Guffing up cyber/industrial metal is about as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Blistering can count on one hand the number of bands that make this style worthwhile; the rest are toiling in nu metalville, still prone to disco beats and lame-o riffs. And as the standard operating procedure goes, turning to Europe is the answer, with Switzerland's Sybreed emerging as one of the style's more dependable bands. On their fourth album God is an Automation (Listenable), the Swiss quartet engage in a dual between suave guitar work and domineering synths, all the wall keeping the operation together with big-time clean vocals and hooks. It's a composite that may be a turn-off to some, but for those who get up for the likes of Raunchy, and latter-day In Flames and Soilwork, it's gangbusters. Be that as it may, we snagged guitarist Drop and singer Ben for a round of questions about the new album, lyrical concepts, illegal downloading, and much more...
Blistering.com: You know, a lot of bands of your ilk tend to be content with staying in the same spot from album to album, but from my point of view, it feels like God is an Automation doesn't have much to do with Pulse of Awakening, but at the same time, it still fees like Sybreed. Is that how you see it?
Drop: Yeah, a lot of people noticed it too. God is an Automaton is a bit a "step back" to our first two albums Slave Design and Antares. On the Pulse we experimented few new things, mainly on the industrial aspect. The songs were more chaotic and the production was really cold compared to our first and sophomore albums. For God is an Automaton, we just wanted to write catchy songs, more live-oriented, instead of Pulse of Awakening which was a bit harsh to reproduce live, not skill-wise, but mainly to keep the audience entertained.
Blistering.com: I really felt the band hit its stride last album and it’s probably where you found your sound. The new album is simply an extension of that. Is that how you see it?
Drop: Yep, we can say this. From my point of view the new album is a mix of our three previous records, it has the catchy side of Slave Design, the melodies of Antares and a bit of the chaos in which bathed The Pulse of Awakening. As I told you before, we did not try to redefine our style, we just wanted to write catchy Sybreed songs. Like an accomplishment of the three previous records. Now, we are already on the first steps of the next one, and we are seriously thinking of pushing the limits this time, yet we don't know how, but we already have some funny ideas.
Blistering.com: Furthermore, the album feels organic, yet at the same time, the songs are very refined, advanced almost. Do you struggle in trying to find the right sound between the various loops and synths, and the guitar work?
Drop: I agree completely with the fact that it's more organic, that was the main point we kept in mind during the whole process. Actually, we started writing with drums patterns or guitar riffs. It was like a big jam, cause we were focused in the fact that every song needed to be enjoyable playing live, we really wanted something that we can have fun playing. On my side, I focused on having catchy guitar riffs, without searching during hours what to play, it just came naturally. "Feeling" was the key-work of the whole process. Synth and loops were left 50% blank, cause I wanted to work on it in Los Angeles with Rhys Fulber. He also mixed The Pulse of Awakening, but this time I wanted him to write and add some keyboards and arrangements. I had some "mental guidelines" for the missing parts, but he did everything with his own hardware and ideas, and he understood 100% what we needed. It came along very nicely and I am really happy of the result, he brought an important 80's synth sound, and I think it fits perfectly the new songs. I want to have him even more involved on our next album, but the future will tell.
Blistering.com: When did you start to pull together ideas for the new album? And how long did it take to get everything in order?
Drop: Actually we demoed three songs in the beginning of 2010, including "Challenger" that we released as a EP in April 2010, just to show that we were still here and working on new tunes. Then I built my new studio during one year, so we really started working on the other songs in September 2011, and we wrote the whole thing in two or three months. Then we started recording the whole thing until February, and after an Australian tour I went in Los Angeles in April to work on keys and arrangements with Rhys, who obviously also mixed the album!
Blistering.com: I read somewhere that with Pulse, you all wrote together for the first time. Did you do that for God is an Automation? And if so, how did it go?
Drop: Yeah, we wrote the album all together once again. Our new bassist Ales was freshly arrived in the band, but anyways, he has been with us the whole writing process and he also brought some kickass riffs and ideas. I wrote the entire albums Slave Design and Antares, and since The Pulse of Awakening we write as a real band, it prevented me of having huge headaches trying to find the good tune ha-ha. The process remains the same, we write riffs by riffs, parts by party, on a computer, then we try to move things here and there, but I think we are more efficient all together, and also, as we all have the same "main" tastes in music, we find what we are looking for really quick.
Blistering.com: The title of the new album is certainly very clever, but not unexpected from you guys. Can you elaborate upon it?
Ben: I enjoy coming with titles that are especially unexpected. I mostly abhor clichés let's say, and it's easy to end up with a too obvious types of titles when it comes to futuristic themes. Being myself an avid fan of cyber punk culture and anticipation writings I always tried to stick to the very philosophy behind them, which isn't about endlessly speaking about robots or any other sci-fi archetypes, but the actual effect of technology on human beings, as a whole or on a strict individual level. Because after all, speaking about technology is speaking about a tool, the interesting part is who handle it and what he's doing with it, be it good or bad.
Now about the title of our new record, I know that some people thought it was some kind of criticism about faith, which is actually not the case. The actual idea was for me to speak about religions in general as a social construct who often end up taking a pretty bureaucratic aspect: in other words, it's a stand against the idea of transforming "God" in a excuse for either avoiding to face our responsibility as human beings or a tool in the pursuit of power over other people. In the end it's very political title: the God-Automaton is merely a brand, a construct used by men in mundane deeds...in other words, an abuse of the "divine" substance.