UK progressive metallers Sikth finally return with their first full length album in over 10 years in “The Future In Whose Eyes?” which will be released on June 2nd. The band had previously took a long break after their last album “Death Of A Dead Day” after which they reunited in 2014 and released the “Opacities” EP not long after but now they are set to return more ferocious and as inspired as ever. We talk to vocalist Mikee Goodman about the new album and some of the inspirations behind some of the songs.
Steve: So how’s everything going with you guys given that the new album is about to drop?
Mikee: Yeah I’m just hoping enough people hear it, we just gotta get it around and get it everywhere.
Steve: I was doing a bit of research and on ‘Golden Cufflinks’ it was said that it was written about the decline of clubs and venues. Do you still see that as a major problem given what you see on tour and things like that? And how do you think people can rectify that?
Mikee: Well it was initially written about that, I then expanded the metaphor and went on about a lot of different things like the scene dying but scenes are coming and going and it’s just how things are. But I was at The Astoria in London, it’s a big venue for everyone and a big thing for people…well it should have been saved because it was a landmark, it was one of those classic clubs that should have been saved and it wasn’t. At the end of the day the bigger shows are really well attended and certain bands who were pretty big have gotten bigger and it’s hard for smaller bands. A big thing is social media and how people socialise online, they don’t need to socialise as much as they did before. There aren’t no circles of socialising online. I mean there are circles but they aren’t as big so there’s a lot to do with that but yeah I was initially talking about that but I’m also talking about the whole ‘Bland Street Bloom’ thing and everything becoming a bit more mundane and the authenticity seems to go out of a lot in this world we’re living in. I’m talking about creatively as well so yeah “Golden Cufflinks” was about a few things.
Steve: So how do you think the new material compares to the earlier stuff?
Mikee: I think the songs are a little bit more instant than the earlier stuff, maybe earlier stuff like “Pussyfoot” and “Hold My Finger” were very instant kind of tunes. But with all the news songs the way I wrote the vocals is slightly different because I do real big hooks in everything and everything is a hook the whole way and the music is more complex than the earlier stuff and the vocals are more hooky and the way I structured them is a lot more song-like. So yeah it has moved on, it’s progressed in a lot of ways so because I experimented a lot in earlier stuff, it’s what I like to do.
Steve: So where do you draw your inspiration from?
Mikee: The sky and everything, I do! I draw my inspiration from just trying to create something new so when I hear music I just try and see what I can do and if it sounds like anyone else, I want to change it or if I do a spoken melody I just want to do it pure. I think about it conceptually about what I’m talking about and everything else and go from there. I call it conjuring from the sky to be honest with you, that’s how I write.
Steve: I noticed that ‘The Ship Has Sailed’ was a spoken piece, what was the meaning behind that one?
Mikee: That can be related in a lot of ways but it’s saying for instance the internet and social media and such – and it can mean a lot of different things in this life – that if you don’t hop on and go along with things and join in, you will be left behind and you’ll be on your own like a mystical tree in the middle of a forrest. You’ll just be there, that’s what it’s saying. It might not be a good thing but you have to take that choice whether to go along for the greater good if you know what I mean? It may be a necessary evil [laughs].
Steve: It’s always great to get people’s perspective on it because it’s something that you don’t hear on a lot of albums these days, it’s usually just straight forward and break at the end.
Mikee: Yeah we’re doing it a bit differently and we got this narrative thing and I’m always writing my poetry, Dan Weller [guitarist] suggested to me to do a few more spoken word on this album and he is aware I’ve got so many. I’ve got almost an album’s worth anyway but I did 3 new ones for this.
Steve: Could you also expand on the track ‘Vivid’? I read that it was inspired and written by dramatic dreaming so was that something that personally happened?
Mikee: Yeah I was having these dreams that I couldn’t snap out of them. They had been happening for years and I was at my friends house and I was walking out into the street in this dream and I was walking around this hotel but actually when I go into this hotel and was going up elevators and going into scary rooms, my friend was watching me and I was actually walking on the spot and pressing imaginary buttons through the whole thing in reality. But I couldn’t snap out of these dreams for years so I poured them into a song but that’s the one tune I could probably write lyrics better for because it was the one at the end but the concept was good and some of the lyrics are good but even though it was a horrible subject, I kind of made it a little bit humerous in some of the verses and people kind of don’t get that. It was kind of a bit of an odd one to release as a lyric video, probably should have released ‘Century Of The Narcissist’. That would of been good!
Steve: [laughs] So did that help you get rid of these dreams or do they still persist to this day?
Mikee: I haven’t had many of them for years, that’s why I felt like I could write about it.
Steve: Bit of a cathartic excercise?
