Into The Great Metal Mind: With Sin of Society 1
I first met Sin, lead guitarist for Society 1, in person while covering the recent MY RUIN show at The Whisky A Go Go on January 7th of this year, and I must admit that he is one of the nicest guys I’ve met in the music business to date. We kicked around much killer metal music discussion, including the status of the next Society 1 album. I wanted to get more in depth at this point with him and really give everyone a much closer look into the mind of this gifted metal musician.
Rocket: At what age did you start to play guitar? And cite some of your biggest influences. I imagine Dimebag is in there for sure.
Sin: Lets see, I was 10 yrs old when I started playing the guitar. Yeah, Darrell was a guy whos playing I definitely admired but that was later in my career. My biggest influences that shaped my playing style would have to be Ace Frehley, Jimi Hendrix, and Randy Rhoads.
Rocket: Do you remember the make of your first axe? I'm sure it wasn't a Gibson, right? Hell, my first bass guitar was this hundred dollar junker Gibson SG copy and it wasn't even worth the hundred bucks.
Sin: Haha, my very first guitar was this swap meet bought "Del Rey". Yeah, it was a beauty... I actually still have it.
Rocket: Tell us, how did you originally hook up with Matt ‘The Lord' Zane and Society 1? You were the keyboard player first, correct?
Sin: My old band "Electrichead" had played a few shows with SOCIETY 1. That band was on the verge of falling apart and I heard that they were looking for a new keyboardist so I went and auditioned and got the gig. Yeah, I initially came in as the keyboardist but always wanted to play my main instrument, the guitar.
Rocket: Matt, despite his dark and brooding image, seems like a really great guy to work with. It takes me aback every time I am in contact with him the way he is so nice, well spoken and intellectual. I know that you two primarily handle the writing chores for the band on the last album, "The Sound That Ends Creation". Is it much the same for the next album?
Sin: Yes, on "The Sound That Ends Creation" we pretty much split the writing 50/50. Thats been our formula but I think that on this new material we'll be having more input from Dirt and Kirk. Whatever we feel is the strongest material is what will make the cut. It doesn't really matter who writes it.
Rocket: I understand that Earache Records and Society 1 have parted ways recently and you guys are shopping for a new deal. What do you think happened there? I mean, as far as I can see it, Society 1 is on the verge of going big time any day now, which could turnout to be a huge mistake on their part. That record breaking Download Fest performance last year was incredible and should be a sign to all of what is to come from Society 1.
Sin: Thats a good question and I wish I had an answer for you. I really dont know what happened with them. Here we were coming off of a great 6 week European tour which ended at one of the biggest festivals around "Download". Sales had tripled for us in the UK alone and the next thing we know, we're no longer on the label. Go figure... But whatever, that's in the past now and we just continue to move forward. Nothings stops this machine.
Rocket: Tell us more about the Download show, man. I mean, Matt broke some Guiness world records for his suspension act that day, right? How many people were estimated at that show? It looked like at least fifty thousand. The Download Festival was an absolutely amazing experience for us.
Sin: I think there were over 25,000 people there when we were onstage. To be able to play in front of that many people, let alone to make it a suspension show, was unreal. It had never been done...
Rocket: What is your main guitar right now? And I know from my little brother, who just recorded/toured the world in 2004 with the pop/punk outfit TEN FOOT POLE that he also used other guitars for the studio. Is it the same way with you?
Sin: Yes, that is the case with me as well. On tour my main guitars are a BC Rich Mockingbird, BC Rich Wave, and a Samick Cobra. In the studio I'll use my Gibson Les Paul Custom, and other studio guitars such as Gibson SG's, Fender Telecasters, and anything else that works for the song we're recording.
Rocket: What kind of strings are you using? And do you prefer heavy or light gauge? And why?
Sin: Currently I've been using Ernie Ball Light top Heavy Bottom. I prefer heavy gauge low strings for more bottom end and I like lighter gauge strings for easier bends for solos.
