Hi and thank you for sparing time to chat with us.
Gabriel Gaba (Vocals): Of course, the pleasure is ours!
Could you first introduce the band and tell us how it came to be?
GG – I am Gabriel Gaba, the singer of Sectile, 5-piece prog metal band from Dublin, Ireland. The band started in 2016 when Mark O’Reilly (guitars) and Cormac Hennigan (bass), who have been friends since school but had never been in a band together, decided to meet and jam some ideas at the beginning of 2016. The creative juices started to flow and once they had a couple of demos made, they started looking for potential band members online. That’s how they found me and then later on Zachary Newman (drums). Things started a bit slowly at first, with the four of us meeting occasionally to play around with the demos. The band only became an official thing in November of that year, that’s after we found a 2nd guitarist, came up with the name, recorded a home-brewed demo and created our band profiles on social networks!
How would you define not only your sound but the creative character of the band?
GG – Probably one of the hardest tasks for a musician is to define their own sound! We usually just do our thing without worrying much with labels and let people decide for themselves. That being said, we still think progressive metal is the best ‘easy way’ to inform others of what we do. We try to combine our various influences to craft tunes that have enough complexity in them to keep things interesting, but still have really cool and beautiful chords and melodies, hooky choruses and a good contrast between heavy and quiet sections. We generally focus a little less on technical displays (though there’s plenty of that for those who dig it) and more on simply writing tunes that we would love to enjoy as listeners. We are definitely a songwriting driven band, at the time of this interview, our first album is not even released yet and we are already hard at work at writing the second, and let me tell you, it is sounding very exciting so far!
Are there any previous musical experiences for band members and how have they been embraced in what you do now?
GG – All of us have had previous bands, in various subgenres of rock and metal, and that experience stays with you. Prog metal is the common denominator in our taste for music but each of us lets their influences seep into Sectile. Speaking for myself, I grew up enjoying heavy metal and hard rock in equal measure, bands like Aerosmith, Skid Row and Guns n’ Roses are among my favourites, up there with classic metal such as Iron Maiden and Savatage. I played hard rock in cover bands for years! Sectile doesn’t really sound like any of those bands, but I believe the influence comes through in the vocals, especially with the presence of high notes. I played in pop-rock oriented bands too, and I believe it gave me valuable insight in terms of writing good hooks, which is something we definitely explore in the context of Sectile.
Is there a particular process to the band’s songwriting?
GG – It varied over time, but it’s usually up to our guitarist Mark to do the bulk of the writing. We have an online drive where he saves the song ideas and the rest of us will listen to that and think of our parts. But the magic really happens at practices, when we put everything together and jam those ‘drafts’ with our drummer Zachary. Zach is more of a ‘in the moment’ guy rather than someone who does a lot of homework, and he comes up with unbelievable stuff on the spot, which in turn affect the guitars and everything else. So the process is very organic, with the five of us exploring a lot of ideas during those jams, guided by the song drafts Mark writes. For the vocals I will often mumble something over while the boys are playing to create the basic vocal melodies and later on write lyrics that fit those melodies.
Would you tell us about your latest release?
GG – Our debut full-length album is coming out on the 25th of February, it is titled ‘Falls Apart’ and it has 7 songs. One of the songs on it, ‘The Hunt’ was launched as a single about a year ago, and we have another single and video – ‘Black Cloud’ – ahead of this release, on the 4th of February. We are beyond excited to finally have a full album out, it is something that we worked hard to achieve and we’re very proud of the result! We hope people love it as much as we do.
What are the major inspirations to its heart and themes?
GG – The album covers a wide spectrum, from light to dark. The melodies that appeal to us the most tend to be melancholic, and the lyrics also reflect that, as we speak of themes that pertain to the darker aspects of the human psyche. I am a big fan of sci-fi and horror books and movies, but we try not to be too obvious about it in the lyrics, they’re more metaphorical. We also have a lot of savage riffs and big choruses in the songs, we like that contrast!
I am always intrigued as to how artists choose track order on albums and EP’s and whether in hindsight they would change that. What has been the deciding factor for you or do songs or the main do that organically?
