Interview with Josh Middleton (Sylosis)

Thank you very much for your time, Josh. It is a privilege to speak to you

No problem

Firstly I would like to congratulate you on Dormant Heart it’s a fantastic achievement, but hardly Dormant…

[both laughing]

Can I start by asking the meaning behind the name?

That came very much towards the end, like only a few months ago actually. There is a line in the title track “my dormant heart is now beating” and we had that song for over a year, it was one of the first songs we had written. To come up with an album title, it is always tricky, it is always hard to try and think of a title that sounds right and that will stick, and that kind of stuck out when we started reading through the lyrics. But in terms of what it means, a lot of people go through life and just go through the motions on autopilot or zombie mode and not really thinking for themselves and they get trapped in their own little bubble and they don’t really think about the world or how their own actions affect society.  I guess these are the type of things lyrically that sum up the album.

Your music is so intensely complex I am loathed to try and fit it in a genre, progressive death metal would seem to fit but I how would you categorise the sound you have achieved on this album?

Yeah progressive is definitely one thing, and we have a lot of thrash influences from the old school, the early 80s to mid-80s, bands like Violence and Metallica is obviously the biggest influences. I guess on this album it is sort of a mixture, we have always had a thrash type of thing to what we do but some of the more doomy influences have crept through. We have always been into Prog-Rock and although it is quite an eclectic bunch of influences we have tried to balance it all out so it doesn’t just doesn’t sound like a mess of different styles.

The accident on 25/11/13 was obviously a huge disruption to your progress, has that incident had any influence on Dormant Heart?

To be honest not really, we are so ahead of ourselves writing that most of it was written at that point. We always make sure that we have so much material, way ahead of schedule just because we never really want to rush an album and we want to make sure it is as good as it can be There was some stuff we finished off at the end that yes could have some influence from that crept into some of the lyrics, it was a very big serious crash in terms of crashes. The vehicle was a complete write-off, it just imploded. We were just so lucky to get out with no major injuries, but it definitely held us up a bit on that tour but we try not to dwell on it too much. We are not after pulling at anyone’s heartstrings.

Well, we are glad everyone was ok. Is there a particular track on the album you are most proud of?

Probably the closing track Quiescent, the acoustic sounding one, I think just in terms of songwriting in the traditional sense I think it is one of the best ones we have done. But in terms of the more traditional Sylosis sounding songs I would have to say the second track “Victims and Pawns” would have to be probably my favourite song of the album, really proud of that one, still fast and thrashy which is what we are known for but it has got some different elements in there that we haven’t done much of in the past, it’s quite epic and melodic.

Quiescent is such a dreamlike state and it is just a brilliant track to finish the album, what is the meaning behind it?

I don’t know if there is much of a meaning behind it…. In terms of music, it is definitely influenced by a lot of Prog Rock which as you say is very dreamlike. The music came first and then the lyrics were there to sort of add to the quality and try to paint a picture as much as possible

As opposed to Leech which I have to admit is a favourite of mine, any meaning behind that one?

I guess that one is about how some people can sort of weigh you down and force their opinion on you and control you.

I am glad you said that because I found myself spitting venom at a lot of enemies after that so thank you

(Laughing) That’s great

Dormant Heart seems to show a maturity in your development how would you describe this album as opposed to previous works?

I would say it is more mature, there is a lot more variation than what we had in the past. In the past we did thrashy all the way through the album  this time we tried to put more variation in there in terms of what types of songs different tempos and the songwriting get better the more we do it and there’s more of a maturity with how we write and arrange the songs but there at the same time I think it’s one of the heaviest and most intense albums that we’ve done I think more of the slower doom element creeps through this time

Agreed.  You have such a fantastic voice on track 5 Overthrown, we hear you go back to the clean lyrics but only very briefly was there a particular reason for the leaning away from the clean lyrics on this album?

I have never been too much of a fan  I always try and put some melody in the screams so this a pitch note, songs like bleach the chorus of that there is a melody to the screaming it seems a bit obvious to bands these days to scream the verse and then cleansing the chorus. we always try and put it interesting places or on an acoustic track.

The album cover and what does it represent?

The woman sacrificing a lamb is meant in the symbolic sense nothing literal there is an ominous figure in the background and that’s what it represents the fact that she maybe she’s doing it against her will. like I was saying before the people that think that feel the need to stick to things out of tradition are not really think for themselves or not really question why they do things or having a fear of change,  the album cover kind of represents the fact that she doesn’t really agree to do what she has been asked to do.

Brilliant and it fits so perfectly it suits the music beautifully your music has such intensity and ferocity. What’s the main experience that you would like to listen is to take away from your music? 

As long as it involves some kind of feeling if the heavy stuff makes you feel really riled up when I was a kid, a big Slipknot fan and every time you’d heard them I would want to throw a chair across the room and then other times a song might calm you down.  We try and write very powerful stuff so as long as they feel something we’ve done our job.

If I could just say from my point of view it vindicates my stray away from the norm to a certain degree it really provides a soundtrack to being different and questioning why we are made to do certain things so I thank you for that! The departure of Rob Callard after nine years playing is obviously a shame, has Ali Richardson fitted straight in after his tour experience with you?

Yeah yeah I mean Ali has been in the band officially for a couple of months now, we’re yet to record anything with him but we toured with him a few times and I’ve known him for years so that we didn’t feel the need to audition to him or anything like that. It’s always hard when you replace a member because playing the music is one thing which is obviously a huge and it’s very hard to find good musician but just getting in personality wise is always tough, but yeah it’s working really well

Fantastic it is good news is there a particular track you like a perform line from this album?

We have not played any of them live just yet but I’m looking forward to playing the first track ‘Where the World Come to Die” because it’s very different for us as an opening track and I’m looking forward to opening all shows with that one and trying to have a cool light show and that sort of stuff.

It certainly does grab you by throat straight away, there are no two ways about it. What do you think the chances are of a tour in Australia?

I’m not sure, we are constantly telling our booking agent that we want to come back to Australia and it is always one of the highlights of the tour because we did Soundwave 2013 and that was just one of the best things we’ve done as far as festivals and traveling experiences. So it’s probably our favorite place to tour we will definitely be trying to come back.

Fantastic, I have to ask, you referred to your musical influence to a certain degree but do you have a favorite band of your own?

I guess it’s a tie between two obvious ones which is METALLICA and PANTERA. Those two were really prominent back in the nineties so they are obvious. But if I had to pick one I would probably have to say METALLICA. Just because of the riffs and that sort of stuff.

You have toured with some fantastic acts in the past, do you have a favourite live show out of your entire career?

Probably the one we did at the Sonisphere Festival in the UK over here and the night before was the big four with ANTHRAX, SLAYER, MEGADEATH & METALLICA and we were the first band on stage the next day. It was just cool that the last band to play where we were standing was METALLICA and it was the biggest crowd we’ve ever played too I believe. It was Sonisphere 2011, I think.

I have to ask you if you had unlimited resources and unlimited funds what would you want backstage for yourself and the band?

Half of the band aren’t too crazy. There are 2 of us, me and the bass player Karl will just sort of chill out and go and read and stuff like that. The others are animals, (laughing) so I guess we would ask for separate tour buses or separate hotels so we can relax and those 2 can party

Thank you very much for your time it’s an absolute pleasure to speak to you and congratulations on the album again and hopefully we can see you over here on fair shores very very soon