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The best kept secret in music

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Siddharta: Aiming at the World

by brian pozun, september 2003

Quite possibly the single most popular and successful band to emerge in Slovenia since Laibach appeared in the late 1970s, Siddharta is breaking records and barriers – and could soon be a force to be reckoned with across Europe, if not the world.

The band is made up of six guys known only by their first names and last initials: Tomi M., Boštjan M., Cene R., Primož B., Tomaž O.R. and Jani H. They first got together in 1995 and started playing high school parties around their hometown, Ljubljana. In 1998, they managed to get the song “Lunanai” – later a number one hit – on a compilation called Tivolski Pomp, but only after a long search did they succeed in convincing a record company to take them on.

In October 1999, they signed with Multimedia, and with the release of their first album, ID, they became the fastest rising stars the Slovene music scene had seen in ages. Rare for Slovene bands, they released "Lunanai" as a five-track CD single. Among the bonus tracks was a live version of the song featuring, Slovenia’s beloved crooner Vlado Kreslin. ID went platinum shortly thereafter.

When they released their second album, Nord, at the end of the summer of 2001, it went platinum – meaning it sold more than 10,000 copies – within three and a half months. Nearly 25,000 copies have been sold by now. This they followed up a year later with Silikon Delta, a compilation of remixes of songs from both ID and Nord done by major figures on the local music scene – including internationally successful DJ Umek and even Laibach themselves.

In fact, Laibach returned to the scene this summer with a new album, Wat, and a new tour – which they opened in their hometown of Trbovlje with their remake of Siddharta’s "B Mashina," also the first track on Wat.

Siddharta’s videos have made as big a splash as their music. Writing in Mladina, noted film critic Marcel Štefanèiè, Jr. declared the 2002 video for a Silikon Delta remix of the song "Platina" to be "a fragment of the best Slovene film which has yet to be shot."

The band had another hit in late in 2002 with a cover of Vlado Kreslin’s "Od višine se zvrti" – included on his greatest hits collection Kreslinièe, which took all of four days to go platinum. The song was also used in an ad for Mobitel that ran on MTV all across Europe.

Recently, the band split with Multimedia and signed with Menart’s Kif Kif label. On 13 August 2003, Siddharta released its third studio album, Rh-, which is still flying off the shelves. Estimates put the number sold on just the first day at around 5000. According to STA, this is the fastest-selling CD ever in Slovenia, and only U2 has ever sold anywhere near as fast in Slovene record stores.

Lyrical wonders

Siddharta’s music is at times fascinating, mixing heavy metal and goth rock with Celtic folk motifs. However, much more striking are the band’s lyrics. Following in the footsteps of bands like R.E.M., few of Siddharta’s lyrics are actually supposed to make sense. Words are chosen more for sound, rather than meaning. Case in point, "Orion Lady" from the Nord album, where Tomi M. basically just sings the titles of the tracks on the album.

"Eboran," also from the Nord album, is even worse (or better, depending). Few if any actual words – Slovene or otherwise – figure into the lyrics, which are rather just a collection of syllables which apparently sounded good when sung to the music.

Reviewers and commentators frequently point out another issue with Siddharta’s lyrics – the band’s love of using big and obscure words. And their love of singing in their native Ljubljana dialect, which is often difficult to understand elsewhere in the country. Nevertheless, the band’s ever-growing popularity shows that the record-buying public isn’t put off by these quirks in the slightest.

Another quirk in Siddharta’s lyrics is their fondness for English. Rh- includes two songs in English – "Marslander" and "Etna" – which join previous English-language songs from ID (the song absently titled "…") and Silikon Delta ("Autumn Sun"). Many times, the English lyrics are awkward, but given the peculiarities of their Slovene-language lyrics, you have to wonder whether the band is doing this intentionally.

The lyrics to the first verse of "…" are indicative of the problem:

It took a moment to make this little boy breathe,
it was a moment when this little girl took a book trying to learn how to read.
He started to feel the first innocence love
and many barriers she climbed on the way finding out what's all about.
Living her life near the sea,
rising up the day still there was thousands of miles in between (not that they knew).

Logically, they meant "innocent love" in the third line, but perhaps not. Judging from the Slovene-language lyrics to other songs, it could go either way.

