"I’m not here to talk shit, but I feel like we are in a scene where people play it so safe, always."
Ahead of the release of Sylar's third album 'Seasons' tomorrow (via Hopeless Records), we sat down to chat with frontman Jayden Panesso about the state of the scene, and where Sylar fits in.
FIRST OFF, HOW IS THE TOUR WITH BEARTOOTH AND KNOCKED LOOSE GOING?
Says Jayden: "It’s going awesome. It’s absolutely killing us. Every show we have played has been completely packed. It’s really awesome to be a part of a three-band bill too. It makes the show feel so concise and perfectly timed. It’s such a perfect line up. With Beartooth’s album coming out a couple of weeks before ours, there is just so much motion going on. It puts us in a good position as a band having so many people watching us who are so into the whole show. It feels really good."
GOING INTO THE ‘SEASONS’ ERA, HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS ALBUM DIFFERS TO YOUR PREVIOUS OUTPUT?
"The thing is that we have always been a part of the scene, but ‘Seasons’ is the biggest step we have taken to what we have always wanted to be. I even think back to when I was starting the band and the things that I would say to people to draw them in. Like what my vision was. I have never strayed from that. Even when people would join the band and try and change the songs I would say ‘no’. It’s all been in steps. When I listen to the old records now, I just think that even though they aren’t what ‘Seasons’ is, we have always had this thing about us that makes us different to everybody else. I think now with ‘Seasons’, people are going to be able to listen to who we have wanted to be for a really long time. I’m not here to talk shit, but I feel like we are in a scene where people play it so safe, always. I believe that’s something that we will never do. This is the way that we want to show how we feel."
WHAT WAS IT THAT YOU REALLY WANTED TO DO WITH ‘SEASONS’ THEN?
"What I really wanted was to say more by actually saying less. I wanted my message and my feelings to be crystal clear. I wanted people to be able to listen to it just once and know what I am going with. The thing is that I always want to grow. I never want to be the same artist every time. I just want to keep evolving and showing people what I’m truly capable of. I think I really showed that on this record. It feels so much more direct. I always felt like I had reached a point with the screaming part of our music. I really want to use it only when I feel like it should be used. I don’t want to say 'I Love You' by screaming. I want people to understand exactly what I’m saying. I feel like you just need to go in with an open mind to fully understand what’s going on."
WHAT IT IS THAT ‘SEASONS’ ACTUALLY REPRESENTS?
"The beauty about this album is that I really wanted to talk about change. I wanted to focus on the changes and things that have been happening to us. ‘Seasons’ just felt like the best way to describe it. It’s basically me telling myself that it’s ok to feel all these changes. It’s ok to wake up feeling like you’re going to have the best day ever and in a split second completely changing. It’s ok. It’s what happens. If it wasn’t for change, our lives would be completely dull. If it wasn’t for that door that closes, the other three doors wouldn’t open. I feel you just have to go through the motions. I basically wanted to represent that message but in terms of what we have gone through. You know, it’s not all bright lights and pretty colours in a band all the time."
IT’S EASY TO THINK THAT LIFE IN A BAND IS ALL SUNSHINE AND LOLLIPOPS ISN’T IT?
"Yeah of course. It’s not like I’m trying to talk as if I’m complaining. I’m living my dream. I’m travelling the world and I’m playing my music. Yet this is just me saying it’s not all pretty lights all the time. Like, I had a baby two months ago and now I’m on a 2/3 week tour. It’s stuff like that that makes it rough, but we just keep going for the love of this and keep at it and give it our everything."
THAT’S SOMETHING THAT SYLAR HAS ALWAYS DONE BRILLIANTLY. YOU HAVE NEVER HIDDEN AWAY FROM EXPRESSING YOUR FEELINGS. HOW HAS IT FELT FOR YOU USING THE BAND TO TALK ABOUT THESE THINGS?
"I mean it’s all been a pretty wild ride. The main thing is that it was only a couple of months back when I was writing the lyrics to ‘Seasons’ that I realised I was being the most honest with myself that I have ever been. I feel like the lyrics that I have put to these songs are things that I could never just sit and tell to someone directly. In a big way, Sylar has become a massive part of my therapy and I’ve learned a lot about myself through it. I can also easily say that I’m a very emotional person. I’m the sort of person who can walk into a room and if there’s a bad energy I will soak it all in and let it bother me. Yet I also have a lot of apathy. I’ve learnt to realise that that is just who I am. It’s therapeutic to know that I can put these things into my songs and there is no better feeling than when kids come up to you and say how much they relate with it and how much it has helped them. It’s unreal. When I started the band I never pictured myself being the sort of person who would have kids saying those sorts of things to me."
HOW MUCH DO YOU FEEL THAT THE MUSIC THAT YOU LISTENED TO GROWING UP AFFECTED YOUR CONFIDENCE WHEN IT COMES TO WRITING FOR YOURSELF?
"It had absolutely every effect. I think about the things that upset me when I was younger that I thought were so intense at the time which now I realise I was just young. It’s crazy though because at that time if I was angry or upset about something, those songs were got me through. When I was pissed at my parents I would just go to my bedroom, close the door and feel so much better releasing through listing to those songs. It showed that it’s ok to be that honest in the music that you’re writing. It’s like I admire life. I admire growing as a person. Even when I look back on my own records I think how crazy it was that I was going through those things. If you don’t look back on your past self and not feel progress, you’re really not making any. It feels really good to see my music reflect who I am at a person."
WHAT PART DO YOU FEEL YOU PLAY WITHIN THE WIDER PICTURE OF THE SCENE? WHERE DO YOU FEEL SYLAR FIT?
"I get so many questions about where I would place the band within the genre and to me I don’t want to belong to anything. At the end of the day, we don’t go in to the studio trying to be different. We don’t go into the studio trying to be something. We go into the studio and write whatever we vibe with. We are a bunch of people who listen to a really diverse array of music. Our drummer is a massive country guy. I’m a massive hip-hop guy. It’s beautiful to be in a group of people who are so open. We all want to become our own thing. Our music is just showing that we are proud of where we come from. I just want us to be Sylar."
SAYING THAT, HOW WAS IT FORMING THIS BAND IN THE NEW YORK SCENE, WHICH IN MANY WAYS ISN’T VERY ROCK, ORIENTATED?
"I grew up in a very hip-hop family in an area of Queens. I can never get away from that. Starting this band was just pretty crazy. In Queens, with it being so big, there was nowhere to practice or play and it was hard. Playing backyards and basements in front of two people and everything in between. It was just such a wild ride. I’ve always told my guys that even if this band for some reason ended tomorrow, it was still a fucking success. I will never see the band as anything less. When you see where we started from, we started with absolutely nothing. That’s what makes every little thing we do so exciting. This was just a bunch of young kids who didn’t know how to raise themselves jumping in a van and fucking going out there and playing shows. We will never forget those roots."
HOW HAVE YOUR AIMS AND AMBITIONS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSING ON GOING INTO THIS CYCLE?
"You set a goal in your head and when you actually achieve it, it’s so weird. You’re like there and living it. Like one of your first aims is to start touring, and when you start doing that you’re like ‘holy shit, I’m here, and I got to do it’. Sometimes you have to adapt with the times. You have to adapt but you still have to kill it. Every day needs to still feel like the first time you did it. My main thing with this record is that I want us to put our foot down and say ‘what’s up, this is Sylar’. I want our presence to be fully felt throughout the scene. I want us to put the flag that we’re waving into the ground. I want us to become our own thing."
Sylar's new album 'Seasons' is set for release October 05 through Hopeless Records. You can get all the info on it here.