With Metal, Synth, and huge, catchy hooks, SILENT DESCENT have achieved a sound that the scene has been hinting at for a long time.
Acclaimed shows inc. Download Festival (2009,2010 Headlining the Boardie Takeover) and 2012 (Pepsi Max Stage alongside Soil, Devin Townsend etc.) Scuzz stage at Bloodstock Festival, and support slots for the likes of Skindred, Hed P.E., Alestorm, CrazyTown and are set to perform at With Full Force Festival, Germany in June (alongside InFlames, Soilwork, Apocalyptica).
New LP Turn To Grey Out Now.
I first wanted to take the time and thank you for doing this interview with me today. For our readers who haven’t heard of you yet, can you tell us about yourself and anything about the band you’d want us to know?
Hi we’re Silent Descent, the best band you’ve never heard of. We play our own brand of metal and lace it with strings, huge synths and the occasional timpani. We’re most famous for our song ‘Duplicity’ which we wrote back in the Myspace days, which had a lovely video of stripper vampires and we’ve pretty much been riding the coat tails of that bad boy ever since. We’ve just launched our new album ‘Turn To Grey’, which we feel is without a doubt the best metal album out to date. My names Tom Watling, I’m the vocalist for Silent Descent and I’ll be your guide today.
Which bands / musicians inspired you guys to want to start a band?
I was always a big fan of that track ‘Mambo No. 5’ by Lou Bega, what happened to that guy? I used to enjoy jumping around my living room singing it to friends and family pretending to play all the different instruments when it was their turn to lead. It was around that point that I realized all I wanted to do was constantly be the center of attention. At the age of 12, I got my first Offspring album ‘Conspiracy of One’ this was closely followed by other pop punk/ nu metal albums of the 00’s. I quickly realized, the vocalist of a metal band has the least work and the most glory, so I opted for that. And here we are. We all have very different influences, I think the bassist likes Jamiroquai or some shit, but let’s be honest, who cares what the bassist’s influences are?
Was there a particular song / album that just made you want to be a musician?
Erm, I used to listen to a lot of Limp Bizkit. I really wanted to be Wes Borland with his amazing style and quirky riffs. He’s the reason I picked up my first guitar! Then I heard Slipknot’s ‘My Plague’ and decided it would be far easier/ cooler to be Corey Taylor instead.
How did you guys come together?
Basically I wanted to be in the best band in our local area, I wanted to surround myself with talent so it made me look like I was also talented. The rhythm guitarist/technical mastermind Tom Callahan and myself set out with an idea and pitched it to some fantastic musicians in our area. We picked out the best members of different bands and put them together to form a super group.
Let’s talk about what you currently have going on. Any new music or new tours in the works?
We’ve just released our new album ‘Turn To Grey’. Jokes aside, I’m very proud of it and I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever done. I do also honestly believe that it’s the best thing to come out of the Metal/Alternative scene in a while. In a sea of similarity, we stand out from the crowd.
If you were to say one song of your own perfectly sums up what you are all about which song would that be?
Rob Rodda, video coming soon!
When you write any new music, can you tell us what the process is like? Describe to us what happens in a typical writing session.
Callahan or Oxley (guitarists) will have written a riff, then next time we’re at Cal’s studio we all come together and give the song structure. Paul (keyboards) then makes it epic by adding strings and huge synths. I then apply some lyrical GENIUS and we record some harsh vocals. We then come up with a catchy hook and Cal, Oxely and Paul harmonize a beast of chorus. Jimmy (bassist) complains that you can’t hear the bass enough. We laugh. Kodi (drummer), who is currently on tour with Harry Styles, then listens to the rough demo of our track and questions his life choices. We all meet up next week, re listen, think its crap and start again. We do this 40 odd times till we’ve got ourselves an album.
What’s your take on the music scene where you are locally, do you feel there are enough opportunities to get exposure / venues open to your style of music etc.
