So in case you missed it, Sydonia dropped their fast, aggressive new single, ‘Eyes Of Sand’ last week. Now, this ain’t just a standalone release, as a new album from the Melbourne outfit is on its way later this year. Get. Fucking. Keen! As such, I recently had a late night chat with bassist, Adam Murray, about all things Sydonia.
The first time I saw Sydonia play was in late 2014 when you supported In Flames and Trivium. What struck me was that you guys were so damn tight and in-sync live. So do you guys, or at least Sean [drums], play to a click track or is it just all natural?
Well we’ve been together for a long time now, so if we weren’t tight together, something would be very wrong [laughs]. But we’re all decent musicians, and we pride ourselves on our live show. But no, not at all, man. Sean will set off triggered samples and the keyboards and what not, but we don’t play to a click live. The reason for that is so we can keep it natural. When you play live, you can’t elongate certain sections, and you can’t say to each other to go around again on a song or a section if you’re playing to a click track. Obviously, we’ll play to a click track when recording, absolutely!
No, of course, man! With playing together for so long, I’m curious, how long has the band known each other for?
Dana [vocals, guitar] and I met in our teens and I knew Sammy [ex-guitar] from even before then. Sydonia was originally based in the Sunshine Coast for a few years and then we moved to Melbourne. Our old drummer moved back, we then found Sean and that was our lineup for the next many years. Even with getting our new guitarist, Anthony, has been really awesome in that he’s been able to get so in-sync with us after only a year. He’s fitted right in!
Cool, and it’s great to hear to about Anthony fitting in so quickly, too.
Yeah, he’s Jericho’s guitarist and he’s been a Sydonia fan for a long time now. We would see him at gigs all the time. So he knew all of the old songs already and he plays percussion as well. He’s got the chops and he just sat right in the pocket with us.
That’s what you want! With the new song, ‘Eyes of Sand’, it was a lot faster and aggressive track than I was expecting.
Well, that’s the thing with the new lineup. Sammy used to do a lot the high harmonies with Dana and I’d do the screams for backing vocals. Without Sammy, things have definitely gone in a heavier direction, but in a natural way, with Dana writing a lot heavier, more angsty stuff.
I get what you mean. I think it was you personally who said in the press release that this new record was going to be a faster and heavier Sydonia album. While I don’t doubt that, I imagine there’ll still be the focus on the big melodies and with that slight hint of progressive metal you guys have.
You’ve hit it on the head, Alex. We used to be quite a progressive band, and we’re actually working on a song now that and I am just loving. It reminds me a lot of the stuff from the first album, just more modern. There’ll still be the melodic stuff, of course, but there’s just a lot more brutality in it this time.
Nice, keen to see what you guys come up with. With your drummer, Sean, mixing the new song, what was the reasoning for that? And has he done that before?
Shawn is awesome. He’s been working on his electronic stuff for a while, and as I said, he triggers all the samples and sonic booms. He’s got a ton of drum pads as well. But yes, this is the first time he’s done it and it, as he’s been recording and mixing for a while. For us anyway, he’s at a point where he can make some really great stuff. I think he’s done a really good job on it.
Yeah, it’s a solid mix. So with this new album, is the writing complete or is there still more to go?
The songs are all written, and we’ve done the demos for all of the songs at home. Shawn will come round with his racks and his computer, and we’ll record my bass and the guitars just in the lounge room. We’ll eventually re-record those parts in the studio, and the drums and vocals will be finished in the studio. But the new album should be out later this year.
With doing so much pre-production at home, has that always been the case? And do you just use DI’s or amps when tracking bass and guitars at home?
It’s just got to the point now that with our families and our day jobs, that we can afford better stuff; better racks, better gear, better computers. For our last album, Reality Kicks, we recorded it in our home studio. It’s fine for the bass and the guitars, and it’s with full mics too, no DI’s. We just set the amps up in the lounge room where we set up.
Cool! Does that ever bother the family or the neighbors, though?
Nah, we just go give them a warning. I work full time but I’m lucky enough to have people in my life who can help out when I’m away in the band. Like, we’ll plan our tours over the weekends so we can still work full time. Because if you love the music, you gotta just keep doing it.
Well said, and on that subject, have you ever had issues with work not giving you the time off to tour?
Oh, absolutely. A couple years ago, we got offered a spot to support Evanescence, and I thought that would have been a really good show for us. Big crowd, big coverage, and good publicity. But I was actually the one who couldn’t get the time off to play, but the band wasn’t too phased. It would have been a good show, though! Since then, I vowed that if an opportunity like that ever came up again, we’re gonna do it!
Right on, man. I’ve always been curious what you do when music is such a big passion but the boss says, ‘Nope!’
Well, I’ve been at my work now for a long time, and they know what I do. I save up as many holidays as I can now. The band doesn’t tour as much now, as we try and do two or so tours a year. It’s just a balance, you know?
And if one gets imbalanced, shit can hit the fan.
Oh, it really does, brother. I’ve been at my job for seven years now, and they know what I do. But we can all take time off if something big comes up.
Sweet. Are you going to let the co-workers have a little pre-release hearing or you gonna make them buy it?
[Laughs] well, I always show people my music, but I know that everyone won’t like my band. But I do my best; I fling my stuff to them. Sure, you’ve gotta record it and you’ve gotta play, but you’ve gotta get it out there. As that’s the only your music will get out there.
Well said, mate! That’s all I had for you, Adam, thanks so much for the chat this evening. Have a good night, dude!
Awesome, thanks for that Alex, talk soon mate!
Sydonia will be in a city near you this July. Details below! Also, here’s a classic track by the band to send you off on.