stepping sideways 2020
[Photo by: Felicia Detty]

Driven by sci-fi fantasy novels, Stepping Sideways derive their ideas for artistic expression from other-worldly concepts. They’re joining forces with AltPress to debut their latest music video for “Solace” featuring Lee McKinney of Born Of Osiris.

The band began their chapter on multidimensional travelers last year with the release of “The Tempest,” where they also introduced the Scalar. The amulet appears in the “Solace” music video when two unknowing individuals unlock its power while McKinney shreds out a mesmerizing solo.

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The track is an effort for Stepping Sideways to connect with their fans on an emotional level not only through the lyrics but with sonic components as well. Though they’ve never had a feature from another artist before, frontman Khader Alherimi says working with McKinney was a pleasure and gives details on what inspired the concepts and sound of the track.

“Solace” is about fighting depression and anxiety. The track is sonically brighter than what the band have released before. How does the instrumentation help translate the meaning of the song? 

The instrumentation sets the tone of the entire song. Even though the song is brighter, we actually dropped tuning a couple of steps for the entire upcoming album. It really allowed us to do something different vocally, which helped us shape our new sound. We approached this track with our producer Jonathan Dolese (KonKrete Studios) as a chance to truly connect with our audience. We wanted something uplifting and bright. We were so overcome with what transpired, we felt like there was no question that it should be the first single off the upcoming album. So in this case, the instrumentation was built off our initial idea of writing this catchy, uplifting song that we could really reach people with. We also fought for some heaviness.

This track is the first time you have a feature from another artist. What was it like working with Born Of Osiris’ Lee McKinney, and how did it come together? Does the process differ from when you create a song on your own?

Working with Lee was an amazing experience. We’ve been huge fans of BOO and Lee for a long time. We sought out Lee specifically for this role, and after hearing the track, he was confident that he could make some magic happen. There’s a slight feeling of vulnerability when you place your music at the feet of someone else, but we knew that Lee was the perfect fit, and we are so happy with the end result. His solo is filled with emotion. [It’s] so smooth, and it fits the song extremely well.

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There are elements of sci-fi in the music video with two people traveling to different dimensions. With you taking influences from fantasy and science-fiction literature, was there anything specific that inspired this concept?

Two concepts in particular that have always fascinated us are parallel realities and the ascension of the mind. They’re two things that we love to touch the surface on in society, but we rarely take the time to truly delve into the limitless possibilities that they open up for us creatively.

 I’ve gained inspiration from series such as Dune and The Wheel Of Time. Stories such as these have always reached upon the idea that there is an ocean of new experiences, not only within the universe but within ourselves as well. Our expanding worlds coupled with a sci-fi tech noir feel and a hint of primal fantasy has allowed us to imagine a complete reality for our music to live in. This also allows us to connect visually stunning and massive worlds [with] ideas and emotions to further bring our fans into a different universe completely unique unto its own.

Leading up to its release, the band released teaser trailers online like a movie. What’s the planning process like when filming a video and its execution?

Two of our members are film-industry professionals, and we shoot everything through our own production company, Dream Seekers Productions. It’s a lot like shooting a small feature. We hold two or three logistics meetings and get everybody up to speed on the concept. From there, our department heads take care of their respective roles, and we run with it. We work with pros, and we trust them. There’s a lot of people behind the scenes of our shoots, and they’re the ones that make it all happen, so shout-out to the Dream Seekers crew for killing it every single time. 

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Can you tell us anything about your plans for the rest of 2020?

2020 hasn’t started the way anybody had anticipated, but we are optimistic that things will get better sooner than later. We have our first full-length album recorded and set to release this fall. Starting with “Solace,” we are releasing a single every month leading up to the release. Every song on this album is about persevering through the toughest moments in our lives. We think that a lot of people need to hear encouraging songs like that. Especially now. It’s why we wrote them. Beside that, you can expect a series of graphic novels and short films that tie into our concept. We’ve poured the last year into the making of this album and building the content around our concept. As far as we’re concerned, 2020 marks the beginning of a new saga of entertainment, and we are more than ready.

Check out the music video for “Solace” with Lee McKinney below.