[Interview] Exclusive interview with Sykofant

Dear readers, we are pleased to offer you in this article an interview with a Norwegian band that offers a blend of Progressive Rock, Retro Rock and Experimental Rock. We welcome Sykofant.

Hello, how are you?

Melvin: “Hi! We’re very well thank you. It has been an unusually warm May in Norway, with many bank holidays. So we have been lucky to enjoy some swimming and camping trips in the beautiful forest that surrounds the northern part of Oslo.

Sindre: “And lots of rehearsing for our upcoming gig in Oslo in June, but we can get back to that.

What is the meaning of your band name Sykofant?

Melvin: “Sykofant is the Norwegian translation of the word “sycophant”, believe it or not. Lots of people keep asking us about the name. It’s derived from greek and means someone who spreads rumors and gossip about other people, someone who will try to flatter others to gain advantage. You, Sindre, came up with the name actually, and I thought I knew why. But according to Sindre, I must have dreamt it.

Sindre: “Yes, Melvin claimed we caught the word as part of a headline in a Danish newspaper article about Trump, but I can’t really remember that. Anyways, we thought the name sounded cool. Fortunately, none of us identifies with its meaning.

Your style incorporates different genres of Rock from a Progressive base, where does your passion for these sounds come from?

Melvin: “That’s a very good question. Our style is very much inspired by bands who were active before our time. Luckily we’ve all grown up in homes full of records, and I guess our own old-school sound and eclectic style is very much influenced by listening to a large variety of genres from an early age, which has accumulated into our own progressive base.

Sindre: “Yeah, I guess our passion for those sounds derives from that feeling of finding a great album at home, realizing that the band has released numerous albums, and then starting to save money to buy more CDs. Aa a kid, being into music from an early age, it’s one of the first things I started saving money for. I guess a lot of people can relate to that. Growing up before streaming that is. Listening to that very same music today, and drawing inspiration from it, creates this very warm nostalgic feeling.

What are your main sources of inspiration in this regard?

Sindre: “That could possibly become an endless list. And even though we share a common ground in prog rock we have quite diverse and different tastes in music too. We actually created a playlist a while back, mainly for inspiration where you can find all kinds of different music. Do you have the list, Melvin?

Melvin: “Yes, here it is! Of course you have the big names on here, that we grew up listening to, like Rush, Zeppelin, Yes, King Crimson and so on, but there’s also a lot of funk, jazz and even some ‘70s fusion. Last week, Emil introduced us to this amazing disbanded Finnish band called Kingston Wall, which was new to some of us. We were all very amazed! So
yeah, we love discovering music we haven’t heard before. There’s music from all over the world here; Kikagaku Moyo, Bruno Pernadas and The Sonic Dawn, just to name a few gems.

May 31, 2024 sees the release of your self-titled debut album, how would you describe this work?

Sindre: “In sum I would describe the work as a homage to many great sounds throughout rock history. It’s a journey through many subgenres within rock, where we have tried to create both new and original musical progressions as well as more shameless and clichéd ones. I would say that the album doesn’t take itself too seriously, which I’m glad and proud of
considering we’re walking well trodden paths.

Melvin: “We resisted falling for the temptation of over-producing, by creating this very gridbar-like “perfect” mix, which might as well have been played by a machine. Our lovely and dedicated producer Ole Øvstedal was also very meticulous towards creating a mix that sounded like actual people playing. Thus, the product became a very organic and honest mix, which we hope will evoke associations to a time in which imperfections in music were also what made a band sound like that particular band.

The music and vocals are intense and incisive, what themes tart up the lyrics?

Melvin: “I very much agree with you on that, written and performed by our very gifted guitarist, Emil! He could possibly go on for hours about the themes (which he has in the past), and I’m probably not doing the lyrics enough justice by trying to replicate his words here, but it delves into existential themes such as time, alienation, the search for meaning, and humanity’s relationship with nature. It’s a concept album, so each track is a chapter in a larger story. I’ll leave it up to the listeners to disentangle these themes in more detail. If you get a copy of our record, it comes with a brochure with all the lyrics, plus artwork created by the very talented Italian artist Morena Bosiglau.

Your music is elaborate and engaging, how does the creative process of your tracks take place?

Sindre: “That’s a hard question to give a concise answer to… We always aim to create music that excites us, both to play and to listen to. For most tracks on our upcoming debut album, the journey begins with a few riffs. Sometimes these are born during rehearsals, other times one of us comes up with them at home. Over the years, we’ve amassed quite a collection of riffs in our “database,” a treasure trove we dip into when we need inspiration. The next step is to try these riffs out with the whole band, to see what clicks. While Emil and Per have written most of the music, we keep the songwriting process as collaborative and open as possible. For instance, on the track “Monuments of Old,” Melvin suggested adding a part where the bass and drums play in a different time signature than the guitars. He mapped
out an elaborate sequence of numbers, which, after several bars, synced back with the guitars. This spontaneous idea turned into one of the most unique and coolest parts of the album. This spirit of experimentation is key for us, while many ideas get discarded, the successful ones have become the tracks you can hear on our album.

Many of our readers and your fans wonder if there will be a chance to hear you live, do you have plans in this regard?

Sindre: “Absolutely! We’re thrilled to announce our first-ever concert as a band on June 8th at Revolver in Oslo, celebrating the release of our debut album. It’s incredibly exciting to bring our music out of the studio and rehearsal space and share it with a live audience. For now, this is our only scheduled gig, but we’re aiming to play some club shows in Norway and perhaps across Scandinavia this fall. Next year, we hope to book club gigs and festival slots around Europe. Stay tuned!

How do you see today’s Prog music scene in your country and in genral in the world?

Sindre: “The prog scene in Norway is fantastic. We have a rich history dating back to the ’70s with bands like Popol Ace and Prudence, and today, bands like Wobbler are keeping the spirit alive. Defining what counts as prog can be tricky, but my current Norwegian favorites are The Chronicles of Father Robin, Ihsahn, and Ola Kvernberg’s Steamdome project. Internationally, we’re inspired by many artists. Opeth is one of my all time favorites, and lately, we’ve been obsessed with Crown Lands. Those two Canadians really make the most out of being just a duo!

Melvin: “It’s also heartening to see the online progressive rock community thriving. We’ve received tremendous support from blogs, magazines, and radio channels for our upcoming release, and we’re grateful that outlets like the Progressive Rock Journal exist. There’s a lot of passion for prog out there!

What advice would you give to young artists approaching music in a more elaborate genre like yours?

Sindre: “When creating music that might seem obscure or inaccessible to many, it’s crucial to focus on what you want to make. Don’t get too caught up in what others think. Recognition is nice, but the main goal should be the passion and fulfillment you get from writing and performing. Stay true to your vision and enjoy the process.

Do you have any other passions or artistic activities outside music?

Sindre: “Absolutely! I love diving into a good book, spending time in nature, and going to concerts.

Melvin: “I’ll second that! And I know we’re all big on movies, especially sci-fi, and references to both sci-fi novels and films come up during band practice all the time.

Sindre: “Outside of Sykofant, we all have jobs we enjoy. I work with statistics and programming, which is a passion of mine, though music is far more rewarding.

I thank Sykofant for the interview and wish them all the best for the release of the album and the continuation of their career.

The pleasure is all ours. Thanks for the chat!

Read ou review of the album here; [Review] Sykofant – Sykofant

Watch the video Review of the album through the YouTube player below:

Emil Moen / Guitar and Vocals
Melvin Treider / Drums
Per Semb / Guitar and Backing Vocals
Sindre Haugen / Bass and Backing Vocals

Sykofant |Official Website|Facebook Page|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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