Today the biggest name on Slovenia’s music scene, Siddharta was formed in 1995, when four friends – Tomi Meglič (vocals, guitar), Primož Benko (guitar, back vocals), Primož Majerič (bass) and Boštjan Meglič (drums) – gottogether and named themselves after a well-known book by Hermann Hesse because they liked the sound of it. Soon they started developing their own sound. They wanted it to be different – they enriched it with the saxophone and keyboards. Cene R. joined the band on sax and a while later Tomaž O. R. on keyboards.Together they developed their own sound, a sound they like to call Siddharta sound. Even before their first album was released one could get a taste of Siddharta sound in a project by RTV Slovenia and Studio Tivoli – Siddharta had been chosen among many promising Slovenian bands and ranked first on the Tivolski Pomp compilation.
The Id (1999) EraBy the end of 1996 Siddharta had 14 songs of their own ready to be recorded. In 1997 they took part in the Tivolski Pomp project, which resulted in a compilation, for which they contributed their song Lunanai.Siddharta’s debut album Id was recorded at Studio Tivoli in cooperation with Dejan Radicevic and Anders Kallmark between April 1998 and February 1999. With their eyes set on the future, Siddharta recorded two versions of the album – one for the home and the other for the foreign market. The Id cover, designed by two students of Design and fine arts – Maja Bagic and Ivijan Mujezinovic – won the Zagreb Art and Design Triennial award. The debut album went platinum; it was sold in 13,000 copies.Due to disagreements with their first record company they changed their publisher and their management in September 1999. They signed with Multimedia Records, a Universal Music Group licensee, which re-released Id with a bonus track added – the band’s first song Stipe. With the album in one hand and full support of their record company in the other the band began a media march and immediately became a sensation or a phenomenon in Slovenia. The video for “Pot v X” was recorded, which took the name of Siddharta from the local fan base to the general public. In a year, during the Id tour the band played in over 50 live concerts all over Slovenia. Their live performances gave the album a new dimension. The presence in the media increased considerably. There has never been a group that caused so much commotion with the first record release. This, however, was only the beginning.
Lunanai (EP, 2000)The band did not stand still. In April 2000 they released their first EP Lunanai, to which alongside the two versions of Lunanai three live songs were added. They collaborated with the legend of Slovenian rock music, Vlado Kreslin and together they recorded a version of the title song and the video for it.
Nord (2001)After their headline performance at the Rock Otocec festival Siddharta retreated from public life and locked themselves up in the studio.
They worked in total isolation. The new album was recorded again in Studio Tivoli, produced by the best production team Slovenia had to offer: Peter Penko and Žare Pak came out with flying colours. All the modern approaches (loops, sfx, programming) combined with the analog studio equipment resulted in what was to become Slovenia’s record breaker in every way.On May 9th, six months of Siddharta silence later, Nord broke out. Nord sales went skyrocketing. In only three weeks of sales activities Siddharta‘s new album reached gold record status (5,000 copies sold), in only three months the sales grew to fascinating 13,000 copies. Nord became officially the fastest selling domestic product in the history of Slovenia. What is more, the album also broke the record in number of weeks on top of the local album-selling chart (Slo Top 30).By June 2002 Nord went double platinum (over 20,000 copies sold). By now over 30,000 copies have been sold. Nord’s cover is once again the work of Ivijan Mujezinovic and elegantly captures the essence of the audio in a visual form.The band set sail on an all-Slovenian stage expedition, playing nearly 80 live performances, selling out even the largest sport halls. The Nord tour lasted 14 months and was wrapped up by a significant performance in the Ljubljana open-air theatre Križanke, supported by the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra on June 16th, 2002. The concert was broadcast live on national radio Val 202 and the video recording shown on national television.
