Scigod. Canberra’s Symphonic, Power and Progressive Metal

Following on from our exploration of Metal music in the Canberra region back in August, we recently had a chat with Scigod to see how things were shaping up for them! In the past few months we noticed that the group had been very busy, so it made sense to catch up and get some insights into the social and sonic landscape that this band exists in.

How did you come together as a group, and find such a great team of people with similar visions and music tastes? In a small community like Canberra, I think you’re very lucky to have formed a large, technical and complex project such as Scigod. For the first two tracks, what was your creative process in writing the songs and translating their themes into music?

Grant (Rhythm guitar): It took quite a while for us to get the current lineup but yeah it was a big journey getting here. It was a mix of things like posts on Facebook, knowing people through uni and work, and using more specific websites like Bandmix. We have been lucky to get a great mix of band members such as those that have gigged in metal bands before and those that have studied music at university. We each have our own experiences to share and contribute not just to the music but also the wider metal scene. In some ways, maybe the small community aspect of Canberra did help. Kian does more songwriting than me so maybe he can answer the second question in more detail. I like to play around with different riffs and try to make them more “metal” I guess, that is where my strength is, but Kian does more overall song composition such as picking the chord progressions etc.

Kian: The other interesting thing about the lineup is that people actually have very different tastes in music, and our songs (especially the newer ones, as of yet unreleased) all contain a little bit of people’s musical personalities and tastes.

About the second question, I could honestly go on for hours, but I’ll try to be concise. At first there is some sort of external stimulant, like a game soundtrack, or even a question of what it would sound like if we have the drums switch to a swing feel in the middle of a verse through a triplet based fill. Then I start writing, and just try to translate those ideas into something interesting. The theme kinda begins to take shape after you start writing, and it’s more a matter of listening to what’s happening. Obviously this approach only works if you have this much freedom in a project; if you do a film score or something more prescriptive, you gotta follow the rules they set, but for Scigod, the freedom was there to find a theme through exploration.

What are your plans for 2022? Are you working towards an album release? If so, what can your fans and supporters expect in the near-term, as Scigod continues its musical journey?

Our biggest announcement is that we will be playing Questfest on the 19th of March 2022 at the Basement. The lineup is looking incredible and we are so lucky to be chosen as a new and upcoming band. Our main focus at the moment is making this gig the best it can be. We are definitely aiming towards a studio release, but more info will be available next year. The best way to keep up to date is to follow us on Facebook or Bandcamp. We are just getting started with our releases to the public and live gigs so we still have a lot of things to announce on these pages in the near future.

We really look forward to seeing you guys perform, and everything that 2022 will bring! Is there anything else that you’d like to share with our readers? Personally, I’m curious what kinds of music your band members enjoy, listen to, and follow, as your sonic influences seem very interesting and varied. Also, more generally, what is it about writing music that keeps you passionate and excites you?

Grant (Rhythm guitar): We are excited to be able to gig soon also and share other things we are working on. I personally just like symphonic power metal a lot. I do listen to other varieties of heavy metal, enjoy classic rock when it is on and like the occasional symphony orchestra or jazz show if I am going to watch a friend play. The bands I am listening to the most at the moment are Nightwish, Serenity, Evil Scarecrow, Pain of Salvation, Gojira, Opeth, Blind Guardian and Pagan’s Mind.

Jeremy (bass): I’m the resident jazz guy, and my favourite bassists from that side are people like Ron Carter, Marcus Miller, Nicki Parrott, John Pattituci, Hadrien Feraud – all of whom are incredibly different in their own right!

But of course I love the metal stuff too – Troy Sanders from Mastodon, Jason Newsted and Kiyoshi come to mind when I think of players who just have incredible stage presence and really solid – even if sometimes underappreciated mix-wise – groove.

