SikTh are pioneers in what we now think of as djent. They led the way in complex, shifting time signatures and syncopated riffage. The band broke up right before the genre really kicked off in the eyes of the public, which made their 2013 return all the more triumphant. The self-released EP Opacities in 2015 reminded folks what SikTh are capable of, but now they return at full strength with The Future In Whose Eyes?, their first full length album in 11 years.
“Opacities was great - I really liked that mini-album and it really helped us,” says frontman Mikee W. Goodman. “It was a lot of pressure, but it was pressure we had put on ourselves. Speaking from a personal point of view I put massive pressure on myself, which I always do to make a release as good as it can be. But I think everyone felt a lot of pressure from themselves.”
The recording process was spread out across various formats. The drums were recorded in a studio, and the guitars were recorded at home through DI’s so that they could then be re-amped at a later date in the studio. When it came time for vocals, Goodman laid down his tracks at his home studio. “I’ve got really good equipment now and that was nice because I was able to capture all of the vocals in the moment. When you’re in the moment you’ve got it, and that’s something that’s really important. You’re not always going to be able to get the best out of yourself in the studio if you rent one, so I’ve got the whole kit set up for the entire writing process.”
It’s no accident that Goodman’s recording studio is so well equipped - when he’s not on the road with the band, he’s a professional voiceover artist, with plenty of credits across a range of formats including games. He also works as a video director, a skill he picked up on the job by making the video for the SikTh song ‘How May I Help You?’.
“Then in 2012 I did an album with Adrian Smith called Primal Rock Rebellion and I did the three videos for them and I got better as I went along. It worked out that the lowest-budget one was the best one because it was the last video I did and I had full control of it. Then I got better at it from then on, really. I do that and voiceovers as my other jobs. Voiceover is a real hard industry to be in. I still haven’t got an agent. I just get the work through word-of-mouth and from musicians. Because I do character voices, I’m now going to be assistant director for an entire game. I’m directing all the voices for the whole game, which is very crazy, man. And I’m the main character in it too; I’m the schizophrenic voices in his head.”
One of the big standouts of the album - and a great video directed by Goodman - is the track ‘Golden Cufflinks’.
“When I wrote the lyrics for ‘Golden Cufflinks’ they were initially inspired by the amount of live music venues that are being closed and a feeling that rock culture is in decline,” Goodman says. “The venue which sticks out to me the most is the famous London Astoria. Some of the best SikTh shows were in the LA2 and main Astoria. I went a lot as a fan as well. So when that was closed and knocked down to make way for Crossrail it really was a sad and defining moment in rock history for me and many others.
“I think places of such rich history and cultural importance should be protected and preserved. I see this happening across the country and world – so many other venues being shut down, and how scenes and come and go. You see the businessmen buying up cities to turn them into the most profitable and bland form. It follows a similar theme from our song ‘Bland Street Bloom’ from Death of a Dead Day. This happens in many cities, it is not just about London, ‘Golden Cufflinks’ is a reflection and commentary of this kind of happening.”
The Future In Whose Eyes? by Sikth is out now through Peaceville Records/Millennium Night.