Not long before they released their brilliant new album Dormant Heart via Nuclear Blast Records I was able to sit down with vocalist/guitarist Josh Middleton from punishing UK band SYLOSIS. We got to discuss a wide array of things regarding the band, as well as some other records he’s into both old and new. Check it:
Josh: We listened to a lot of 70’s prog rock and I think it rubbed off on us. It’s kind of dark and atmospheric, and it came about very organically. It almost wrote itself and we didn’t have to put that much as much work in as you would have thought. It’s nice when you work on a song like that where you don’t even think it’s gonna be a single so you can push the limits a bit. Knowing it was gonna potentially close the album allowed us to really expand it a bit and make it what it is now.
Amps: So it’s been a while between albums. How anxious are you for Dormant Heart to come out?
Josh: I’m pretty excited, actually. We started recording it in March and we did it completely secretly. It was all written so long ago and the recording started so long ago it was more about getting it ready for release. Right now I’m just gonna relax over Christmas since it’s all done.
Amps: Now that the record is done, how are you feeling?
Josh: It’s a relief, and just time to relax a bit before the creative mindset takes over. We never have a period where we’re not writing. We like to stay ahead of ourselves so we never feel rushed to write an album or end up putting songs on there just to be filler. We’re already coming up with riffs, but being very relaxed about it because there’s no rush. You just kind of switch off and let the album do its thing when it’s released, then you concentrate on the next one.
Amps: Ali Richardson (drums) seems like a pretty monster player. What does he bring to the band?
Josh: He’s only played with us on tour, but we’re looking forward to writing with him. He’s a really enthusiastic drummer, he teaches drums, and he lives and breathes drums. He’s very technical, but he knows not to overplay. When he filled in for us on tour he absolutely nailed the set within two days, which is all the notice we gave him. We’re looking forward to working with him on the next record.
Amps: In terms of writing, how does SYLOSIS usually go about it?
Josh: It’s pretty much the same for each album. We demo riffs away from the practice room and I often demo the songs up to as high a quality as possible with every riff and guitar lead.
We do a lot of it on the computer because it can be expensive when you pay to rehearse and have nothing come out of it that day. When it comes to recording we try to keep it as old school as possible, but for the writing we do use technology to help us in the process.
Amps: I notice on this record right from the start of “Victims and Pawns” there’s a “Wow, these guys ain’t fuckin’ around!” vibe…was the intent to come out swinging after being away for a bit?
Josh: Yeah, I think so. With all of us being huge PANTERA fans growing up, every album sounded more pissed off than the last one, and that’s been really inspirational to us. We’ve always tried to have a bit of variety to our songs but at the same time let our fans know we’re not gonna ditch our sound for something more commercial. But we try to get a little heavier and a little more intense with each release. It’s exciting, and it’s the opposite of what people expect you to do. People expect you to sell out after a while, you know?
Amps: “Dormant Heart” and “Callous Souls” are two of my favorites on the record. How about you?
Josh: I do have some favorites. I really like “Dormant Heart” especially the main riff and “Victims and Pawns” I like how it’s heavy, thrashy and still SYLOSIS but it’s got some weird percussion and noises in it.
Josh: In all honesty we’ve got one tour that was just confirmed and we can’t announce yet for the UK and Europe, then we’ll do the European festivals. Nothing too much yet, but we intend to tour as much as we can. And I imagine we’ll be back in the States around summertime. Ideally in June/July, but we’re waiting for the offers to come in.
Amps: What are you listening to whether at home, or driving around?
Josh: To be honest with you the last few years there’s not been much metal I’ve wanted to check out. Until recently, that is. I listen to a lot of 70’s prog rock, a lot of RUSH, and other old man music (laughs). I really like the latest PALLBEARER record. I just got the new EXODUS and that is a great record. Oh, and I love CROBOT. I haven’t heard the whole thing yet, but I love what I’ve heard so far.
Amps: Say something to all the SYLOSIS fans out there.
Josh: Just thank you so much for your support. It’s been a very slow and steady kind of rise for us and it’s been growing a lot from word of mouth. From the reactions we get it seems like our fans are really into it. We just wanna keep doing what we’re doing. And to the U.S. fans we’re sorry that it takes us so long to get back over there but we will be back.
2015 is very young, just over two weeks in, and SYLOSIS has set the bar VERY high with Dormant Heart. Read our review of the record if you don’t believe us. And whatever you do, be on the lookout for them to roll through and demolish your town later this year!