Sylosis, Chinwag, by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs

Sylosis, Interview with Vocalist and Guitarist Josh Middleton.

In much the same way that a house for sale in an up-and-coming area populated with the rich and famous is squabbled over, Sylosis are hot property for those wishing to get a piece of the well-respected thrash sector. With the band on tour across the UK, and a third album peeking over the horizon, we caught up with Sylosis vocalist and guitarist Josh Middleton before a show to pick his brains on where this closely followed band may go next…

I hear you’re heading out on the road again after the gig, so you’re not really going to get to see anything of Norwich then?

Josh Middleton – No not really, we’ve only been here like once before I think.

Is it your first time playing the Arts Centre then?

Josh – Yeah it’s a wicked venue!

I was going to ask what you thought of it?

Josh – Yeah I really like it. It’s cool, smells like a church, smells good – well not really!

It’s quite interesting that you chose to come this way – looking at the tour schedule you’ve kind of gone for some less typical cities, why is that?

Josh – Yeah in terms of the towns and cities we’re just doing everywhere we didn’t do on our last tour so this is like a B-market tour. Our last one was like Manchester, London, Birmingham, Glasgow and stuff – we’re not doing any of them this time.

Well at least you made an effort to do a B-market tour!

Josh – Yeah, it’s cool.

And this is the second date on the tour yeah? How was last night then?

Josh – It was pretty cool, it was Milton Keynes. It’s a good town – we haven’t really played there in a few years as well.

Is this early part the more nerve-wracking bit of the tour before you really get into the swing of things?

Josh – Yeah, I mean we haven’t played in about a month, and Bailey (guitars) this was his second show back yesterday after breaking his wrist.

Oh yeah, are you alright after that?

Alex Bailey – It’s alright, was struggling a little bit at the end of the set yesterday.

So are we going to get your best stuff before you’re knackered?

Josh – I don’t know, I think it might warm into it – I think it might be the opposite. Sorry! And I have a bit of an allergy to my cat so my throat’s been playing up as always.

Got a cat, got an allergy? *laughs*

Josh – Yeah I didn’t realise! I kept getting bad throats and then was like it’s probably because I’ve got a cat.

So the set-list tonight, will you be covering both albums or focusing more on one?

Josh – Yeah, but we’ll definitely focus on the more recent one, but we’re doing a few songs off each that we haven’t played, either in a while or forever.
Sylosis 2
Oh so something you haven’t done before?

Josh – Yeah!

It’s good to mix it up a bit – I know people always want you to play certain songs but it must get a bit repetitive?

Josh – Yeah definitely, but it’s hard to remember them sometimes!

‘Edge Of The Earth’ is the newer album, but it’s been about a year now since that came out – are you still getting a good response?

Josh – Yeah, really good. It was like March last year, so just over a year, but yeah really good. It really surprised me because it was a bit different in a few ways, and the line-up change, but it all went down better than we hoped.

We’ve just heard curry is on the menu tonight, do you eat that sort of stuff a lot on tour?

Josh – Hopefully it’s going to be slightly healthy. This tour we’re really trying to be healthy, like avoid fast food, avoid sweet stuff.

I have to say all I can see in the room is Coke and water?

Josh – Ha, yeah I think Coke is the naughtiest thing we’ve got, there’s a lot of hummus and wholemeal pitta breads! One of the last tours we did was America and eating there was just junk, so we all wanted a detox.

Is probably quite hard to do on tour though, I imagine when you finish playing the only place open is the kebab house!

Josh – Yeah, definitely.

Now the tour name comes from your track ‘Slings and Arrows’, which you did for Pledge Music – how did you get involved in the project?

Josh – It was our manager’s idea, I think he heard of it through a few other bands doing it, and we needed to get some funds together to go to America because it’s so expensive, so it was pretty much just a money-making idea *laughs*

Well it obviously worked!

Josh – Yeah it got us over there, and I’m really grateful to everyone that brought stuff and got us to America, which is a big deal.

And that all went well? – apart from the drama with the wrist!

Josh – Yeah that was a pretty major dampener but we got through it!

I’ve seen news then that you’re working on a third album, can you give us any insight into that?

Josh – I can’t announce the album title yet, it’s pretty much finished recording wise, it’s being mixed as we speak! It’s a bit different.

Tried anything very new then?

Josh – Definitely yeah, there’s a lot of stuff. There’s everything that people like about the band still there, but yeah I don’t want to give people the wrong idea that it’s gone in certain directions, it’s sort of branched out in all sorts of areas.

There’s a rumour on the internet that the album has a theme around a Greek God?

Josh – I got the concept idea really loosely off a Greek myth like ‘Orpheius and Eurelis’ but that’s just a really rough basis, so Greece has nothing to do with it or anything like that, but it sort of inspired the story a bit.

Are you into mythology then?

Josh – A bit, I just remember watching like Jim Henson ‘The Storyteller’ when I was a kid, and stuff like that or the ‘Animated Tales of Shakespeare, because my dad was an English teacher so he’d watch all that stuff and like use it to teach in his lessons, so I’d just watch it at home. I was getting inspiration from Greek stuff or Shakespeare, without being too like arty farty, I’m not that clever! *laughs*

One of the things said about ‘Edge Of The Earth’ is that it’s a whole piece, rather than a random collection of songs, do you think the industry today has a tendency to chop music up and treat it very singularly?

Josh – Well the listeners I guess can do, a lot of people just download stuff, just a song here and there. Like every time I seem to borrow someone’s iPod to flick through to pick something to play in the van, not in our band, but like the X crew or guitar tech, you’re like all right you find a band, you find an album title and are like ‘ah yeah’ and then oh ‘you’ve only got three songs off that album?’ it’s weird! But yeah I like the concept and stuff, it’s cool having one solid piece as an album.

Some people have taken that quite far like AC/DC, not that there’s a concept behind their albums, but they’ve said no to iTunes because they want to split everything up.

Josh – And Pink Floyd definitely as well.

You’ve also got Download festival coming up in the summer, will there be anything special for that?

Josh – We should probably try and do something special, we’ve been trying to think of that, like something to do to make us stand out… maybe I’ll take a shit on the stage like Dillinger! *laughs*

It’s been done! That’s the problem everything’s been done!

Josh – Yeah I know! I don’t know, we’ll definitely rack our brains, but we’ll probably just end up…
Bailey – Jetpack! But I can’t afford it. *laughs*
Josh – I don’t know, but we are excited!

And on that note, you just did a festival in Norway – that was your first time there?

Josh – Yeah quite a small one, yeah it was really good. We were literally there for less than a day, we flew in, played, and then flew back the next morning, so that sucked a bit. But really great place, really cool show, it was quite small, inside, just one stage – it wasn’t a very big festival, we were one of the bigger bands.

Looking ahead at the rest of the year, what else is upcoming?

Josh – The album, really just working around that. Hopefully it’ll be out before October we hope. We haven’t got much lined up, apart from festivals, and then try and get some tours together once we’ve got the album release date we can work around that. But yeah it’s more touring, as much as we can.

Will you play any of the new stuff before it comes out?

Josh – Probably not because it’s just annoying when you do play something live and someone films it on their camera phone, they upload it and then people here it for the first time like that, which really ruins the impact, so probably not.

Hopefully that will up anticipation for people, because if you’ve finished recording already there’ll be a bit of a gap till release.

Josh – Yeah, I mean we always put a sing or two out before the album comes out, so once we put them online we’ll probably play it before the album is actually in shops, but we want people to hear it for the first time properly.

You’ve come a long way in the last couple of years, and certainly been critically acclaimed, but if this wasn’t meant to be what do you think you’d be doing now?

Josh – I’d be something else music related, either be a producer in a studio or I’d do artwork for bands – one of those two.
Bailey – I’d be at McDonalds straight away – free Big Macs! *laughs*