It’s really great to mix up these influences together in perhaps unexpected ways. One of our songs is our take on Duke Ellington’s ‘Caravan’, which I originally tried to tackle as more of a ‘metal’ thing – trying to diversify from how it would usually sound and all. But in one of the sections Kian asked me if I would put in some quintuplets, and for that section I ended up putting in a quick octave pattern that I lifted from a tutorial from the great YouTuber and player Anthony Muthurajah. I hope he wouldn’t be too annoyed at me for not changing too much of the pattern (the chords are different however) – and beyond that hopefully a little surprised at where some of his ideas ended up!

Dev (vocals): I listen to a mishmash of different genres, and probably am not as big of a metalhead as the others in the band. I like listening to international music like J-pop, Indonesian ballads, music that make you dance from different cultures and some other popular genres like classical, emo, pop, soft jazz, lo-fi and vaporwave.

Winsa (Guitar, violin): I like classical music the most as it is what I studied, Tchaikovsky and Brahms. For heavier music I like listening to Animals as Leaders and Avenged Sevenfold.

Callum (Lead guitar): I’ve been listening mostly to prog metal and prog rock lately. Especially King Crimson but also Dream Theater and Primus.

Kirren (Drums): I am really into prog as well. Lately I have been listening to the D’Virgilio, Morse & Jennings Trio. Other favourite prog bands include Pain of Salvation, Blotted Science and UFO. For drum inspiration I mostly listen to Led Zeppelin, Lamb of God and Dream Theater. Slayer is my favourite for guitar as well as Michael Schenker and Jeff Beck.

Kian: Recently I have been listening to a lot of Symphony X, especially for the vocals. Some more off the top of my head would be Adagio, Pathfinder, Dreamtale, Haken, Soen and Pink Floyd.

It is definitely clear in your music that you guys have very varied influences and a great appreciation of many musical styles. I think it was this which drew me to Scigod when you posted your first YouTube video. 

As a band of many members, what kinds of challenges have you faced in terms of both rehearsals and production? Also, how have you found Canberra so far, for finding supporters and reaching local people with your music? I saw that Better Music put your work on a playlist recently, and posters for Questfest are certainly making their way around town! What I’m trying to ask is, even though the internet is global, what role is our local community having in Scigod’s growing success?

Rehearsal is definitely difficult. We are a mix of 9-5, shift workers and students so we have all had to agree to keep Sunday afternoons as free as possible if we have any chance at meeting up. We have been able to make good practice tracks so we are not as reliant on a full band practice at all times to keep our instrument chops up. We do sometimes break off into small teams for various aspects of songwriting and production when it is easier. All members have different levels of involvement for different parts of the creative process and other things that keep us together as a band, we are lucky to have a wide skillset of non musical talents as well which has helped us. One of my favorite things about this journey so far is that everyone in the band has learnt something new or done something different to contribute to our success and we are just getting started.

As for the community, I have lived here all my life so I have a wide variety of networks such as school, university and work. I have been going to metal gigs since 2009 and it becomes easy to see the same faces frequently. Canberra is a nice community that has its strengths in being both small enough and big enough to gain advantages of both. We have started with just mostly promoting to friends but we are slowly reaching out further. I am an opportunist so I try to make sure we are getting the name out in as many areas as possible and making the most of resources and services available to us. I use the internet a lot but I know not everyone does, so posters, magazines, fliers, word of mouth and interviews such as this are just as important as ever. It was very clear as I did my walk around Canberra giving fliers to shop holders and realising how excited they were for this event, some familiar with Questfest and others only hearing about it for the first time, that the fliers will go a long way.

For our readers, please let us know the links to the places online where they can find you too. Is there anything else that you guys would like to share?

Grant (Rhythm guitar): I have been particularly humbled by not just the scene of punters and fellow bands, but also the support scene of people doing interviews, blogs, radio shows and more such as yourself. Actually being in a band for the first time in quite a few years and focusing more on the industry and promotional side of the house has made me realise that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than I first realised as a punter. A lot of people really want to hear our story and we have more radio shows, magazine columns and interviews to come. It is a great feeling being in a band and knowing that people genuinely want to write and talk about you. Thank you for your efforts and supporting local bands!

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