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Tech-Fest 2018: Interview With 'SikTh'

It was a scorcher of a day at Techfest and I had escaped to the shades of the press room where I was greeted by SikTh member, Dan Foord. I was reminiscing with Dan about the first time I seen SikTh many moons ago in 2003, supporting Machine Head on their “Through The Ashes Of Empires” tour. “That was a wicked tour!” Dan exclaimed.

I was always curious about the origins of SikTh, and whether they envisioned the band would sound and become anything like the band that exists today.

Dan delved into the memory bank and gave me a bit of insight into the origins of SikTh.

The band was born in the late 1990s by schoolmates Dan Weller (Guitar) and Pin (Guitar), they later discovered Mikee (Vocals) and with a couple of others formed an “early version of SikTh”, which existed for a year, but did not sound anything like the SikTh as we know today.

Dan Foord (Drums) was first to come on board and band mates, James Leech (Bass) and second vocalist Justin Hill followed shortly after, completing the formidable six-piece line up that was to explode into the Progressive/Technical Metal scene.

Each member wanted to push boundaries and strived for this “unique sound” which they all had felt was missing from the industry. Bands such as Pantera and Metallica who were pioneers in their genre at the time inspired them. Seeing the bends progress and redefining genres, SikTh would endeavour to do the same.

“We wanted to write music that was ground breaking, modern and unique”

So… 6 extremely talented and driven musicians, big dreams and a gap in the market. Everything was in place… However, creating a completely exclusive sound was not a straight forward process. Dan goes on to say, “We had in our minds an idea of a sound, but didn’t know exactly how to make that sound, the process was long and slow”.

The two Dan’s were the prolific writers in the early days of the band, creating complex rhythms, patterns, melodies and structures that became the foundations of the Metal masterpieces. With Pin, James, Mikee and Justin adding their own flare and stamps into the writing process, the distinguishable SikTh sound was born.

With the internet and file sharing being at its infancy, song writing was carried out in the traditional manner, that people congregated and exchanged their musical ideas. However, with the technological boom of the 21st century, media sharing became extremely popular especially within Technical Metal industry. It was possible for individuals to communicate their ideas without anyone being present.

Although there are benefits to this process, Dan goes on to say “It is a shame music has gone this way, it’s discarding the meaning of being in a band. With the technology and skills of individuals, especially in the Technical Metal industry. It is possible for one member to write whole songs and then they all stand as a “band” for a photoshoot, yet one guy is the brains behind the operation.”

2 years after the release of their 2nd album the dual vocalists left the band and SikTh would undergo a 7 year split. In 2014, SikTh reformed with the original line up and came back stronger than ever! Kicking off with a UK tour and a headline slot at Download. This revival lasted for a further 2 years before vocalist Justin parted ways with the band in 2016 to pursue his career as a producer, but this time the remaining band stayed united and went in search of Justin’s replacement.

With a back catalogue of EPs and Albums behind them, SikTh didn’t want to replace Justin with someone who would sing the originals differently and made the decision that it was important to get someone how can re-create Justin’s vocals. Pin also played for another band “Aliases”. The singer Joe Rosser was approached as a possible replacement for Justin and he executed the role extremely well and has allowed SikTh to remain active and release their latest album “The Future In Whose Eyes?”

SikTh continue to write new material and hope to bring back the roots of the first album. “The new album will be going back to the old way of writing, creating the vibe and spontaneity of the first album, doing as much in the room together, interacting and bouncing off each other”.

Q and A:

Who is the person that takes lead and holds the band together?

"In the early days it was Dan Weller. Now days management take on that responsibility."

Who is the party animal of the band?

"James is the party animal, but we all like to go out and have a good time when the occasion arises and suits the tour schedule."

Most memorable gig/moment?

"I think this would be different from each member, but the reunion tour 2014 was up there for me. After being away for such a long time, hearing the crowd and the love we received from the fans was overwhelming. It was also our biggest headline to date."

Most enjoyable song to play as a band?

"'Bland Street Bloom', most of them are fun… but because they are difficult they are probably not as fun as it would be. Despite it being difficult, we’ve played it so many times its like second nature and there is something unique about that song I really like."

What is next on the SikTh bucket list?

"Go back to all those places and headline. That would be amazing."

Favourite country that you have toured?

"We’ve loved the response SikTh receives in all countries and each tour has different criteria. But the American tour was up there with my favourites. The driver did an amazing job and we got to see a lot of America!"

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Photo & Interview - Matt Jones

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