By Stephanie Stevens
Rock n Roll isn’t dead by any means in Rhode Island, and the band PSYCLE is making sure of that with their newest EP release “SURFACES.”
The band formed in 1999, had some success playing shows around the New England area and beyond, but disbanded in 2011. Now re-emerging, the band is bringing back the power of Rock and the passion and they have for music in songs like “BREAK” and my favorite “FACE THE FIRE” from SURFACES.
The band members Seth Salois- Vocals/Guitar, Jay Carvalho- Drums/Vocals, Mike Kaz- Bass/Vocals and Joe Nicolazzo- Guitar rely on making music that is simple, yet moves you with solid guitar tones, rhythms to make your body move and choruses to make you sing along. Soulful, and with tons of strength, they vocally create raw emotion in each and every song on this EP. The guys are not new to making music that will move you, empower you and enlighten you with a positive and uplifting vibe.
I had a chance to speak with vocalist and guitar player Seth Salois about the forming of the band, what is important to him as a songwriter, and how they got involved with Pipeline Entertainment.
HOW DID PSYCLE COME TOGETHER?
PSYCLE came together when I was in my Junior Year in College in 1999. I had just started to write music and had also just started to learn the guitar. It seemed like a natural marriage since I had always written most of my life whether it be poetry, or quotes. From there it has been a progression of many different lineups but I have always continued to write songs.
WHERE ARE THE BAND MEMBERS FROM? (PRIOR BANDS?) AND WHAT DOES EACH GUY BRING TO THE BAND TO MAKE YOU GUYS THE BAND YOU ARE?
Jay (drums) and I met in 2001 when we had first entered the studio. We had just parted ways with our first drummer and Jay was in the studio with his band Apostrophe. Jay heard our music and heard from the producer that we needed a drummer. Jay and I have been together on and off for the past 16 years. Mike (Bass/Vocals) and I met when I was with the band Karma and the Truth (2013-2015). Mike was playing with the band Beyond Blonde and Human Clay. We had opened for Human Clay for a New Year’s Eve gig and became quick friends. Joe (Lead Guitar) came on board when I had left Karma and the Truth and after a few months started to put together PSYCLE again with Jay. There is a real amazing chemistry between each of us in the band. We trust each other and we all have different roles to play. I have always been a songwriter, usually bringing down the bones of a songs with the lyrics. Mike has been amazing at bringing down some great riffs and adding several important parts of songs to make them whole. “LONG WAY DOWN” we call Mike’s song because his bassline was the driving force for the whole song. Jay is an equally accomplished guitarist and is always ready to step out and throw out ideas such as the chorus on “LONG WAY DOWN”. Mike and Jay have developed an amazing chemistry that drives all of our music. Joe on the other hand we laugh and call him our Picasso. Joe will usually wait until myself, Jay and Mike have built the song to structure. Joe paints over the top of the songs and works very hard at developing the mood and texture to what I am playing on guitar. He never duplicates his parts and will change from verse to verse or chorus to chorus. There is no ego with us and it is always about servicing the song to the best of our ability. There is no wrong answer if it’s right for the song.
WHAT DOES THE BAND NAME MEAN TO YOU GUYS, AND WHO CAME UP WITH IT?
I came up with the name PSYCLE in college when we were entering a battle of the bands. I have always been obsessed with the idea of things coming full circle. Treat others well and good things will follow. Time is of essence and sometimes we don’t see things come to fruition when we have continued to follow a certain path but it will always find us. I always felt that and always will. Sometimes people ask us if we are called “Psycho” and I just laugh and say I don’t think we could ever be that heavy hahah. Being a good person, not just in the world, but especially in this tough business is very important, because at the end of the day, it’s all about relationships. We should be grateful we have found what we truly love to do. Be good to the sound guy, the promoter, the club owner, your fans and even the person who is critical of you. It means they are taking the time to think about you.
YOU SIGNED WITH PIPELINE ENTERTAINMENT. HOW DID THAT ALL HAPPEN AND WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE THEM?
