INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Taking their name from the primary villain of late 2000’s sci-fi drama Heroes, Sylar are a five-piece from New York City.
Having formed in 2011 from members of various bands on the Big Apple’s post-hardcore scene, the outfit have truly gone from strength to strength ever since, redefining the rap-metal genre, and positioning themselves as a champion of the underdog, with a sound full of unrestrained energy and huge anthemic choruses.
Currently supporting pals Beartooth on a US tour, the quintet’s frontman, Jayden Panesso, spoke to me about their upcoming third album, ‘Seasons’, how that was put together, what the fan base can expect from it, and much more.
How did the band form?
Funnily enough, we formed on the internet. I was already playing bass and doing backing vocals in another local band in New York, but I wanted more.
I wanted to tour the world and write the music I really wanted to write as a lyricist, so I set out with a goal, and went out looking for people online.
It was so hard, but after some trial and error, here we are. It’s wild to think about how close we are now, not only as a band, but as a family.
What would you say was your songwriting approach?
To be honest, it has been different for each record. This time around, though, we took our time with it. We were able to go in the studio with lots of material already written, and it made the process a lot smoother.
Before going to California to fully finalise the record, Miguel and I would send each other ideas back and forth while we were off tour. He would write instrumentals, send them over, and I would brainstorm and send my ideas back.
Thank you modern technology for stuff like FaceTime, as that always helped us be more in touch with each other while we were putting this record together.
What inspires the band lyrically?
I take a lot of pride in my lyrics, it’s something that I’m very picky with. I guess it also doesn’t help that I’m a massive perfectionist, as at times, I’ll sit down with a lyric for days just because one word bothers me (laughs). It’s a blessing, but also a curse.
For ‘Seasons’, I wanted to be very straightforward. I want people to understand the theme and message of each song with the first listen, you won’t have to read between the lines for this one.
I always find inspiration lyrically by just writing about my personal emotions. When I put a record together, it’s like an open diary.
Speaking of ‘Seasons’, coming out next month, how was the recording process for that?
Like I mentioned earlier, it was a more relaxed working environment this time around. We knew exactly what we wanted with this album, so that was already a massive plus. We’ve also grown more mature as musicians, so us coming in prepared with much more material than previously just made everything a whole lot easier.
And how will it differ from the work that the band have put out up to now?
I think people have already weighed in their opinion on the new stuff thus far, as we’ve already released two singles off ‘Seasons’, and fans can tell the difference. Like I said, it is more straight to the point, and it’s easier to listen to vocally than it ever was before.
You’ve supported bands such as Issues and Memphis May Fire, as well as playing at festivals such as the Vans Warped Tour and Slam Dunk. How, for you all, is it performing live?
Performing live is hands down my favourite part of being in the band. I can go on a limb and say the rest of the band feel the same.
Our set time, whether it’s 25 minutes, 45 minutes – is ALWAYS sacred. We take our live performance really seriously, and we always want to be the BEST on every stage, so I think it’s very important to go into shows with that mentality as artists.
And the band have also toured Europe with Of Mice & Men, and Australia with Miss May I. How were they as experiences?
Honestly, playing in different countries is probably my favourite, especially as I used to daydream about being in a successful band that would play shows over the world. It’s amazing. When I step out on stage for things like that, I always talk to myself and give myself pep talks, like, “soak this in Jayden, this is what you always wanted“.
You have a following around the world, had over four million views for your videos, and have also had approval from the likes of Corey Taylor. When the band started, did any of you expect all of this to happen?
It’s crazy because we were working so hard, while also sacrificing tons of things to be able to get this band up on its feet, but even in the midst of all of that, all the things we’ve accomplished already seemed so far out of reach, you know? It’s like you gotta see it to believe it.
I’m just thankful and proud to see our hard work paying off, and it’s only just the beginning.
What are the band’s plans once ‘Seasons’ has been released?
Well, we’ll already be on tour by then, so we’ll be playing new songs and supporting the album. My goal always is to bring our new music to as many places as possible worldwide.
And finally, what advice would you all give to any bands/artists that are just starting out?
Man, I could write a never-ending list of mistakes I’ve made (laughs).
My best advice to any artists trying to do this would be to be patient, and take your time. Things get scary, and exciting, but the best bet is to always take your time.
Also, make sure that you’re happy with what you’re putting out to the world, and lastly, just be yourself, as only you know yourself, and it’s never worth it to be something that you’re not. Real recognises real, and people relate with that the most.
‘SEASONS’, THE THIRD ALBUM FROM SYLAR, WILL BE RELEASED ON OCTOBER 5, VIA HOPELESS RECORDS.
THE BAND ARE CURRENTLY ON A US TOUR SUPPORTING BEARTOOTH, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:
MORE INFO ON SYLAR, AND THEIR UPCOMING RELEASE, CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: