The Sectile Interview

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!

check Sectile out further @…

https://www.facebook.com/sectile/   https://twitter.com/SectileOfficial   https://www.instagram.com/sectileofficial   https://sectileofficial.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 27/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Interview with Plum/Shona Maguire

The just released album The Seed from Scottish singer/songwriter/producer Plum is one of the most graceful and glorious collections of ideas, thoughts and songs to caress and inspire the ear so far this year. With an intriguing and provocative theme veining composing and music making of the highest and deepest quality, it is an impactful and beautifully caressing release that takes one on a personal trip with Plum and also a journey inside themselves. We had the pleasure of grabbing some of her time to ask Plum (Shona Maguire) about the album, music and herself.

Hello and a warm welcome to The RingMaster Review. Thank you for talking to us.

Would you first simply introduce yourself?

Hello, I’m Shona Maguire/Plum. I’m an Edinburgh based songwriter & producer, Aberdeen born with a love of electronic music, art, independent film & treehouses.

Why the name of Plum rather than using your real name for your music?

It’s a childhood nickname (given to me by my dad, nobody knows why). I don’t know why, but didn’t want to go by my real name (too folky sounding), so used Plum originally intended to be a stop gap until I found a better name but it stuck.

When did you first find yourself falling into the arms of music?

Age 3 I fell into the arms of my granda’s piano. I was in the youth orchestra, played oboe in High School, then picked up a guitar at 15, and that’s when the songwriting began. It grabbed me. I was in a band in high school. Our high school technician showed me the basics of studio recording & I was then hooked on learning more. Did work experience at Split level studios & kept going back for about 5 years. The short answer is probably mid to late teens.

What were the artists and songs that had the first powerful effect on you?

I was a late discoverer of electronic music. Bjork & Lamb were the gateway & I fell into that scene at age 19. Loved it with a passion – Boards of Canada, Chris Clark (now Clark), The Beta Band, Twin, PJ Harvey, Squarepusher…

And the biggest influences to this point?

I think the first are still the strongest. Add my musical friends Frogpocket, Araya, and Christ. And Kate Bush, and Joni Mitchell. But I never intended to make the same type of music as my influences. I try to write from the heart & to tell stories with it. With the lyrics as well as the instrumentation, textures, layers & moods you can build up.

Was music a feature of family life from day one up there in Aberdeenshire?

Pretty much, we had a piano in the house, though I don’t remember anyone ever playing it except me. My dad has always had a great taste in music. His records playing in the living room with the fire on is a standard memory. He introduced me to Nirvana, The Chemicals Brothers, The Blue Oyster Cult, Metallica, Howlin Wolf, Marillion, Mike Oldfield, Suzanne Vega. My mum was big into Kate Bush, Van Morrison & Joni Mitchell & I remember car journeys to those soundtracks.

When did you first have the urge to make your own music, was this before or during your time undertaking work experience at Split-Level Studios?

Before…but it was the entire motivation behind working there. I bought a reel to reel tape machine from a back door warehouse in Leith & drove out to the studio with it on my motorbike. I made the studio blokes leave the outhouse (was kind of a practise shed) so I could record because I was too shy to sing in front of them. Was so excited to use it. Seems so old school now! Brilliant sound. Wish I still had it.

Your bio states you move to London to take a Music Production course being frustrated at being unable to communicate your ideas exactly as you wanted. Was it that much of a struggle conveying your creative thoughts and was this in terminology or interpreting what you heard inside to others?

Without the production know how I was relying on others to interpret my direction. And the people I was working with were (bless their lovely souls) far more conventional in their approach than I wanted. And I couldn’t find the right words to convey what was in my head. It wasn’t as direct as that though as I travelled for a few years, during which time I didn’t do any music. Then all of a sudden I had to get back into it. With more passion than before, and a need to take control.

You were creating your own music in tandem to learning studio production?

The course was very hands on practical & we were encouraged to write our own music as part of the course. Free studio time almost unlimited. Was a dream come true! Though I needed to work 28 hours a week to pay digs in London. Every other spare moment I was booked into a practise studio at Point Blank.

Before you had finished your course you were signed to Summer Rain Recordings, how did that come about?

As part of the course we had to set up a MySpace account & upload music. I did so & started getting some good feedback. One of them was from David at Summer Rain & he offered to put out an EP for me. To be honest I was pretty shocked, I didn’t feel ready, but was delighted to take up the opportunity.

You released two EPs though them, The Whispering Chamber (2007) and The Glory Feast (2008). How were these received and what impact did going straight into recordings during the course have on your self-belief as an aspiring artist?

Honestly, myself belief has always been a little shaky. The EPs were well received, but I was terrified to perform live so didn’t do much gigging on the back of it. The fact that a label wanted to sign me definitely helped my confidence though. It gave me the confidence to sing on my own tracks.

