According to a recent press release: “London natives CYPHER16 have risen up the ranks in their native UK throughout the last few years, amassing a devoted following which has afforded them the opportunity to perform at numerous festivals around the world, and to catch the eyes and ears of reputable music publications and tastemakers. Now, after the buzzing release of their latest album – the hooky, symphonic metal-tinged alt-rock offering The Great Surveyor – CYPHER16 have set their sights on North America.” With a tour supporting Amaranthe on the bands horizon, we get Jack Doolan (Guitar and Vocals) to answer our 10 Quick Ones…
1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?
Great question! Well, it actually took us until late on in the mixing process to realize that we’d forgotten to record an entire part on one of the songs (I won’t say which one, haha!), but that was a bit of a shock! I think that new discoveries on records can be entirely personal depending on what you as a listener are looking for. I guess the first track I Am The Great Surveyor is a fun one – there are gang vocals on the ‘I’s’ and there were a bunch of us in the main room at Monnow Valley Studio hitting floor toms and extra kick drums with sticks to add to the percussion that’s on there – I think there is a video of it online somewhere!
2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?
The year is 2000, and I’m 10 years old. For Christmas my parents bought me a CD Walkman and a CD that I had seen in a record store by chance, and liked the artwork. That record was Brave New World by Iron Maiden. I was a singer in my school’s choir and that Christmas day was actually singing the service at the local church. I would stand up and sing the hymns and then sit down beneath the choir stalls and crank up Iron Maiden, wondering if the congregation could hear me as I was playing it so loudly through the headphones! I imagine I would have found heavy metal regardless but that day was a revelation for me and absolutely changed my life.
3. Who would be your main five musical influences?
J S Bach, Metallica, Trent Reznor, Iron Maiden, The Rolling Stones
4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?
Trent Reznor. In my opinion the guy a genius and every time I’ve been in his presence either watching or interacting with him he’s only solidified that.
5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?
Always a tough one, and we actually now prefer to go ‘Listen to it and tell US what you think it sounds like’! Clean vocals, melodic heavy rock/metal with a modern twist.
6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Preferential treatment in everyday situations, haha! Particularly when travelling and stuff is going wrong. It’s cool to see how much you change some people’s lives – it gives you a difference perspective.
7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?
The TM Amit will be cooking, Will would be on the guitar and I’d be doing drinks! We actually have our own Guinness draught system, which is built into a flight-case so we can bring it to shows. Alfred The Guinness Bar – Google it. He’ll pour you a better pint than you’ll get in most pubs outside of Ireland.
8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?
I’d like to work in a branch of psychology (probably criminal), or running my own company. We’ve actually just started up the We Are C16 lifestyle range, which you can check out over at www.wearec16.com
9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?
I wish I’d brought different band members in earlier than I did on certain tours. I also wish that we hadn’t worked with certain people in the music industry. In the UK there are several agents, managers and promoters who shouldn’t be allowed to work in the industry and who have actually ended bands careers. We were very lucky not to be contracted to anyone or any bad deals but wasted a lot of time waiting for things that never materialized. If Cypher16 ever gets to a position where I can I am going to go out of my way to destroy whatever ‘career’ some of these people think they still have in this industry, just to make sure it doesn’t happen to anybody else. As I said, we were lucky, but I could name a bunch of bands who weren’t, and that’s not fair.
10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?
That’s a tricky one. I think it’s worth pointing out that when ‘great’ records are made, they are rarely known to be so at the time of the recording. With hindsight people have an idea that the studio sessions must have been legendary for whatever reason, but the simple fact is that it can often be a pretty laborious, tense and actually often a dull process. I think I would have enjoyed being present when they made Pet Sounds – apparently it was a disaster and no-one got along or liked any of the material, but listening to it, it comes across to me as being just a work of unparalleled genius with musicians who seem to be in perfect harmony (no pun intended) with one another.
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