SEETHER – Refining Their Sound

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Seether_OnlineUse_1_credit_MarinaChavezPerforming as one of the monumental hard rock bands that ushered in the new millennia, has maintained an increasing constant forward momentum in the span of their musical career.  With ten Billboard, MTV, and other assorted music nominations and seven awards under their belt, the band has made quite an impact on the airwaves.  Following the release of their 6th studio album, Isolate and Medicate, we were able to speak with bassist Dale Stewart and catch up on the band’s newest release and music, their new tour, information on their new touring member and find out how Isolate and Medicate finally became the finished product we’re talking about today.

Shortly after Isolate and Medicate hit the streets, embarked on a national tour celebrating out the gate with new lead guitarist, Brian Wickmann, who had previously worked as the art director for Schechter guitars and also served as guitar tech for .  When asked about how the band came to the decision to bring Wickmann in, bassist, Dale Stewart explained that the band members had been talking about incorporating another guy in the live show for a while “to just fill out the sound a little more.”

As far as the decision on Wickmann himself, Stewart went on to explain, “Brian was actually our guitar tech at the time, and I guess we figured that he was a really good friend of ours and you know, we get along well; we’ve known each other for years and it would make an easy fit. Which, in retrospect, seems way easier than having to get to know another guy and get him incorporated into the band.  It was a very easy sort of transition because he already knew the basics so it was kind of like a no-brainer almost.”  As far as having becoming acclimated to the pace of a live set, Stewart followed up with describing Wickmann as,  “He’s really having fun with it and I think he’s adapted quite well to being onstage as well as offstage,” continues Stewart, “we met at Schechter and became friends.  Him and I were actually friends for a while.  One day, Brian said, Dale reportedly said, he wanted to get out of the corporate world, do what you guys do, and travel a little bit.”  The band agreed and offered him the spot on their crew as a guitar tech because, “If you can play guitar, you’ve already got a foot in the door to learn the ins and outs of guitar tech and such.  You can come do that, and then one thing lead to another.”

seether_isolate_and_medicateWickmann also served as creator of the cover art for Isolate and Medicate giving way to curiosity about the story behind how the artwork came about.  Wickmann seems to be a man with many talents and even Stewart himself has described him as a man “wearing many hats in the organization.”    Stewart continued, “[Wickmann] painted that, so that’s an actual full-sized painting he made.  He sent it to us and we said ‘wow, that’s really cool.’  We weren’t one hundred percent sure about what it was supposed to be or what it was supposed to say or portray and all that, but we really loved it! It was a little creepy and kind of striking and we said ‘cool, we’ll put that on the cover.’ ”

Stewart was then asked about his thoughts on how much Seether changed and progressed over the course of their musical career up to the release of the new album.  Stewart replied “A lot, actually.  I think we have changed as people and I certainly think the music has changed.  I think if anything, it has grown up really.  I think the songs are maybe more refined and are maybe a little bit more mature and more clever.  I feel like our music, when we first started, was very raw and just really sort of grungy and essentially we are still kind of learning to play our instruments.”

Apparently many Seether fans seem to feel a sense of nostalgia in Isolate and Medicate; the writing seems to come across as having more of an old school ‘Seether’ feel to it, especially with the track entitled “Weak,” but is there any truth to that statement? Did the band reach back to its roots as far as inspiration?  “I do think in a way some of the songs are,” states Stewart.  “I look to that throwback stuff in terms of the riffs and things.  I think there’s a lot of really sort of heavier riff stuff on this new CD, which is cool because those are always the most fun songs to play live.  But then I think, in addition to jammin’ it old school, be it a gritty riff, I think we still maintain a sense of melody to grow along with it. So we have a really heavy riff driven song, but then you have this melodic chorus that kind of brings some relief kind of in the middle of the song and then back into the heavy riffs again.  You want to not change drastically, but you want to kind of keep moving forward or seem stagnant and you don’t want people to become bored with what you’re doing.  You don’t want to do the same thing over and over again. “

Seether_GeneralPress_1_credit_MarinaChavezThere was a little bit of a label fiasco in the midst of producing this new album.  As many may know, The Bicycle Music Company ended up buying out the rights to much of Wind-Up Records’ back catalogue; and of course, Seether fell right into the list of what was purchased without even really knowing or being told about it.  Sometimes this could have an effect on the writing freedom of artists when it comes to such a large corporate acquisition.  This, however, was not the case with Concord Music group; a sister company of Bicycle Music.  When asked if there was any kind of negative effect, Stewart responded, “No.”  He stated it didn’t have much of an effect on the writing, adding most of the writing was done before they even found out about it.  “It’s kind of tough to say,” says Stewart.  “I think maybe the second go around will be an easier gage.  It was just getting to know the people and the guys when they were involved.  When we started going into the studio we felt like we had absolute freedom.  The studio said ‘we trust you guys and we know your track record’ and that was kind of refreshing because we were used to going back and forth and having a constant struggle getting called ‘these songs aren’t enough’, ‘write some more songs’ and that was always the case.  Concord seemed to really just have faith in us.  I think they made us feel like they care and trust what we are doing and trust that we know what we are doing.  We feel like they have gone above and beyond and it’s been really good so far!  We feel really happy about the change.”

On a final note, for those who really love Seether and couldn’t imagine life without their music, Stewart himself has a couple of fallback aspirations; who would he have been or what does he think he would possibly be doing if Seether had never been.  “That’s a tough one!  I really haven’t a lot of skills or anything.  I’ve been doing this pretty much my whole lot of life; probably something else in the music industry, though I don’t know what part of it.  I guess failing that, maybe something that would have to do with motorcycles or cars; something like that.  I love motorcycles and cars and racing and all that stuff.  I bet if I could get my foot in the door there, I’d most likely do that.’

Isolate and Medicate is available now! Featuring the current single; “Words as Weapons”

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