Mathew Bellamy, though without all the paranoia and with an Eastern European/Russian(?) accent instead of British. His falsetto wail can put the listener under a spell, particularly in songs like “2X7” which is a post-punk masterpiece that would have been at home in late '70s England.
Nate Mclain, John Torgerson and Dave Crevier make up the rest of the outfit, on guitar, keyboard, and drums respectively. Crevier brings some really interesting rhythmic patterns to the songs, which can take you by surprise in their shifts and time signature changes. Overall the band has some really good production value – which is a surprise considering they don’t have a label. The studio tracks are recorded really well though, and sound equally good live.
Throughout the set, a video played on a large screen behind the band, which was sort of a far out mishmash of trippy visual art. It reminded me a great deal of Ben Stokes’ work, which is currently featured in a similar way on the DJ Shadow/Cut Chemist Hard Sell tour. I am not sure who created Sika’s video, but it suits the music well.
Sika - Photo by Jon Behm
The band’s set mostly featured songs off of their new EP, which I have not yet heard. “Stranger” and “How to Dream with your Eyes Open,” were a couple of
my favorites from the night. “Phenomenon” was well received as well, and was probably Zharinov’s best vocal work of the evening.
Towards the end of the show the band slapped on some oversized sunglasses and promised the audience to “get a little crazy.” What followed was “Sleep Again,” which sounded a bit like a Rush/Korn mash-up. Though it most definitely wasn’t up my alley, it was good to see the band let loose a little bit.
I have to say that overall Sika impressed me a great deal. Though they are a young band they have completely mastered their sound, something that can take artists years to do. They should have a bright future ahead of them once they become a little bit better known. Though there weren’t many in the audience on Thursday, don’t be surprised if they start to pack in crowds in the near future.
CD REVIEW: Sika - The Phenomenon EP (Alex Jasperse)
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Artist: Band: Sika Album: The Phenomenon EP  Label: Independent Website: http://www.sikaba...Artist: Band: Sika
Album: The Phenomenon EP 
Genre: Post Grunge and Electronica
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8.0/10
Songwriting Skills: 6.0/10
Performance Skill: 6.0/10
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that for something to be recognized as a ‘phenomenon’ some basic documentation is required – otherwise, a phenomena would be nothing more than a run-of-the-mill oddity. While blunting the term to mean something that’s “surprising” or “unusual” may make it more accessible, caution in its use as a descriptor should be exercised nonetheless, especially in the music world.
More of a post-grunge stab at progressive rock, Sika’s debut, The Phenomenon EP, simply isn’t. Deeply rooted in familiar structures, tones and riffs, its four-song lineup serves to disappoint those who hope to hold Sika to the promises made by the album’s title track…
Ironically, “Phenomenon” is the most familiar sounding track on the album, as delicate acoustic guitars become intertwined with lead Aleksey Zharino’s medium range vocals. Although crisp production techniques and tightly arranged instrumental layers colour the track with a predominantly pop-oriented flavour, Sika’s attention to smaller textural details (such as quiet reversing textures, the warmth of reverb-laden guitars whispering in the background, and march-like snare rhythms) reveals not only another dimension of talent, but an incentive for listeners to come back to discover something new each time.
‘Surprising’ in the sense that there’s a sudden volume shift – rather than being anything revelatory – a snarling entrance that’s reminiscent of AFI’s hardcore punk pieces, and 30 Seconds to Mars’s highly commercialized post-grunge ‘bite,’ kicks in. The combination of Zharinov’s (sudden) pre-pubescent vocal tone, a Ghostbusters’s bass line, distorted guitar riffage, and simplistic key lines (à la industrial metal), makes “Asleep Again” utterly ridiculous when factored into the overall makeup of the EP. (Why this piece was tacked on to the line up may be the only true inexplicable phenomenon on the EP). Then, as the pace abruptly shifts back to a lower gear in “2x7 4x4,” it’s difficult not to vocalize your own frustration equations as the sense of disconnect is further magnified.
Thankfully, “2x7 4x4” makes all the necessary repairs and improvements to get Sika back up and running again. With the vocal duties in the hands of one of the other bandmates, the grainier tones mixed with pulsating guitar riffs welcome back the warmer features showcased in “Phenomenon.” Zharinov’s lead vocals rise from the background to centre stage, taking on traces of Muse’s lead singer Matt Bellamy’s voice (reminiscent of “Sing for Absolution,” in particular), while beautiful piano riffs are sprinkled over top of the ascending melody. The Muse influence is not strictly limited to the vocals though, as demonstrated by Nate McLain’s ferocious tremolo picking guitar solo, which elevates the piece to a near-anthemic height.
Whether it’s an indication of deeper REM or second thoughts, so as to redeem themselves to a particular segment of the audience, “Asleep Again (Naphini Remix)” transforms what initially felt like a teenage temper tantrum into a reserved and well thought-out musical statement. Simplifying and stripping the original song down to its core – trimming much of the guitar dominated latter half away – the bombastic force of big beats and synth domination (borderline, The Crystal Method), makes it the standout piece on The Phenomenon EP.