Silikon Delta (2002)Just after the Križanke concert the remix album Silikon Delta was released. This album is a so-called “side project” and is not a presentation of Siddharta style as we know it. On this album various established artists were gathered to put their vision into Siddharta songs. Artists such as Laibach, Valentino Kanzyani, Umek, Random Logic and many others remixed songs from both ID and Nord. With this album Siddharta penetrated into the minds of the music-wise differently oriented crowd. The album cover was designed by Sašo Dornik. Alongside the release of Silikon Delta, the video forUnder Venus – an animation video created by Testtube Productions – was launched. The video won the Best Video 2002 award.
The Bloody Era of Rh- (2003)With the end of the Nord tour came a new break from public life for Siddharta. The band wrapped themselves in silence once again and started their studio work in December 2002. Armed with a new band member, bass player Jani H., who stepped in after Primož M. had decided to leave the band, Siddharta set foot in the studio once again. They worked with Peter Penko, Dali Strniša, Rok Golob and Žare Pak. Many months later the result was released: Siddharta’s third studio album Rh-. The long-awaited album was released on August 13th, 2003 by Kif Kif Records and was sold in 10,000 copies the first week of sales alone. The cover design was entrusted to the designer of the Silikon Delta cover, Sašo Dornik. An English version of the album was recorded and released on Slovenian market as a special limited-edition album on September 1st, 2003. The album was released in unique bloodbag-resembling packages and in music stores placed on transfusion hangers. The special-edition album was released in 1,500 copies, which were sold out in a matter of days. The bloodbag packaging and its designer Sašo Dornik were awarded a Silver Drumstick at the Golden Drum advertising festival in the category of printed media, the Grand award of the 13th Slovene Advertising Festival, and the Magdalena Golden Bra award for creative communications.
The Stadium ConcertA month after the release of their third studio album Rh-, Siddharta opened the Rh- tour with a concert which astounded all who were there and those who were not. The band, accompanied by the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra and 60 dancers, played before a crowd of over 30,000 people and a few thousand who could not get in as the concert had been sold out way in advance. It was an event never yet seen in Slovenia and it received incredible media coverage.The preparations for the project had begun many months beforehand, from the careful stage-planning to the choreography and music arrangements for the orchestra. Siddharta chose to work with those who have proven to be the men for the job. The choreography was entrusted to Miha Krušic (choreography for the Klinik video) and the music arrangements to Milko Lazar and Slavko Avsenik Jr (the arrangements for the Križanke 2002 concert). What sprouted was a sight for sore eyes: three stages, breathtaking choreographies and costumes, eye-watering orchestrations, Siddharta at their best, and a blanket of over 60,000 hands.The concert was aired on both national radio and television in prime time. It received massive response from the media and was labeled event of the year 2003 numerous times; for this event Siddharta even won the Outstanding achievements Viktor award for 2003. The DVD with the recordings of the concert was the thing awaited by the fans with most eager anticipation since the release of Rh-.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 short vacation, a line of public recognitions of their work – be it their music, the sales of Rh- or the bloodbag design – and a break across the borders of Slovenia. The first stadium concert anniversary was marked by showing a documentary film based on the event in the Kolosej cinemas in September 2004.Most of 2004 was dedicated to an international album release and the year was closed in a special way. In order to quench the fans’ and the band’s thirst for small live gigs, a mini tour was Siddharta’s way of bidding their farewells to their most devoted fans before concentrating on the abroad. One could sense the breakthrough coming up as the tour was overviewed by 7 of the most important German music critics.
