Monday, October 17, 2022

Interview with Mitch Sigge of Priorities by Dave Wolff

Interview with Mitch Sigge of Priorities by Dave Wolff

Since its release your two track compilation “Medusa” and “If I Believed” has been described as crushing, promising and laying bare broken dreams for the listener. Are you satisfied with the press so far?
Mitch Sigge (vocals): The press we have been getting on the two track has been amazing. When I was writing lyrics to these songs I honestly never thought they would see the light of day, I wrote the lyrics for these songs when I was in a really dark place, but it always nice to hear when some people come up and say that they connected with the lyrics. It really warms my heart to see these two songs do so well, it still blows my mind the reception we have received from them.

What are those two tracks written about, and looking back, what about them do you think has personally spoken to your listeners and reviewers?
The two tracks were centered on how to deal with being in a toxic relationship, whether it is a relegation ship, friendship or family member. They also speak about the aftermath of breaking free from such a bad environment and trying to find who you are again. This is something I think a lot of people have dealt with in some form or another so I think that’s what people seem to connect with.

Did you first think the two track would not be received as well because the personal and dark nature of those songs? How cathartic was writing them?
It was super cathartic to get everything off my chest. It’s not that I don’t think they were going to be received well, it was more that when I was writing these lyrics it was just an outlet for me to be open with myself. I just never thought they would ever actually become songs or even be something I would release.

Those songs sound like a far cry from the machismo and/or badassery metal has been known for. Were you concerned with them being labeled overly sensitive or did you write what you felt, judgment be damned?
I find it almost like therapy to write songs that mean something to mean and help me work through what’s happening in my life at that point in time.

How much do you see metal, metalcore and underground music taking more of a turn toward the subject matter you opted for?
I’ve seen it be more and more common for bands to talk about the subject of mental health and being honest with themselves. As much as I love songs about killing demons and the eventual uprising of the machines, I do appreciate seeing bands connecting with their audience on an emotional level as well.

How often do you notice bands writing more personal lyrics? In what ways does this undermine preconceptions of metalcore?
We actually see it a lot more these days than you’d think. Some vocalists are a lot more metaphorical than I am. Which is an awesome way to get what you’re trying to say across without being so straightforward.

Who are some of the lyricists in metalcore you admire? Provide some examples of their lyrics if you can?
The lyricist I admire most would be Caleb Shomo from Beartooth. You can hear in his lyrics and as the albums have progressed through his career that he’s not afraid to talk about his insecurities and the way his mental state is from album to album.

Can you provide us with some examples of Caleb Shomo’s self-expression through his lyrics? How have his lyrics progressed as Beartooth progressed musically?
You can sorta hear within his lyrics the change in his mental state over the years, with older songs like “In Between” and “I Have a Problem” where he hits on his depression and alcoholism with lyrics like “life’s so dark when every day is a struggle, why go out to see the world on fire” and “substance therapy never set me free”.
Continue on to his newer stuff from the album “Below” which was written during Covid, I think he really encapsulates how we were all feeling during that time. Below is a dark album but it makes sense for the time it was written in.
Now just hearing Beartooth’s new song “Riptide” and follow Caleb’s journey of self-improvement with lyrics like “full of excuses for why too long, don’t wanna sing another hopeless song”. It’s a hard hitting so with a positive spin on it, which is different for them, but it does show his mental health improvement after coming out of Covid and working to better himself. It’s really inspiring to me.

How deep seated was the connection people had with your two track? Did they connect with your songs in different ways or were the connections mostly similar?
It’s only been a few people that have come up here and there, but it seems to be that people connect with the honesty behind the two songs. If our songs help people when they are having a hard time then that’s more than I could ever ask for.

When you started in Priorities did you have the idea of writing songs that honestly convey how people feel in detrimental situations? How does metalcore fit this?
When Priorities first started I was the guitarist, so I had the lyrics to these songs but no intention of using them. Eventually I ended up on vocals coz it was easier to find a guitarist than a vocalist and I figured I would just learn in the job. I think a lot of people go through really rough times and just bottle all that emotion up, I am one of them. So I think metal and metalcore really helps relieve all of that bottled up emotion, whether it be moshing, singing or screaming at the top of your lungs.

It’s a known stereotype that vocals in metal and metalcore are just screaming and yelling, in spite of the amount of vocalists who with melodic voices. Do you have a special technique for your singing so as not to damage your vocal cords?
I 100% started with the Youtube videos and learning how to use my diaphragm. I started were everyone did with trying to emulate my favourite vocalists and constantly blowing my voice out. The best piece of advice I heard was that, your voice is unique to you so learn how far you can push yourself without it hurting and then learn how to get deeper or higher or pitch it in a way from there. I am by no means a fantastic vocalist, and I’m still constantly working to get better.

What vocal coaches were you watching while working on your metalcore vocals? Which of them offered the best advice on how to use the proper parts of your body so you don’t damage anything else?
I watched a bit of Melissa Cross I believe her name is. She was an opera coach turned screaming coach. And then just various Youtubers that all have their little techniques and pieces of advice as to not hurt yourself when screaming. Mostly I have a few friends that scream as well, so taking their advice on board is always helpful.

