Maybe one of the most interesting heavy acts to come out of my charmingly bleak home nation, Sectioned released a killer split not too long ago. After catching them play a cramped and killer free show I managed to share some words with Pedram, one of the string shredding masterminds behind the bands chaotic and crushing nouveau hardcore attack. We talked influences, technology and the current state of extreme music in our shared country of residence!
Hello Mr Valiani! Thanks for taking the time out of abusing your Ibanez to share some words with us! First and foremost, the material on the Split is a lot more intense and chaotic than Outlier. Was this a conscious choice or just a natural progression?
Both. Outlier was more spread out. This was a lot more direct and closer to what we are shooting for on our debut album. The EP’s are just like practice for an LP so that we can iron out imperfection and end up with a solid product that we all enjoy listening to. A lot of bands tend to soften up a bit as they release more music. I can see us doing the opposite. However, there will always be surprises.
So we can expect something resembling the material from the split on the first LP?
Yeah, a hybrid. There’s a lot more to it than that.
Won’t press you for too much information. We do like a nice surprise! Could you shed some light on what you were listening to during the writing and recording of the new material?
It’s more I don’t know what else to say as a lot of it hasn’t been written right now. Sectioned, to me is basically an amalgamation of all the main bands we listen to. Highlights for this release were Nine Inch Nails, Flying Lotus, Converge, Dillinger, Ampere, Danza. We are not unique at all, if anything I see this band as ripping off the best bits of every band we like, adding to them and then making those techniques and sounds in to our own by meshing each element into our own songs. So I personally listen to a lot of metal and heavy music even when I’m writing. I know a lot of people try to distance themselves from metal when they write their music but I can’t kid myself the same way they do. I can’t speak for everyone else entirely but our drummer listens to a lot of generic deathcore which none of us like at all but it’s helped give him insane footwork skills when it comes to writing our songs.
Love a bit of generic deathcore myself too! Has it been difficult being such a terrifying sounding band in a country that is famous for Gerry Rafferty and The Proclaimers? On that note, how do you feel that the extreme music scene in the UK , and Scotland in particular, stands up to other countries of the same size?
Not really. Geography has nothing to do with how we write. That said, there are still no extreme metal bands in Scotland who I would deem “iPod worthy” but my fellow band mates may disagree. Aesthetic of sound is as important as the writing process, to me and I feel that many bands let themselves down at that stage. Since I mix all of our material, I am constantly trying to improve along with our music. I don’t listen to a lot of international metal that lies outside of English-speaking mother tongue countries. So, USA, Canada, Australia etc. We can’t compare because there will undoubtedly be a heap of bands who are smashing it. Scotland will always be fun to play because you have such a shortage of similar bands that you always end up with a varied bill. Much better for all involved in terms of exposure.
It’s definitely not a thriving scene in any way but there are acts across a lot of metals super elitist sub-genres that I guess there’s something for everyone! Going back to the new Split, with everyone and their cousin moving to Bandcamp, how effective do you find it as a platform for showcasing and selling your music?
Essential. No other platform provides an all-in-one format in such an effective way.
What do you think you would do without it? In a terrifying world where social media and high speed Internet did not exist?
We’d survive. We aren’t trying to throw our music in anyone’s face. If there was no internet then we would find other ways to put music out. It’ll end up in the right hands.
An invitation to one of your shows would be enough to have your music shoved in a new fans face! You and the rest of the guys clearly have a great time on stage, is it more satisfying playing live than say, sitting back and finishing a song in the studio?
The most frustrating part is the mixing. I record into a template each time so that it’s taken care of and I can focus more on the writing. I think I prefer playing live but the writing is really fun. Refining is the worst and most tedious part but is sometimes a necessary evil.
Could you give a rough estimate as to how long it took from starting the writing for the split material to actually having it released?
About 6 months. But most of the waiting time was because we hadn’t ordered the CD’s. The writing was very quick.
Do you write as a unit or take bits and pieces to each other to flesh out?
I write the majority of the stuff to basic drums. Drums get rewritten by our drummer. Recently have been trying to avoid refining half-baked ideas or just completely write them off. This is because a lot of our best ideas are ones that didn’t need refining. We never write in the practice room unless it’s small bits and pieces. Everyone adds their own contributions in the practice room usually. So when it’s re-recorded then it’s a final piece.
That makes sense when there is so much happening at once in some of the material. Without giving too much away could you share what plans Sectioned have for the near future?
We are just going to keep writing records regardless of what happens with the live situation. If a good tour offer comes our way then we’d probably try to do it but since we enjoy writing records so much we don’t see it as any loss to our goals if we can’t tour full time. If and when we can minimize some of those initial risks, we would be more ready to do so. We love playing live and it’s just as much of us as the CD’s.
Well, I’m personally looking forward to seeing you guys again and with any luck this exchanging of words should hopefully convince some others to get out and bare witness to the maniacal wizardy of your live show. Thanks very much for answering these questions, anything else you wanna add for the Sectionheads out there?
If you’re looking for an answer on the material. We are messing around with a lot of ideas, one of which is to try and make more electronic and soundscape ideas that don’t sound half-assed, synthetic or plain shit. Nothing will be making the cut unless it is sonically absolute. Nothing else to add.
No problem, thanks!