Gyre's Ian McCartney Dissects New EP "Second Circle"
Band Photo: Gyre (?)
Garden state metallers Gyre will see the official release of new EP "Second Circle" this coming July 23rd via Monolithic Records.
We recently had the opportunity to premiere a new track off the release (available below), and now we also bring you the words of guitarist Ian McCartney, who explains the EP in more depth.
Read the full interview below to find out about Gyre recording the new EP with Kevin Antressian at Backroom Studios, what's happening in New Jersey metal, and the meaning behind the band's distinctive logo.
xFiruath: Let’s start out with a little history for our readers who haven’t heard Gyre before. When did you get together and what have you done so far?
Ian: As a full line up Gyre has been together for a little over a year. We started out working as a trio: Juan (Guitar), Pablo (Drums) and myself (Ian, Guitar), we were all in another band called Junta that had recently broken up. We still wanted to create music, so we began creating new songs between us. For some reason we all felt we were not done creating. Soon after we finished self-recording, self-financing, and self-distributing our first EP, both Chirag and Gio hopped on board. Chirag and Gio were both from bands in the area and were perfect fits for what we were and are trying to achieve as a band. We know we want to write good songs as a band. When writing a song we always go back to the statement, “What is the song calling for.” We never lose sight of letting the song guide us. Since then we recorded our second EP and are currently playing shows in support of it.
xFiruath: I wasn’t very familiar with Monolithic Records prior to discovering your band. Tell me a bit about the label and how you get hooked up with them.
Ian: The label Monolithic Records is a subdivision of themonolith.com website. The website is self-described as “a brand new entertainment hub for alternative culture, focusing on music (and film) from the very darkest corners of the human mind.” Tom Quigley (The CEO) is a great guy and it has been a pleasure working with him and everyone at themonolith.com so far. They do a great job reviewing music, movies, concerts and also supporting their bands through their site and other connections. I remember hearing a while back that a friend (Jesse Zuretti) in a well-known band from our area (The Binary Code) was writing for them. Little did we know that Jesse was also doing A&R for them. It was at the end of a long hike in the Catskills of New York with my Dad that I received a text from Jesse. You have to understand, Jesse is a person that doesn’t beat around the bush and is very direct, which is a characteristic I tend to appreciate in people. He basically stated that he wanted to manage us and he was doing A&R for Monolithic Records and would we want to put our EP out with his and Monolithic’s help. I remember thinking, “Wow, all the effort and frustration has actually been given some validation.” Gyre realizes that no band is an island. We are so grateful for the push and support from these two guys.
xFiruath: Tell me about this new EP – where did recording take place and how did that process go?
Ian: We recorded most of our latest EP “Second Circle” at Backroom Studios located in Rockaway, NJ and run by the soon to be famous Kevin Antreassian. I say soon to be famous because he has been recently scooped up on various occasions by BIG bands like Dillinger and The Deftones to help with sound on the road. He’s moving! We tracked all the drums and guitar there and did the final mixes with Kevin. In the process, our guitarist Juan, a wizard with programs in his own right, recorded all bass and vocals for us. It was a tedious process at times, going back and forth between Kevin’s studio and Juan’s, but we never lost sight of our vision and what we wanted out of the recording.
xFiruath: I couldn’t help but notice that your logo seems to have sprouted tentacles and pincers – is there some Cthulhu Mythos going on in your music?
Ian: Although I do enjoy H.P. Lovecraft, especially “At the Mountains of Madness,” our logo is not directly inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos, but I am sure readers and viewers can make connections even we don’t see. Our logo is really about the progression of the band and what we are trying to do with the music. In EP one, we had an image of an eye with tentacles surrounding it. It represents that desire to grab and suck people into our vision. On our latest EP we have the same eye in the middle, but it is rising, like the sun out of the water. The tentacles that we want to grab people with are extending out of their comfort zone. The pinchers and tusks on the logo indicate a metamorphosis and desire in the band to become more than what we were on the previous EP. The logo is also a representation of the idea that we take everything from nature. All we know and all we create is just another manifestation of nature.
xFiruath: Can you give me a little track by track breakdown for this EP about how each song sounds and what it deals with?