Rocket: Quickly run us down on your amplification. Who, what and why?
Sin: My amp of choice is my Line 6 HD 147 with a straight 4x12 and slant 4x12 cabs. I love the versatility of the amp. I can go from a vintage Marshall sound to a death metal Boogie sound all on one amp. I really dig customizing my own sounds on that amp.
Rocket: We talked briefly in person about some things musically and what I hear in Society 1's music and I found it utterly cool that we both agreed that there's some punk influence in there. I've always been a big fan of Suicidal Tendencies and how they were the first to crossover successfully from punk into metal. Were they a big influence for you? What other punk acts have you been into over the years?
Sin: Yeah, I was into Suicidal back in the day and thought they had a really original sound back then. My punk influences go farther back to the Sex Pistols and some of the LA punk bands such as "X" who were a phenomenal yet very underrated band.
Rocket: Hands down, no doubts, who are your top three favorite metal bands ever?
Sin: This is tough... Heres an eclectic mix of "metal" each with their own significant influence on me. KISS, Slayer, and Ozzy.
Rocket: I know Society 1 just played the NAMM show this year and did an acoustic set. How did that work out and what songs did you guys choose to perform? And did you enjoy it?
Sin: The acoustic NAMM set was a blast. Matt and I had done radio shows in the past where we had performed acoustic so we knew we could pull it off. We ended up playing "Realms Of Bliss", "No Father", and "I Love Her". In my opinion a good song is a good song. Acoustic or electric.
Rocket: Do you ever get stage fright?
Sin: Never. What is that?
Rocket: Haha... I just asked Patrick Lachman of THE MERCY CLINIC/DAMAGEPLAN this question recently, so I'll repeat it with you because it's a light one good for laughs. What was the most embarrassing stage moment you ever had with your first few garage bands?
Sin: Haha, there are many... I would have to say the time I was onstage with my very first band and during our set I tripped over a drum microphone and fell right on my ass in mid solo. Yeah, that sucked cause there is no way to make that look graceful.. haha.
Rocket: Let's get back to the new Society 1 album you guys are working on. You told me in person that you are recording four new demo songs at a time and shopping that around, correct? Is that also a way to get a feel for what songs are working ultimately and which will make it onto the new album? And how is that going so far?
Sin: Yeah, we chose to record 4 songs on this new demo that showcase the direction we'd like the new record to go in. As always, its not gonna be what most people expect.
Rockt: Matt has made no bones about it that he wants to get darker with the next album, yet still remain dedicated to strong melody. Is that something you're striving for or would you prefer it was more of one than the other?
Sin: Absolutely. Its an odd contrast if you really look at it. We're getting darker, heavier, but at the same time more "song" oriented and melodic. We no longer pigeon hole ourselves into any one style of music or category. Thats just so mundane and boring. We're always striving to be better writers whether you want to call what we do metal/rock/industrial/whatever...
Rocket: I can't imagine it taking much longer for you guys to get signed and to really go into the studio and finish a solid new work. But, let's say it doesn't happen quick, despite my feeling that you deserve it, what're you guys really prepared to do? Would you seriously think about launching your own label and just seeking a good distribution deal?
Sin: We're confident that we'll get picked up again soon. But, we also wont wait for anyone or anything. One way or another our material will see the light of day soon.
Rocket: Finally, ending things on a bit of a more serious note, because I think it's important to on this certain subject I speak of. Tell me how you felt when you heard about Dimebag's onstage murder in 2004 and do you, like myself and many others in the extended metal family, still think about what happened literally every single day since? For me, it's still kind of surreal really and the incident happened over a year ago now.
Sin: You know, I always have this ugly, sinking feeling in my gut when a tragedy such as this happens to a fellow musician/brother. It was such a sad day that continues to haunt us all. In the back of my mind I always say, that could have been me onstage... It was really strange because it was at a venue we had performed at. This loss will be felt for many, many years to come.
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