Did you purchase Melissa Cross’ DVD “The Zen of Screaming”? Voice Hacks is a worthwhile Youtube channel as it extensively covers different vocal approaches. Who else have you seen at Youtube?
I didn’t purchase “The Zen of Screaming”; I got what I could from Youtube and some bits and pieces from some friends. It’s was super useful. I’ve seen a handful of other people on Youtube, I do forget the name of them though. The best bit of advice I got was, your voice is your own and you have to find where you sit comfortably first and then learn to expand from there.

Do you know enough about vocalizing to open your own tutorial profile at Youtube if you wanted to? Or is there more work you need to do on your voice?
I think I know enough to give tips here and there but nowhere near enough to start my own. I’m still learning as well.

Who is working with you in Priorities? Is this the first job of the other members or have any of them been involved in other bands? If it’s the latter, how does their experience contribute to the band’s sound? In what ways does your style of playing fit with theirs?
The boys are all absolute legends. All of them bring their own unique flair to the tracks. We have all played in bands previously. Me and Alan were in a hardcore punk band together, Dean was in more of a skate punk band with screams, and Sando playing in a sick metalcore band back in the day. Dan hasn’t played in band prior to this but he is an amazing guitarist none the less.

How experienced at performing and recording are the band’s other members? Are everyone in the band metalcore fans or do they also incorporate other genres?
All the other band members have played live and recorded at some point before, some more than others, but everyone in the band is very confident with their instrument and all of them are fantastic to play alongside. All of us have known each other for quite some time out side of the band as well. So we really are just a big group of mates having fun and playing music. I think it shows when we play live as there can be a fair bit of banter in between songs.

How much easier does knowing one another help you work together, record and perform live as a band?
It makes writing and recording a lot easier, coz we find we bounce off of each other really well. As for playing on stage, it makes it more fun coz we all get along and we get to do dumb banter and run around like idiots.

Are “Medusa” and “If I Believed” the only songs you’ve completed writing and arranging to date, or are there more you’re working on?
We have actually just released a third single that came out on the 16th of September called “No Gods No Kings”. We are super stoked with this song and we have a five track EP that will be coming out soon. Just putting the last pieces together.

What is “No Gods No Kings” about and was it recorded by the same process as your previous singles? How well has it been received since it came out and where can it be heard?
“No Gods No Kings” is about recognizing that you are being controlled by someone else that may or may not have the best intentions for you, and dealing with the outcome of overcoming that control. It’s littered with video game references from “Bioshock”, which the game story wise actually deals with a similar issue. It’s seems to be received really well. It’s definitely my favourite song we have released so far.

Were there other sources of inspiration for “No Gods No Kings” besides “Bioshock”? Such as movies or literature for example? How do the lyrics differ from your previous material?
I’d say other sources would be just conversations I’ve had with friends and family, just hearing people’s stories of having to rebuild themselves after a bad break up or being in a toxic environment and finally getting away from it.

Anything you want to share about the conversations you’ve based “No Gods No Kings” on, if it’s not too personal? How much did you hear about people rebuilding themselves?
As far as stuff I’m comfortable with sharing, I was in a fairly abusive relationship and even with my friends and family telling me I had to get out of it, I was under the impression that everything was fine. I didn’t listen to people that were just looking out for me because I thought this person had my best interests at heart. Which turned out to not be true. It was a very one sided relationship and I was being manipulated every step of the way. I had friends in similar places but I feel it’s not my place to tell their stories on a public platform.

What can you share about the EP you’re currently working on? How much of it is completed and how much has yet to be wrapped up? What is the subject matter like?
The EP is called “Human After All”. The tracks are all along a similar line of dealing with depression and anxiety, but from different angles. Like “Broken Glass” is more about being in the thick of it and how it can affect you mentally. Whereas “If I Believed” is dealing with the aftermath of everything and not knowing what to do with yourself, feeling hopeless and lost and like the world is against you, and having to face it all on your own. The EP will be out on the 21st of October.

Is this EP going to be self-produced or are you working with professionals to help improve your sound from your previous material? Is it at a studio or the band’s home studio?
Yeah the EP is entirely self-produced, our drummer Sando has his own business call ‘Blast Amp’ and he has done all of our stuff. The studio is at his place and it is also our practice space so that really helps with everything to. In the sense of being able to come up with random riffs when we are writing and immediately record it.

How about a label to release “Human After All” on? Are you seeking a release deal to distribute it or are you opting to release and distribute it independently?
This one is going to be an independent release. We haven’t even really thought about labels at this point in time.

How much do you expect to continue improving lyrically as well as musically, making your lyrics deeper and more meaningful to your supporters?
I always feel I’m progressing lyrically and the boys are always doing an amazing job writing the music, we’re are starting to explore a slightly different sound with some of the newer stuff we are writing but that won’t be ready for a while.

What do you want to see Priorities accomplish career wise? What would the band need to do to see it happen?
Career wise we all love playing shows and writing so it’s kinda just never ending. We all get together every week to practice and record and talk about how we can improve our show to make it more entertaining. We all want to take this as far as it will go. I’d personally love to do some more interstate show or even end up on a tour, but we will see what happens as things go.

-Dave Wolff

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