Formed in Watford back in March 2001, the last few years have certainly proved to be eventful for Sikth. Playing a unique combination of catchy melodic metal hooks and all out mayhem, the North London sextet have begun to make quite a name for themselves.
Along the way the band have played UK dates with a rich variety of high profile acts, including, ‘Mudvayne’, ‘American Head Charge’ and ‘Mad Capsule Markets’ to name but a few.
Sikth’s first full length LP, ‘The Trees Are Dead And Dried Out, Wait For Something Wild’ was released last year to much critical acclaim. This was followed by a largely sell out UK headline tour.
Off the back of successful tours of Japan and Australia, the band are currently accompanying ‘Pitchshifter’ on a short tour to promote the launch of their new DVD. This interview, with guitarist Pin, was conducted prior to the Manchester date of the tour:
So, you've recently completed a full tour of Japan? Was it a success and how did the shows over there compare to those you have played in the UK?
“Japan was awesome – a big success. It was great in the sense that it allowed the band to travel overseas for the first time, and also great in the sense that we had such a fantastic response from the fans over there. It's amazing to be able to go that far, to enter a different culture, and then to meet up with people who don't just know who you are, but who know all of the songs & all of the lyrics, and who go mental in the pit… madness!
“The shows were different to the ones we've played in the UK, because the level of organisation over there is just incredible – from the technical side (pa's, mics, etc.) right through to the food & drink, the attention to detail… Once we got out onstage, however, the Japanese fans react exactly the same as our fans in the UK… kick ass!”
You are currently a few dates into a short tour with Pitchshifter, how has it been so far? Have there been any major talking points?
“Extreme wastage in Nottingham and a mind-blowing show in Wolverhampton – which, surprisingly, was the show after Nottingham!”
Over the last few years you have shared the stage with several big name acts, American Head Charge, Mad Capsule Markets and Kittie to name but a few. Is there a particular show that has stood out for each of you? If so, why?
“Well, our first ever support show at the Astoria, playing with Spineshank, was pretty memorable, and then of course there was Donnington… because it's Donnington, and I guess the Machine Head tour too, because we were fans of that band when we started writing music. It was also great to discover that they're all really cool people, and that they love what we do too, which is quite humbling…”
How is the second album coming along, and how does your new material compare to that of 'The Trees are Dead and Dried Out, Wait For Something Wild'?
“The new material is coming along great, but it's difficult to compare it to the first album stuff. Let's just say that it's madder, groovier, more focussed, more dynamic and more varied in style. Probably a bit more concise, too…”
Your music is very unique and diverse. Which bands, musicians or music styles have proved the most influential to Sikth?
“I guess our favourites are Pantera, Metallica, Tom Waits, Billy Joel, Mr. Big, Whitesnake, Rush, Death, John Zorn, Ornette Coleman, Stravinsky, Squarepusher, and others too… the list is endless…”
Hypothetically speaking, if you could collaborate with any musician in history, who would it be?
“Stravinsky… we could do some real dark fucked-up stuff!”
With the re-emergence of Napster and the ever growing popularity of file-sharing programmes, more and more people are downloading music from the internet. Do you view this as a positive or negative thing for the music industry?
“Well, it's a good way for unsigned acts to get their music heard, and good for signed bands in terms of legal downloads, but bad for signed bands if people feel they can just get hold of their stuff for nothing. As for people who say that they just take a track to check things out, and if they like what they hear they'll go and buy something… well, most bands will have MP3s on their site, so it's very easy these days to sample new artists & new music without getting into illegal downloads…”
Why do you think that people continue to compare you to Dillenger Escape Plan despite the obvious vocal difference and the fact that they themselves have denied the similarity?
“It's either deafness or needless pigeon-holing. Yes, there's an obvious vocal difference, but the reality is that there's a total difference in musical approach. I think the comparison would go away quicker if journos didn't keep bringing it up…”
And finally, What does the future hold for Sikth?…. A full tour of the U.S.A?
“Cult world domination, plus a string of ultra-heavy Number Ones… I think not!”
Words by Mark Langshaw