Ian: The first song of the new EP “Second Circle” is called “All Revealing Eye.” We wanted to showcase this song first because it has a very powerful beginning, but also showcases the dynamics of the band. The song goes from slow groove metal riffs with growls, to rock riffs with clean singing, to tribal buildups, and finally, to djent-esque sharply picked riffs. The song deals with the idea that our senses are filters to the world around us, and not exactly receptors. If our eyes were able to take in all the spectrum of light, or if our ears were able to hear every frequency of sound, our brains would be in overload. Our senses help us make sense (pun intended) of our surroundings. Everything would be too much to handle. These are very old ideas found in Hindu religion that were later stolen and reworked by European philosophers, such as Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and more recently Huxley.
The second song of the EP is “Ever Devourer.” It is a faster paced song and stays within the same heavy dynamic through most of the song. The song deals with the idea that when wants exceed the needs of people, inevitably that type of system will begin to devour itself from the inside. It is an unsustainable system and will eventually end. Readers can make their own interpretations on what systems we are talking about.
In terms of BPM’s “Circle to Feed” is more of our groove-bomb song. As with most of our songs we take you on a journey, but I feel like we really did well in building the structure and dynamics of this song in particular. Most of the lyrics for “Circle to Feed” were written when I was out hiking and I realized that vultures were hovering and circling over me. Were they waiting for me to die? What is interesting about vultures and other scavengers is that they do wait for death before they consume. As humans we are predators and kill our prey or gather our food, so we look at vultures as less than the birds of prey, like eagles and hawks. Just look at the U.S. dollar to see how much we glorify the hunters of the bird world. “Circle to Feed” is really about how everything that lives resides somewhere in this circle of feeding. “Good” or “bad” has nothing to do with it. Just being a part of and conscious of this amazing circle of life must suffice. Nature just “Is.” Understand and accept that death is part of this circle of feeding. Vultures are patient and understand.
The last song off the EP is “I, Receiving All.” It is a mid-paced that swings back and forth between a groove feel and a very metal/robotic choppy riff. The dichotomy of these two riffs really could be seen as a metaphor for the lyrics themselves. The song deals with this kind of back of forth play between mind and body... or man and machine, and the desire within all of us to find a home somewhere in all of this division. It’s not until you realize EVERYTHING is connected that you find peace, or metaphorically, a home in your mind.
xFiruath: What’s going on in your local scene, do you play live often, and is there a particular venue really helpful to metal bands in your area?
Ian: In NJ the local scene is always sort of going on. Here and there little pockets of bands, studios, venues... etc. We do feel that we are starting to be a part of a community of bands in the area. We have enjoyed playing with and getting to know bands such as The Binary Code, Toothgrinder, Torrential Downpour, Lionel Pryor, Stagger, Seas of Wake, Julius Seizure, etc. Go check them all out. Since we started playing live as a full band last year we have hit up most of the spots in northern Jersey. Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ is a spot we have played a few times. The sound is great and is particularly good to the metal community around here. But, we realize as a band the necessity to branch out and tour. We plan on doing a full East Coast tour next summer.
xFiruath: What’s happening in the metal world with music releases, tours, etc. that’s got you really excited these days?
Ian: I can only speak personally about what I’ve been into lately. TesseracT is amazing. Ghost is awesome! The songwriting is top-notch. The new Daft Punk sounds so good. Sound is one thing we want to work on as a band more. Those three bands are constantly being played in my car right now. But, as a band as a whole, we always harken back to what we grew up loving: Metallica (up to and including the Black album), Megadeth, Pantera, Converge, Alice in Chains, Yes, Led Zeppelin, etc. And now we look up to bands like Mastodon, Baroness, Periphery, Gojira, who are all really doing THEIR thing.
xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to add?
Ian: As stated before, Gyre understands that no band is an island and appreciates the effort and work that goes into all the aspects of making music and bringing that music to people. We could not have created without certain people already mentioned and relying on certain media structures already established. We want to get our music out there to as many ears possible. We truly believe we have something unique to offer to the world.
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