Interviews: Semaphore

In this new occassion we have had the opportunity to interview the  Post-Shoegaze band Semaphore from USA. Check out the interview and this band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1.Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

Siddhu: When I was first coming up with a name for the band, I wanted something that sounded aesthetically pleasing and held no weight or specific imagery attached to it. Semaphore usually refers to the flag-signing system that ships use when they pass each other before radio existed, but our name comes from a computer-science term; our old bassist was studying computer science at the time. Now I just tell people it comes from a line in a Boys Night Out song.

2.Why did you want to play this genre?

Siddhu: I feel like our music skates through many genres, which partially comes from the inability to answer questions like this. We all enjoy a wide range of music, and this project aims to synthesize those influences.

Niko: Semaphore is a weird mix of shoegaze and indie rock tendencies with heavy aspects coming from our experience as metal musicians. It really feels like I am able to bring all my influences to the table with semaphore and not have it sound out of place.

Emmett: Shoegaze has so many places you can take it. I think of it as more of a starting point than a dedicated home base. We're not trying to be exactly like My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive, but we love those sounds. It's all about taking that and adding it as a common theme to unite our other influences (of which there are many). Our other bands are all quite distant from this side of music so it's also a chance for us to show other facets of our playing.

Jay: “rock” music is really where I started so it’s nice to have a band that embraces some of my formative musical influences.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Siddhu: I met Emmett after a Dillinger Escape Plan when I saw him crowd surfing, and he introduced me to Jay. Jay and I met Niko when we were waiting to hear Ben from Dillinger at a talk.

Niko: I knew Jay and Siddhu from a talk in soho I attended with Ben from DEP. I didn’t meet Emmett until I came in for my first rehearsal

Emmett: No, but I did know Siddhu and Jay already before joining. However, I did meet Niko only through his joining last year. Siddhu had already formed the band before any of the current line-up was a part of it, even doing the previous record, All Too Robot, completely on his own. Now we're like Semaphore 2.0.

Jay: I only knew Emmett our drummer who recommended me for the band.

4. Each band members favorite's band?

Siddhu: I like Tycho, Pink Floyd, and Blink 182.

Niko: Converge or Mr. Bungle

Emmett: The Dillinger Escape Plan

Jay: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Siddhu: My inspirations for writing are usually when I feel something emotionally intense. I’m not very good at dealing with my emotions, but music has always been a good outlet.

Niko: My first songwriting inspiration was Kurt Cobain, but right now I’m inspired by a lot of artists who straddle the line between experimental and super catchy like Yves Tumor, Injury Reserve, and Parquet Courts. That blend of cutting edge innovation but still being able to write a great song is something I feel that’s lost on a lot of artists

Emmett: At the moment, it's disillusion. The, "Leave with the Season EP," very much deals with that emotion, and it comes up in different flavors in each of the five songs.

Jay: artists that push boundaries

6. Where was your last gig?

Siddhu: Our last show was at Columbia University in the basement of a dorm. There were like 50 sweaty kids and us crammed in this room, they were super into the music and it was a good time!

Niko: A coffee shop called Caydence in MN. It was with my black metal band Madras.

7. Where would you like to play?

Siddhu: I’m excited for Webster Hall to reopen this year (2019), I would love to play there or any of the other big venues in New York!

Niko: St. Vitus, which we now are playing for the release show (February 27)! It’s a place I’ve always heard so much about and finally being able to go is surreal.

Emmett: Reading and Leeds

Jay: Probably in Brooklyn

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Siddhu: Musically, I would love to work with Tycho, Nitemoves or Chelsea Wolfe. But outside of that, I would love to make a beer with Flying Dog brewery.

Niko: I want to play with some weirdo electronic artist, like Machine Girl. I love working with electronics and taking every opportunity to sound as messed up as possible

Emmett: Deftones, glassJAw, Ov Lov, Stove, Pelican

Jay: All the people I know in the music world. I’d love to collaborate in some way with musicians I know personally but have never played with.

9. Whom not?

Siddhu: I’d feature with anyone, HIT ME UP!

Niko: Honestly I feel like I would be down to collaborate or play with anyone, as long as they aren’t dicks

Emmett: Assholes. There are many bands that I'm particularly fond of, but none I think I would flat out reject, especially if we could expand our audience or open up their audience to new ideas. Like, if Imagine Dragons asked us to tour, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Jay: There are many bands that I'm particularly fond of, but none I think I would flat out reject, especially if we could expand our audience or open up their audience to new ideas. Like, if Imagine Dragons asked us to tour, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

Siddhu: If you’ve practiced enough, you can always take comfort in your own musicalities. However, I think it’s important to fail big and fail as early as possible. My literal first time playing with a band, we tried covering “Can’t Stop” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, but I forgot the words halfway through. Can’t get much worse than that!

Niko: I did before the first time I played on a stage. I’d say just realize most of the audience doesn’t know the difference if you fuck up or not, and everyone’s usually inebriated so as long as you give it your all and are prepared you’ll be fine

Emmett: If you lose the butterflies, go do something else. That feeling means you still care, that this performance still matters to you. The trick is to wrestle that energy into working for you rather than against you. It's a river you're re-channeling to go where you want it to instead of where it wants you to. Preparation is the easiest way to do this. Obviously you can practice all you want and the only real way to better navigate this feeling is to be on stage over and over, but nothing will contribute to stage fright more than being under prepared. Even the greatest will fail with too little understanding of what they are supposed to be doing. Also, no one in the audience wants to see you fail, they want to see you succeed. They get more out of that as a spectator, so don't focus on them so much and stay on the task at hand: kicking ass.

Jay: When I was young really badly to the point where I would almost walk off stage. I learned to embrace the fright by acting crazy and rolling around, jumping off speakers, climbing things. It became very liberating.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Siddhu: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Tycho, Animal Collective, Jay Som, Tame Impala, Juan Bond, Detach the Islands

Niko: Converge, Nirvana, Mr. Bungle, Deathspell Omega, Minus the Bear, Black Flag, Krallice, The Locust, Cannibal Corpse

Emmett: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Refused, The Beatles, Saosin, Green Day, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Led Zeppelin, Sunny Day Real Estate, Cerce

Jay: the aforementioned Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Dillinger Escape Plan, Frank Zappa, Gavin Castleton

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Siddhu: I’ve had only good interactions with “fans.” Always happy to talk about pedalboards and gear!

Niko: All my experiences have been pretty normal actually

Emmett: I was on tour with Mutilation Rites, and someone asked me to dry myself off with one our shirts they'd just bought. I didn't have a towel and they said maybe someone would buy it for a lot of money Ebay someday. It was so surreal, so I had to accept.

Jay: nothing weird yet but kids have asked me to be their dad

13. What do you think of your fans?

Niko: Well I think anyone who supports what I do is pretty cool so I’m gonna say that they’re awesome

Siddhu: I agree with Niko!

Emmett: Our fans are the fucking best. I want to hug them all one by one and tell them thank you.

Jay: they cool.

14. What do you think of our site?

You do a great job of featuring bands from many different countries and core-genres as well as suggesting related artists! Much respect!

15. Something to add?

We hope you dig Leave With the Season, which comes out on 2/22!

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