Northern Irelands Heavy Metal artillery comes loud and proud in the form Sinocence. One of the hardest working bands in the industry today, and has been since their formation in 2001. They’re back, and with all guns blazing, after a short break from the limelight due to parting ways with their good friend and drummer Davy Cassidy in December 2015. Changing the line up is always a traumatic experience for any band to deal with, so I caught up with Sinocence bassist Jim Seymour, and guitarist Anthony McCaughley for a quick chat about where the they are now, and what the future holds for my absolute favourite Northern Irish band.
Hi Jim & Anto, Thank you for taking the time to talk to Rock ‘N’ Load.
Q. So glad to see you guys back, how does it feel to be a whole band again?
Jim: Feels fantastic to be back to full strength again, obviously Ben has only joined but it feels like a great fit personality wise as well as musically.
Anto: Feels great!! Really does….you can’t fake that feeling. It’s either there or it’s not. Didn’t happen with a snap of the fingers but it’s here now and we are ready to work.
Q. Where there any real doubts as to the future of Sinocence? Did the band at any point ever consider calling it a day?
Jim: Yea there were big doubts all round, drums have always been a huge part in Sinocence, we all knew if we didn’t knock it out of the park in the auditions there was no point carrying on. The last thing we could face was a watered down version of the band, it was all or nothing. We knew off the bat there were mighty shoes to fill and we didn’t honestly know what way it was going to pan out.
Anto: Yes. There was if I’m being honest a real human feeling from within the band. What the fuck’s the point, type deal 15 years in? All underground bands have this feeling from time to time. Member changes can be tough. It really strips it down to the bone why you do this. We needed to feel right about continuing and it was touch and go for a while; having said that, we’ve been through a lot and have formed a real tenacity over the years.
Q. Did you guys continue to write after the split?
Jim: Before Davy’s departure we had already written a couple of songs so we had them in the bank, but personally I found the uncertainty of our situation very inspiring and have been writing and playing more, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Anto: Moro is the main songwriter and he did work, although at the time he wouldn’t have been sure where it was leading but I know he has been working. Have heard bits and pieces and I like what I hear.
Q. You guys have put your heart and soul into your music over the past 15 years. What has kept you going?
Jim: I think what keeps us going is we continue to grow musically, get better year on year, it’s the scratch that never heals, I definitely think our best is in front of us.
Anto: To me if I thought the shows were suffering or the writing was going down-hill I’d be worried, but that doesn’t seem like it’s gonna happen anytime soon ….full steam ahead!
Q. So who is the new guy? Can you tell us a bit about him? And why did he fit the bill?
Jim: The new guy is Ben Simpson, all I know about the guy is that his work ethics are the best we’ve ever experienced, what a breath of fresh air I can honestly say. More technically minded, the guy learned our set by transcribing the music which was a first for us!! He teaches drums so he knows what he’s doing.
Anto: Ben has drive and is a go getter. He wanted the spot, put in the work and it paid off. It wasn’t a ‘gimme’ – we gave him some hard material pretty much straight away and he smashed it. I was inspired by the way he went after it. This work ethic will be applied to Vol 3.
Q. Sinocence has a fantastic back catalogue of music that started back in 2005 when you delivered your first full length studio album, ‘Black Still Life Pose’. You are currently working on Volume 3 of ‘No Gods No Masters. Will Ben be an intricate part of any new material? And who is producing the new EP? And why?
Jim: As for the new material we can’t wait to see what Ben brings to the table, we’re very happy to be bringing ‘NGNM 3’ to life with him. We have a ton of music ideas, probably too many, but we’re looking to get them demoed and then head straight to Einstein Studios for the recording. Franky Mc Clay is like our first and only choice for Producer, he has been like a fifth member of the band and always going that extra mile for us.
Q. When can we expect to hear the new EP?
Jim: When can you expect it? Truthfully when we’re one hundred percent happy with it and not a second before, we would rather not release it than release anything sub quality. I’m expecting it will be mid to late 2016.
Q. What can fans of Sinocence expect from your latest offering?
Jim: The new material will speak for itself. But we’re very happy with the progress so far, I know that these are some of the most brutal riffs we have accumulated yet. Believe me were reinvigorated and raring to go.
Anto: If I know Moro there will be an onslaught of raw aggressive stuff definitely coming from him. He’s been holding back for quite a while now. I’m expecting vitriol from him.
Q. What are the immediate plans and future plans for the band?
Anto: Immediate plans are to get Ben fully up on the set and drill it. Then drill it again. This will go in tandem with working on Vol 3. We will be taking part in the Bloodstock Metal to the Masses competition. This will be the first time out with Ben and hopefully we’ll have a good run at that. In June we’ll have our first festival appearance with him over in Scotland at the Wildfire Festival. Writing and recording “No Gods, No Masters” Vol 3 is the priority of 2106.
Q. Do you think the best is yet to come from the Sinocence camp?
Jim: Without a doubt the best is yet to come for Sinocence! We can’t wait to get back on the road; NGNM 3 will hopefully be our defining release, we feel we’ve still a lot to prove.
Anto: I always look at it going, “how the fuck are we gonna top the last one lol!” With Ben in and the re-energised feeling in the band I’m sure we’ll deliver some pretty decent stuff this year.
Q. One final question – with so much talent coming out of such a small place like Northern Ireland, do you have any words of wisdom for any up and coming new young bands? Perhaps on staying power? Or how to make themselves stand out from the crowd and get noticed?
Jim: As for words of wisdom for upcoming bands, I don’t believe for one second that no1, they need it and no 2 – I’m in any situation to be giving it. You only have to take a step back and look at the N.I music scene to realize it is brimming with fantastic bands truly worthy of mainstream success. We don’t only hold our own over here, we should be standing proud. I for one am very proud to play alongside the high caliber of bands we’re producing in this place.
Anto: Like Jim said the local bands here are smashing it and making a real dent. Screaming Eagles, Overoth, By Any Means, Maverick etc the list just goes on and on. They are all out there playing festivals, touring and supporting major acts. We have everything to believe in ourselves over here. I consider playing in the North and having this great community of bands we all belong to an honour and privilege.
I would like say massive thank you to Jim Seymour and Anthony McCaughley for taking the time out of their busy schedules to answer these questions for Rock ‘N’ Load. We wish this premier act all the best in the future and look forward to future album and live reviews from Sinocence.
Interview by Brenda