Planetmosh caught up with guitarist Drop and vocalist Ben from Cyber Metal band Sybreed. Having just finished a European tour and with the excellent ‘God Is An Automaton’ out in the open the guys had plenty to talk about.
Many thanks for taking the time out to have a chat with us here at Planetmosh.
Firstly, I’d like to ask how it all began for you as a band, were you all thrown together so to speak, or had you been playing together in previous projects?
Drop : Sybreed started in Summer of 2003. I had a band called Rain from 1997 to 2003, then all the lineup changed, few months later I met Benjamin and we decided to change the band’s name. He was playing in a band called Fragment, kinda Meshuggah-like band (no djent please), and I really enjoyed his voice. About the current line-up, Kevin our drummer joined in 2007, he was playing in various project before that. And our just arrived bassplayer Ales is still playing in his own band, Djizoes.
It’s been around 8 years now since the release of your debut album “Slave Design”, how do you look back on that period of the band now, anything you think you might have done differently?
Drop : For sure not! The past is the past and it’s a part of your history and I personally think if it has been like this, it’s because that was the way it was supposed to be. Actually I am very happy with every album, and I wouldn’t change anything. For sure if we had to write and record ‘Slave Design’ nowadays some things would be different but it’s not the case, so I leave the past to the past and I don’t regret anything, cause there is nothing we can do to change it now, unless they invent the time-travel machine. As far as I know, it’s not the case, fortunately.
You then signed to current label Listenable Records and followed with your second album “Antares”, that must have been a very exciting time for the band, new label, album, touring, would it be fair to say that you felt on top of the world?
Ben: I wouldn’t say we felt like we were on the top of the world, but more that it was the beginning of the “serious stuff”. It’s a question of point of view let’s say, we are the kind of guy that somewhat enjoy struggles more than achievement and we know that the road is pretty long. However, it was indeed a very exciting time, full of opportunities and promises.
Your third album, the amazing “The Pulse Of Awakening” really made people sit up and take notice of the band, would you say that was the breakthrough moment?
Ben: it was indeed somewhat of a breakthrough for we shifted from an “underdog” status to more recognition, even though we keep an underground profile. At the same time, it feels like we took a precise place in people minds, as one of the “leader” of the Cyber-metal genre, because of the whole industrial and experimental feel of our third album. However we took notice of this fact quite recently, and so we keep doing music with a hard-working state of mind, for we know many things are left to be done.
We come now to the latest album “God Is An Automaton”, which I was lucky enough to get to review here at Planetmosh. It’s an album that you’ve taken a lot of time over, and obviously put a lot of effort into, did you approach the writing and recording any differently to the previous albums?
Ben: actually, it took us more time to get started with the whole process than other albums, and also to choose the way we would actually compose it. However the writing itself was pretty short, for we have decided at the end to make a very straight-forward album, with a lot less experimentations than “The Pulse of Awakening”. We somewhat envisioned “God is an Automaton” as a sort of synthesis of our past works, as well as a record which would actually be stage-orientated: our personal expectation that new songs were to be hard-hitting when played live, and so far we reached our goal. Then, even if the writing was quite short, the production itself took us quite a long time, and it’s a pretty refined album recording wise.
I found it to be a very varied album musically speaking, there’s a world of difference between tracks like ‘Downfall Inc’, ‘Red Nova Ignition’ and ‘Hightech Versus Lowlife’ for example. Were these tracks written over a long period of time?
Ben: for some of them yes, but not the ones you speak about, which were written in at the same time, so as to say during November/December 2011. Actually, the oldest songs are ‘Challenger‘, ‘Into the Blackest Light’ and ‘A Radiant Day Break ‘which date from 2010. In any case, we enjoy that each song stands out on it’s own, so we take great care that none sound like the others: our music would be difficult to grasp if we would make monolithic albums.
You worked with Rhys Fulber for this album, how did you come around to hooking up with him for this project?
Drop : He also mixed our previous album ‘The Pulse of Awakening‘. I kept in touch with him since then, I also did a remix for his project Conjure One. Then, we spoke about mixing our 4th album, and this time I went into his studio in Los Angeles to work on synths and arrangements. The overall synth aspect was left almost blank in order to leave Rhys this side of the job. So I spent 3 weeks working on synths, programming and arrangements with him, it was a real pleasure to do it, he understood 100% of what we needed and I know he had a good time working on this album. Then he mixed the album on it’s own, and his friend Greg Reely did the mastering. We will do it for the next album again for sure, I would like him even more involved.
Reading the many reviews and write ups on the band there seems to be a lot of different ‘tags’ thrown at you, ‘Death Wave’ ‘Industrial’ , ‘Groove Metal’, the list goes on. Which (if any) do you feel most comfortable with, or are you not really interested in that kind of thing?
Ben: it’s quite a complex question … we don’t like tags much because at the end none are really accurate. For example, the “Death Wave” tag is something we have thrown ourselves during an interview … while we were totally drunk ! Yet, we decided to keep it because somehow it fitted us well at that time, even if it wasn’t meaning much: it was more a way for us to “piss off” people by forgetting to include the “metal” thing in our music genre. However, nowadays I would be quite more inclined to describe Sybreed as a Cyber-Metal band, especially because of our lyrical content.
You seem to have quite a wide range of musical influences as a band, from Fear Factory right the way through to Depeche Mode. That must benefit you when it comes to writing and recording?
Ben: yes, it definitely helps since we can pick inspiration in many different genres and experiment by mixing many elements. It really makes it more fun to compose moreover. At the same time, we still have to be cautious because there’s always a risk to get a bit divided between too many choices and possibilities: yet I think we are kinda good in being focused when writing now, no matter how much influences we have, for we know how Sybreed’s music must sound.
You’ve also recorded an official studio video for the track “Hightech Versus Lowlife” , filmed and directed by Anthony Dubois. How much did you enjoy doing that?
Drop : We had a lot of fun. Actually Anthony Dubois is a really good friend of us, and he went in the studio to shot the promo pictures as well as to film some of the sessions for the “Studio Reports” you can see on our YouTube channel (SybreedOfficial). We took this opportunity to film each member performing Hightech Versus Lowlife in the studio, in order to make a studio video.
We have two more official videos on the way, they both should be released in November. One of them is for the song ‘The Line of Least Resistance‘, directed by French director Benjamin Cappelletti. And the other one is for the song ‘No Wisdom Brings Solace’ that we filmed live during our last Euroblast performance in Germany, with Anthony Dubois again.
Ben: it was quite a cool trip, since we toured with the Mnemic guys who are friends of us. So, while it was a pretty short and compact tour, thus a bit exhausting we had a good time and the atmosphere was quite relaxed in the tour bus. Regarding the fans, it seems that they already know some of the songs by heart: I had the confirmation when we played at the Euroblast Festival on the 18th of October, for the front row were singing the choruses of both the new and old songs so loud I could barely hear myself in the monitors.
How soon do you start to think about new material and projects, straight after the tour or are we some way off yet?
Drop : We always think about new material, even when we are still on the previous album’s sessions hahaha. So we are currently seriously thinking about the next one, we planned some writing sessions this winter, and I know Benjamin already has the album title, as well as some song titles. It’s gonna be cool, looking forward to see on which direction we will go this time.
Finally, can I ask what the fans can expect of Sybreed next, and do you have a message for them?
Drop : So now we will start writing our new record, then we will tour a lot in 2013, including the summer festivals, but nothing is confirmed yet so I can’t give you more information. Then, in summer 2013 it’s gonna be the 10 years of Sybreed and we would like to do some special shows. We are currently discussing it.
Current album ‘God Is An Automaton’ is out now.