Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: The Deep web.
Interview of Sees by Dagheisha.
When did the idea to start the band enter your mind?
Well…like a lot of people, I have been in and out of bands my whole life. I played guitar in my first few bands but started performing vocals when a friend asked if I could fill in for his band. From that point on, I've been mainly a vocalist. One thing that has remained constant, was that I was always writing and recording. I had taken a few music production courses in college and started recording my own songs during my downtime. One day, my drummer and longtime friend Mark and I were listening to some of the tracks that I had recorded and he thought it would be a good idea to create a band modeled off of my solo project. It has been nothing but recording, rehearsing and trying out members ever since.
What are your main reference points as far as music is concerned?
It varies throughout the band but I have always been drawn to bands with powerful vocalists. Phil Anselmo, Maynard Keenan, Jens Kidman, Tori Amos, Bjork, Mike Patton, Thom Yorke, Chino Moreno….there are a ton of them. For Eric it's Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, Dimebag, Devin Townsend, Fredrik Thordendal, Jeff Loomis, etc. And for Mark its Tomas Haake, Vinnie Paul, Dennis Chambers, and about a million different gospel drummers haha. As a whole, we really enjoy listening to a lot of the same bands and the influences are differently there.
What's your definition of “djent”?
Djent is basically a term for the overly palm muted metallic sound that comes from guitars combined with the use of djent specific gear. This guitar sound is used in "Djent" music and usually contains a lot of muted breaks placed around 16ths with a lot of emphasis on the downbeat. That is about as far as I will go with the definition as it can be a sore subject for a lot of "Djent" labeled musicians. Back around 2003 when we started creating music for SEES, we had no idea that there would be a genre like djent. Bands were called prog metal, math metal, poly metal, etc. Although we don't like to be lumped into a single genre, we love and respect what being involved in the djent community has done for us.
Did you experiment other kind of chords during your songwriting process?
Not so much. We use pretty standard tunings on 6, 7 and 8 string guitars and stick mostly to power chords. Mark and Eric can read/write music and I mostly noodle around, so they would be able to provide more insight.
Djent community is getting bigger and bigger. Which are the most interesting underground acts for you?
I try to grab as much underground music as possible. I listen to anything that is a free download or anything that people have been talking up. Most of it usually ends up on the passenger side floor of my car but the bands that I keep coming back to are Stealing Axion, Red Seas Fire and Nemertines. I really stick to the bands that I grew up with though. Canderia is one band that has never been recognized in the Djent community and definitely deserves a lot of credit for the genre. Mark and I went to Coney Island High show featuring Canderia, Dillenger and Meshuggah in the late 90's and you could really feel that something special was in the air. 10 years later the djent scene is alive and well. Who knew?
How much time did you need to compose and record the songs for 'The enD'?
We wrote the entire album in about 3 months. It was during the winter and we all had a lot of downtime. However, we spent the next 6 months recording the album. We all work corporate jobs and have limited availability, so we try to schedule EVERYTHING. Creating music was much easier in college but now it seems to be a constant juggling act of work, life and music. However, unlike a lot of bands, SEES is here to stay. We've been at it for almost a decade and won't stop until we are physically unable to do so. Having our music readily available on the internet is a definite plus but we would be creating art and music regardless. Creating art and music is a necessity for me, not a hobby.
What albums inspired you in terms of production?
This is a great question. I think that a lot of people that get into recording have a hard time differentiating between music that they like and the quality of the production. You can have an amazing band that you love with a not so great recording but feel as though the recording is great because the music has drawn you in. You should always A/B with audiophile quality, money-backed, major productions. Comparing yourself to Joe Shmoe with a PC and plug ins is not the way to go. Don't get me wrong, my recordings have a long way to go and I am always learning but this is just my opinion. That being stated, I usually have a few staples that I reference - #1 Sevendust - Animosity, recorded at Tree Sound in Atlanta… THE hugest recording whether you enjoy the band or not. #2 Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway, Vocal production is flat out stunning. #3 Pantera - Far Beyond Driven - I'm still convinced that those are machines and not guitars. Terry Date is the MAN. #4 Lamb of God - Mid range done right. #5 Mnemic - Sons of the System, Damn, that is an assload of compression. There are a ton more but you get the point.
Is free download the only solution for the music business crisis?
Well for us it is. Even selling our music for $5 an album would limit our exposure drastically. It also wouldn't even be enough money to help the band do anything more than what we are already doing. I actually lost money on 'The enD'. I did listeners a favor by only asking $5 for a physical copy because after the mastering, disc production and shipping costs I was out nearly $200. However, that won't deter us from doing the same thing on the next album if it's released without label support.
Please introduce 'The enD' to our readers with a brief track by track.
This is a tough question for me because I like for my art to be open to the individual for interpretation. As a listener, I often relate music to myself rather than what the person who wrote them had in mind and I would like for our listeners to do the same. Relate the songs to yourself and interpret their meaning as you wish.
If I had to describe them (briefly) I would say this:
1. Inhale - The calm before the storm.
2. Stare - See the world for what it is.
3. Ungrateful Self - Try no to hate yourself too much.
4. Nonsense - Ever been cheated on?
5. Slowly - Get over it.
6. Nail Biter - I am seriously neurotic and meticulous.
7. Hidden - Bottle up your emotions and drive yourself mad.
8. Cripple Me With Despair - Some people aren't happy with only hurting themselves.
9. Candidate - I don't care for shit talkers.
10.Exhale - The storm has passed.
What are your favourite songs to play live?
It would have to be Cripple and Nonsense. Although it is tough to tell, given that we haven't had a full band for quite some time now. There are a few older songs (Relentless and Ruiner) that no one knows about that get the blood flowing live.
Have you ever been to Italy? Are you gonna play here?
I have been oversees a few times but never to Italy. I would love to go there and would love even more to play a show there! That won't happen for quite some time given our current situation.
How do you build your vocal parts?
I go about it in kind of a strange way. Usually, I ad lib over the track without using words - only sounds, melodies and rhythms for the vocals. Afterwards, I listen to the track and tailor the lyrics to the patterns that I came up with. I feel that if you create the words beforehand, you really limit yourself as to where you are placing and composing the vocals. Words always get in the way of what I am actually trying to say.
What do you aim to create with your lyrics?
I don't really think about what I am writing until after the song is written and recorded. Then after listening to the song for a while, I will think "oh I must have been feeling this or I must have been trying to convey this…".
I would have to say that I am completely backwards when it comes to writing lyrics. One thing that remains constant is that our songs are always about real life. They are about feelings and experiences that anyone can relate to. I will never write songs about spiritual guidance, the cosmos, video games, etc. That just seems childish to me. You might as well write about the christmas or the fairies if that is the case. Another thing that I avoid is being a preachy lyricist because quite frankly, the last person that you should go to for life guidance or opinions is a crazy musician.
What are your next plans?
There has been talk of re-releasing our first album which was a double disc but we will have to see. We just wrapped up and released our EP 'In & Between', 3 new songs available on our download site. We do, however, have another full length we are currently working on that is coming out nicely. So far, I would say that it is similar to 'The end' - but this release will be much more diverse in genre, dynamics and really showcases the ability of the band. We are going to take our time with it and put out something that is top notch and jacked on steroids. We have also begun production on our music video for the first single of the album titled 'Growing Down'. Stay tuned!
Grand Moff Tim: "Sometimes when you want some ass, you have to eat some fake lashes. That's just life man.
Red Seas Fire: "When it doubt, downpick everything."