Interview: Syd Silvair
We had the honor of chatting with art-pop witch queen Syd Silvair on all things music, witchcraft and entanglement. Her latest single "Action at a Distance" is out today as a part of Weird Sister Record's Zodiac Series to celebrate Cancer season. Stream the song here and be sure to follow Syd Silvair on socials! <3
1) Love the song!! How did it come to be and what inspired you to write it?
Thank you so much! I wrote it a year ago when I found out my grandma Omi was going into hospice. I was extremely close with her, and the thought of losing her was really tough to process. The song sort of poured out of me in one sitting. It was so cathartic to write and definitely helped me work through some of the grief. Initially it was just meant to be my parting gift to Omi and I wasn’t necessarily planning on sharing it with the world. I feel so lucky that I got the chance to play it for her a few days before she died. And now I feel doubly lucky that I have the chance to release the song, and hopefully provide some comfort to others who are dealing with loss.
2) How has COVID and the past 2 years impacted your creative process?
Looking back to pre-pandemic life in NYC, I realize that being constantly surrounded by other people and getting lost in large crowds had more of an impact on my own creativity than I even knew. I think I was always subconsciously tapping into other people’s stories and emotions, so there was this giant, chaotic well of inspiration to pull from. Shifting into the solitude of the pandemic definitely forced me to sit with my own stories and emotions, and it was a great lesson in allowing for more introspective writing. It also dissolved some of the more shallow influences on my creativity, and pushed me into new depths. That being said, I am really looking forward to the status of the pandemic continuing to improve, and finally being immersed in that external inspiration again.
3) Tell us more about the theory of spooky action at a distance and what it means to you!
The same week I found out about Omi going into hospice, I was in an internet rabbit hole and somehow ended up reading about this phenomenon called Entanglement. Albert Einstein famously named it “Spooky Action at a Distance,” and I see why he found it spooky - it really is hard to believe that this is a proven concept. Once two particles become “entangled”, they can be separated by huge distances, and somehow an action on one will immediately affect the other. In my grief, this idea felt strangely comforting. It got me thinking of all the ways I would be forever entangled with Omi, and how maybe her crossing into another dimension wouldn’t have to break those bonds. Her death was so painful and I still miss her every day, but it’s kind of incredible how this concept/song softened that pain for me.
4) Any tips for people who want to lean into their magic + powers more?
I love to think about power within witchcraft as the antithesis to power structures as we know them. We’re so conditioned to understand power as an external, hierarchical thing that can only be given to us by an outside force. To practice magic is to tap into a different kind of power that is internal and inherent; to realize the influence our thoughts and intentions can have on the physical world. Also, looking to nature, and all of these complex, mind blowing natural systems that exist right under our noses, is a really great way to start getting enchanted (or re-enchanted) with both seen & unseen powers. Personally, the more I dig in and pay attention to the natural world, the more magical I feel because I’m reminded that we’re made of the same stuff, and we’re a part of these systems too.
5) If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
It’s too hard to choose between all my musical and artistic heroes, so on the topic of grandmas, I’m going to say my great grandma Claire! I never met her, but I’m told she was a tarot reader like me, so I would love to pick her brain about that because it feels like a legacy I’m deeply connected to. I have so many questions for her, and I think meeting an ancestor would just be so fascinating and fulfilling.