With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to SECTILE. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
A band name says more than thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
Gabriel Gaba (Vocals): We believe a band’s name is extremely important, and a ‘statement of intent’ in some ways. It will often give the listener a number of hints about that band’s sound and you want those hints to point in the right direction. We took months deciding our name, did extensive research, there were literally more than a hundred suggestions between band members. Plus you generally have to keep in mind a few practical aspects such as spelling, if the name isn’t taken by somebody else or if it ‘sounds good’ if you know what I mean.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
GG: In my personal experience, I am yet to reach a point of “relaxing” after completing a recording. So far, the anxiety only grows, and I proceed to listen to it over and over again, finding new flaws that we are now too late to fix. As for people liking it or not, we don’t worry about that, it’s completely subjective and we have no control over their taste. We like it and we believe in our music, that’s what matters. That being said, there are financial, technical and time restrictions when it comes to recording, especially for independent bands, and sometimes that keeps you from achieving the result you envisioned, that’s the frustrating part.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
GG: It is in equal parts exciting and stressful. It is obviously exciting because it is your music and it’s wonderful to see it come to life step by step and the speakers at professional studios are usually awesome, so everything sounds great. But studio time is expensive and the process is by nature, slow. You’re painfully aware of the time pressure all the time, and of course there’s internal pressure for delivering your parts with quality within the allotted time. It’s a lot less glamorous than people think!
Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
GG: You’re absolutely right. Bands nowadays need to do most of the promotional legwork themselves in order to bump up their popularity in social media because the industry will judge you based on that popularity as much as on the quality of the music. Just releasing great music is not enough – in fairness it never was, but now even more so. There are simply too many bands out there, all with the same tools you have, competing for the attention of the audience and its hard to cut through the noise. In terms of what you can do, the answer is “whatever engages your audience” be it glimpses into the band members’ personal lives, song snippets, jamming covers, live-casting, behind the scenes, official playthroughs etc. Also, of course, if you have enough money you can hire a PR agent, management etc to do some of that work for you.
Today we have all these different sub-genres in metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t metal enough as a tag?
GG: Great question! I believe it has to do with promoting your band, especially when you are largely unknown. For as much as bands don’t like to pigeonhole themselves, and at Sectile we surely don’t, it seems to be a necessity in terms of reaching a wider audience, or when contacting promoters, festivals, labels etc. We went for the Progressive Metal tag because, even though we don’t really see ourselves as a typical representation of the genre, it’s probably the closest approximation.
What importance is there in being part of local/national/international scene? Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of something bigger? I know it does to me knowing that in some slight way I was a part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90s.
GG: I suppose that if a somewhat identifiable sound comes out of it, such as ’90’s Swedish Death Metal’ as you mentioned, it can be helpful, as each band will help drawing attention to the others. The metal community in Ireland is small but united, there’s definitely a camaraderie between bands, but there’s no identifiable sound to ‘Irish Metal’, quite the opposite, whenever you go to a gig here there’s usually a variety of sub-genres. We routinely play with death, thrash, black metal bands, then a grunge rock band, and us playing prog!
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
GG: The album artwork plays an enormous part in metal and it’s not different with Sectile. From the start we knew we wanted to build a strong iconography to tie in with the name and the music, impactful enough that people would want to have it on a T-shirt! Besides being the vocalist, I am also the band’s official graphic designer, being responsible for all of our artwork, as well as writing lyrics, so those things are all thematically connected.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff?
GG: Sectile is an unsigned band so we can’t speak from first-hand experience about the importance of a label. It’s true that you don’t need one to release music anymore, but there are other services they provide, some of which can be advantageous to the artist, like promotion, touring, as well as the legal ends, all things that we are currently handling ourselves that are costly and time demanding. But as we all know, a label experience can also be very negative so the artist really needs to be careful at what they’re signing themselves into. As for the second part of your question, it’s definitely hard to be noticed when people are now inundated with music from millions of bands around the world, curation is essential.
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
GG: Pure energy, we love playing live! I believe that we sound bigger and better live than we managed to capture in the album, so I recommend anyone who’s reading this to try to catch us live if they have the chance! As for what kind of gigs we prefer to play, we’re not too picky, as long as there’s the bare minimum infra-structure for us to be able to perform well and a handful of people interested in listening, we’re happy to play!
What lies in the future?
GG: Well at the time we’re answering these, our debut album ‘Falls Apart’ has been out for a month – available on all streaming services by the way! Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic reached Ireland two weeks ago, and like with so many other bands and music businesses around the world, it kicked us right in the face just as we were gaining momentum. The plan for the future was basically to gig as much as we could and promote the album in Ireland and abroad, we were invited to open for Geoff Tate in Dublin in May, but that is probably not going ahead anymore either. We want to resume that plan later in the Summer when things hopefully go back to normal. In the meantime we are staying active on our social media – anyone interested can look us over on Facebook, Instagram etc we’re everywhere – and we began writing the follow-up, so we’re making good time of our self-isolation! Album No.2 may come to life sooner than expected, but I reckon in the end that’s going to be a good thing!