The song "Etna," on Rh-, is particularly striking. The first line, re - Ljubljana Life by Brian Pozun


After many years, we have finally witnessed the emergence of a – reasonably dubbed "great" – Slovenian band as they are off to follow the tradition of their oh-so familiar countrymen such as Buldožer, Pankrti, Laèni Franz or Laibach. This superpopular band is Siddharta, a quintet that has dazzed all music fans with an extraordinary album called Rh-.
The first time I heard them was about 2 years ago after they had sent us promising singles including Klinik and B Mashina, well, eventually they made ends meet with a series of huge concerts all over Slovenia, some gigs in Croatia and of course, coming out with Rh-.
On the album, Siddharta presented themselves with 15 brilliant songs, which excel thanks to modern production methods, splendid arrangements, catchy melodies (reminiscent of European stars like HIM and the quite forgotten Liquido), and with energy that, at times, even the German Rammstein wouldn't mind. This unusual combination resulted in a number of ravishing and powerful songs like the potential hit, a calming tune called Kloner, the thrashing Japan, the rocking Rave and the magnificent "metal atmosphere" T.H.O.R., a fierce number loaded with heavy guitars and brilliant group vocals - a song that, in fact, seems as if taken from a Rammstein songbook Nevertheless should we forget the hymnical hit Napoj, which slightly brings back that 80's sound, probably because of its strong, expressive keyboards and a very catchy tune.
Siddharta have marked this last year with Rh-, an album that is truly going to be tough to beat. By now, they have played before the crowd of 25.000 people, formed a horde of faithful fans in just a year and if they manage to get over the so-called "second album crisis", I think that a breakthrough to the global music scene is inevitable. They definitely have my support!

The complete track list: Rh- / Japan / Ring / Napoj / Sim hae / Kloner / Rooskie / Rave / Naiven ples / Ciklon orka / T.H.O.R. / Et tu / Venom E / Marslander / Etna
Time of playing: approx. 60 minutes

Grade: 5
- Available at http://www.cibalia.com/vk1.php?link=26&id=49%20&id=49 (Croatia)


Not many can get such success with their first move as Siddharta did with their first album ID. Actually they have done all that can be done in Slovenia. They became an untouchable institution which has put forward different, much higher standards of production in Slovenia, much closer to the global trends than the Slovene average. With this position they can continue anywhere. Siddharta could make a logical successor of their first album and be mostly careful that they are recognized in the new sound environments. This evolution is most elegant and globally most common.

Well, Siddharta showed with Nord that they are not the usual band and their ambitions are far from the mere keeping and improving the earned status. The album is a daring playing-around with their essence, which seemed to have been definite and unacceptable. This is the way this business goes. But Siddharta rather decided for revolution. The only thing constant from the very beginning is their fantastic capability of writing good songs, all else is different, new, changed. And this is not just about the packing and make-up. The album opens with a cold, impersonal, industrial Intro, the sound space of Nord, where there are no echoes, nothing that could be changed, but everything still remains the same. This is in fact the whole philosophy
of the album. Siddharta are alone in their own world and on their own level. And this is where they need to express themselves.

15 most different songs of highly sharpened, cold and industrial metal sound follow. This new sound of Nord is grandiose and thorough in the sense of the band having removed the instrumental breaks significant of their first album, the long unusual solos and the perverted riffs full of tone. This is where the album shows the most boldness. You will have to go through a curtain of doomed, destroying sound to get to the very essence. It could be quite an effort for the not-too-exploring audience these days. And here Siddharta dare most. Their gesture is more than fair.

The second revolution is the songs, where the band went for practically all they had on their minds. Beside the Siddharta-significant urban-rock demolishers, Nord offers bizarre, almost ethnic sounds, fabulous acoustic ballads, loads of various electronic touches, but then again also tender lyrics, pompous symphonic arrangements and instances of seducing pop.