Rh- (English, 2005)The English version of Rh-, which had already been released as the bloodbag limited edition in 2003, was remade and re-released internationally in spring 2005. The lyrics had been altered and a vocal coach hired to bring out the best Siddharta had to offer the world public.The album was released in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Croatia and Slovenia in two different versions: the regular English edition and the special edition with a bonus DVD. The DVD included Siddharta’s videos Rave, Insane and the amazing My Dice, the making-of documentaries, live videos recorded in the big stadium concert, band photos and an exclusive interview, in which the band presented their own view of their music of the past, present and future, the music scene in the band’s home country, Slovenia, their music influences, their devoted fan base, their past albums and plans for the future. They took some time to reflect on their creative process and the way they felt it would change for the next album. They described it as going back to their roots.Both covers were designed by the many times awarded Sašo Dornik and his Ventilator team. For the special edition, they decided to use a slightly different concept than what was used for the regular edition. It was a special edition and as such it was given a new, special cover.The reviews of the album came from all around the world and were without exception good. In summer 2005 the band went on their first abroad tour, a club tour across Germany. The band’s fan base grew by the show and their satisfaction peaked in performing before a clubful of German fans in Berlin.The band never forgot about their Slovene fans and decided to perform at the big national music festivals such as Rock Otocec and Piše se leto 2005. We could say they were going back in time to remember and honour their first performances there or on the other hand merely feeding their domestic fans exactly what they needed: a new dose of the pure Siddharta live energy. The fans had earned it – the fan votes won Siddharta the fourth popularity Viktor.It was in 2005 that Siddharta performed for the first time before the international audience at the Exit festival in Novi Sad, Serbia.The success of 2005 was wrapped up in November as Siddharta received their first international recognition for their work: in Lisbon, Portugal they were awarded their first MTV European Music Award (EMA) for Best Act. For the first time in their career they shared the stage with the big names of world music industry. Greetings from the Lisbon stage were in a way a farewell. In end-2005 the band isolated themselves to work on the materials for the new album.
Petrolea (2006)Almost three years after the release of their last studio album, Siddharta returned with Petrolea, an album much different in sound and arrangement from its symphony-based predecessor. One could say that in a way this album was Siddharta’s return “to the garage” and thus came close to the band’s original sound. This, however, does not mean that the production was any less glamorous. On the contrary! A selection of domestic and foreign studios, combined with the experienced ear of Žare Pak and the musical perfectionism of the band members offered Slovenia an album, marked by many a critic as album of the year 2006.Having kept their fans waiting that long for a new album, Siddharta rewarded them with a free cultural event – an opening concert at the Ljubljana Castle. It was at the same time the first rock concert ever to have taken place in the castle courtyard, the event thus placing a new milestone on the band’s path of achievements.Autumn 2006 was spent on the road as Siddharta played 22 indoor concerts and a tour-closing concert in Ljubljana’s Prešeren Square just before New Year. The latter was filmed by national TV in order to air it a few days afterwards. Young promising Slovene bands opened for Siddharta throughout the tour. They were given the opportunity for a big-stage experience, which would definitely pay off later. The Slovene and international audience did not neglect to see Siddharta’s qualities and so the band was again nominated for the MTV EMA and it received the Viktor award for Artist of the year. It was at the very Viktor awards show that Siddharta and Dan D premiered in performing their concocted number Male roke / Voda. The hit swarmed radio waves immediately and remained on top of music charts most of 2007.The spring 2007 leg was spent in concerts again, clubbing. Over 30 shows, among these one for Slovenians living in Italy and one for those in Vienna – these brought back to life Siddharta’s nearly forgotten feelings of performing in a club. Rejuvenated and very much in tune they played most Slovenian summer festivals. But this was not the last we’d heard from Siddharta. They had two new projects in their hands, one being the live performance in the legendary Izštekani (Unplugged) show on Radio Slovenia and the other – ambitious enough to go side by side with the Stadium concert – the Siddharta Marathon, the evening when Siddharta in over 5 hours of live performance played their whole opus.
Male Roke (EP, 2007)Siddharta’s cooperation with Dan D was marked by the release of the Male Roke EP, which included the above-mentioned duet, the original title song and four live numbers. Just like the Petrolea cover design, the Male Roke cover design is again a work by Sašo Dornik and his Ventilator creative group.
Izštekani (live - unplugged, 2007)Siddharta’s performance in well acclaimed radio show Izštekani (Unplugged), hosted by Jure Longyka, is released as a CD + bonus DVD. The CD contains only the performed songs and the DVD features the whole show recorded live on cameras.