This has been quite an overwhelming part of our story. Pipeline came about after I saw Melissa from Pipeline on Facebook, and saw that she had lost touch with some of her contacts. I shared her page and tried to help someone who has given back so much to our music community. I am constantly sending out our music and had made contact with Nathan and Melissa again. I had a great conversation with Nathan one night and I continued to stay in touch with them. I talk to the guys about them and after we released our EP “SURFACES” they seemed to have a strong interest in our music. We had a conference call with them before rehearsal one night and they offered us an opportunity to be a part of the Pipeline family. I truly feel this is just the beginning for us and Pipeline. Myself and the guys really felt that Pipeline were extremely passionate and are extremely dedicated to giving their bands an opportunity to succeed. That’s all we have ever asked for is the opportunity. Both Nathan and Melissa seem very honest, upfront and hardworking and that fits with exactly who we are as a band.
LAST MONTH YOU RELEASED “SURFACES” YOUR NEW EP. HOW DO YOU FEEL WITH THE OVERALL SOUND OF THE FINISHED PRODUCT? WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM WRITING AND BEING IN THE STUDIO WITH THESE NEW SONGS?
Chris Piquette from No Boundaries Studios in Providence is so amazing to work with. We worked extremely hard at crafting the songs we were going to record so we were ready for anything in the studio. We thought about waiting to do a full-length album, but we quickly realized that to move forward we needed to have something for people’s ears. I think that all of us came away from the recording experience extremely happy and satisfied. Chris was able to capture everything that we wanted for the EP, and was a pleasure to work with. I think the thing that we left with after recording is that we really understood each other better and left with confidence that we can really take this as far as we can. I know that we all feel that if we can get in front of people to see us live and also to hear our music that we can make a difference in music and give people something to enjoy. We are already working on new material.
BEING A ROCK BAND, IN THIS DAY AND AGE, HOW DO YOU FEEL THE SCENE IS FOR ROCK? AND WHAT ARE YOU GUYS BRINGING TO THE SCENE THAT GIVES A FRESH APPROACH TO THE GENRE?
This whole idea of rock and roll being dead is a joke. There are so many different kinds of music, but I truly believe that rock and roll will prevail. I’m not stupid enough to think that the industry hasn’t changed but I believe that it requires more hard work and more reliance on yourself. I also think that it really comes down to relationships and not just how great your music is. You may have great music but if you are an a-hole people will not want to work with you. I see a lot of artists that take for granted the fact that they get to ride in nice buses, and have sweet gear and play big shows but at the end of the day it’s not about the music. I always look to bands such as Alter Bridge and Sevendust, because they believe in family and the music. They are so grateful for their fans and the fact that they get to play music for a living. I will follow those guys forever. As far as a fresh approach to the genre, I don’t really think it’s about a fresh approach. The Stones, Aerosmith, hell even bands like The Guess Who, Bad Co. are still playing because they have always done the most important thing….write good songs. We never try to re-create the wheel, we try to write songs that have a good melody, have lyrics that you want to read and sing and is something that we believe in. Rock and Roll to me and I know the other guys is about putting moments together that made you feel something. If you do that chances are others will get a feeling too.
WHEN DID YOU GUYS ALL START PLAYING MUSIC AND WHAT BAND OR SONG GOT YOU INTO PLAYING?
We all started playing in our teens and I know that Joe (Lead Guitarist) was always a big fan of Randy Rhoads and Stevie Ray. Mike (Bass/Vocals) I know grew up on a lot of 70’s and 80’s rock and metal. Jay (drums) has many tastes from Victor Wooten, Dennis Chambers, funk and fusion all the way to Kiss and Ronnie James Dio. I grew up on The Beatles, Queen, Elton John mostly classic rock. However, I am a 90’s grunge rock guy. Pearl Jam, AIC, Sound Garden, Bush and the list goes on. My biggest inspirations as singers would be Freddie Mercury, Paul Rodgers and J.R Richards from the band Dishwalla. J.R. is criminally underrated and I wish more people listen to how amazing his voice is.
I LOVE THE SONG “FACE THE FIRE.” CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE INSPIRATION FOR THAT SONG, AND HOW WAS IT AN EASY SONG THAT CAME TOGETHER QUICKLY?