All this took extreme risks, big finances, different approaches and most of all a lot of strategy, the latter being completely new to the Slovene environment. Every single tone of this
album is well thought-through and in a good sense almost mathematically calculated, totally difference from ID, whose biggest strength was precisely its spontaneity. This way Siddharta, knowing or not, put before their new-rock roots professionalism, thorough preparation and the strength of the songwriter, which does not merely aim to being a name on the rock scene any longer. With a product so remarkable and with the right strategy of media and concert presence, Siddharta might well become the first band in Slovenia to “take” all normal-music-hungry audiences. The band has done it all, the rest is up to you: are you willing to open your mind?


TIP:
The cold Nord will melt you down.
- http://samurai.siol.net/novice/glasba_clanek.asp?site_id=4&page_id=8&article_id=480105101651320


Siddharta, the most praised Slovene rock band made history by totally filling up the central Ljubljana stadium. Thirty thousand people enjoyed an amazing performance by Siddharta, who were presenting the new Album Rh- accompanied by Symphonic Orchestra of RTV Slovenija.
The number of tickets sold definitely reflects the royal position of Siddharta`s music in domestic pop culture. Beside a crowd of screaming teenagers, there were also quite a lot of people in their thirties and above who obviously also care for something that could be described as a blend of rock variations but definitely sounds better and more professional that anything the domestic audience could get before.
Despite some complaints about the sound system and long waiting in queue to enter the stadium , the whole event made a fascinating impression. The two hour concert was performed on three stages. The central were occupied by band itself, an the two others were dedicated to the symphonics and an innovative dance performance that constantly followed the musicians. The definite peak of the concert was the appearance of the ethno-rock legend Vlado Kreslin, who obviously got so ecstatic that he took a stage-dive into the hands of public.
At the end we could hardly hear anything else than pure excitement from both the performers and the public. The whole concert seemed as a power plant of positive energy. It ended with no misbehaviours of any kind that can be familiar to rock-concert public. Medics miraculously reported no intervention for drug or alcohol issues, the only “casualties” were a few fans who got too exhausted of standing in a dance crowd in front of the stage. Lots of these youngsters hurried to occupy the best spots at four o`clock, when the stadium opened and held it till the very end of the concert at eleven.
This was the first time ever that a domestic group had such an enormous gig. The tickets were sold out a week earlier, scalpers made money at the “street” price rose up to five times the original on a day of the concert.
It is worth mentioning that even the great bands like Metallica didn’t attract so many fans when they played at Bežigrad stadium. The only comparable event in the terms of the visitors is the Kelly Family concert when the same stadium met its extreme capacity – but when they repeated the concert a year after, there were only a few thousand fans at the stadium.
It definitely was an event that will be remembered and hopefully give the young band even more credibility in attempting to reach the world audience.


Siddharta Rules
Some words of warning to all who would like to be rock stars: first you have to clean up in front your own house and then maybe look around your neighbourhood. And that’s one of the main reasons for the success of Slovenia’s most popular band in history – Siddharta. In the beginning they did just the opposite of what most young bands normally do. They retranslated their songs from English back to Slovene and started to promote themselves as a fresh and progressive rock band. So, their ethics and aesthetics
resulted in a strong impact of their unique and yet sincere identity. They became the voice of generation who lost its virginity with Guns’n’Roses, matured with Radiohead and proved to all domestic sceptics that there’s still hope, that once a Slovene band will rule the world. With all three records so far (ID, Nord, Rh-), they have paved the yellow brick road of success within the shades of huge bands’ machinery. But don’t be surprised.
They haven’t discovered anything new, they just created their own, untouchable vision and they are stick to it. On September 13, the band sold out the Bežigrad stadium, an achievement that most Slovene musicians cannot even fathom. They borrowed Muhammad Ali’s quote and became “the greatest”, a real phenomenon which has rediscovered the mass musical pop-culture in Slovenia.
What’s so special about the band? Quite simply, they are very self-confident and believe in anything they do. Their music, based on guitars, is melodious, sometimes heavy and sometimes tender. Inside the sound, they press the seal of self-recognition which is surrounded by metaphysic and astral words. The generation loves that sound and songs which bring emotions back to their place. Being famous has become their creative process and sometimes, despite the perks, the pressure of expectation begins to bite. They have successfully survived the complex of the second record and spread their
ambition across the border. Their fame is not phoney, it’s a consequence of hard work and wide communication with fans. The institution called Siddharta has solid foundations and the band stands on the top of that building. Under that construction, there is a wide place for their fans who have accompanied the band from the start. The number grows from year to year and the members of the band are truly grateful to all them. They are aware that without the public, they would stil - Terpinc, Jaka. “See You in a Bigger Stadium!,”