Maraton (live, 2007)Maraton (Marathon) was just another “first-ever” in Siddharta’s long history of achievements. The whole show was sold-out within a couple of weeks. The band performed their whole set-list from day one, a total of 56 songs, and was on stage for full 5 hours plus. This concert was released in December on 4 CD’s with a bonus DVD, which featured a documentary about Maraton (shot & cut by Dafne Jemeršic).
Siddharta on MTVAfter its world premiere on 13th September 2004 Siddharta’s video ‘My Dice’, which had been used as the theme song of MTV’s Rock Chart ever since February 2004, was aired exclusively on MTV European for a week. Since 20th September 2004 it has also been aired on other important music TV stations across Europe (MTV, VIVA, VH1) and the ‘My Dice’ single was aired on radio stations across Europe. On 13th September 2004, along with the world premiere on MTV European, Siddharta was put up as MTV’s Artist of the Week.
Siddharta VideosThanks to the directors and various production teams Siddharta have worked with over the years (Sašo Podgoršek, Dafne Jemeršič, Igor Zupe, Saša Hes, the Testtube group and others) the band became sort of a quality-level-raiser, sometimes even trend-setter in the video production area. The above fact is proved by numerous invitations to talk shows concerning video production in Slovenia.
ID (1999)Pot v XThe song in this video is about different points of view and how everybody should have the opportunity to see things their own way. The video was shot in November 1999. It took a month of preparation and only 4 hours to shoot. It was then edited and was ready to air by the end of the year. Alongside the band approx. 100 fans appear in the video. The director of the video wants to remain nameless but states his work with Laibach as his most valuable reference.LunanaiSince the first video got huge response from the fans and the media the band decided to work once again with the director of Pot v X. This video is in a way an upgrade of the first one but with a little more postproduction and glamour. The video was shot at an award show for media achievements and includes Siddharta and Vlado Kreslin.
Nord (2001)B MashinaThis is Siddharta’s first script-based video. It shows the eternal battle between good and evil but presented in a rather unusual way. A doctor – also a leading criminal – has a clash of motives. In the end the good overcomes the evil. And a baby is born… The band members participated as side actors in various roles that can be seen in the video. The video was directed by a leading Croatian video director.
Samo EdiniThe video shows an obsessive affection of the leading actor towards the actress, which brings him to killing. The penalty is death by electric chair. The band – the jurors observe the execution as the couple is finally reunited after death with tombstones placed side by side. Due to its controversy the video made a significant impact on the Slovene public.
Go EasyAfter the enormous success of the video for the song Samo Edini it wasn’t easy to decide what to do next. The band chose one of the most powerful songs on the album and trusted the direction of the video to an upcoming young director Saša Hes. The story shows the band playing the song in a room with the wires connected to another room, where their instruments control a group of dancers. Everything goes well up to a point where the wires of the dancers get tangled up. The only solution is to cut the wires but then chaos happens. The dancers are out of control and they fight the band for freedom.
Silikon Delta (2002)Under VenusThis video is a 3D animation and tells a story about a cyborg/boy trying to get to his cyborg/girl. The girl lives in a self-contained environment – a fort surrounded with deep security gaps. Through a high-tech video-computer system she monitors all outside movement, including the boys’ attempts to get into her fort. He is trying and trying and at last with an incredible inner power he leaps over the fort’s wall and walks into her mansion realizing that now he is locked inside and she is experiencing freedom.Rh- (2003)RaveDirected by Petar Pašic, the video for Rave was recorded in Belgrade. The video was a huge success on national charts and was played on MTV within the World Chart Express.
InsaneThe Insane video is another excellent piece of work by Testtube Productions, a combination of video recordings of the band playing and computer-made background. It took them two months to master the recordings on their computers. The video returned Siddharta to the top of MTV’s World Chart Express and it became the most frequently aired video in Slovenia ever.
T.H.O.R.The video was shot at the Rh- tour-opening concert at the stadium. It captures the breathtaking grandeur of the overcrowded football stadium.