July 28, 2015 Interview – Josh Middelton of Sylosis
Hard work and perseverance can lead to big things for anyone looking to follow their dreams. Coming from the historical Reading, Berkshire, England, a band by the name of Sylosis began their journey into the unknown fifteen years ago. Making their way releasing EP’s via a small Independent label in the UK, the band caught the attention of Nuclear Blast, signing a deal with them in 2007, thus taking them a step further. Making a bold impression with their 2008 debut full-length album Conclusion of an Age, Sylosis proved to be a Metal band with deep and in-depth lyrical themes to match their Progressive sound. Sustaining some setbacks with an RV accident in 2013, the band remain strong, and in 2015, have released, perhaps, their most dynamic record to date, Dormant Heart. Recently we sat down with Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Josh Middleton for a closer look at the years past, overcoming adversity, their new album, and more.
CrypticRock.com – You began Sylosis fifteen years ago, and in that time, the band has toured internationally, released four full-length studio albums, and built a respected name in the Metal genre. Obviously the road has not always been smooth. How would you describe the ride thus far?
Josh Middelton – It has been a slow and steady rise for us, but things always seem to be moving in the right direction, and we have got a really steadily growing, grass-roots fan base. As with any band, problems arise along the way, and we had that van crash back in 2013, but the positive times far outweigh the bad. We are really proud of what we have accomplished, but we are constantly setting new goals.
CrypticRock.com – That is great that the band keep such a positive attitude moving forward. Through all the changes and growth in the band, Carl Parnell has been the longest standing member with you through it all. How would you describe the chemistry you two share as musicians?
Josh Middelton – I am not sure to be honest. We have just been friends for years and both have the dedication to stick to what we are doing.
CrypticRock.com – Well it certainly has worked well. When Jamie Graham departed from the band back in 2010, was there any discussion to look for another vocalist, or did you know that you wanted to take on the duties?
Josh Middelton – I knew I wanted to take on the duties but was not too sure of how doable that was. We did think about trying to find other vocalists, but we were not really aware of anyone that we thought was up to the task. We also did not want to spend a long time looking for someone when we could have been moving forward as a band.
CrypticRock.com – That makes a lot of sense since time is so precious when it comes to creating music now a days. You have done a fine job as vocalist since that time, and the band’s sound certainly has continuously progressed from album to album. The latest album, Dormant Heart, was released back in January. This is perhaps the band’s most diverse record to date. What was the writing and recording process like this time around?
Josh Middelton – It was quite similar to our previous albums in terms of writing and recording. We are constantly writing new material, so there was never really a set “writing period”. Your moods change from month to month and the diversity in the album comes from writing over a span of a few years, as with our previous albums. The recording process was probably the quickest to date. We wanted the album to retain a live feel so we did not overplay or use modern technology to cheat our way to sounding better, we would play to the best of our abilities (and we do take pride in our musicianship), but we won’t agonize about making everything sound robotic and keep the human vibe in there.
CrypticRock.com – That is feeling is evident throughout the entire album. Perhaps one of the most striking tracks on the album is “Callous Souls,” where the band runs the gamut of styles. What was the concept behind this song?
Josh Middelton – I guess, stylistically, it is heavily influenced by a lot of early Metallica, but it has a really big atmospheric ending heavily influenced by bands such as Cult of Luna. I think the song flows really well and does not seem like we have crowbarred two styles of music that do not fit together. I think it showcases our diverse influences, but still sounds like a really cohesive song.
CrypticRock.com – It certainly is a fantastic display of diversity. It seems that with Sylosis, the heaviness of the music is very prevalent, but the melodic aspects and atmosphere are what define the band’s sound. Would you say creating an atmosphere is essential for you?
Josh Middelton – I think so, yes. I love atmospheric music, and I love listening to music in the headphones in a dark room and feeling transported. I hate hearing music that has been edited to the max and all the drum sounds replaced by samples; it is so sterile. I think having a more unique approach to melody sets us apart. We try not to rehash the same old melodies most Metal bands go for when they try and be melodic. If you want to write good melodic music, you need to have those melodic influences come from outside of the Metal world because it can get really samey and predictable. I listen to a lot of film scores, Kate Bush, Bon Iver, or Bjork, etc.
CrypticRock.com – That open taste in music does bleed through in the songs. Above all a strong melody is a strong melody, Metal or not. The band is currently on tour with Wovenwar in Europe, and you will also be part of some festivals in the early Summer. With that said, are there any plans for a return to North America soon?
Josh Middelton – Nothing set in stone as of yet, but we do hope to get back to the US as soon as possible, especially after the last tour got cut short with the accident!
CrypticRock.com – Let us hope the next visit you have in the USA is a better one. Touring can a lot of fun, but can also be very strenuous on the body. How do yourself and your bandmates stay healthy through it all?
Josh Middelton – Some of us are a little more obsessed with health than others, but on the whole, we do not eat much fast food and, when we were on the Lamb of God tour in the US, we were making huge salads in the RV most nights. I have been vegan for over three years now, and it really makes you think more about what you are putting in your body. Lots of fruits and vegetables help, and trying not to drink too much.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like you a good balanced approach to being on the road. You mentioned it a little earlier, but tell us more about your musical influences?
Josh Middelton – Metallica, Pantera, Death, Mastodon, Tool, Cult of Luna, Neurosis, Pink Floyd, and Rush are essentially the magic formula of influences that goes into Sylosis. We do not claim to have invented some new genre or be groundbreaking, but at the same time, I do not hear anyone out there combining the influences we have. We would rather concentrate on writing the best music possible and being true to ourselves when it comes to taking inspiration.
CrypticRock.com – Right, influences are not always what will drive what a band creates. They should act more as an inspiration as you just stated. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror films. If you are a fan of Horror films, what are some of your favorite Horror films?
Josh Middelton – I am a fan of Horror films. I really like the original Dawn of the Dead (1978). I cannot think of many recent Horror films that I have enjoyed. The Babadook (2014) was kind of unique, but did not blow me away.