Coming out of nowhere and attacking full-force, this American band has come a long way and still has plenty of undiscovered potential on hold. I tied Mike [guitars] to a telephone poll and asked him a couple of questions. He was kind enough to answer [he really didn't have much of a choice since I wouldn't let him go anyway] and so here's the result! I wish him and his band the best of luck in the future
Where did you get the name from? Is this some kind of philosophy in life for you?
Well, it's definitely not a philosophy. If I did have a philosophy to live by it wouldn't be such a depressing one, haha. Anyway, I came up with the name and I thought it kind of matched the mood of the music when we started writing.
The influences on the record are obvious, but could you name a few for those who don't know?
Well, on first impression Gothenburg may seem like a huge influence on the band, but when we formed the band a few years ago, "Heartwork" by CARCASS was probably my biggest influence. I would say that CARCASS and IRON MAIDEN had the biggest influence on us, or at least myself. I didn't know "Melodic Death Metal" really even existed, and then "The Jester Race" came out and I was floored. We actually thought our band was somewhat original until we heard IN FLAMES, haha.
Are those the bands you usually listen to?
I listen to a lot of bands now. CARCASS broke up years ago, but I still pop them in once in a while. SOILWORK are probably my favourite right now. They are too good.
What's the Metal-scene like in Beverly, MA, and how do you fit in?
Metal-scene? Beverly? Haha, Beverly isn't a real big city, and right now LIFE IN VAIN and our old drummer Anthony's new band are the only real Metal-bands from the city, but for some reason Metal-music is getting real popular with the high school-kids. All of the sudden we went from playing in front of a dozen of our friends to playing to a couple hundred. Its really weird, haha.
Are shows important for you?
Shows have been the most important thing to us. We don't have any connections so to speak, so we don't get to play as much as we would like. I would play every night if I could. Massachusetts has more of a Hardcore-scene, and a long haired Metal-band doesn't seem to fit with it.
Where [countries/cities] would you tour, if you could have shows anywhere?
I would love to play anywhere that would have us. Japan and Europe would be great, but I have heard that Canada is the place to play. They seem to love there Metal. We are hoping to play in Montreal some time in May.
How do you see the future of Melodic Death Metal?
I don't know. It could either die out or a band like IN FLAMES could bring to the next level. I think as long as bands keep writing good songs it will stick around.
Have you been approached by a label yet?
Ya, we have had some label interest. Its nothing we can really talk about yet, but we should hopefully have a deal or distribution of some sort soon.
If you have, can we expect a first album soon?
We should be recording a full album in the next few months. We are not people of means, so we don't have money to blow on studio time, but we should be able to scrap it together. If we have to record and produce it and all that shit ourselves like we did on the "To Sytherae..." songs, then that's what we will do. As of right now it will probably include some re-recorded songs from the demo and some new ones.
Anthony, the drummer, has recently left the band. Has it affected the band as a whole? How?
It has definitely affected the band. Anthony was a major part of the band and he is the only drummer I have ever been able to work with, haha. He was so solid live to the point that we are spoiled. He left the band on really good terms and he is playing guitar in a new band. The rest of the band are 19-20 years old and was our youngest member at only 17. He didn't feel comfortable with possibly playing shows out the country and stuff. Our new drummer Ben is working really hard and we will be fine. He's an awesome drummer and he is going to play his first show less than a month after joining.
Describe how you see your demo "To Sytherae...".
Well, we recorded a demo called "Leper's Role" a couple years ago and it sold quicker than we expected, so in the summer of 2000 we decided that instead of re-printing "Leper's Role" again we would record some songs and put them all together. We didn't expect much to come about from the new "To Sytherae..."-songs, but all the sudden people from all over the world were asking for copies. We can't keep up or afford the distribution ourselves, so we figured its time to find a label. I'm really proud of "To Sytherae..." to be honest, just because I worked to hard on it, writing and recording it in my own little tiny basement studio.
If you could have changed one thing on that record, what would you have changed?
I think it would definitely be the production on the "Leper's Role"-songs. We were all 15-17 yrs old when we wrote that stuff and when we made the demo we thought it sounded pretty good at the time, haha.
What do you think of music on the internet? What about Napster?
I think the internet is an awesome thing for bands. 99% of the people from outside our local area who know about us found us through the internet and our website. As far as Napster goes, for a band our size, I am flattered that people would want to download our songs. But on the other hand, if I was in a band signed to a label, and was putting all my time into the band, meaning I wasn't making a lot of money working, it might irritate me to see complete albums downloaded. It is in a way stealing music, but it doesn't worry me that much. Most Metalheads like myself like to have the album with the artwork and the lyrics anyways. Plus, where else would I find live IN FLAMES-stuff and Japanese bonus-tracks?
And as a band, how do you see free unlimited numeric copies of your songs?
Like I said, I'm flattered that someone would even take the time to download one of our songs. People can't find our demo in stores, so they don't have much choice right now.
Have you been working on new songs? What do [will] they sound like?
We are just finishing up the writing for the new songs that will be on the album. They sound like LIFE IN VAIN-songs, I guess, haha. I would like to think we improve or take a step forward with everything we write. I just write what I think sounds cool.
If you could spend the day with one band/artist, who would it be and why?
That is the toughest question. I don't know, there are too many. Probably MAIDEN.
What question would you have liked to be asked? What would you have answered?
Do you want a free Metal-Observer T-shirt? A: Why yes I do.
Anything else you would like to add?
Hey, thanks for interview and thanks again Mathieu for the support. Tell Alex, Wes, Dittohead and the rest of the metal-observer.com-staff to keep up the great work on the page.
2000: To Sytherae... (Demo)
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