The New York district of Queens is historically best known musically for producing big-time hip-hop artists, such as 50 Cent and Run-DMC. But now the district has given birth to a band that takes these hip-hop roots and seamlessly entwines them with rock and nu-metal influences.
Sylar describe themselves as a celebration of self-expression against a backdrop of down-tuned bounce, stadium-ready choruses and streetwise hip-hop flavour. A sonic stomp squad that offers a new voice to the voiceless, unapologetically champions the underdog and reignites the rap/rock genre. These are pretty bold claims, but ones backed up with ridiculously addictive, impressively diverse music.
The bouncy nature of the Sylar sound reminds me of one of my favourite nu-metal guilty pleasures P.O.D., which particularly comes to the fore in the fantastic All or Nothing, the B-side of most recent single SHOOK!. These two tracks promise great things from upcoming album Seasons, which is out next Friday (5 October), and you can check out the former in the video below:
The freedom of their sound is something that frontman Jayden Panesso was keen to get across when we spoke to him ahead of the band’s ongoing US-wide tour supporting Beartooth.
Soul Addiction, from 2016 album Help!, is a great example of this, kicking off with a huge low-tuned riff that’s soon joined by a synthy sound, a rapped opening verse that feeds into big screamed vocals then a catchy singalong chorus “Is there something I’ve been missing?, Tell me what’s the difference if you’re gone, ‘Cos you know that I’m addicted, Know that I’m addicted to your soul.” A chugging riff kicks in under more huge screams, then it drops down into chilled out vocals that give way to another big chorus. It’s a song that highlights the versatility and unpredictability of the Sylar sound.
As Jayden tells us: “I consider it a very FREE sound. I can’t explain how good it feels to create music without any limits. We wrote stuff on this record that we vibe with, looking past any genres. I’m beyond excited for this album to drop. It’s our most mature project in my opinion, and there’s a song out there for every mood.”
Sylar first began with Jayden searching for musicians online but, after a couple of rounds of trial and error, he hadn’t quite found what he was looking for. It wasn’t until a DIY tour with Sworn In that he met some guys playing with another band who just happened to be playing on the same tour and completed the line-up of Miguel Cardona (guitars and vocals), Dustin Jennings (guitar), Travis Hufton (bass) and Cody Ash (drums).
As Jayden explains: “It’s crazy how we went on that tour with a certain lineup, and by the end of tour, Sylar had a brand-new lineup. That’s when things really got started for us. We were all just on the same exact page about being in a band and music. It worked out perfectly. Here we are now!”
As mentioned above, Sylar are now in the midst of a huge cross-America tour with Beartooth and Knocked Loose, which began on 14 September and runs all the way through to 17 November – taking in an impressive 40+ gigs. More info on where you can see them is here.
On playing with Beartooth, Jayden says: “Dude, Caleb is literally one of my favourite people, and one of my favourite friends. I always forget how awesome he is until I see him again haha. So, yes. This tour is beyond exciting. Show number one of the tour was last night, and if that represents what the tour is going to be like at all – we’re in for a WILD RIDE!”
Seasons is out next Friday, and Jayden has a special message for the band’s growing UK fanbase, telling us: “Even though we’ve only been there once, really, we just want you guys to all know we love and appreciate you guys. We see every comment, message, and tweet. We can’t wait to come back.
“P.S – on the song Giving Up on Seasons. I might’ve name-dropped one of your cities in there. Check it out!”