No. When we first started out, all you had to do was put on a show and it would be absolutely rammed with people ready to support the music. Totally average people in rubbish bands were all of sudden levitated to the status of Gods because they’d played a crap song on a down tuned Fender imitation that they’d purchased as a package deal from Argos. Those days, are gone. Everyone and their mother jumped on that band wagon years ago and completely over saturated the market with mediocre. I do miss those days, you could put a metal band on a bill next to a ska band and follow that by some hip hop and no one would blink an eye. These days it doesn’t happen like that as much anymore. We’ve been quite fortunate to have kept our fan base, but when we started out we were awful. People coming to the shows supporting us by the masses gave us the push to step up our game. I don’t feel start up bands get that as much anymore. I will say though, that our home venue, the Red Lion in Gravesend does it’s best to mix new talent with people that can draw a crowd. That’s what I feel the scene should be all about.
What route have you taken thus far to build up a name for yourselves, what would be your measure for success as a band with the industry being a challenging as it is?
Success is what you make of it. When I was 13 I just wanted to play a show in front of people and be accepted. At 16 I just wanted to headline a show at a sold at Red Lion. At 18 I just wanted to sell an album and get my picture in the magazines. At 21 I just wanted to play Download Festival. The more you achieve, the more you want and less appreciative you become. It’s a fairly hollow and vain existence. I’m very content with what we have achieved, I don’t feel I have to prove myself to anyone. When people contact you and say you’ve influenced them in some way, or got them through a difficult time, or caused them to meet long term friends or lovers, that’s huge! If your music has impacted on someone’s life, then in my opinion you’ve been successful.
With the music industry always changing and evolving, what are the things you like and don’t like about it?
I’ve done my time working in the music industry. It’s full of arsehole musicians and boot licking cliques that think too much of themselves. Yeh, I think a lot of myself, but I’m joking most of the time. I’ve worked for labels, management companies, worked with media, worked with sound companies for festivals and been the artist. I feel I’ve had a pretty holistic experience with the music industry. Don’t get me wrong, there are some absolutely amazing people you’ll meet along the way, but for every diamond you’ll meet 10 dickheads. I like the fact that Silent Descent are very separate from it these days. We do our thing as and when we want to.
What aspects of the industry do you feel have hurt or helped your career?
Everything we’ve done has helped us musically! We’ve had some pretty tough times over the years, our last record label ran off with (what we can only assume to be) the lion’s share of the profits from our last album leaving us in the lurch with a million broken promises. But you move on, you pick yourself up and write something new and put it out again. Who cares who the industry are chasing after? We’re Silent Descent. We do what we do.
If you could change anything about it, what would it be?
I’d probably have every magazine write about us, headline all my favourite festivals and tour with my favourite bands.
You recently released your LP Turn To Grey last year, tell us about the process in laying down that album, where and when did you record it?
We recorded it all ourselves, just like we did when we recorded ‘Duplicity’. We felt this was a much more natural way of getting down exactly what we wanted out of each track. Although instead of taking a few weeks to record, it ended up taking about a year.
How did you find that journey from writing to laying down the tracks in the studio?
As we recorded it ourselves it was a very natural progression, we simply stepped it up from rough demos to the real thing. Recording it ourselves allowed us to be picky and redo parts till they were exactly want we wanted. This did however allow us to just keep going where it may have been beneficial to have a stricter time frame.
How did you go about choosing the right people for post-production?
Oxley found Ermin Hamidovic. He’d previously worked with bands such as Periphery and Ox had listened to the guitar tones of a load of artist he’d worked with. He decided that was the guy he wanted for Turn To Grey and we went with him.
How has the response been since its release?
It’s been great. I can’t believe we can go away for 4 years and come back to such a reaction. I love it when we get messages from people from all over the world saying how they found out about us and why they like our music.
What lies ahead for you guys in 2018?
The next big thing is the release of our single Rob Rodda! Coming sooooooon!
Do you have any advice for any upcoming artists? What’s the best piece of advice someone gave you when you realized you wanted to be a musician?
Get out there, get networking with a lot of people you will come to despise, but push through it. When it seems like you should give up, that’s the point you need to start pushing even harder. No ever achieved anything by sitting on their arse and moaning about it. Get your music out there, do your bit and then moan about it 😉
Any last words?