DATE OF INTERVIEW:
19th February 2011
METAL DISCOVERY: So, you're about half way through the Metal Hammer Razor Tour, how's it going so far?
JOSH MIDDLETON: Yeah, really well. A really diverse line up which is cool and all the shows have been really busy so better than expected, yeah.
(Josh Middleton on new album 'Edge of the Earth')
"It's probably as different as we could get without losing our fans and our own sound. I think most of our fans, from what we've seen, prefer it already."
Interview & Photography by Joe Winn
Official Sylosis MySpace:
Official Sylosis Website:
Casting Shadows (2006)
The Supreme Oppressor (2008)
Albums & EPs
Thanks to Jaap Wagemaker for arranging the interview.
With sophomore full-length studio offering, 'Edge of the Earth', about to be unleashed, Brit-metallers Sylosis can eventually reveal to the world their sonic evolution and stylistic progression with what is their first release in three years. The first album to feature guitarist Josh Middleton as lead vocalist following the exit of previous frontman Jamie Graham, Sylosis' music has also diversified to incorporate bigger riffs, more melody and an underlying progressive disposition which shows a more sophisticated facet to the band's compositional skills. Headline act on 2011's Metal Hammer Razor Tour, Josh chatted to Metal Discovery a short while before their show at Birmingham's HMV Institute...
Josh Middleton onstage with Sylosis at the HMV Institute, Birmingham, 19th February 2011
Photograph copyright © 2011 Joe Winn - www.metal-discovery.com
MD: What about the other bands on the bill, Bleed From Within and While She Sleeps, how are you finding them?
JM: Yeah, really cool. We've met all the other guys before in the bands, so we get on with everyone really well.
MD: On this tour, so far, you've played from Southampton to Exeter, which was last night - which has been the best crowd for you?
JM: Errrm...Cardiff probably in the middle, maybe Bristol.
MD: Was it a packed out show?
JM: Yeah, it was really busy and the fans were really into it.
MD: Are you looking forward to a specific date later on in the tour?
JM: I was really looking forward to the Cardiff date the most because it's always really good there; Glasgow too and London, obviously.
MD: London Underworld...I Imagine you would get a full show down there?
JM: Yeah, hopefully...good venue too.
MD: What can you bring to the fans tonight and on this tour?
JM: Well, we are settling in finally because we haven't played together in ages, so we're getting into the swing of things and it's cool playing Birmingham too.
MD: The home of metal.
JM: Yeah, definitely.
MD: How is it to have Metal Hammer sponsoring you on this tour?
JM: Yeah, it's really cool, they're really supportive of us. They seem to be pushing us quite a bit at the moment, giving us a lot of features and stuff in the magazine and getting us out there, so it's really cool that they're behind us.
MD: You've got your second album coming out next month, in March, 'Edge of the Earth' with Nuclear Blast. What can fans expect from that?
JM: It's a lot longer and more complex. I think it probably takes a few more listens to get into it which is not something we deliberately did but I think there's a lot more layers to it and will keep people satisfied for longer.
MD: Is there a significant difference to the last album?
JM: There are a few. It's probably as different as we could get without losing our fans and our own sound. I think most of our fans, from what we've seen, prefer it already.
MD: Will you be playing any new songs tonight?
JM: Yeah, we're opening with one, 'Empyreal', and we will be throwing a couple others in the set too.
MD: What has been the general reaction from the fans?
JM: Really good. We played a couple at Sonisphere last summer - no one had heard any new stuff and they went down really well.
MD: Working with Nuclear Blast is arguably a step up from independent record label In at the Deep End, but how would you say Nuclear Blast is unique and maybe better in comparison?
JM: It gives a chance to reach a lot more people and they offer a lot of support towards us, and they let us be ourselves as well. They don't push us do do anything we don't want to.
MD: What have been your influences, band-wise, for the new album?
JM: Death..the band...they're one of my biggest influences as well as early Metallica. Other than that, a lot of early 70s' stuff like Rush and Pink Floyd.
MD: More melodic and progressive stuff?
JM: Yeah, yeah, also bands like High On Fire and stuff that's a bit more raw and doomy and sludgy, and I think it comes out more in 'Edge of The Earth'.
MD: How has the line up change effected the band?
JM: It's quite a lot of work for me to get used to doing the guitar and vocals at the same time but I am really enjoying it and I think a lot of the fans are too, to be honest. Most people that we play with, and our friends, say it suits us more as well, which is cool.
MD: What are your plans for the summer?
JM: As many festivals as possible!
MD: You've already played Sonisphere, Bloodstock and Download, but which was your most successful?
JM: Sonisphere - we played the tent and it was at max capacity. Even our booking agent had to be let in specially by security as it was so full!
MD: How would you describe life on the road?
JM: At out level it's pretty tough. It's cold in this little van and we don't have the money to stop in hotels so most of the time we stay on people's floors. So it's pretty tough but it's fun. It would be nice to tour in the summer, but we never seem to get the chance. We seem to be always touring in the winter!
MD: You've toured with the likes of Black Dahlia Murder and played festivals with Rammstein and Iron Maiden but who would you most like to tour with?
JM: Metallica, for obvious reasons. They are a massive influence for us. Mastodon would be pretty cool and we're all big fans of Gojira.
MD: Anyone who isn't familiar with Sylosis, how would you describe your music?
JM: It is mainly based on a thrash metal sound but we try and incorporate other genres such as prog. We have quite a diverse amount of influences; we're not exactly revivalist metal but we're trying to do something a bit different.
MD: How would you describe yourselves as individuals and how your personalities influence what you write? For example, the lyrics or the instrumentals and tempo of the songs?
JM: As individuals we're all quite relaxed guys and we're never too stressed, but I have certain problems with insomnia and anxiety problems and it's that sort of thing that creeps into the lyrics.
MD: Is that something reflected in your new album?
JM: Yeah, quite a lot. I didn't really know where to start with lyrics as I haven't really done it before.
MD: What about the front cover of the album; the artwork?
JM: There's a whole concept about this guy living in isolation for a lifetime so the front cover ties in with the album and it's done by a guy called Dan Goldsworthy who's amazing, so I am really happy with it.
MD: So what do you in your down time when you're not playing music?
JM: Well, I am always listening to it because I produce bands for fun so I am always surrounded by it. But other than that I like to skateboard and draw; I love art.
MD: Would you ever change your music to become bigger and get more attention?
JM: Definitely not. Even if it's ridiculously heavy and the fans want us to be lighter, I'd probably want to go heavier.
MD: So, you play the music you love?
MD: What got you into metal; why metal music?
JM: I cant put my finger on it. I think it was because of Metallica but I just love fast music.
MD: Do you think there's a uniqueness to the metal industry?
JM: Yeah, I think a lot of metal and rock fans in general like to collect stuff like the merchandise because of the history and I think album sales have been going down but I think rock and metal sales have been quite consistent which shows dedication.
MD: Do you try and keep healthy at all, on the road or at home?
JM: I am ill at the moment. I am on antibiotics for another three weeks, with a sinus infection so I can't drink or eat dairy which is annoying but usually we try and keep to a reasonable diet, as obviously we have shows to play.
MD: What would be you drink of choice?
JM: We all love Jägermeister, you cant go wrong with it!
Conclusion of an Age (2008)
Edge of the Earth (2011)