A Change Of Seasons: Sertraline Interview
With their new single Change of Heart freshly released, Mick Birchall chats to Sertraline vocalist, Lizzie to discuss material, life in a band and...musicals?
Your new single Change of Heart, is now out for everyone to hear, could you tell us a bit about the new song?
It has been a long time in the making since we haven’t done anything new since February 2015. We feel really excited for people to hear it as there are some differences musically and it will be nice for the fans to hear what we’ve been working on.
In saying that, what would you say is the biggest difference in the new sound?
I would definitely say there’s more of a progressive metal influence this time around. So we’ve been drawing from band like Monuments, Periphery and Dream Theater this time around. Also I’ve been working on some different vocal work, so hopefully people will take to it.
Would you say you and the band have a particular method of songwriting when it comes to making new material?
When we’re writing it all usually starts with a guitar or a bass riff. The guys are usually really good at coming up with a catchy idea that we can start to build around. I usually don’t get melodies until the instruments are written. However, inspiration for writing lyrics can come up anytime and anywhere. I’ll write down the lyrical ideas and we all just start to feed off of each other. Which is a really nice way to work it all out.
Fantastic, also you’ve been building up some dates on the live scene as well, playing some shows recently and you’re building up to Chebfest.
Yeah! Chebfest at the end of August that should be brilliant. It’s sold out the past four years as well so if you want to go you best look for tickets. It’s cosplay themed this year as well so hopefully some good costumes.
I’ll be sure to try to get over to Leeds for that then! When it comes to performing, what do you feel is the biggest difference between recording the songs in the studio and playing those songs live?
In the studio you have to make sure that you’re concentrating and that you’re not getting any background noise in. You have to be very accurate in the studio. Whereas live, you can throw all of your emotions into your body and get the crowd involved so you can share all of that energy together. It takes the songs to a whole new level and you end up experiencing the song in such a new way.
Also, what’s the most important thing about playing live to you?
For me, it’s to make the crowd feel the passion that we felt when we wrote the songs. The songs mean a lot to us so we just want to make the audience feel something. As long as they’re not just standing there texting their mates or whatever, we just hope they enjoy themselves.
So how does it feel to come back with new music after a bit of a long break?
Oh it’s so good, we’ve waited for so long to come out with new music and we’re really proud of the new sound and it shows the development of the band. As we have come a long way since we started, you know, with line up changes and we’ve grown as people so we’re excited to hear what everyone thinks. It is different enough that people may have a love it or hate it opinion because it might not sound like what we usually do or maybe they’re excited for the change.
Have you ever experienced that yourself with a band you listen to bringing out new material?
Yeah, I have actually. I think a lot of things are a grower. I’ll hear a song and think “hmm, maybe that doesn’t work”. When it’s a band that I like, I’ll try a bit harder with the music and give it more of a chance and I’ll grow to like the songs. It’s very rare that I’ll stop listening to a band because they’ve changed their sound. Some people do I suppose but that’s the great thing about music…
Yeh, how everything is so opinionated
Well, it makes it interesting you know?
With that being said, what most would you like to achieve now as the band Sertraline?
To be honest, playing more shows and meeting new people. That’s the best thing about the tour we’re doing now, we’re just meeting so many new people and going to so many new places. Like Cardiff and other areas of London it’s just been really good. That’s what we’re aiming to do more of just reach new people, play with bigger bands and play on bigger stages.
With being a female-fronted rock/metal band, I know some people hate the term “female fronted”. What’s your take on the expansion of woman playing in metal and rock, as it was a male dominated genre for so long?
I think it’s great and I think there should be no limitations to how far it goes. Not just female fronted band but also bands with female bassists and guitarists. In my view I think it’s only a matter of time before the novelty of being a female fronted band with die out because there’s already such a mix. The term has never bothered me, I’ve never felt offended when people call us a female fronted band. Call me boring but I don’t have a particularly strong opinion on it. At the end of the day it makes the band stand out just that tiny bit and I don’t see the harm in that. I don’t get offended, it just makes me want to prove myself even more and someday hopefully people won’t have a preconception of what female fronted rock or metal sounds like.
Moving away from music for a little bit what would be your biggest interests outside of music?
Well, I love musical theatre and I’m not ashamed of it. In fact I went to see Wicked last night and it blew my mind it was just such a good show. When I left my heart was in my mouth and my heart was racing. If you can see this show definitely do it because it was amazing. Also, I’m in a musical in October actually just an amateur production in Harrogate.
If you don’t mind me asking, what is it a production of?
Legally Blonde: The Musical. It’s a little different from playing in a metal band but I’m not ashamed of it.
Nor should you be [Both Laughing]. So, what are the immediate plans at the moment...just keeping on playing shows and pumping out new material?
Yeah, just to keep on going. We’ve got a few festival dates coming up in August/September and we’ll also play a few shows toward the end of the year. In early 2017 we’re gearing up for a new EP, obviously title and release date to be announced. Hopefully we’ll get some pre-order packs out toward the end of the year as well. So full steam ahead.
Very good, I’ll be looking to pick up one of those! So here are some questions I like to throw out there… What is one of your favourite songs that you wish you could have written?
I have to be honest here and say Tears Don’t Fall by Bullet For My Valentine. That song was such a teenage angst song for me. I heard it so many time at rock nights at 2am and everyone just goes mental for it. [laughs]
What do you feel attracts you to music so much?
I started going to gigs when I was quite young and the general atmosphere of just being there in that environment. The music being so much louder than you’re used to it being and you can hear so many different thing in the music when you’re there. I used to watch people on the stage and I just thought to myself “you know what,I think I could do that”. I mean I always wrote lyrics when I was young to get out my teenage emotions. So I think I just wanted in.
I watch my friends join bands and I was always on the lookout for the right one. It such an amazing feeling when you play your own stuff and people like it, it feels fantastic.
So just end on. What was the hardest thing you have had to overcome and how did you overcome it?
It’s hard to answer that. I think because we don’t really earn money from it, it’s something we put money and a lot of time into. We also sacrifice a lot to do it just for the joy of playing. Like, our bass player has a wife and child and he’s away a lot. It puts a strain on all of us and some of us feel it more than others. It breaks out into little arguments and that’s the hardest thing because you’re best friends it’s hard to cope with that sometimes having that strain on you. However, we get through it because we’re a team and we’re strong.
That’s an excellent place to end. Thanks so much for the chat.
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