Siddharta's enormous popularity in Slovenia (a sold-out stadium in Ljubljana, sales that Croatian rockers can merely dream of, “the untouchables” status, etc.) is hard to explain when looking from a home-bound perspective. After all, the musical value of this band is not even slightly above average, our average, which is always a couple of years behind the rest of the world and proud of it. Well, on Rh-, there are noticable traces of business seriousness of this project: the sound is truly impressive, they have a video on MTV and the product is perfectly packed.
From this perspective, Siddharta have greatly surpassed any competition regarding the area of former Yugoslavia, but what they've presented as a result of their investments still remains of but very shabby quality. Another problem is the attempt to surpass themselves, always a demanding task for a small market – a task that turns most of the arrangements into a symphonic mania of extreme proportions with a thick layer of strings. And on the contrary of Nord, which announced a certain maturity in songwriting, Rh- unsurely wanders from dark pop to symphonic metal. As for the best song on the record, Ring – it is a great example of how nothing is more efficient than a simple solution.
- Available at: http://www.vip.hr/sp/d_show?idc=2000202&idalbum=29053


Slovenian rock group Siddharta ended its promo tour accompanying the release of their fourth album, Rh-, with a concert in Ribnica.

They started the tour with an unimaginable success as they managed to fill up the Bežigrad stadium. Concerts all over Slovenia followed, most of them sold out. The later concerts showed greater fluency and the band members had already polished their communication with the audience, which was occasionally a little patronizing.

Their opening act on all of the concerts were Plan B, a hip-hop act, while a member of Sami norci introduced the group with a rap-intermezzo. Beside the cover of Vlado Kreslin's Od višine se zvrti, Siddharta have performed a new version of their song Na Soncu. The album version claims that they don't believe in the body but in the mind instead. After Rh-, however, the boys are completely grown up, as they not only sing about erection but are starting to believe in the body rather than the mind.

With their latest record and the tour, the Ljubljana lads have reached success that will be hard to reach and even harder to beat.
- http://www.rtvslo.si/kultura/modload.php?&c_mod=rnews&op=sections&func=read&c_menu=10&c_id=17228


Siddharta is the name of a rock band from Slovenia, a group of six guys who have
devoted the last 9 years of their young lives to making music surpassing all their
homeland has heard before. From the beginning they played other bands' music in small clubs, working on their own as time went by. Eventually they put together enough material to release a full album. All the songs were in English, though they decided to translate them to their native language later on and released their first album ID (cf. Freud) in 1999. It was a huge success, only surpassed by their next album Nord two years later. It went straight to number one of the album-selling charts, breaking all known sales records. An incredibly successful tour followed and lasted until summer 2002. (A remix album was released during that time as well, where Siddharta's songs
were remixed/remade by the more or less big names in the business, including Laibach,
DJ Umek and others.) After that the band retreated from public life, taking a short
vacation and started working on their latest masterpiece, their third album Rh- which
was released in the summer of 2003. The tour-opening concert took place in an
overcrowded football stadium in Ljubljana, the capital city of Siddharta's homeland,
Slovenia in September 2003. People from all parts of the country plus foreigners
gathered to see Siddharta who – accompanied by the RTV Slovenia's Symphony
Orchestra and 60 dancers – performed before a crowd of over 30,000 people and a few
thousands who could not get in as the concert had been sold out way in advance. The
stadium concert was the beginning of an amazing tour. Playing two to three times a
week, the Rh- tour visited all parts of the country, took a detour to Austria for a day, and ended just after Christmas, in a sold-out concert just like all were. The New Year brought
for Siddharta a quick vacation and perhaps a breakthrough across the borders of Slovenia.
They are 6 guys who liked Hermann Hesse's book and gave themselves the name Siddharta because it sounds nice. They are 6 guys who enchanted Slovenia with their music. They are 6 guys with a willpower that is almost out of this world. But it's not. It's real alright. Go visit their web page at www.siddharta.net and see and hear for yourself.
And while you're there, do visit the forum. With its 2,100 members and 160,000 posts since December 2002 and growing day by day, it's a world of its own. It is a gathering place of Siddharta's huge flock of fans who support them on every move and to whom
Siddharta express their gratitude all over as they are thoroughly wary of the importance of the band’s fan support.
www.siddharta.net
www.siddharta.net/samo - Slovenian Fans


