InterContinental Regency's resident band are jazzing up the island
Time Out Bahrain staff
The beginning of 2015 saw an influx of new and funky bands flood into Bahrain to take up residencies. We speak to Sylvio Cresecnzi, drummer and bandleader of Downtown’s newest addition OverNite, to find out how they’re jazzing up the island’s nightlife scene.
The music scene in Bahrain is very much alive but nowhere is it more happening than in the country’s four- and five-star hotels where cover bands fly in from all over the world each season to perform nightly to an eager crowd. We went out for a night on the town to Downtown, in the InterContinental Regency Bahrain, where OverNite has come in from Canada to take up their new residency. Bandleader and drummer Sylvio, who is no stranger to Bahrain, tells us what partygoers can expect from this lively seven-piece outfit.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a drummer? My dad was a drummer as well, playing the clubs in old Montréal, Canada. I watched him play on many occasions and it’s around the age of 14 that I decided to pick up the sticks and try it myself. I started playing professionally at the age of 16.
How did you come to be bandleader of OverNite? An old friend of mine, whom I’ve done over 600 live shows as his drummer, called me in April 2012 and asked me if I wanted to be in charge of a new and upcoming band. I said yes and what a good decision it was!
You’ve been performing in five star hotels around the world. Where have you found the most interesting vibe and crowds? I’ve had the chance to travel twice around the world playing music – from Dubai to Oman, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Thailand, China and Indonesia. All the places, of course, have very different cultures. Asia is quite interesting, but after spending 11 months here in Bahrain from August 2012 until July 2013, I can honestly say that this beautiful country is my favourite place; the people, the restaurants, the nightlife, the culture. I am proud to say that I’ve made some really good friends here in Bahrain. I simply love this place. I like to call it my ‘second home’.
How do you find the crowds differ in each country you perform in? Does the band change the set list based on the country? Funnily enough, I find that the crowds are pretty much the same everywhere we go. People want to go out and have a good time. We play everything from pop to rock, funk to RnB, disco to Latin to Reggae. We don’t have a set style per say. We try to adjust to the crowd in every country we travel. Every country has their favourites, special requests and their classics. I’m proud to say that my singers can sing in five different languages.
How would you personally describe the band’s sound? We all have different backgrounds in the band – jazz, pop, rock, funk and RnB. We could best describe the band’s sound as groovy, funky with a lot of soul.
How do you describe your own style and sound? I personally come from a funk rock background. I am presently very interested in everything that has a soul and a gospel feel. So I would describe my style and sound as ‘groovy’.
As a drummer and bandleader, who or what inspires you? Being a drummer is a passion for me and I am inspired by anyone who is out there playing music for a living. As a bandleader, it is very important that my band members perform to the best of their ability. It is my job to motivate them, to organise our schedule, to make sure everything goes smoothly. My dad is a businessman and manages over 50 people. He, for a long time, taught me how to work hard and be professional in what I do. So I would say that he is my biggest inspiration.
Have you ever wanted to be anything other than a musician? Actually, yes. My plan is to continue touring the world playing drums. But at the same time I am watching and learning how the hotels are functioning as I one day would like to become the manager of a nice five-star hotel somewhere in the world.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far and why? My biggest career highlight would have to be an outdoor show we did in Montreal, Canada. It had a nice crowd of 10,000 people and we were opening for a very popular artist in Canada. It is always very special to play in front of a large crowd like that. The energy we get is just indescribable.
What songs and genres do you most love to perform? My favourite genre of music is by far anything from the Motown era. I like the grooves and the soul in the voices of these amazing singers. We [OverNite] play old classics and new hits. We do it all and you will see that we add the OverNite band special touch with live arrangements, energy and four – sometimes five – harmonised voices. Come watch and hear the band at Downtown! OverNite are on stage Sat-Sun, Tue-Wed 9pm-1am; Thu-Fri 9.30pm-1.30am InterContinental Regency Bahrain, Manama (1722 7777).
Meet the other band members of OverNite
A young and talented singer, Stephanie started taking singing lessons at the age of 12. She started performing in church at a very young age and moved on to the Montreal Jazz Festival, in musicals (as she studied cinema) and has worked in Dubai, Bahrain and China as a singer for this international top 40 band. At the age of 27, she can now sing in six different languages from old classics to brand new pop songs.
This Canada-born songstress received formal training in several art forms from animation to vocals. She has now performed to hundreds of audiences worldwide, from the US to the Middle East, and has only just starting scratching the surface of her potential.
Marc-Andre Singer Marc started his career in the music business by participating in competitions as a kid. Since then, he has shared the stage with some renowned names in the Quebec music scene such as Celine Dion and Ginette Reno.
Will Using his precious Stratocaster, guitarist Will performs a large repertoire of songs from the latest hits to classics. The Canadian discovered an LP when he was young and was inspired in his quest to learn his instrument. In 2006, he received his college diploma in music and moved on to play in numerous bands in Quebec. Now he’s enjoying being part of a great cover band and growing as a musician.
Julien Pageau Bass player Julien graduated from St Laurent music college in Montreal where he refined his bass playing, composing and arranging skills. Since then, he’s been playing music professionally in Quebec before he joined OverNite at the age of 21 and began travelling the world, touring through Asia and the Middle East, and doing well over 400 shows in two years.
Gabriel This keyboardist and singer started performing from a very young age, having received private music lessons from many renowned teachers in Canada. He followed this path to college, graduating in 2012, and has since performed in dozens of live shows and festivals, before joining OverNite.