GG – That’s a great question! On Sectile, as a new and largely unknown band, we strive to balance our artistic integrity with strategic thinking when making those kinds of decisions. A band with an established fanbase has more freedom, as they can count on people checking out the full album either way. An unknown band doesn’t have that luxury, so you have to make sure the first song will grab the attention of many different types of listeners from the get-go, because if it doesn’t, you may never get another chance. So the first few songs have to be some of your best, and the more ‘demanding’ songs can come later once the listener has already decided to give you their time. It’s also important to finish with a banger to leave a positive lasting impression!
What do you find the most enjoyable part of being in a band and similarly the most cathartic?
GG – There are many great things about being in a band! To me it’s always been a way to keep my sanity and blow off some steam, so I suppose it is not only a pleasure but it’s also ‘therapeutic’ in a way. When you’re in a band with people you genuinely like, and you’re creating music together, that’s an incomparable kind of satisfaction. As for cathartic moments, those tend to be when you play live and you see the crowd really getting into the music and what you’re trying to do. It’s a really phenomenal feeling!
For anyone contemplating checking you out live give some teasers as to what they can expect.
GG – A local reviewer said at one of our first gigs that “Sectile is a band that needs to be seen live”. We really work hard into putting on a great show. There are a lot of times where we let the songs speak for themselves but when things get energetic, so do we! It’s actually very hard for me to stand still on stage, growing up I was fascinated with that 70’s – 80’s type of rockstar frontmen who really owned the stage, and started to emulate that, even at practices to really get the hang of it. Bruce Dickinson is my number one influence there, he’s the number 1 metal frontman of all time for me.
What has been your most thrilling moment on stage to date?
GG – Just recently we decided to organise our own headline gig at a local bar that’s not exclusively a rock / metal venue, we had never played there before. Right before we started, the place suddenly got full, most people were total strangers who didn’t know they were at a prog gig. Anyway, we finished our set with an epic 13-minute long tune, and even so the crowd immediately started to chant “one more tune”! That was absolutely unexpected under the circumstances and totally exhilarating!
Do you have live dates coming up?
GG – Absolutely! We are back in Dublin’s Fibber Magees for Metal 2 the Masses again, and we’re really excited about it. We also have our album launch party in The Grand Social on February 28th with a cracking support line-up. That’s going to be a great night we think!
What else can we expect in the near future from you guys?
GG – 2020 is really going to be all about our new album. We plan to work our hardest to share this music with as many people as we possibly can, through promotion and through live performances. With this album in hand we are really aiming to broaden the Sectile name, and we really can’t wait to find out what people think of it!
What are the major inspirations to you sound wise and as a musician?
GG – This answer can change for any of the band members depending on what day you ask them! But, I find that there are a number of bands we always circle back around to when we’re songwriting or discussing musical ideas collectively. Bands like Opeth, Leprous, Porcupine Tree, Symphony X, Pain of Salvation and TesseracT would be some of them. To me personally, in addition to those I could mention Savatage, Iron Maiden, Skid Row, Angra, Marillion, Jeff Buckley, Devin Townsend, Guns n’ Roses and Jimmy Gnecco from Ours.
And finally what song or release would you say was the spark to your passion for music?
GG – It’s hard to say! I’ve been into music for as long as I can remember, rock and metal captured my attention early on. More than a specific song or album, perhaps I should mention the first time I saw a live gig, it was my brother’s rock covers band with his high school mates, that day really changed my life because I was absolutely blown away to see that it was possible to get on a stage and play a gig in front of people. I decided then that I would pursue the same thing, part of me is probably still yearning for the thrill I felt that day as a child.
Many thanks once again; anything else you would like to add?
GG – First of all, thanks for the interview! I would like to invite everyone to check out our new single and video ‘Black Cloud’ (available from February 4th) as well as the ‘Falls Apart’ album, out on February 25th. We love to interact with our audience so please drop us a message on social media telling us what you think of the album! You can find it on all platforms for streaming and / or for purchase on digital and CD formats – just look for Sectile on your preferred service. Thanks for listening!
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The RingMaster Review 27/02/2020
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