"It’s all about memories, and we made a fuck tonne of them doing this" - Connie Sgarbossa
SeeYouSpaceCowboy and If I Die First have just released 'A Sure Disaster', a split EP with a difference, via Pure Noise Records.
As well as featuring two songs from each band, showcasing their sounds at their most brutal and boisterous, it also features 'bloodstainedeyes', a track that was penned and performed by both. A five-minute epic blend of caustic riffs, frenzied howls, glistening atmospheres and guttural breakdowns, it's a shining example of how effective collaboration can truly be and also serves as a new creative benchmark for heavy bands everywhere.
We jumped on the phone with both SYSC's Connie Sgarbossa and IIDF's Lotus to discuss how the project came to be, what we can expect from both in the future and what this whole experience has taught them...
So, where did this split start life? Where did the idea to work together in this way come from?
Connie: “It wasn’t any grandiose plan. I’m pretty sure it just came together when we were all hanging out together and doing demo vocals for the new SeeYouSpaceCowboy LP. Like, ‘Yo, let’s do a fucking split, why the fuck not?’ Then the collab track was my idea, really, and I was hella worried that everybody would think it would suck, and it was a bad idea. But everybody loved it and said, ‘Fuck it, let’s just do it’. The whole thing came together so easily, and I think a lot of that is because we are such good homies in the first place. It was just a split based on friendship. Let’s fucking work together, because why wouldn’t we work together?”
Lotus: “Even before then, we had talked about you featuring on one of our songs. Like If I Die First hadn’t even really started yet, and Connie was in the studio laying down something during a Boyfriendz session, and we were like, ‘Come and do a heavy song’. So the collaboration aspect had already started that early. So when the band came together, we knew we had to do something. Bands used to do splits like this all the time. It was just a no-brainer.”
Connie: “Yeah, before when we had talked about collaborating, we weren’t all making the same music. But now we have bands who are both in the same realm. It was the perfect time to go for it. Let’s just do something fun together.”
So in terms of the separate tracks on this split, were they songs you had worked on especially for this release or were they things you already had that you brought to the table?
Connie: “To be honest, the biggest focus for this was always the collab track. The solo tracks are dope, but for me, the big thing was always the coming together. So we just took two songs that we liked from the LP we are writing and put them on there. Just because the collab was the thing we really wanted to do. That was where the real heart and soul and energy was for me.”
Lotus: “We spent days on the collab song too. We holed up in my apartment, eight people, and just worked and worked. The thing is, I never know what the hell is going on either. I thought we were doing five collaborative songs, so I was like, ‘Oh my god, we’ve only scratched the surface with this one track’.
“Our side of the split, though, we had to go and write them especially for it. We don’t play in Drop C. We play in Drop D. We had to write to suit the rest of the tracks. I have such a high fucking voice and don’t have these heavy vocals that you need to be in that key, so I thought it was going to be so hard. But it worked out so well. Everything we have been doing and trying recently has come together pretty easily.”
So let’s talk about ‘bloodstainedeyes’. Being able to stretch whatever both bands could be when all bets are off is something extraordinary, but what was it like when you realised what you had created at the end of the process?
Connie: “I was just like, ‘Wow, this worked’. I was dumbfounded that we made it. We created a five minute that isn’t boring somehow. I had faith in everyone being able to come together, but I was waiting to see how it would go. The result is so wild, though.
"The song to me was very much in two parts. I was the creative director for the whole design of the music video and all the artwork and shit. My job wasn’t done yet, but to hear the track come together so well gave me the push to make the coolest visual style to accompany this thing that sounds so insane.”
Lotus: “The funny thing is that the song wasn’t even fucking done, and we were setting up the video shoot. We were building the set for the video and putting it all together, and I kept saying, ‘But the songs not done yet’. So I was standing downstairs and being told to hold a hammer or drill something and then running back upstairs to finish my bit on the song. Then Connie would be downstairs making sure things looked right, and we would be shouting her to come upstairs to do a vocal part. It was just chaos. But that’s the main thing that made it all work. I didn’t know what was going on in the middle, but then it all suddenly made sense, and we saw it for what it is. I only realised it was as long as it is when we got the rough cut of the video.”
Connie: “We were on the stupidest schedule ever. It was crazy that we managed to put all of this stuff together in just five days. Built a set, shot a video, wrote and recorded a song and vocals. It was madness, but so fun.”
Lotus: “There was the point where I said, ‘Is the video going to just be performance shots?’ and Connie said, ‘We’re just going to beat the shit out of each other’. Then the question was, 'Do we actually hit each other?' Some people really didn’t want to fight, so we faked some of it, but some people were like, ‘You can hit me if you want’.”