And only a day after I finished the review of Siddharta’s “Nord” I have in my hands the brand new album entitled Rh-. It’s all new material. It was released on September 1st and already over 1,000 copies of the special-edition have been sold. As mentioned in my review of Siddharta’s Nord, the special-edition album is being sold in nothing but blood bags! I listened to the CD with great anticipation and the first thing I noticed was the presence of the symphony orchestra. Believe me, the production is of such high quality that even Metallica might begin to wonder about their album “Black”. These Slovenians unquestionably know their business. The album includes 15 tracks; it is opened by an intro track called “Rh-”. The violins play a dreamy tune just to switch to the full magnificence of Siddharta’s production and energy in “Japan” a minute later. It is convincingly the album’s best song but “Ring” and “Napoj” – another folk metal song as on the Nord album – aren’t at all far behind. The band is made up of six members: Tomi M. – vocals, guitar, Boštjan M. – drums, Cene R. – saxophone, Jani H. – bass, Primož B. – guitar, and Tomaž O.R. – keyboards, programming. Once again I find it nearly impossible to put my finger on the genre. The album is filled with metal composition, then again there are these strange ballads which cannot be placed into any known genre. Much resembles Metallica’s “S&M”, there are even certain Rammstein-resembling instances, best seen in T.H.O.R., which sounds somewhat like “Enter Sandman” in a Rammstein performance, and on top of that the back vocal in T.H.O.R. sounds identical to Rammstein’s singer. The lyrics are again in Slovenian. With this album the band remains in its position on top of the music scene in Slovenia but from what I’ve heard, gigs abroad are nothing out of the ordinary for them either. Ah, when will we have it their way…
(Nebojša Lakiæ) - Available at: http://www.metalprovider.com/scissors/


Had the frequent fires at the end of this summer not stranded you on a remote Mediterranian island, you surely know that Siddharta are yet again under the lime-lights. They've released heir third rock collage named Rh- and became almost “poppier” than Bepop! No wonder - their previous album, Nord, rocked and thus became a national rock symbol. Furthermore, it became a larger-than-life patriotic euphoria. And even though it's gothically bloody with lyrics incomprehensible twelve times the usual, Rh- is now the necessary, post-coital fever. Like a smoke after sex. For Nord was such a humongous, fantastic boom that we were all shook up. Slovenia's music pride was saved and had it been possible, we would've sent Siddharta to the only identity related ceremonial accepted in Slovenia – the Eurosong contest.
But because of their genre inappropriety, they were sponsored “only” to appear on MTV. Rh- is Nord's aftermath. It has marched to the already sieged battlefield and let itself loose for the roaring crowds. Without any significant improvisations, unfortunately, but then again, that is the winning recipe for such a numerous audience. Rh- being in such a demand was far from surprising, for all the sceptic buyers first checked whether the album was still Siddharta. “Are there any songs that resemble Platina? I liked Klinik, is there anything like it on the new record?” Changes in this kind of environment just aren't welcome and that is why Siddharta delivers – the similarities with Keltvek, Platina, Klinik and even Metallica aren't coincidental. But even though Rh- may be a logical response to Nord (and is therefore being sold in huge numbers), it by no chance surpasses its predcessor. But on the other hand, we never asked of them to do that.
Siddharta are now performing of a Simona Weiss–like capacity of audience, but their story may continue beyond our borders after all. The guys have talent and hope, what there's left is to be at the right place at the right time. And that is now, of course, in the hands of their new record company which probably owns Slovenia's greatest potential. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that they end up as an opening act for Linkin Park rather than on the cover of notebooks.
- Playboy, October 2003


Discography

ID (album in Slovene lang.) 1999
ID (album in English lang.) 1999
LUNANAI (EP live in Slovene lang.) 2000
NORD (album in Slovene lang.) 2001
NORD (album in English lang.) 2001
SILIKON DELTA (remix album in Slovene lang.) 2002
Rh- (album in Slovene lang.) 2003
Rh- Limited Edition (album in English lang.) 2003
RAVE (single new vocalin English lang.) 2005
Rh- (album new vocal in English lang.) 2005
Rh- Special Edition (album + DVD in English lang.) 2005

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Today the number one rock band in their homeland, Slovenia, Siddharta was formed in 1995. A typical rock band with two guitars, drums and a bass was later joined by a keyboard player and a saxophone player to evolve their sound into what it is known today, a sound for its uniqueness often referred to as Siddharta sound.

