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Interviews: Sionis

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Progressive Metalcore band, Sionis, from Canada. Check out the interview and follow the 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?

Everyone in the band wanted a one-word name - something cool that was easy to say and remember - that was also unique but which carried a message with it. We all suggested many that we felt had to do with the meaning in our songs but none really clicked. Then one day our guitarist, Lee, suggested Sionis. It was easy to say, memorable, looked cool as a logo because it is practically an ambigram and more importantly it carried the perfect message: Sionis is the last name of Roman Sionis from DC - the black mask - our music speaks about people hiding their true selves and sacrificing their humanity for the EGO and for socially prescribed goals and aspirations. We sacrifice our true forms to be who were told to be and who we think we want to be. In this way, we are kind of wearing a mask. Some of us wear it more often, some of us never take it off. Like Roman in DC, some of us let it consume us, become us. Sionis is a symbolic name, representing the masks we wear, and the things we do as a result of wearing them. Lee’s Note: Much like Roman has no choice but to let his criminal actions reflect upon him permanently with a mask fused to his face, we as humans face the results of our actions in many aspects of our life, without the ability to hide them.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

We consider ourselves to have a dynamic sound - combining elements of djent, metalcore, melodic and progressive metal, and even hardcore at times. All of these genres are near and dear to our hearts as musicians and people. Beyond that, heavy music is a powerful platform by which messages and themes, such as the ones on this album, can be spread. They land with many people who are part of these communities and resonate with the tones in the music. The ability to build momentum with these messages and to rock out with our fans while doing it, that is why.

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

Yes and no. Caleb and Terence sort of knew one another. Caleb had sent Terence music many years before Sionis formed and Terence was busy with his career and educational endeavors at the time. Caleb knew of Terence due to some other bands Caleb had heard Terence play in - RIOT In Paradise and Beyond Struggle. This led Caleb to reach out again just under two years ago. At the time, Terence had not been with any musical groups for a while - besides a band he was in called Of Worth that didn't release any music or play many shows. Terence and Caleb were both upset about their musical endeavors not being fulfilled and their dreams being unreached and decided to work together and form one more band. They wrote the foundation of the entire album together and then found members, Lee, and Tom through Kijiji ads. Prior to Lee and Tom joining, Caleb and Terence tried out numerous other members but none quite fit the same.

4. Each band member favourite band?

We couldn’t choose one so we did two:

Terence Thiessen - Parkway Drive/Misery Signals

Caleb Leblanc - Architects/Northlane

Lee Stanhope - Karnivool/Cannibal Corpse

Tom Wolf - Nile/Cannibal Corpse

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

The lyrics come from many things but to sum it up – the most important times in our lives. These can be either devastating or uplifting in nature or everything in between but every lyric we write has a message and those messages have been instrumental in teaching us, guiding us, and shaping us as well as those around us. Every lyrical composition was written at a time when we were trying to make sense of something, reflect on something, learn from something, understand something, or get through something – but each of those moments was ones where we felt the only way to do what we were feeling justice was to write it out creatively in a form that reflected a deep and meaningful connection to the situation at hand. Sometimes these situations happened inside of us and sometimes, outside of us. Other times, they were a beautiful blend of both. That is why you will see some of the lyrics take a more internal approach with what is going on inside a person and some of them talk more about what is going on around us. Each lyric on this album interlinks and connects to the other in its own unique way and we are very proud of that concept.

6. Where was your last gig?

Our last gig was actually meant to be our first. We were booked on a bill with Edmonton’s Withered Days, The 21st Agenda, and Khimaira, but it got cancelled a week before it would have happened due to COVID 19.

7. Where would you like to act?

We would like to play anywhere at the moment, but due to COVID we cannot. That said, we are hoping to tour Canada - East and West - when our album is finished in 2021. It would be amazing if we got the chance to do any tours in the United States. It would be a dream come true if we could ever get to travel oversea and play in places like Europe or Australia.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

So many. Right now with the way the tides have turned for Misery Signals it would be unreal to get to open for them with their original line-up back in motion or to share the stage with Spirit Box. It would also be amazing to play with Architects, ERRA, Northlane, Parkway Drive, The Ghost Inside or August Burns Red at some point in our career. That said, we would welcome the opportunity to play with any bands at this point, who perform good and heavy music, and who help bring a crowd of people together that get down with the sound and who move to the music.

9. Whom not?

We would welcome the opportunity to play with everyone we can. Music is a community. There is enough disconnection in our world without adding to it. That said, if you spread white power messages or hate speech in your songs, we probably shouldn’t be sharing a stage.

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

You’d never know it because our frontman is very enthusiastic and experienced in performing live and interacting with the room but he gets the jitters before every show he has ever played. Terence’s advice is to use that energy, that nervousness, and channel it into your body and let it come out of you as the thing you love to do. Rather than running from it or trying to hide those feelings, he recommends embracing them. Terence notices that when he has done this, it almost becomes a part of his authenticity and energy on stage when he plays live and helps a lot.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Our main song-writer for the instrumentals on the album - Caleb - is inspired strongly by Architects - specifically the album Holy Hell, as well as Northlane’s album, Singularity. The primary lyricist and Vocalist on the album, Terence, is inspired by vocalists Winston McCall of Parkway Drive and Jesse Zaraska of Misery Signals - because of their raw emotion and conviction in the words they scream and the way they deliver them to their audience. Terence and Caleb are both inspired by Counterparts, UnderOath, and August Burns Red. The lyrics in this band were influenced by these styles of lyric writing as well. Terence also draws influence from melodic hardcore bands such as The Ghost Inside, Vanna, and Stick to Your Guns.

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

An autograph before we even played a show! No joke, Lee was asked for this, a couple of days after Asthenia dropped. Pretty cool but not something any of us had experienced before.

13. What do you think of your fans?

They are everything. Yes, we write this music from a deeply personal and self-fulfilling place as the messages and musicality mean something of value and worth to us all. But if it starts to spread and mean something to others, that’s the goal. If it can resonate with our fans and become a shared experience, not just between us as members, but with all of you, that is the purpose.

14. What do you think of our site?

Your website is really cool. Allowing artists a chance to talk about the art on their albums, explain things in a clear way… it is a unique experience, and a great way to discover music.

15. Something add?

Thank you for the opportunity to be featured on Breathing the Core. We hope that one day we have a chance to chat again, and we certainly hope you enjoy the music of Sionis.

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