It wasn’t that much long ago when Cyclamen was still a one man project straight out of Hayato Imanishi’s bedroom (so to speak). Now with a full lineup, two EPs, and their first live gig under their belts, the new members are settling in quite nicely.

I recently spoke with new guitarist Olly Steele to find out what he’s been up to in the band.

So how’s everything going?

Yeah, wicked man. I’m just writing a lot at the moment, for Cyclamen of course… that’s it! I don’t do much except guitar.

That’s cool. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

And boy, how I can’t wait to share it with the people!

Is Cyclamen your first band?

Yeah, man!

That’s cool. Good way to start!


How much material is written for the upcoming album?

Well, it depends. Like, we don’t wanna do a Periphery and have all our stuff known before it gets released. Fuck that. So… three new songs, and I’m sure one or two will make it on the album out of the ready known songs. So I dunno really, but me and Nano [Sigo, guitar] have written three new ones. Sorry, bit of a shitty answer!

Nah, it’s cool. It makes sense! What kind of [guitar] set up are you running?

Ah, it basically revolves around Hayato’s [Imanishi, vocals] Diezel Einstein head, and the cab has the words scratched off, so only he knows what it is. And then there’s various noise gates, boost pedals, etc. It’s pretty simple and primal.

So is that what was played on the EP?

The [Haunted Shores] split  or the Dreamers reissue?

The split.

Yeah, we used his Diezel head through a Peavey 5150 that Wellerhill owned, and then a Keeley modified tubescreamer 808. That’s it!

That’s cool. What guitars did you bring into the studio?

My Fender. Borrowed Nano’s ESP and a mate’s Ibanez 350dx. We had the option of using Hayato’s infamous pink guitar…

Haha. Yeah, I remember seeing that!

I can’t remember the name, but I think its some sorta breakaway company from Fender, and then we had two of Dan [Weller – ex-SikTh guitarist/studio owner & producer]’s PRS’s.

That’s more than I expected, to be honest.

But we only used two guitars in the end.

Oh. Well that makes much more sense than using 8 guitars for two songs. haha

Haha, yeah. We tried them all out and we decided the Fender was best for rhythm and then the solos and some of the layers were done with Dan’s red PRS. One of the best guitars I’ve ever played, btw!

Yeah, they are nice guitars. How long have you been playing?

Four and a half years. Same as Nano… I THINK. He’s slightly older, so it could be slightly longer!

That’s cool! I’ve been learning and it’s hard trying to play when you listen to a lot of technical stuff. Getting discouraged is crazy easy. I’d play and be all “FUCK YEAH, GENERIC METALCORE RIFF,” then I’ll hear some crazy sweep picking and just give up.

Yeah, for sure, and had my love of heavy music started with listening to some of the more technical stuff I listen to now I probably woulda quit! Yeah that’s where I started, generic metalcore. I was well into shred for a bit too, cause when I started around 2004/2005, metalcore was fucking HUGE.

Yeah, Killswitch Engage’s End of Heartache was my jam.

Haha, and it’s still mine to this day. In terms of catchy, but still heavy metal, I reckon that’s a very special album. I like a lot of their stuff… very solid!

So, I’ve seen you had some animosity towards the word djent?

Haha! Aye. Well, I dunno. I’ve called it chug for four years and now when I reference it people dunno what the hell I mean. They’re like, “ah, you mean djent, huh?” NO. No, I don’t. Dislike it as I might, I’ve learned that I have to use it In order to get my point across to some people. That’s just the way of it. Still, I think naming or labeling a genre of music after an onomatopoeia is a little silly. I mean, you don’t call jazz “ting, ting ti ting *swung ride rhythm*”


Anyway, I’ve ranted enough.

Naw, it’s entertaining!

James Hetfield wouldn’t know what you meant if you said Djent! Okay, NOW I’m done.

Probably not! Haha. I’m sure Cyclamen doesn’t exactly pay the bills, or buy your lunch for that matter. What do you do for a living?

Not a lot! I work in a bar/restaurant and teach guitar to kids.

That’s pretty sweet. Do you try to indoctrinate kids in the way of Duplantier?

Haha. I’ve often thought about it. Unfortunately, I don’t teach much in the way of metal or heavy music, and I don’t think I’ll Inflict that sort of thing on my students just yet.

[At this point, we strayed in the conversation, in which we discussed the intricacies of Slipknot, emoticons, and Facebook, and there was much rejoicing. We eventually made it to the topic of interviews]

Instant chat is probably a pretty good way to do it, no? Cause then it’s a proper convo, rather than a static email Q&A.

Yeah. It’s better than sending the artist an open response essay, like how I did with [Hayato]! But it ended up reading well.

Aye, it did. Got my first mention as well!

Yeah. I try to mention you guys every now and then, trying to get out of the habit of favoring Hayato because it isn’t a one man band anymore.

Haha, aye. But then, I guess he is responsible for the kinda legacy of it. That’s how it will always be written. I’m sure after this album comes out, people will start to know our names (the rest of the band) as well!

Yeah, I’m all “CYCLAMEN MASTERMIND HAYATO” and in the back of my mind I’m all “That’s not exactly fair to the rest of the guys,” but yeah, like you said, he started it and wrote most of the released music so far. He deserves the credit.

Exactly. Nobody has heard anything we have come up with.

Didn’t you write and play the solo in “It’s There”?

Well yes, but that’s it! I tried to write what I felt fit the song, so its more catchy than choppy. I’m still proud of it.

And you should be. It was awesome!

Cheers! It’s like my first ever official contribution. Dan Weller liked it, so I felt pretty confident with it!


Cyclamen are currently writing their upcoming full length debut album. If you’ve been following this site and haven’t listened to them yet, then get the fuck out of my office. It’s great stuff! Check out our review of their Split EP with Haunted Shores and the re-release of Dreamers.

Also, be sure to check them out on MySpace.

– JR

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