Ian McCartney of Gyre: The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview

If you’re into progressive metalcore in any capacity, you’re definitely going to want to keep your eyes on New York/New Jersey-based five piece Gyre. Having just released their third EP, Moirai, to warm reception, Gyre are seemingly on the cusp of breaking onto the scene. During this exciting time surrounding the EP’s release, I was able to dial up Ian for a quick tête-à-tête to delve into how Gyre’s break-out experience has been.

Your rep tells me you’re a teacher, how has that been trying to balance a nine-to-five job and being in a band?

I mean it is a balance, but it’s all just finding the time to do the things that you love, I guess. I actually don’t find it hard, as of now. I mean if things start really hitting off and we have to do tours and stuff, but that’s a big if at this point – we’re looking to keep things at least semi-regional in terms of shows and stuff, like East coast shows. But, if opportunities present themselves I have no problem just following what I love to do.

I was reading an article about the song “Manifest,” and that mindset seems to be reflected in the lyrics. Do you have a part in the writing process at all in terms of the lyrics, and if so how would you describe that process?

It’s not exactly a definitive writing process. One of the writing processes is going out and going on hikes with my dog, and, you know, getting to a nice spot, either a sunset spot or something like that and just writing down thoughts, and giving ourselves space. But also with our new singer, Ying, it’s been pretty fun finding that balance between me writing the lyrics and him writing the lyrics as well, and always going back to that, you know, what is the particular scene that we’re trying to get to in that song. So that’s been a new process for me, but a fun one and a learning experience as well.

That must have been quite a change, I know Ying just joined the band earlier this year. How has that shaped and changed things for you as a band?

We were planning on originally possibly putting out an instrumental and he kinda popped up at the right moment in time, and got a crap-tonne done in about two and a half months. It was actually kinda ridiculous how much pressure we were putting on him to get so much done, but it worked out. We were definitely pushing the deadline a lot with this release but he came through in that regard.

You have had some really good reception to this album. I saw some ratings that were like 96/100, and 10/10. How have you taken the reception to Moirai?

It’s definitely very nice after putting in that much time and effort. We’re not backed by any label, we’re not backed by anything but we will always find the time each week to get together and create and it is very satisfying to see that people enjoy it. It does have a certain satisfaction to it to know that the effort you put in is being recognized.

I would classify Gyre as primarily progressive metalcore, which is a genre I’d considered to be fairly trendy as of late. How do you guys keep things fresh and set yourselves apart from other bands?

The way we keep things fresh is that we have basically five song writers in the band. It’s everyone, it’s not just one person. it’s like a double-edged sword, I guess. On one hand, we always have material to work with because all of us have songs on the back-burner and stuff, but at the same time it’s hard sometimes to find the spots where all our ideas come together – you know, just in terms of Moirai, the first song, “Manifest,” started off with a drumbeat that Pablo created, and he created a whole sequence for the drum beat so that was pretty much the catalyst for that song. And then the second song, I Release, was a riff and a lot of sequences created by Chirag, our guitarist – lead guitarist, really. And then the third song “Quiescence,” into “Behind the Eyes” is all one. The other guitarist, he basically made up that whole sequence. And then “Dream the Obscene” was a riff that I had from a while back. And then Moirai was basically an amalgamation of all of us. People always bring their ideas, I mean keeping it fresh means not coming to band practice and looking at each other like, “oh, what do you want to work on now?”, but always kinda having some set idea of what you want to work on and have a focus.

Sounds like it’s a very collaborative effort! Who would you say your main influences are, both personally and as a band?

Me, personally, I grew up on Led Zeppelin, and eighties thrash – you know, Metallica, Megadeath… But my dad also had Earth, Wine & Fire, and stuff like that. But, today’s bands, I think Mastodon was a band that I definitely gravitated towards. Gojira – bands that actually know how to write songs, have a theme within the songs – that’s definitely one thing that we’ve been trying to get better at – not like jumping back and forth between riffs, letting stuff breathe. There’s a few bands in this area now that we definitely have been influenced by. We went on a mini tour this weekend with a band called Dead Empires. There’s another band from Long Island, Moon Tooth, that everyone should check out. So I mean, other than being influenced by bands, we’re also influenced by bands we play with – Tooth Grinder is one as well, they’re from around here. They just got signed to Spinefarm, I think, and we’ve played with them a couple of times. It’s just good talking to them. It gives you hope, to see bands that you play with make it.

I guess you’ve kind of touched on this, but I’ve noticed you’ve mostly been playing local shows. Do you have any plans for more of a tour in the foreseeable future?

I think what we’re trying to focus on now is spreading our wings in terms of, you know – all of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, and try to do as many of those shows as possible, ‘cause in reality we haven’t done enough of that, even at this point. So we’re trying to do that first and then hopefully our name gets out there and we can set off on a bigger tour.

If you could tour with any bands, who would be on the docket?

Oh boy. I mean, just me personally, not speaking for any of the other guys in the band, but I would love to tour with Mastodon. That’s like my dream. I mean, Gojira, but if we played with them, we’d get blown out every single time because they’re absolutely ridiculous live. I think that would kinda be the dream tour, for me, anyways.

That’d be amazing! You have put out three EPs so far. Any plans for a full-length?

What we’ve been trying to do is – you know, the first EP had three songs, the second EP had four songs, this one had five songs plus an interlude, so we’re trying to build on each one, in terms of songs and lengths. You can expect the next one to be a little longer. I guess this one’s considered an EP, but I think it’s above the thirty-five minute mark, so it’s kind of a weird – I don’t know if it’s an LP or an EP. With the ten minute song in there, I think it kinda pushes it over. But we still plan on recording as much as possible. We’re actually thinking about over the summer, because Ying just joined, possibly redoing one of our older songs, and doing one more new song that we pretty much have finished off and put out just like a tiny, two-song release, just so we can keep on putting stuff out there for people before we do another longer one.

I know Moirai was very much DIY – I know that Juan and Ying were very much involved in the recording process. Is that something that you see going forward?

I think we realized that we can do a lot on our own. Juan does a lot of the recording. Ying does a lot of stuff as well. And we’ve been working with Kevin Antreassian from Backroom Studios, and he does great in terms of mixing, and we want to always use him. But it’s definitely something in the future that will continue to grow.

Well thanks so much for taking the time to shed some light on what Gyre has been up to. Did you have anything else you wanted to add?

We appreciate any outlets that give us exposure, and people that enjoy our music. Anyone who supports us, or listens to our music and enjoys it – life’s too short not to!

-EW

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