The name of the band Syrens, is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
The name is meant as a humbling name. We had another name previous to Syrens, and we wanted to change everything about that band because people were letting too much get to their head. Obviously we liked the mythological definition, but there is more to it. To me every person that takes on the ” christian” name is put under the microscope and it can seem alluring and nice as a whole, but those people can be the most corrupt people on the planet sometimes and turn some one interested away because of that. So in a way the name is admitting that we all have the potential of destruction and being pure evil before grace…..pretty metal haha…
Can you briefly summarize how the band formed and what you do in Syrens?
Our singer ,original drummer, and bass player had been playing together for years and after their previous band broke up it seemed like a natural thing for them to start Syrens. I joined in July 2007 and I play guitar.
Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a concept behind the writing of s/t EP?
Our singer answered this one – For the most part the events of my life have inspired my lyrics ESPECIALLY on this new record. I went through and read most of them the other day and I didn’t realize how bitter i was at that point in my life hahaha. Writing to me is therapeutic, and if I didn’t have the pen on paper I would most certainly be in a shrinks office every week. I also view writing as a voice ( i know… lyrics with meaning….what a concept *hint* every metalcore band alive *hint*). I like to talk about subjects that are thought provoking and make the listener feel SOMETHING. Thats my whole goal, to be as passionate and real as possible….that will never change.
You just released s/t EP, how has the reactions been thus far? What can fans expect when they pick up a copy?
Reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. Crowd response to our new material has been out of control. They can expect a loud, fast, and intensely emotional 24 minutes. This wasn’t an album written to make people happy or push units. It was an album that expresses exactly how we feel at this time in our lives and I think that comes across pretty well.
When it came to releasing s/t EP how did that whole package come together? What was the recording process like, how long did you have, was their any pressure on you?
Writing was great. We had a 3 full songs already written so we spent about 3 months tweaking them. Flesh and Honey, Equality, and Metamorphosis were written during that time.
The recording process was awful. We had 4 days to record everything and the guy we were working with only gave us 6 – 8 hour blocks so it was an intense session. Hopefully that frustration came out in the playing, but it sucked. His studio was in the front room of his house and he does a decent enough job but it was definitely…an experience to say the least.
How has Cavity Records been thus far for you guys? Who approached who?
Cavity Records is awesome. They’ve been extremely helpful to us. Those guys work super hard for us. We approached them a while ago, but then we broke up for a little bit. When we came back it was sort of a mutual agreement that they would put out our album.
How do you think you will effect the Progessive/Grind/Mathcore scene you are part of?
Hopefully we can help keep some passion in it. More than becoming a big band we’d like to be influential to newer bands in the same way that our favorite bands influenced us.
In general we try to encourage bands and people at shows to think for themselves and realize that they can be whatever they want to be. This whole “scene kid” “metalhead” “hardcore kid” thing is just nonsense.
What are your thoughts on the growing popularity in it as well?
I think it’s great that more people are embracing heavy, technical music. Of course it kills some of the mystique that surrounded this music when we were growing up, but on the whole I think it’s a positive thing.
You guys are from Texas what is the local music scene like there? Any bands you’d recommend?
The scene is awesome! I mean all scenes seem to have suffered a little bit lately due to intense over saturation, but our fans in Texas are the most crazy, dedicated, and loyal fans any band could ever hope for.
The Paper Chase, Sarah and Octopus, and Soviet are bands that have just blown us away lately. They’re bands that deserve to get huge.
Who did the artwork, and title for the album, when you look on the final project, is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
Aside from making the tracklisting way too dark to read I don’t think I would have changed anything. Our bass player did all of the artwork for our album and we collectively decided to go self titled for our EP.
Many of your songs are so hard and intense that I am sure they translate well into a live setting taking on a whole new life in front of a live audience. How does it make you feel when the emotion and power that you envisioned in the recording studio, come to life while playing in front of a crowd?
There’s no feeling like it. It’s a rush every time. The coolest thing is seeing the crowd connect with those emotions and understand even if they don’t exactly know what the song is about. Playing live will always be my favorite part of being in a band. It’s a total release of every emotion I’ve had up to that point. I love it.
Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?
Generally I’ll come in with a song, or at least a skeleton of a song and the band collectively works on arrangements and transistions. That’s not the rule though. For example our singer wrote the first riff of Equality. Everyone is allowed to contribute. We find that helps keep the music fresh. We’re all fairly diverse musically.
Going back to the music business, what do you think of everyone downloading music, possibly even your music? Do you think it helps or hurts bands in the long run?
Haha I hate this question. It always makes people mad. While I understand it, I see no difference between music downloading and walking into Best Buy and stealing a dvd or walking up to our merch table and grabbing a cd. I understand why people don’t see it as a problem. When the thing that you’re stealing is not a solid, tangible thing it makes it much easier to feel no remorse. We’re pretty adamant about keeping our prices low, or helping kids at our shows get our music without stealing it from us. I know people are probably going to send us nasty emails now but they need to know how bands actually feel about it…
How has MYSPACE and the internet impacted your band?
The internet and myspace have made things way easier for bands in general. It’s been fairly positive for us because we have a good mix online and word of mouth promotion. We try to avoid becoming one of those “myspace” bands who get a million plays a day and only draw 7 people a show, but it really does help. I’m still trying to figure out this new twitter phenomenon…
What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?
In the studio it would definitely be PRACTICE WITH A METRONOME before you go in to record….
Live…I went through a big phase where I would either get on my knees right in front of my cab or slam my head into my monitor and I have noticeable hearing loss now…that was a dumb idea.
What are the upcoming plans for Syrens?
Summer tours with The Handshake Murders, Architect, Love Begotten, and North…hopefully a run with our dudes in Ringbearer and then we’ll do some pre-production work for our full length.
What bands would you like to tour with and who has been your favorite to tour with this far? Any particular reason?
I want to tour with Metallica for obvious reasons, Meshuggah because they’re my favorite band ever…the list just goes on and on. The Chariot’s new album is really good. I’d like to tour with them…
All of the bands we’ve toured with have been awesome, but Ringbearer was especially cool. They’re the nicest, most hilarious band we’ve ever met. I can’t wait to tour with them again.
What is currently playing on your iPod or CD Player?
Lately a lot of Meshuggah, Goatwhore, Converge, Abigail Williams, Nasum, Torche, Kylesa, Shai Hulud, Trap Them, Cynic, and Agoraphobic Nosebleed.
If you had a chance to go back in time, where, what, and why?
I would definitely go back to the second age of Middle Earth and battle Sauron alongside the knights of Gondor…I actually have a power-metal band called Wizard that discusses this fantasy…
Describe Syrens in three words.
Loud, Heavy, and Passionate
How do you think the recession is affecting musicians like yourself? Is it at all?
Haha I didn’t have any money before the recession so all I see is falling gas prices.
I had to pay to go see Amon Amarth with $21 in coins so I’d say I’m recession proof…
What’s your reaction when/if a fan told you a very meaningful statement such as “Your music changed my life?” Has this ever happened to you?
It has happened before and I’m generally speachless. I always feel so blessed and honored that our music would affect someone like that. It makes everything worth it.
Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?
Meshuggah, Converge, Zao, Coalesce, Spitfire, Dillinger Escape Plan, Daughters, The Locust, Neurosis, Ed Gein, The Blood Brothers…too many to list.
All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?
I have bad knees so I ride my bike a lot and lift weights. I try to be as in shape as I can before I go on tour and undo everything.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for reading the interview!