Interview by Brady Deeprose
Brady caught up with Sylosis’ Josh Middleton (the man with the voice of the devil and guitar-abusing powers to match) before their show supporting Killswitch Engage at the Birmingham HMV Institute.
How’s the tour going so far?
Josh: Really well! We’ve been out for nearly a month now, staring in Europe and we’ve just done the first 2 UK shows: they’ve probably been the best, for us, I’d say…for obvious reasons.
What’s it like touring with Killswitch Engage?
Really cool. In terms of music, we don’t really sound too alike, but we definitely cross over in certain aspects, especially with the faster, more ‘thrashy’ stuff they do. That said, it’s cool to be hopefully winning over some new fans. They’re all really nice guys…really friendly, really helpful and their crew have all been great to us.
How is the new album, Monolith, coming across live?
It’s good…there are a few tracks that are a bit more mid-tempo that we’re trying out which is always good to break things up a bit, so it’s going well.
Did you have a different approach to writing the latest release?
Yeah, a bit. We wanted it to be more earthy, raw and darker. We kept getting the ‘metalcore’ tag which is something we’ve never wanted to be a part of…so just trying to distance ourselves a bit more from that I suppose. There’s loads of stuff that me and Carl (Parnell, bass) used to listen to when we were 16 like Superjoint Ritual and stuff like that…and I really like the more underground doom-ey bands like High On Fire and Crowbar…I think we just wanted to bring out some more, ‘bearded old man’ sort of riffs. In terms of production, we wanted it to sound a lot less polished I think.
How do you think it compared to your back catalogue?
I would honestly be fine if someone deleted all our previous albums from existence and this was our debut: that would be perfect for me…obviously, I really like it! It’s definitely my favourite by far anyway.
Have you got a favourite track to play live?
From the new album, I really like playing the title track, ‘Monolith’ which we won’t be doing on this tour. Other than that: ‘All Is Not Well’, which is a more mid-paced one for us and a bit different to do. We haven’t really been playing too many of the new ones yet. Other than that, ‘Fear The World’ which we’ve been opening with for a while.
You recently had a stint playing guitar for Architects, how did that come about?
I’ve known them for years, we used to play together before both our bands had albums out and we’ve just stayed in touch. They needed a guitarist and I was the only person they knew that could play their stuff. They used to be quite technical, then they toned it down a bit but on the new record (Daybreaker), they brought it back again. It might not sound too bad but it is really tricky to play so they struggled to find a replacement.
How did that compare to touring with Sylosis being, ‘the main man’, as it were?
It was really easy! With Architects, turn up, get drunk, play the songs. Their tour manager was like, “What do you want to drink?” and was just bringing out drinks while we were playing…just having a rack of Gin and Tonics on my amp, which was cool. It was a bit more laid back, but nothing beats doing your own thing.
What are you guys planning from here on out?
For the next few months it will just be festivals, especially in Europe. We want to go back to America as we really need to keep up appearances over there, career wise…Canada too. Keep on touring and have a bit of a longer break between albums.
Have you felt rushed with regards to albums in the past then?
Not really, Edge Of The Earth took a little bit longer to be released than we’d hoped, the artwork and mix both took longer than expected and then the label needed to wait until the new year to release it. We’d already had six months to write new material before the album even came out so there was no rush, it just meant that Monolith came out a little earlier that we’d have liked.
Have you guys ever felt pressure from the label to go towards a particular sound?
I was worried about that but they’ve been really cool and let us get on with it. You hear stories about that, especially with bigger bands, but we seem to have steered clear.
Being a British band, based from Reading, do you feel a sense of kinship with bands like Empress who are making a name for themselves?
I think so… Back in the day, there were a group of mates: Us, Exit Ten, Viatrophy, Traces , and that all made sense. We don’t see as much of them now. Empress are awesome, it’s been really cool to see those guys doing so well, so quickly. It must be a good thing to have a good scene at home.
Thank you very much for your time.
Official live videos from the gig will be available via The Silent Syndicate Productions.