Mikee: Kind of like man. I constantly put my life into it. People don’t really realize, especially in my own band they don’t realize that I really do put so much of my life into the songs and the band into the lyrics. Not every single song is about me personally but a lot of it is, a lot of deep stuff and people don’t realize how much of myself I’ve put into the band over the years. You talk about fragile subjects and stuff like that, sometimes it can be good and sometimes not so. Like in the past with these dreams, that was a real good cathartic excercise which was great.
Steve: Yep very cool! So I also saw Spencer [Sotelo, vocalist] from Periphery jumped in on the new album, what was it like to work with him and how did that come about?
Mikee: Well it was good to work with him, he got in and out straight away because I like the vocals in that. He just came in and did it, I mean he was there for 2 days and I think he got it all done in about 2 hours. It wasn’t very long at all and he did all his harmonies and was really good, he’s amazing! Great to work with and we got him on the album because we got on well with them in America on tour so it went really well. He’s my mate now, I went and joined Periphery on stage the other day in London to play one of their songs.
Steve: That would of been great! I imagine it was a packed house.
Mikee: Yeah it was, it was packed at the Forum. It was the biggest ever headline show, nearly 2 and a half thousand people there so it was cool.
Steve: That’s awesome! So speaking of jumping on stages, do you see yourselves coming to Australia at some point? I know you have probably been asked this a thousand times so do forgive me!
Mikee: We’ve been asked it loads but it’s always been at the top of my priorities for so long. Ever since I was young I’ve always wanted to go to Australia anyway personally, we did America and now Australia is on the top of everyone’s priorities to go over there. We need to, we were told by Periphery that it’s absolutely amazing, they love it over there. So yeah we hope to do it, let’s see what happens.
Steve: Yeah it would be great to see you guys, to see that out on stage would be a dream come true for myself and I’m sure many other fans! So given some of the titles of the new material like ‘Century Of The Narcissist’ and ‘Riddles Of Humanity’, was that drawn on inspirations from the world around us like political, religious and that kind of stuff? How did the titles come about?
Mikee: Actually ‘Century Of The Narcissist’ is about how people are supressing themselves a lot by social media and all connected and how everyone’s details are in one place and all this kind of thing. I’m talking about loads of things in that song, I’m talking about reality TV, people twittering. So ‘Riddles Of Humanity’ was about why people seem to be leaning out for negative news and people constantly wanting to socially destroy each other and paying for it, we pay for the subscriptions to things like papers or websites or getting so many hits on negative stories so that pays for more advertising on websites and things. It’s just the way humanity is and we’re constantly going towards negativity and obviously some things are so negative we have to have that but there’s a lack of positivity I feel especially in England. So that’s what that one is about, ‘Riddles Of Humanity’ and why we are fucking destroying each other and as well as that, it is a riddle of humanity. Why has humanity built so much technology, I’m talking about the whole world and ever since man began we’re destroying each other. It’s crazy!
Steve: Yeah I’m hearing you, you see it on a daily basis just on TV.
Mikee: Yeah exactly mate.
Steve: You don’t have to look too far to see the world as you say, is pretty fucked.
Mikee: Yeah it is getting ridiculous though of recent days, like what the fuck is going on.
Steve: Yeah I totally agree, it’s a sad state of affairs. So how does it feel to have the first full length since 2006? You took your time with this one so was that the general idea to not release a full length until you were 100 percent happy?
Mikee: Well actually because we did ‘Opacities’ and we just decided to do this album, in reality we had ages at the start and then writing didn’t really progress enough until September where we got really heavily into writing in September, October November. And some of the music wasn’t until January so I found it was the hardest album we had ever done because things were constantly changing and some things were really late so it was really hard to not only write parts but write lyrics to those parts, that’s really hard. So it was horrible writing this album. I could do so many ridiculous-hour days than I would like to and it was a horrible album to make but I think it turned out good but it could have turned out good but nicer to make.
Steve: [laughs] So it was a bit of a miserable trip for yourself.
Mikee: I hated it, I fucking hated it! It was just non-stop work and made myself mad and very stressed doing it, it’s not a very nice place to be. So I’m trying to chill out now and I’ve got all these music videos to do and just trying to get away from it a bit man but it doesn’t seem possible [laughs]. It’s alright for some other members but I like talking to yourself and I’ve done so many fucking interviews it’s unbelievable and I’m doing music videos so I just want to chill out from Sikth for a while.
Steve: Well it’s been really awesome to talk with you this evening, really appreciate your time. Good luck with the new album and really hope to catch you guys sometime n the future in Australia.
Mikee: Awesome! Yeah we would love to come to Australia, please spread the word man!