When I’m writing I am generally influenced by my surroundings and not necessarily something affecting me directly. I have worked helping others and have lived with addiction directly and indirectly my whole life. There are so many of us who have difficulty understanding the grey color of addiction. It’s never a black and white answer and one of the most important things I have learned is that sometimes some things in life not just addiction, is bigger than just one person. Our pride gets in the way of our ability to cope sometimes and that’s where FACE THE FIREcomes from. I wrote this from the perspective of the person who is in recovery talking to someone still struggling to find sobriety. In the song the lyrics change slightly if you listen closely. In the first pre chorus the lyrics are “You want to take the fall, but it’s me who supplies the way” The second pre chorus the lyrics are “You want to take the fall, but it’s me who supplies the weight” This basically means that people in early recovery are fragile and following someone who has had success can either be a good thing or a bad thing. We should always treat addiction by the person and not what necessarily worked for us. If we force our ways on someone we could be the life raft or sometimes the anchor.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT BEING A SONGWRITER AND HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU ADHERE TO THAT IMPORTANCE?
As a songwriter we have the ability to manipulate someone’s emotions. I would say that is extremely powerful and should not be taken for granted. I remember Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge saying on their documentary for the Blackbird album “You had better believe in what you are saying because you audience will always know and will never trust you if your faking it” That will live with me forever. I think that a lot of artists have gotten away from telling great stories. I have always wanted others when listening to my lyrics to have a sense of hope. To feel as though there is an end to whatever they are going thru and they are never alone. I am not a very literal lyricist because I want people to have their own feeling to what they are hearing. I always look at it as handing someone off down a certain path and let them find their own way out. If I have done that than I have done my job. I hope I convey this to people listening to our music and I know the guys in the band know how important that is to me.
IN THE BAND YOU PLAY A CERTAIN INSTRUMENT, BUT IS THERE AN INSTRUMENT THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO LEARN AND PLAY THAT WOULD BE A TWIST FROM WHAT A ROCK BAND USUALLY USES? AND WHY THAT INSTRUMENT?
No question the piano. Paul Rodgers, Freddie Mercury, J.R Richards, even Amy Lee, Lzzy Hale and I can go on and on. A vocalist by his/herself with their voice and a piano to me is pure bliss. It’s so raw and there is no hiding. I love that so much. It’s so stripped yet so powerful because it’s intimate
HOW DO YOU FEEL THE ROCK COMMUNITY OF RHODE ISLAND HAS BEEN IN THE LAST FEW YEARS? HAVE YOU GUYS EVER THOUGHT ABOUT RELOCATION?
I have been at this now for 17 years in RI. The scene has changed so much and the things I think I see the most is the lack of opportunity and places to play and create. I have many friends who play in cover bands and they are so good and so passionate. They have many places to play. Our original scene has lost so many great places to play and they have not been replaced. With that being said, AS220, The Met, Fete, have had a positive effect on our community, and I know many of us are grateful for those places and the hard-working people who keep the scene alive at these venues. I still say this though, we have one bad ass metal community. Even though we aren’t a metal band we have always been accepted for our music and we are grateful for that. We had thought about relocating way back in 2003-04 to Nashville but it fell thru. I am willing to go where the music takes us. We all have families and jobs and responsibilities but this isn’t a dream but a path we have all worked so hard for. If you don’t want to take your music as for as you can then why be doing it? All I can say is that if more and more people want to see us play live and hear our music then it’s our responsibility to give it to them.
WHAT ARE THE TOUR PLANS FOR YOU GUYS GOING INTO 2018?
This is probably a good question for Pipeline hahahah. We don’t want to run out and run across the country just to say we did. I think we have to be smart, create a following thru radio and promotion and go to the places that we can make an impact. As I said before this isn’t some dream where we just frolic around and sing Kumbaya. We love being in this band and we want to be successful. We want this to last and grow and hopefully get to reach as many ears as we can. That being said…Mark Tremonti or Myles Kennedy if your listening, if you really need us we will make an exception and we will help you guys out hahahahhaha
ANY LAST COMMENTS?
I am very grateful for the opportunity to talk about our music and I hope when people read this, they understand that we want to be good people first. We want to give them something that we all have experienced from the bands and musicians that crafted our love for music.
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