Chuck Schuldiner Project

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Interview with Syqem!

So last night before Periphery went on to play I had the huge honor of getting to interview Daniel (Guitars and Vocals) and Stefan (Drums) from the prog upstarts Syqem. We talked about their band, the tour and the groups future. I hope you guys enjoy it!

You guys were pretty unknown for a long time and now you're touring with Periphery and TesseracT. How did that come about?

Daniel: Well it came about through our manager because we have a new manager and he works at the same management company as Periphery's manager. His name is Dirk and he's German. I think he saw us three years in Hamburg. He just emigrated to the US and lives now in Baltimore and works now for Outerloop management. Anyway he really liked us but he couldn't really work with us because the company he was with at the time was more looking for traditional metal, for example they had Lacuna Coil. More traditional stuff. The modern stuff like Periphery is still not as popular in Germany. He couldn't make it happen, the label said we were too abstract and they said there was no market for us. But now he's in America and he's planned a tour for Periphery in Europe and we started working with Dirk in January and he met with the guys and they talked about the European tour and we were on their list. It's pretty amazing! They're the biggest bands in this genre, which we don't really fit into. We wouldn't call ourselves djent.

So you've been together for 11 years but its only just now that you're really starting to break through. How does that feel?

Daniel: I feel like we're a lot more mature and ready for this. Oh here's our drummer Stefan. (Stefan the drummer just walked in) Its great that its working out now. We found Stefan a little bit more than nine years ago and Tomas (the bass player) and I are brothers. Its that we break through now then never! We always loved what we do and then we found someone who supported us and now step by step its all working out.

Speaking of tonight what does the set list look like?
Daniel: We had to take one song out because we thought we had thirty five minutes but we only have thirty. Its Attack of the Elephants, Fabric of My Mind, then Rewind and after that its going to be Siamese and Dervish.

So your debut album has been out for a little bit now, how are you feeling about it?
Daniel: Its a landmark now for us, a milestone. We had other songs of course, tons of songs in the past but we were never really satisfied with the outcome. If you're a musician you right your first song and you show it to your mom and she's like 'that's great' but most of the time its not. It takes time to develop your own style. We started in the time of Tool and Dredg and we were always compared to them and we wanted to become something else.

Stefan: Especially in terms of song length, on this album the tracks are pretty much song oriented. The old songs were seven-eight minutes long and boring for the listener. So our song writing developed so its a lot easier to listen too.

Which is something that I like a lot about your overall sound is that it's a lot more digestible than Haken or Dream Theater.
Daniel: If you showed this to your girlfriend she'd probably listen to it more than Opeth because Opeth has these long songs.

Its intimidating
Daniel:Especially if you're not a musician

So you talked a little bit earlier about how you're not really djent do you have a genre tag?
Daniel: it's always hard to describe. Is Periphery djent is TesseracT? It's hard to give a name to what we do.

So I was curious as I was trying to find out how to pronounce the bands name.
Daniel: Us too (Laughter)

What does Syqem mean?
Daniel: It has no meaning. Its just a unique word and if you type it in Google nothing else comes up. It just kind of came up and we thought the 'Sy' looked cool.

What do you think is the future of progressive music as a whole?
Daniel: Its more for the people that really care about music who take the time to sit down and listen to your favorite CD's for an evening. Its more for the “professional music listener” even though there's no such thing.

I'm kind of a 'professional music listener'
Daniel: Well I guess I am too (Laughs) so is pretty much everyone here actually. (Gestures at Periphery and TesseracT) Its the internet that really saved us. I don't think we'd be playing in Paris if it weren't for the specialists looking for great music. Its hard to promote that stuff because in Germany there's nothing like this. If your turn on the radio its just David Guetta and stuff. Prog is for the specialist. But I think it will grow and it won't die away.

Are there any dates you're especially looking forward to playing on this tour?
Stefan: I can just speak for myself, it would be Hamburg because its our hometown. We always played in support gigs there and this is a whole tour so hopefully people will see us in a different perspective. In Hamburg you have to struggle to get a reputation as a professional band. We don't have a real scene! For me personally I hope people see us in a different light and they come to the show and see us in a professional hopefully it pays off.

After this tour, what are your plans?
Daniel: Well after this tour we're going to write another album and we're looking for a great label to support us and to release it. Thats the next step. We know have the same booking agency as Periphery, TesseracT and Meshuggah. We're looking to get together a great show at the end of the year. We're playing Euroblast in Cologne too.

Stefan: This year we're really just trying to establish the basis before we start doing major festivals next year. We'll set up the base this year with a new album and a good label so that we can push forward in 2014.

To finish off, do you guys have any last words of wisdom?
Daniel: Don't do drugs? (Laughs)

Stefan: Since this is our first tour after 10 years together push forward and never give up.

Daniel: Support music! If we don't support music then there won't be any in the future!

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