With Sika, there is a grandiose spirit, an excitement and talent fueling each track with a creative energy that would feed a full-length album (indicating that perhaps it’s time to consider making an album). However, the sudden shifts are more jarring than cohesive, and in the larger musical picture, The Phenomenon EP is far from being anything new. It is interesting yes, but it won’t be turning many heads. A longer round two in the studio might be a different story, though…
The Verdict: 6.6/10
For more information, please visit www.sikaband.com
The Phenomenon EP (Natalie)
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The band Sika has a three song album out that makes you wonder if you are listening to the same band...The band Sika has a three song album out that makes you wonder if you are listening to the same band on all 3 tracks.
The order of the tracks are all wrong, with the slowly moving song 'Phenomenon' starting out this 3 track album. I kept waiting for any type of harder edge to kick in, and it never delivers. Whimsical comes to mind when trying to explain the sound of the song, and unless they are going for the Enya sound I do not think this band was aiming for whimsical, but that is what the first track conveys.
The second track does not even seem like the same band that was playing on the first track, not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but it is something. My musical taste is drawn more towards 'Asleep Again' despite the repeated singing/whispering of the line desperate to know me. When the song actually breaks into the song with all the instruments it is a song I would not mind listening to again.
With only 3 songs out I would hope this band picks a more concrete sound for their full length album. There is some definite potential to grow if Sika goes more in the sound direction of Asleep Again.
You can check out their website at http://www.sikaband.com.
SIKA steals the show from the Secret Machines
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Sunday, July 20, 2008
SIKA steals the show from Secret Machines 7/19/08
The Fineline Music Cafe has been known to have incredible light shows. SIKA kept that going and took full advantage of the flashing strobe lights. Really maturing as a band their getting extremely comfortable playing in front of big crowds. Lead singer Aleksey Zharinov is sounding more and more like Thom Yorke. Ok maybe not that good. Either way they stole the show from a very disappointing performance by Secret Machines.
For all the SIKA photos check out My Flickr Page
Secret Machines clearly needs Ben Curtis and his dynamic stage presence back in front of the flashing lights. Unfortunately Ben who was lead guitarist and vocals has left to work on his side project. Ben left the band in March 07. Brother Brandon still has a great voice, but too much has been lost. This is just your average jam band from NYC. The crashing fall has begun for Secret Machines.
Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Chris Riemenschneider column: Music: Palmer's jukes it up
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Random mix Attention, local Brit-rock fans: There's a new blog in town called Brit Rock at the To...Random mix
Attention, local Brit-rock fans: There's a new blog in town called Brit Rock at the Top, run by local tennis semi-pro Brody McCoy, who has put together a lineup Saturday at the 400 Bar featuring three new local bands with overt U.K. influences: Sika, a Radiohead-ish quartet made up of fellow tennis players (how Brit is that?!), plus the hazier and folkier Victory Ship, who have a song called "Rod Stewart" (also very Brit, or at least Scot) and Joey Ryan & the Inks (9 p.m., $5). ...
CD Review – Sika – How To Dream With You Eyes Open
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Self proclaimed indie-pop group, Sika, leisurely lull listeners with their newest release, “How to D...Self proclaimed indie-pop group, Sika, leisurely lull listeners with their newest release, “How to Dream with your eyes Open.” Granted there are only four songs on the album but for what the group may lack in quantity they more than make up for in overall length of each track. Those being most tracks are longer than five minutes and at times can feel like and endless whining session. Despite their influences, like Rammstein and which seems only to be in appearance, Sika’s sound is more like if New Age artist Enya had made Kelly Clarkson’s dolorous yet intriguing third album, “My December.”
Sika’s talent is certainly evident if listeners can get past the brooding vampire-esqueness feel and undistinguishable lyrics. Each of the albums’ tracks is different but distinctly Sika, you know who this band is and what style of music they are making. The instrumental backgrounds of the songs are artistic, emotional and are worth listening to if not only to hear what Sika is capable of. The third track, “Rose” is a nice song that is as if they wrote lyrics to Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” The last track on the album, “Forget about Me” is a dreary song, harking to Simple Minds’ eighties anthem “Don’t you Forget about Me,” and seems as though it is a rough draft of the song.
Sika is an interesting group with an eclectic flair for weaving together an intricate bundle of songs that are both piquant and amiable. However talented these musicians maybe the vocals still take a bit getting used to and almost seems to blur the line between feminine and masculine, then again that is due to the falsetto voice that belts out the almost unnecessary vocals. This group reminds me of former Savage Garden front-man Darren Hayes, with the higher register vocals and intriguing harmonies. And despite Hayes’ apparent lack of solo success here in the States, he has made a huge impact on the music scene. As for Sika, as long as they keep on creating ever changing masterpieces for the audiophiles they will go pretty far.
Panic at the Disco, the Gothees, My Brightest Diamond, Christian Burns, Darren Hayes
Sika has done shows ranging from 15 minutes to 2.5 hours. Below is an average 45 min set.
3) Sika's Song
4) Forget About Me
Sika will also do Muse or Radiohead covers time to time.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.