Let me start by saying that I have really enjoyed your new album, ‘The Future in Whose Eyes?’ so, a big compliment for an amazing job! It’s your first full-length album since your hiatus, do you feel that your music has changed, or evolved, in any way since your previous album ‘Death of a Dead Day’?
Thank you. I think in some ways we have focused on groove more on this album. I think we have developed melodically too. Especially in the way I have been writing the vocals on this one. Overall, I think it has developed into a stronger album than previously. Overall that is. I enjoy listening to this more anyway.
One difference, of course, is that Joe Rosser joined, after Justin Hill left the band. I can imagine that it takes time to get used to one another, after recording the album and touring with Joe, are you doing things differently than you might have with Justin still in the band?
I have always been the main writer of vocals so not a lot changed in the writing perspective, other than that I wrote 100% of vocals. For this one I focused on big melodies and repetitive hooks a lot more than previous albums. Obviously, a lot of people can see the bridge of ‘Opacities’ mini album in where there was a similar approach vocally but with Justin Hill still on the album. Justin has a higher range than Joe but Joe has more capability in some more extreme styles. They both have different qualities. I did write some lines completely to suit Joe’s voice on this album.
Joe also does the vocals in Aliases, Graham ‘Pin’ Pinney’s other band, how did you go about finding a new vocalist? Did you consider anyone other than Joe?
We only actually tried one other vocalist out and I heard a couple of internet Demos from others. It was pretty much under wraps so we did not hear many. But being aware of Joe’s musical understanding was important. Many vocalists can sing and even sing and scream. But instant musical knowledge is important in a band like SikTh.
There are quite some people who see SikTh as a major influence, like Misha Mansoor of Periphery, and consider you pioneers of your genre, how does it feel that people are saying this about you?
It’s nice when people like Misha and the rest of Periphery say these things. Those guys are awesome! It’s good to hear we influenced people and our music still matters.
Did you realize that were doing something unique when you were working on ‘The Trees are Dead’ or ‘Death of a Dead Day’?
Yes, I was very excited on both albums, but to be honest I get excited about everything I do as I want all work I do to be unique and stand as its own. I don’t see the point of making music that sounds like other bands.
The lyrics of ‘The Future in Whose Eyes?’ have various subjects, I believe that opener ‘Vivid’ is about traumatic dreaming and that ‘Golden Cufflinks’ is about business men filling up their pockets. Was there a specific theme or concept that you wrote about for this album?
I did talk about certain themes a lot but not all of it was interlinked. I talk of greed, corruption, hypocrisy evil seeds. social media suppression, lack of creativity in the modern genre of fame hungry morons, the intrusive culture we live in. Then I also talk about magical people, flower beings, the beauty this life can be, talking to the moon and swimming into fictional worlds now and then.
Songs like This Ship Has Sailed’, ‘The Moon’s Been Gone for Hours’ and ‘When it Rains’ are more poetry than songs, which I think is quite unique. Do these songs match with the theme of the album, or should these be considered as separate songs?
They are all separate songs but I placed them in the album like that to be able to link to certain songs either side conceptually.
How did you come to the decision to include poetry in your music?
I remember I just did a spoken word while experimenting on our first album. It was received greatly and I decided to do them in all of the albums I made. In SikTh the music is so complex so I have to work differently than singing a song from a poem. I have to fit words to sounds and rhythms. So I love to be able to just speak pure poetry. I am a poet before anything else creatively.
You have done some gigs with Periphery (in the US) and Slipknot last year, Trivium earlier this year, and for the last part of this year you have some gigs planned in the UK. When will we be seeing you headlining gigs outside of the UK?
Yeah it was so much fun with Periphery. We would love to go back to America. Actually, we have a show at Complexity Festival in the Netherlands in February, I am unsure we are headlining that festival. Then three dates in Germany headlining.
So, what’s next for you? Are you already thinking about writing a new album?
I think we’ll play a few shows around the world and see what happens. I decided the direction I want to write for the new SikTh album but I don’t plan on writing it any moment so soon. Let’s let this one shine a bit for now I think.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, I hope to see you in the Netherlands soon. Before we end this, is there anything you want to say to our readers?
Hope to see you at Complexity Festival and hope you enjoy our new album!