Their ability to construct glorious webs of technically proficient progressive metal that are dripping with brain-hacking melodies and non-conventional arrangements, has separated them from the rest of the herd, without intention.
Their debut four-track self-titled EP saw the light of day a year after they had formed and offered a promising future for the band from the get go, no argument. With another follow-up single ‘The Hunt‘, clearly displaying the bands ability to evolve at a rapid rate.
Overdrive caught up with guitarist Mark O’Reilly and vocalist Gabriel Gaba to discuss their plans for 2020 and their debut headline show on December 7th in Dublin’s, Sin É venue. Event information at the bottom of this feature.
OD – For those that are not familiar, tell us a brief background in how Sectile came together and the best description of the bands sound?
Mark – The idea of a band was thrown around between myself and Cormac during the summer of 2016. We have been friends since school and always had a good bit of common ground when it came to the music that we liked.
With one or two demos together we eventually found Gabriel online as got chatting to him, just sharing ideas online for a couple of months. It went back and forth like that for a while, we actually didn’t meet in person for quite some time!
Gabriel – Yeah, the first time Mark rang me it was my wedding day, so very weird timing! I was literally on the taxi between the ceremony and the reception taking his call: “Sorry dude, I can’t meet you for pints as I’m getting married today…” That was an awkward phone call! Luckily when we did meet, we clicked instantly and I could tell this was going to be something special.
Mark – Yeah, his priorities didn’t make the best first impression but we eventually were able to look past it! Anyways, it was only when we found Zachary did we start to enter the rehearsal room and get the ball rolling for real.
Sectile officially became a band around November of that year. With regards to the our sound at the time… I think in the beginning we may have had some idea of the kind of sound we wanted, but we certainly didn’t really know how to get there. We knew some of the high-level characteristics we were interested in but our knowledge of the theory and mechanics of the music we liked was so limited that the net result was pretty different in the beginning. Ultimately, what we landed on for our debut EP was essentially hard-rock with very light progressive elements.
OD – With regards to the true essence of the bands sound, do you feel that there has been a considerable level of evolution from when the band originally formed to where you are today?
Mark – Very much so! As I said there were some limitations as we were only starting to learn the ropes of songwriting, but we also really had no idea what made each other tick as musicians.
Songwriting is a skill to be refined like any other and a big part of that is understanding how to get the most of each other with ideas that everyone finds exciting! As we started to discover how much we enjoyed some of the well-known characteristics of progressive metal, the more they started to make their way into our songs. And, suddenly, we had way to challenge ourselves with our songwriting.
Gabriel – There’s also the fact that we are all avid music listeners and are always discovering new stuff and sharing those with each other. So there was a lot of cross pollination with influences that over time, impacted the songwriting and our delivery as musicians.
OD – 2017 saw your very first self-titled EP and 2018’s single ‘The Hunt‘ (see below), we’re assuming that there is a new release on the way. Can you disclose a date for anything that may be happening in the near future?
Mark – Absolutely! Our debut full-length album is going to be released on February 25th 2020.
Gabriel – The first single and video ‘Black Cloud‘ drops on February 4th, so stay tuned for that!
OD – With regards to the new material, can you divulge about the title or perhaps the overall concept?
Gabriel – The album will be titled ‘Falls Apart’, it will have 8 songs, some of which we have played live before but also entirely new tunes. There is not necessarily an overall story, but the songs do have some common threads thematically – I think when people see the cover artwork and the lyrics, they will start wondering about that and we can reveal a bit more when the album comes out!
OD – What/who would you reference as being a major influence for Sectile’s sound and lyrical approach?
Mark – I am certain that each of us would answer this question differently. I would get many ideas with regards to rhythms and song structure from Michael Romeo of Symphony X or bands like Intronaut, Einar Solberg of Leprous would have a major impact when it comes to chords and progressions, and if we wanted to lean into something a bit more emotive I would think of bands like Alcest.
It’s not a case of quoting these bands directly but, as is always the case with these things, their ideas are representative of musical concepts that you naturally internalise from just listening to music.
Over time it becomes part of your DNA! If you ask the rest of the boys you would probably hear Steven Wilson / Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Gojira and many others.
Gabriel – As for the lyrics, I wouldn’t say I am necessarily influenced by other bands, but rather by books, films, science, art and my own views and life experience.
Initially I wasn’t too sure of what to write about in Sectile, I only knew it was going to be dark and gloomy, and I eventually found myself being able to write them very naturally as ‘dark and gloomy‘ is a good description of my personality!
I also do all of the band’s artwork and graphic design and from the start the visual and lyrical elements fed each other. I am a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft especially the psychological elements of his cosmic horror writing, so there’s a bit of that mixed in with other sci-fi and occult references, and then I try to use these things as metaphors to deal with the darker aspects of the human psyche.
I usually imagine some sort of ‘short story‘ scenario for each song and write within that mindset, even if in the end the story itself is not really told in the lyrics.
OD – If you had the opportunity to tour with any band/artist, who would it be?
Mark – Probably Leprous. It would be great to find out how they come up with all their ideas so we could steal them.
Gabriel – I second that!
OD – Coming from the perspective within the Irish Metal scene, do you think that things are in a good place right now or do you find that the scene is somewhat lacking in diversity?
Mark – You can hear this said about a lot of countries, but the metal scene in Ireland is very small. Even in terms of the actual “physical infrastructure” available, that being things like venues to perform or musicians to recruit.
However, when certain festivals pop up around the country, or competitions like M2TM Ireland are on, it becomes evident that there is a small but very close-knit and passionate scene. At these gig comprised of local acts there is often an air of community that I just can’t imagine experiencing at many other shows.
Gabriel – In terms of our genre specifically, there are very few active prog bands in the country so there’s definitely room for more!
OD – What are the bands plans for 2020?
Mark – We are extremely excited to get our first full-length album out and just sharing it with as many people as we possibly can!
Gabriel – We have been hard at work behind the scenes for all of 2019 preparing for this release and come 2020 we hope to see some of what we dreamed and worked for becoming reality.
OD – With regards to the first single ‘Black Cloud‘ from the forthcoming album, would this be a good preview as to what we can expect from the album as a whole?
Mark – For sure. We feel Black Cloud fairly competently summarises some of our characteristics as a band. It has passages of dark atmosphere, interesting rhythms, heavy riffs, and catchy vocal hooks to top it all off.
Gabriel – I think that people who are only familiar with our debut EP will definitely be surprised when they hear what we came up with in this album and how far we pushed ourselves musically. We can’t wait to have it out there!
Sectile take to the stage in Sin É on Saturday December 7th with special guests Arjuna’s Eye and Scathed. Admission is just €5.00. For more details, please access the official event link here.
Mark O’Reilly – Guitar
Cormac Hennigan – Bass
Gabriel Gaba – Vocals
Zachary Newman – Drums
Marcelo Varge – Guitar