Connie: “It was like, ‘Let's just fucking go’ when it came to shooting. The craziness of shooting shows in just how hectic the finished product is too.”
How has it been watching the reaction to the video and the song then? There’s a lot of nostalgic takes and people harking it back to the old school when in reality, it’s just two bands making the music they love together…
Connie: “I get where people are coming from, but I’ve been vocally against the whole ‘scene revival’ thing since it started in 2019. We were put as the figurehead of it around then too. There’s no MySpace revival, you know. There wasn’t a group meeting where loads of bands decided to bring this sound back and exist in this box. This whole thing is just us doing what we want.”
Lotus: “We’re all just friends doing our own shit. Like this is just the stuff that we all grew up on and want to be making. When we were writing the collab song and just chilling out afterwards, we would stay up late watching all of these music videos.”
Connie: “The nights we hang out always end up in us just listening to Thursday, Enter Shikari and Underøath.”
Lotus: “Right! We just listen to all of these different bands together, and then someone says, ‘Well, let’s write a bit that feels like that’.”
Connie: “The thing that always annoys me is when I see people saying shit like, ‘Emo rappers are doing this because it’s popular right now’. But when If I Die First was first starting, it was because they all genuinely loved that era of music and wanted to make music like that. That’s what it’s like with SYSC too.”
You can always tell when a band truly loves the music that they are making. You can tell when what they are producing comes from their deep-set infatuation and respect. And if you’re not making something that you love, then why are you making it?
Connie: "Exactly. That’s a bit thing with the new SYSC LP that we’re working on as well. It’s going back to the things that made the band what it was in the very beginning. We’re going back and making the weird shit that made us want to be a band in the first place. We feel like doing that is integral to who we are as a band as we move forwards. It’s all about doing whatever you want unapologetically. That’s why I’ve always hated this conspiracy that there's a revival that we are trying to start. I want to do what I want to fucking do."
Connie, it’s clear how proud you are of the new SeeYouSpaceCowboy album that you’re working on. Whilst you’re working on it, how have you been reflecting on what you did with [2019 album] ‘The Correlation Between Entrance And Exit Wounds’?
Connie: “I look at that album as a necessary release for the time in my life that we were making it. It was the darkest time I had ever had in my life, so it works well as an album that reflects that. But right now, with a new songwriter in the band and a new outlook on what we want the band to be, is a melting pot of every insane idea we had in our heads in what we wanted hardcore and metalcore to be. What we’re making now is the true evolution of what I think that SeeYouSpaceCowboy should be. It’s got the weird chaos and the sass, but it also takes the melody and emotion from ‘Correlations…’ as well. We’ve melded it into this thing that is SeeYouSpaceCowboy and SeeYouSpaceCowboy alone. That’s why I’m so excited about it. ‘Correlations…’ was the entrance wound, and this new LP is the exit wound. This is the healing process.”
And Lotus, how does If I Die First look now as you move forwards from this project? Has it changed your outlook on what the band is capable of?
Lotus: “I think that within this project, it has sparked this new fire in the band. We made our first EP, ‘My Poison Arms’, and it was almost immediately after that SYSC started working on their new stuff, and we were just blown away. While they were writing and hanging out with them, it made me want to do an LP too. I think we will just keep doing EPs, though, which is probably the SoundCloud kid in all of us. The thing is that we have a big fuck you attitude across the board, which is also down to the world which we come from, where we believe you should just make whatever you want to listen to. So we’re sticking to our guns, but we’re trying other things too.”
Connie: “I mean, I’ve heard what they are working on, and it’s total fire. It’s such a good evolution of the foundations that they laid down with their first EP. It’s a refinement.”
Lotus: “‘My Poison Arms’ was just us making what we wanted to do, but this new one is us stepping up even more.”
To sum up this record and this experience, what do you feel as though is going to stick with you throughout everything else you do in the future?
Connie: “More than anything, this EP feels like our wedding ceremony. We’re going to be with each other forever from now on. It’s a great thing because I always loved when I saw bands who were friends. That’s what I feel like has happened here. We became friends for life before it, and we’re interlocked, for better or for worse, until the end of time now.”
Lotus: “The biggest takeaway for me is to have fucking fun. Don’t take everything so fucking seriously. There is so much confidence in us that we knew we could make a great song together, so let’s just do it. Don’t think too hard about it or about what people are going to think. Just make it happen. Half the decisions we made were from trusting our guts. So it’s all been very open and free-minded and fun. Everything from now is going to be based around that feeling.”
Connie: “There was no guarantee that working on a song together would work, but we just went for it. Fuck it.”
Lotus: “And when we look back, we’re going to be talking about how much of a good time we had making it, not how well it did. Those are the things that truly matter.”
Connie: “It’s all about memories, and we made a fuck tonne of them doing this.”