The different elements of (Sic)Monic
(Sic)Monic delivers crushingly beautiful melodies in a blend of prog metal and hard rock. Their latest album- Sonambulist- has become a huge hit with not only the Arizona metal scene that spawned them, but across the world as well. I got a chance to talk with Taylor Hession, current vocalist, and got a little backstory on the band and their legendary sophomore album...
How did the band get its name and what are some influences on your musical style?
The name was created by bass player (Jason Williams)... (SIC) is derived from the latin language. (Mon) and (Ic) are derived from the Greek language. It’s a word that we created that has many different technical meanings and it’s left up to the interpretation of the person who reads it. (Sic) is a backronym (sound in context). (Mono) is the greek root for one. (Ic) is the greek suffix for in the likeness of. Henceforth (Sound in context in the likeness of one). The fact that it is not a word with a dictionary definition leaves it up to you to decide the meaning. After researching the different components, here are some definitions that got brought to our attention. It is an ancient word which you’ll find many different meanings for. Mono meaning “one or alone by itself.” Also specifically referring to sound (symphonic, demonic, harmonic). The (ic) stands for having to do with whatever the prefix of the word is. For example, music means having “to do with the muses.” In ancient times musicians were said to be connected to the muses who were the gods that produced imagination, poetry, art, and music. (Sic) stands for (said in context, or sound in context) and is used in modern times to state that a quote is written exactly as it was spoken, and that its not a typographical error. Or if quoting an old piece of literature with (sic) olde spellings... Get it?! Were influenced by all music that has ever been created but some influences are... The Red Chord, The Black Dahlia Murder, Job For a Cowboy, Between the Buried and Me, Radiohead, Candiria, Tool, A Perfect Circle, I Wrestled A Bear Once, Suicide Silence, Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation, Stanley Jordan, Steve Harris (Iron Maiden), Cliff Burton (Metallica), Pink Floyd, Sikth, B.B. King, Carcass, Twisted Sister, Aesop Rock, Tribe Called Quest, N.W.A., Snoop dogg, Crowbar, my cocker spaniel, Timmy, and that old cowboy boot we found in the desert.
What got you into rock or metal at a younger age and inspired you to want to create the band that Sic(Monic) has become today?
I first started listening to Guns n Roses, Metallica, White Zombie, and I was so obsessed with the distortion and minor chord progessions that just sounded so dark and evil to me... A friend of mine in my old band Bedlam23... myspace.com/bedlam23, turned me on to technical death metal/hardcore stuff in my 20s and that was when my interest spread and I became a full blown metal addict... One of my biggest influences was Candiria and I’ve always wanted to mix styles in a tasteful way... So when I met up with these guys finally they seemed to have the same vision: melodic brutality. Weve just always strived to have as many different elements in our music as possible. Although it seems to be getting alot heavier as of late so fans can expect a much darker more brutal Sicmonic on our 3rd effort.
Through musical expression, what is Sic(Monic)'s goal towards listeners and fans?
Our goal is to write music that we love to play. Over time it has grown to a point where people are following us and looking up to what we’re doing but it didn’t start out that way. We want to always stay melodically beautiful and brutally dark. We want to expand both styles just as strongly and intensely. So I guess our goal is to do something different. Be that band thats hard to place in a genre. Be somewhat original which is nearly impossible in this day in age.
What's more important? Musical or lyrical structure? It has been argued that for a lot of metal and hardcore bands (especially with growling) that the lyrics are almost impossible to understand, so do you think that it is possible to take that for granted when there's so much more depth than what's being given on the surface?
To me personally its an unspoken knowledge amongst metalheads that who gives a shit if you can’t understand what they're saying. I personally take the time to look up what these guys are saying and it’s incredibly intelligent and there vocabularies are so expansive. Its something that can’t be explained amongst the metal scene being unable to decipher the lyrics... Some bands like Misery Signals you can understand every word so it’s not alway indecipherable. It is possible to take it for granted if your a lame-oh who is like " I cant understand what theyre saying!?!! Oh my God!" I say screw that kind of metal forever...
Any bands that you consider your rock or metal heroes, recent or of old?
Too many to list... Ozzy, Geezer Butler, AC DC, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, Miles Davis, Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd... those are the older ones. Some newer ones... The Red Chord, The Black Dahlia Murder, Dillinger Escape Plan, Job For a Cowboy, Despised Icon... there are so many to list. Between the Buried And Me for sure.
Any major tours done yet? Any interesting stories from the road?
No major tours although we did open up the Rockstar Mayhem festival here in Phoenix last year with Red Chord, Suicide Silence, Machinehead, Mastodon, Dragonforce, Slipknot... It was crazy... Lots of cuddling and male interaction on the road. Our trailer almost snapped off and our brakes got fried heading up to San Francisco coming down a steep mountain. Although there was the awful stench, nothing too crazy... We’re kind of low key people, honestly.
