I was recently lucky enough to catch up with the band members of Sylosis, a British heavy/thrash metal band for an exclusive chat before their headlining show Avalanche, the rock show of Moksha, the annual cultural festival of Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT) in New Delhi today.
How was Sylosis born?
Josh: We formed as kids back in school around ten years ago. We never really did any tour or gig too seriously, we were too young. After various line up changes and a few years we released our first EP but there were no ties to that label
How has been 2009 for the band?
Jamie: Past year has been really great. We have played at some of the biggest music festivals like Bloodstock, Download and Sonisphere.
You have been touring extensively. Does it get tiring?
Jamie: Yes definitely. We have been touring with Dragonforce, and Fear Factory's Dino Cazares. We also went on a European tour with The Black Dahlia Murder, Cephalic Carnage and Psycroptic. We have also played at some of the biggest music festivals like Bloodstock, Download and Sonisphere.
How has been the response from the crowd?
Alex: At Download, crowd was way beyond expectation.
Jamie: We thought it'd be a few hundred people, there weren't many people there in the beginning but many people heard us and came…after sometime there were a good 4000 people enjoying, and head banging to our music. We were not expecting that. We didn't think that we had reached that level where people would go crazy for our music.
Describe your musical style of singing?
Jamie: Earlier our sound was more like Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. but now I admire Phil Anselmo. He is amazing. I try to sing in that way as much as possible.
Josh: James Hetfield is my biggest inspiration. I guess his expressive style is what rubbed off on me. Other than that there's James Murphy, Dimebag and Peter and Ola from Soilwork.
Rob: For the new album I'll be playing more of double kick, thrash beat, more groove, simple beats buts faster. I' am hugely influenced by Vinnie Paul.
How did you sign up with Nuclear Blast?
Josh: We'd sent them a CD but I guess it got lost in the pile. In 2007 we randomly got an email from Nuclear Blast saying they'd love to work with us and we signed soon after. Apparently someone there just came across our MySpace page, which was pretty cool.
Meshuggah, a Swedish metal band is also with same label.
Jamie: Oh yeah, it's an amazing band. They play great experimental metal. Even Textures, which performed in India, has also singed up with Nuclear Blast.
This is the first time you are playing in India. What are your expectations from the crowd?
Jamie: No idea. The fact that we are here is unbelievable.
Josh: Seriously no idea.
You had an Indian guitarist in the band when you started out? Things didn't work out with him?
Carl: Oh yeah we had Gurneet Ahluwalia. He was amazing. We hard a hard time getting a good replacement. He formed Viatrophy in 2005, now he gets a chance to showcase his skills better.
How do you deal with line-up changes?
Rob: Yeah we have exchanged at least 10 members with some others bands especially Viatrophy. Bailey came to us from Viatrophy.
No hard feelings?
Rob: Yeah we did have some issues in the beginning, but now it's all cool.
Where are you guys heading after India?
Jamie: Yeah we have been playing pretty much the same set from Conclusion… on each tour. We are working on our new album, so we'll be churning out new music and will prepare a whole new song list for our next tours. We are tired of promoting Conclusion Of An Age. Now we'll tour only when we have some new stuff.
You don't dress in costumes the way Kiss does. No glam hair, high heeled shoes, leather pants?
Jamie: No we prefer playing in jeans and shirts except Bailey who wears leather pants. (Laughs), we let our music do the talking.
Pantera was also glam once.
Jamie: Oh yeah! 80s saw all the glam bands like Poison, Motley Crue. Glam metal bands combined power-chord based heavy metal musical style with the flamboyant look of glam rock.
Which one do you prefer Metallica or Megadeth?
Jamie: Metallica is heavier. Enter Sandman is their best songs ever. Great riffs. Josh listens to more of Megadeth.
Josh: I like Metallica better, their sound is more extreme. Megadeth is a little silly-sounding, though I like the first couple of albums like Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?.
How do you record the songs?
Jamie: First we record the music and Josh writes down his music, composes it and we try to figure out where to fit in his guitar parts. We have everything written before we enter the studio but we leave room for being creative and trying out new ideas.
What do you like better - performing live or recording in studio?
Jamie: If you make mistakes you can't rewind it, in studio you can hear the finished song and see how fast or slow you played. You can also come back to the recording and see if you can make it better.
Carl: Performing live
Josh: Performing live but there are good sides of both.
In the record studio the sound becomes more polished but you have retained the rough edge even in studio recordings?
Josh: We are working on it and this time we are going to make it rougher, less polished.
When you are performing live, the sound is raw.
Josh: Yes, there is more adrenaline.
You are working on your new album?
Jamie: Yeah, it's already finished and will be ready by this summer. We are trying a new sound this time. We will make it more mature, add more grooves to it, and accomplish boundaries something like Opeth.
Are you incorporating new sounds in your next album?
Jamie: We have been listening to a lot of different stuff especially Tool. Our new album will be thrashier, more extreme. We are cutting down on melodic sounds to make it more extreme. It will be something new, unpredictable.
Have you heard any Indian Metal bands?
Jamie: Yeah we got a CD along with an issue of Metal Hammer magazine, it featured bands from all over the world and there was Bhayanak Maut and Demonic Resurrection. We heard the songs on the CD. It's pretty good metal. Indian metal is pretty new but it will rise.
Jamie Graham - Vocals
Josh Middleton - Guitar
Alex Bailey - Guitar
Carl Parnell - Bass
Rob Callard - Drums