INTERVIEW WITH JOSH MIDDLETON BY JEANNE E THOMAS (JET)
Metal maestro Josh Middleton is blazing back on the scene after leaving Architects, with his awe-inspiring band Sylosis and what many are calling the best metal album of 2023. With confidence, Sylosis has created a special album that is heavy and varied musically, featuring lyrics commenting on current events and personal anxiety. The new full-length release, A Sign of Things to Come, marks a new era and fresh start for Sylosis.
Before joining Architects, did you put Sylosis on hiatus?
Yes, I did. I put the band on hiatus about five or six months before I joined Architects. I felt like I had got myself boxed in musically, and I made loads of boundaries and set loads of boundaries with solos of what we could and couldn’t do musically. When we did our first record, we were going to do our own thing. We’re not going to down tune our guitars, we’re going to play in standard tuning, and we’re not going to play breakdowns. We’re going to appeal to the more real metal crowd, that kind of thing. But yeah, I felt like I had really boxed myself in, was limited, and wasn’t enjoying the live shows as much.
“I DID GAIN A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON THINGS FOR SYLOSIS.”
Did you plan on actually coming back to Sylosis after that?
We didn’t announce anything to the public that we’d gone on hiatus. I wanted to figure my head out and take some time away from it, which I’d never done before. I was writing and was going to do a new band. I spoke to Nuclear Blast, sent them some demos, and they said, “Why are you starting a new band? This sounds like Sylosis.” Of course, I didn’t hear it that way, but I did gain a new perspective on things for Sylosis.
After your departure from Architects, did you view Sylosis in a whole new light?
Yeah, I had a lot of ideas going on at that time. It was cool to have a lot of time to work on the Sylosis record behind the scenes, while I was still in Architects. It was good to have the hiatus because it meant I had a time away from it and could reconnect and re-evaluate things. Oddly enough, the band actually grew in popularity because we went on hiatus.
“THE EMPHASIS WAS ON CONNECTING WITH THE AUDIENCE AND PUTTING MORE OF MYSELF IN THERE.”
And your manager was really on you to bring out more of yourself on A Sign of Things to Come.
My manager said, “You haven’t really reached your potential with your writing on your last record.” He said it didn’t feel like it had enough moments. It took me a while to reassess and think about the songwriting. He was really involved with preproduction as well and pushing me as a vocalist and as a frontman to really step up my game vocally. The emphasis was on connecting with the audience and putting more of myself in there.
What is special to you about this album?
We’ve never worked this hard. We’ve never picked apart all the songs and rewritten them time and time again to make the best record possible. It was really important at this point, especially me not being in Architects now, to come back with an album that is super strong. I really wanted to reconnect with the roots of the band, which is very widely undocumented, because we were a band years before we ever released any music.
“I REALLY WANTED TO INJECT MORE HEAVINESS AND CHAOS INTO THE MUSIC”
What work went into creating this album?
Musically, we’re always going to keep one foot in what we do and what we’ve done. We’re definitely not trying to change lanes. There’s a lot of new sounds, and we’re trying to push forward. In a lot of ways, it’s heavier. It is also probably our most varied record. There’s different tempos, a lot more groove in there, and a bit more melodic stuff that we haven’t done. Lyrically, there’s no concept. There’s no underlying lyrical themes. I feel with time, the better I got as a songwriter and as a guitarist, the band got a bit more focused on the finesse of it all, and we lost some of that chaotic energy. I really wanted to inject more heaviness and chaos into the music and for it to feel genuinely heavy and pissed off.