Favorite thing about the fans so far?
Our fans are totally freakish but very dedicated and we love them all... They’re passionate about music and art and I think thats what they see or hear with Sicmonic so it attracts them. My favorite thing though is their dedication to show up at every show for support and bringing their friends, usually as many as they can... Its huge to us and we love you all!
On your website you mention that Sic(Monic) was originally a female fronted band with alternating vocals before switching to a full male fronted band. What brought on the change and what's the big difference that you have come to notice as of now compared to then?
Personal differences came to splitting with the female vocalist, just the tides changing, nothing major. The music is more agressive, much heavier, darker, and more complicated. We wanted to get real brutal on one hand and harmoniously beautiful the next and a male frontman catered that style in a much more direct manner... Wasn’t done on purpose though. Just kind of how it worked out.
What do you like best about the band's style throughout the years?
Our ability to go across the board musically. Now were able to grind, blast and rip faster and nastier then ever before while still keeping our melodic integrity. As much as I love metal/hardcore, I also love to sing and am professionally trained to do so. So being able to do both really satisfies both sides of my personality: the spiritual and the angry.
During my review of your album, I picked out a lot of genres that Sic(Monic) could fit into- hardcore, deathcore, progressive metal, hard rock, etc. If you had to pick a single, defined genre to fit the band when it comes to categorizing, what would that be and why?
I call it progressive melodic metal. I really don’t care what people call it... To me it’s just music, plain and simple.
How do you feel about the fans' reception of the latest album, Sonambulist?
It’s been amazing... People have really vibed with what were doing and alot of it is due to our engineers ability to sonically make the album just kick through the speakers. The fans know a lot of the words and they sing along which, as a vocalist, is always a childhood dream. We do what we do cuz it satisfies us... The fact that others enjoy it is a bonus and we couldn’t be happier.
Why such a title for the album?
“Somnambulist” means sleepwalker... All my life I’ve felt out of my own body... Or awake in a dream. I believe there’s much more paranormal, different dimension things going on in this universe then were aware of. Like being dreamt by a higher being almost? It’s up to the listener to interpret in the end.
Do you feel you've stepped your game up enough on the album to be comfortable with your musical style, or will fans expect a whole new feel to Sic(Monic's) style in the future?
We’re getting faster, heavier, darker and more intense as time goes on and you’ll hear that in the new material were playing and beginning to track slowly. Were perfectionists. We’ll always be stepping up our game well never stop... so yes, fans can expect a different sound to a point in the future.
Are there any tracks on the album that have great personal meaning and would like to share with the fans and readers, either what the lyrics mean or what inspired the writing of them?
The 2nd track “Till the Morning Light” was inspired by a time in my life when I struggled with drugs and alcohol... It’s a specific moment when I was somewhat trapped in the top loft of an apartment building north of Boston, Ma for a couple days, lost and struggling in my own humanity. It describes the horror, and inability to change my path at that point in my life and also the hallucinogenic experiences I went through by stretching my body and soul to its capacity of abuse and far beyond... Very powerful and meaningful song personally.
What's your opinion of your current label, Aural Music? Would you recommend it to anyone searching for a label in any particular metal genre?
We love Aural music!! They’ve done so much to push Sicmonic we couldnt be happier! From the new artwork to the distribution all over the world they’ve done what they said they would, plus so much more!! I would recommend them to any band looking for a label.
In the current metal world do you feel that metal itself is getting more varied and interesting or somewhat generic?
Definitely more varied and interesting... From Between the Buried and Me to bands like I Wrestled A Bear once to more straightforward stuff like Job For a Cowboy. It couldn’t be more varied and interesting... These bands and faster, younger, and more talented by the minute it seems. I love metal today; it satisfies my insanity level completely.
Any recent bands who have debuted their music in the last three years that you really feel make a mark on the metal genre and will continue to make metal and rock as good as it ever will be?
Between the Buried and Me I believe is the most talented original band on the planet. But same list as before, The Red Chord, Black Dahlia Murder, Job For a Cowboy, Despised Icon, Ion Dissonance, White Chapel... The list goes on these bands carry the metal torch far beyond the past styles... so brutiful...
Again, thanks for talking about the band history and some stuff on the current album. It's pretty understandable that you guys have quite a fan base to give you your fame, and sadly with that, probably a few stalking paparazzis. So what's the best way to get them off your back, hm?
Were very low key guys... We do what we do weve got families some of us... Any attention is greatly appreciated although I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to photograph us honestly... Much love thanx for the attention!
May 15, 2010
May 15, 2010
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