The sales of their albums have smashed all local sales records, the latest album "Rh-" was sold in 5,000 copies in the first week of sales alone. In September 2003 for their opening concert of the "Rh- Tour" Siddharta, accompanied by the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, played in an overcrowded football stadium before an audience of 34,000, thus surpassing all Slovenia has seen before. Siddharta's official web page http://www.siddharta.net offers its visitor a unique voyage through the veins of the band. It includes the band's history, discography, complete with samples of all the tracks from all the albums (ID 1999, Nord 2001, Silikon Delta 2002, and Rh- 2003), all the videos, photographs, contacts, and an online forum.

For a promo pack please feel free to contact us with your mail address.

Iztok Kurnik / Siddharta Management
p.p. 179,
1236 Trzin
Slovenia, Europe
web: www.siddharta.net
mail: info@siddharta.net
mob: 0038641382192

AWARDS

2000
Bumerang award for Breakthrough
Zlati petelin award for Best new act
Zlati petelin award for Best rock album
Zlati petelin award for Best album
2001
Zlati petelin award for Best group
2002
Viktor award for Artist of the year
Bumerang award for Group of the year
2003
Viktor award for Video of the year
Golden drum award for Rh- limited edition packaging design
2004
Viktor award for Artist of the year
Viktor award for Special Achievements
The Slovenian Radio Festival award for Best song by radio editors’ choice: Napoj
The Grand award of the 13th Slovene Advertising Festival: the bloodbag design
The Magdalena Golden Bra award for creative communications: the bloodbag design
The highest possible recognition of sales in Slovenia, a Diamond Record for the Rh- album
The bloodbag design has been entered into the Cresta designer and advertising awards program short-list of finalists.
2005
Viktor award for Artist of the year
EMA (Europe Music Award)
2006
Nomination for EMA (Europe Music Award)
2007
Viktor award for Artist of the year

Siddharta's song Napoj was presented the Slovenian Radio Festival (SRF) award as over 40 Slovenian radio stations' music editors agreed it was the best of the best.

The Grand award of the 13th Slovene Advertising Festival (SOF) in the category of miscellaneous means of advertising (packaging and sales place
decoration) went to Siddharta's special-edition Rh- cover designer Sa�o Dornik and the Ventilator group. The cover of the limited-edition album (1,500 copies only) was designed as a transfusion bag; the album was sold from special transfusion hangers. In its rival group the cover was awarded the main award, the Grand SOF award.

This year's Magdalena, international festival of creative communications, that took place in Maribor, Slovenia, recognized Siddharta's Rh- blood bag unique design. The international jury awarded the design perfection with the first prize in the category of Other means of communication, Golden bra award. Sa�o Dornik and the Ventilator group, that produced the Rh- limited edition package, therefore place another award on their shelves. Accompanied by the Golden drum's Silver drumstick award and the Slovene advertising festival Grand Prix award it will be an additional motive for their future creative surpluses.

Siddharta won the highest possible recognition of sales in Slovenia named a Diamond record. Siddharta wish to express their deep gratitude to their devoted fans for all the support the band has received from them.

LIVE PERFORMANCES

1999/2000
Id tour across Slovenia (over 80 shows)
local supporting acts for Liquido, Dog Eat Dog, Leningrad Cowboys

2001/2002
Nord tour across Slovenia (over 50 shows)
headlining all major Slovene rock festivals

2003
sold out stadium show with the Symphony orchestra before 30.000 people
(recorded and aired on national radio and television)
sold our Rh- tour in all major concert venues across Slovenia

2004
concerts in Hungary, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.