There is a buzz of activity in Dublin’s Academy tonight as roadie’s and venue staff rush around the maze of halls ahead of tonight’s debut show from California Metal outfit, Devildriver.
Overdrive are led into a noisy recreational area where we find members of support bands, Bleed From Within and Sylosis hanging out and doing the usual pre-show activities of tuning guitars sharing stories and having a laugh.
Our reason for invading the bands private space is to sit down and catch some time with Sylosis vocalist/guitarist Josh Middleton. Josh is a very relaxed welcoming and humble individual who talks candidly about his passion for music, art and all things Sylosis.
OD. The new album “Monolith” is your third album to date. Can you talk a little about how you approached the writing and recording of this album?
Josh. Well, we are always writing and with this album, we had a certain amount of demos that we were looking through and
OD. Did the dynamic of taking over vocals on “Edge of the Earth” change the writing process for that album and “Monolith” and if so how did this effect the structure of the guitar parts?
Josh – Well, there was not much of a change in terms of the band’s sound but for me, I had to get used to singing and playing at the same time. Finding a comfortable way to still keep the guitar parts unique to our sound was something that I wanted and feel that I have achieved. It was almost like patting your head and rubbing your stomach. I had to learn to be comfortable with doing both things and try to be the best that I could.
OD. When you think back to the recording process of “Conclusion Of An Age” and compare it to “Edge Of The Earth” and now “Monolith” , is there any advice on the process of recording that you can offer to aspiring bands?
Josh – As I mentioned before, we had a very detailed idea of what we wanted to sound like and made sure that we were very tight and knew the songs inside out before we entered the studio. Although we have been lumped in with bands such as Trivium, we have always felt that we have our own sound and made sure that this was caught during the recording process. My advice to younger bands is to be confident and have a clear idea of what your music sounds like before you start the recording process. Any make sure you rehearse as much as you can prior to entering the studio.
OD. You have toured with Lamb of God, Dragonforce, Fear Factory, The Black Dahlia Murder, played Sonisphere and Grasspop and now this jaunt with Devildriver, has there been some stand out moments from any of these tours, be it bad or good?
Josh – One of the most stand out moments that comes to mind is the bus crash that we had during the Trivium / Devildriver North American Tour back in September last year. It was just crazy. One minute I’m sitting in the RV and the next minute I was lying on the side of the road, completely dazed. We were so lucky that we survived that as it was truly a terrifying experience.
OD. The last time you played in Ireland was with Lamb of God, were you shocked with the news of Randy’s arrest, as it was only a matter of weeks after the show here?
Josh – Yea, we actually played this venue (The Academy, Dublin) and as I remember it was a great show. I had never really met Randy as I was more in contact with Chris Adler, but when I found out about it, I was shocked.
OD. What are your thoughts on incidents such as this and do you think that as a genre of music we are all part of and love, that’s it’s exposed to negative press because of the actions of one particular person?
Josh – For me, I was never really into the whole stage diving thing, but that’s just me. I am more interested in just watching the bands and soaking up the music. From the perspective of being on stage, it’s cool to see the kids really getting into the music that we have written and it’s pretty obvious that there will be some bruising and a few cuts but when things like the incident with Randy, or even the death of Dimebag come into the mix it’s definitely not cool. Although the kids are having fun, the other side of the coin is that it can get pretty scary at times.
Josh – At the time I had a very detailed reason for the artwork and it will take very long to explain and I have almost forgotten at this point. Our artist Dan Goldsworthy and I worked very closely together. I had sketched out some designs and kept tweaking as we progressed. There are many symbols and meanings on the cover and will take forever to explain (Laughs).
OD. Artwork on albums was so glorious back in the day and seems to have disappeared from most music genre’s, but with the return of vinyl, it’s becoming something more important. What is your favorite album artwork of all time?
Josh – One album that comes to mind is Sepultura’s “Arise”. I just loved that look and although it does not resemble any of the album covers that we have produced, I just love the look of it. It’s almost iconic at this stage. I also really live the artwork for Sepultura’s Under Seige 12″.
OD. Does anyone in the band collect or have a love for vinyl records?
Josh – No, not really. I mean, I have some albums that I have picked up along the way and like to own the records that I really like. I don’t own a turn table just yet but I just like having the records that really made an impact on me.
OD. Have you been working on any new music since the release of the new album?
Josh – At the moment we have some stuff floating around. We are always writing and have a number of ideas. At this point I can say that there will most likely be some new material released later on this year.
Words – Oran O’Beirne
Photography – Steve Dempsey of Down The Barrel Photography