Next you returned to Scotland and became the first and I believe only female artist signed to Benbecula Records?

This is true 🙂

The album Different Skin in 2009 was met with a mass of critical acclaim as well as finding further love from your expanding fan base. This was maybe a pivotal point in your career to date and has given you more freedom to expand and explore your ideas?

Absolutely. Signing to Benbecula was a dream come true. I sent Steven about 6 demos over 2 years & finally he felt I was good enough. It brought a lot of UK press & gigs & was a fantastic experience. It was great to be part of such a forward thinking music scene & definitely helped push me creatively.

We now come to the reason we really wanted to talk to you haha, your brand new album The Seed. How are you feeling in its early days of being in the ears of the public?

I’m excited. I’m really pleased with the release & the feedback so far has been amazing.

Tell us about its theme and where the inspiration for it came from.

It’s very private but essentially it’s about the power of suggestion. Something said to me in childhood had had a profound effect on my personality & fears & aspirations. It’s about the seed of an idea & how it can grow beyond your control. Finding the root of things is one massive task, but digging it up & planting alternatives is equally difficult. I just find the whole concept fascinating.

The way the album and songs are beautifully crafted and placed, let alone sounding around this concept suggests The Seed was a labour of love and intensive in time.

Yes it was a hell of a journey. Very personal. Very difficult. I was really ill for a month as I tried to conclude the album, but the sense of relief when I did was incredible. I’m really proud of it.

The album as you said was a journey, so did you write the songs separately and fit them along the album’s quest or wrote them to fit each aspect of the theme?

Lol. I may have just answered this one. I wrote to the concept loosely but wanted it to flow as an album, so there’s definitely a process behind the order. The journey was about working myself out for me, and the order of the tracks reflects that chronologically.

How have you evolved as a composer/songwriter o you feel and how has your music too from Different Skin to your new album?

Definitely. It was my first concept album, it took 2 years to write & produce. I got a lot of help from Keir MacCulloch, and I learnt a lot from him.

The Seed has an organic flow, a feel that is inspired by Nature and I believe you put yourself in the heart of it when writing the album?

Yes I moved to a cottage near Jedburgh in the Scottish borders to write it. I wish I could have stayed there. It was magical, overgrown, wild & beautifully peaceful. Was the perfect setting.

How do you approach your songwriting?

The songs write themselves. Sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes I’m playing the guitar & it all falls into place, sometimes I’ll build a song around a sample. I never write the beats first though which is I think more common.

The album is wonderfully unpredictable and surprising, your blending of caressing melodies and a calm ambience to striking and often discordant tones, beats and samples is majestic. How much is simply organic for you and how much do you have to really stretch even your ideas to achieve this?

I don’t have a strict idea of where I’ll end up when I start. I play about with layers & effects until I like what’s there. Until I feel it fits with the point of the song…which is usually driven by the emotions or mood.

Alongside the warmth and beauty to your music on the album there is a darker thoughtful vein bringing a striking balance? What do you hope we see that contrast as within the concept, as it does neatly open up many trains of thought at times?

I haven’t really thought about it. Contrast is human. I think it’s part of nature.

You have self-released The Seed. Was this always the intention or has been forced upon you?

It was always the intention. I wanted to write it exactly as I wanted without feeling pushed to go with an overall genre or style. I wanted the freedom to explore. That and Benbecula had closed, and I wanted to write rather than knock on the doors of all the other labels.

You helped to finance the album through sponsume.com. How did that work out and in a time when many bands are looking at this aspect why did you choose that site?

I actually tried We Fund first but they took ages to approve my video so I cancelled & gave Sponsume a go. Found it to be an excellent source of encouragement & a great way to engage with fans. Benbecula promoted it to their mailing list too which was very helpful.

Did the response you got surprise you?

Absolutely! I never thought I’d reach the total it was a stab in the dark, a total “may as well try” approach. I was really amazed at the support.

Is there any part of the album that you are most proud of?

Myriad. I knew I had to tie together all the pieces, I knew I wanted to finish on Meadow of Weeds, but was struggling to connect the struggles and the growth & the climbing with the hope & fresh start of meadow of weeds. It really took a lot out of me, but I’m very happy with the result.

Please tell us about the excellent video for the title track off the album.

It was the collective ideas of moi, Jim Wolff, Michael Kinlan, Jordan Laird (Leith FM) and the super talented Greg Hoyna who is proficient in both cardboard use and stop frame animation. Was fun to make, though I cricked my neck lying still for two long days.

What is next in the world of Shona /Plum?

Hopefully more gigs, & more opportunities to be creative.
Once more many thanks for sparing time to share your thoughts and in answering our questions.

Would you like to end with any last words?

Thanks so much for your support of an independent muso like myself. It’s much appreciated!

Read the review of The Seedhttps://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/plum-the-seed/

The Ringmaster Review 09/04/2012

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