SERTRALINE (from l-r): Daniel ‘Hendo’ Henderson (bass), Mike Hawkings (guitar), Lizzie Sertraline (vocals), Tom Wilson (guitar) Not in photo: Si Douglas (drums).
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Sertraline, a rock/metal outfit from Stoke-on-Trent and Leeds, are a band whose stock keeps on rising.
Since their journey began two years ago, they have been lauded by critics and fans for a sound that is intense but melodic.
They released a acclaimed mini album last year, ‘Bury The Ghosts’ and have just been on a successful nationwide tour.
Now, they have a new single out ‘Change Of Heart’, which has so far been well-received.
I had a chat with them, to gain an insight into how they work.
How did you all get together?
The band was formed in the summer of 2014, almost as soon as our old band folded.
Blue Origin had been around for a number of years with a number of different line-ups, and as soon as our singer announced that he no longer wanted to be a part of it, the rest of us decided that we did not want to stop, and the new band was formed within five minutes of him leaving.
Our current management were fully behind us on the decision, and in many ways, we loved the idea of starting a band completely from scratch, forming it exactly how we wanted, and doing something different.
How did the name Sertraline come about?
There were a few names flying around, but it was a suggestion we settled on after a little while, but generally speaking more of how the word sounded that we liked, rather than what it meant, there’s something of a mechanical sound to it.
You’ve just been on a nationwide tour. How was it?
It’s been a hell of a lot of fun! It’s always great to go out on a tour with brand new music, and Lizzie has recently started screaming some of the lyrics, something that our current fan base had never heard from us before.
The lineup has also changed since the last tour; we had two drummers who joined us this time, Aaron Youd and Si Douglas, who will be joining us for the foreseeable future, which is awesome!
It’s been amazing to meet so many new people and have the response we’ve had, and the next tour will no doubt be even better. We’re all quite sad to see the end of this tour, so we can’t wait to gig again in a couple of weeks time.
How would you describe your music?
This is a question we’ve struggled with for a while, easy though it may sound.
People often ask us who we’re similar to, but in truth we genuinely don’t know – perhaps someone who knows our music well could give a better answer!
We call it melodic metal, which is a little bit pigeon-holing but still gives a lot of wiggle room!
We don’t tend to think of ‘what we are’, but if we find it interesting or challenging or just good fun, chances are we’ll like it.
Heavy, rhythmic, tasty melody, that’s what we like.
What are your musical influences?
This varies from member to member, but there are influences spanning from classical and jazz to grime.
Most of the time these influences don’t appear in the music we write, but it’s interesting to note how varied we all are in terms of what we like to play and listen to.
In terms of what the band creates, the main influences could be said to be bands like Periphery, Marmozets, Tonight Alive and Tesseract.
In regards to songwriting, is it a group effort or is there a primary songwriter in the band?
It is certainly a group effort.
No element of any song is left unchanged, even when a full song or structure is brought forward during writing sessions.
It’s not a true collaborative effort unless the entire band is happy with what we produce, and we’re lucky in that we have musicians who are willing to try many different things in order to create the best results we can, in a way we’re all happy with.
Naturally, Lizzie deals with most of the vocal side of writing, but will still ask for our feedback and any suggestions we might have.
Lizzie seems quite open with us regarding what she writes about, which is helpful if and when she asks for our input.
What inspires your lyrics?
LIZZIE SERTRALINE (VOCALS): I suppose just events in my every day life.
Recently, I’ve been questioning human morals and doing some deeper thinking, which is probably dangerous!
You have a new single out. How was the recording process?
The recording process was much like how ‘Bury the Ghosts’ was recorded.
We enter the studio with a solid idea and an almost finished demo of the tracks we want to record, but in almost every case we find things that do not quite fit or need a little more adding.
‘Change of Heart’ was exactly the same, though perhaps with more emphasis on perfecting vocals and harmonies.
From what we remember, there wasn’t a great deal we changed from the demo when recording instruments.
We’re extremely happy with the end result, we’d had previous experience with the engineers we worked with, which we think helped the process greatly.
What have you got lined up in the near future?
We have a few gigs dotted around until the end of the year (some announced, others yet to be), the main one being Chebfest in Leeds on the 27th of August.
We’ve been honoured with the main support slot with some good friends of ours, namely Chasing Dragons and Pulverise.
This will also be our first show we’ve played in cosplay – always up for new stuff!
This weekend we’ll be doing a live lounge session down in Essex which we’re looking forward to a lot!
After that, our main focus will be on pushing the single and making preparations to release our second EP, which we’re very excited about.
What’s the band’s long-term aim?
Apart from the dream of spending much more time on the road, hitting bigger stages and festivals, releasing more music, reaching out further than we are now? Not a lot!
In essence, we just want to keep going, the last two years has been a little up and down at times but it’s still going better than we imagined it would in such a short time.
We’re now in a very stable place with members, we’re writing better music and playing better shows than we ever have, and we’re having an amazing time doing it.
Long may it continue!
SERTRALINE’S NEW SINGLE, ‘CHANGE OF HEART’, IS NOW AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD FROM ALL GOOD DIGITAL STORES.