When I was in my early teen years, I got into a song called ‘Just The Way I Am’ by Skye Sweetnam from a show on Disney channel. YouTube wasn’t there back then and anyway I had no internet at home. So I used to wait for the show to begin just to watch the theme song. (I never actually liked the show so I only watched it for the theme song).
Later in 2007 and 2008 I discovered other songs from Skye Sweetnam’s second solo album ‘Sound Soldier’, this time on dear old YouTube. At the same time, my music taste shifted more towards heavier music and I started enjoying more Metal and hardcore Punk. Few years later I decided to check if Skye made any new music. And what a pleasant surprise it was to discover she has joined a Metal band called Sumo Cyco!
‘Mercy’ and ‘Limp’ where the only released songs back then, and they were enough for me to fall in love with Sumo Cyco. Later came other songs such as ‘Danger’ and ‘Loose Cannon’ and with each song and each music video I loved that band more.
Afterwards came their first studio album in 2014, with more great songs such as ‘Go Go Go’ and ‘Cry Murder’. And in 2017 their second studio albums with hits like ‘Anti-Anthem’ and ‘Moving Mountains’.
What I’m trying to say is that, if you haven’t noticed yet, I love this band! And I was very happy to interview the lead singer, Skye ‘Sever’ Sweetnam.
Mirk: Hello Skye. Thank you for giving us time to chat. How are you today?
Skye: Hello! I’m doing well thanks. Keeping busy trying to get as much done before we leave on tour again!
Mirk: First, let me tell you that I’m really glad I’m talking with you. I’ve been a fan of yours as a solo artist since ‘Sound Soldier’ and of Sumo Cyco since the very beginning in 2011. How does it feel now in 2019 after 8 years of Sumo Cyco?
Skye: Oh cool! That’s awesome that you’ve been following along for that long! It’s crazy that Sumo Cyco has been going for 8 years. It’s been a real exciting adventure to see how things have progressed throughout the band’s career.
Mirk: You have released two albums so far. ‘Lost in Cyco City’ and ‘Opus Mar’. Will there be a new album in 2019?
Skye: We are currently working on the next album as we speak! Matt (Guitarist/ Producer) has been in the studio all morning cooking up some new riffs. We currently have a pre-order Campaign on our website http://www.sumocyco.com/ to raise money for the band’s 3rd Album expenses. We created a quiz to see what Cyco City Gang you belong to, and created pre-order bundles around the four themes. It’s been fun to develop and put together especially since we are doing the pre-order independently without going through a crowdsourcing site like Kickstarter or Indie Go Go. Last album (Opus Mar) we funded through Pledge Music, but they have some big issues. Not paying their artists etc. We can’t promise the record will be out before the end of the year, but we’re working as fast as our schedule will allow.
Mirk: There are a lot of elements from all over the Rock and Metal spectrum embedded into Sumo Cyco’s musical style. What bands or artists influenced you to form this unique style?
Skye: We have to give credit to the #1 Skindred. Without them Sumo Cyco probably would not exist. Matt gave me their Babylon record to listen to after Matt and I had not seen each other for a year. It kind of brought us together and brought up the conversation of starting a band together. I come from a pop background and Matt grew up in punk bands but we wanted to try something heavier than either of us had done before, without losing the pop hooks and punk attitude. We like dancehall grooves and even calipso beats so it really is quite a mix of styles. Some of our big influences are Billy Talent, Refused, Rage Against the Machine, Enter Shikari to name a few.
Mirk: You have an upcoming tour with Jinjer. Are you excited about that? And what is your favourite part about touring?
Skye: Yes we are super stoked for this run with Jinjer & The Browning. We are really excited to get to hit a few Canadian Cities we’ve never been to with Sumo Cyco. It’s just they way it’s worked out that we tour US and EU more than our own country. The best thing about touring is a great show. Honestly it’s why we put up with all the shitty parts about touring. It all makes it worth it when you get to perform and meet the fans.
Mirk: You have a unique voice. You can sing harsh vocals and softer vocals with acoustics and you are great at both and your fans love you at both. But what do you find yourself better at and which do you prefer?
Skye: My comfort zone is singing melody since that’s what I grew up doing. I don’t prefer one over the other, it’s just more of a learning curve with screaming and harsh vocals. When I first started, I wasn’t screaming correctly because I would damage my voice, but over the years I started to find the placements that felt good and challenged myself to go further into that world.
Mirk: As a woman performing in a Metal band you inspire many young ladies to pursue their dreams. What advice would you give these young women, especially at these times when many women’s rights are not being protected as they should be?
Skye: My advice to anyone trying to achieve their goals, especially young women, would be to just do it. I mean Shia Leboeuf said it best. No one is good at anything when they start, you just have to keep going, learn from mistakes. I think our insecurities are our worst enemies to help us get further in our goals. As a women myself, I feel the immense pressure society puts on our shoulders to be a certain way. We have to live up to our personal goals and not societies, or our parents, boyfriends, girlfriends or anyone else’s.
Mirk: There are a lot of theatrics in your music. You made a music video for every song on ‘Lost in Cyco City’ and they were telling a story. Would you consider making a Rock Opera album in the future like The Black Parade by MCR or American Idiot by Green Day?
Skye: I would love to. My ideas are sometimes a bit too big for my budget or the time I have to devote to a project like that. On my list is graphic novels, movies, musicals and so much more. I just wish I had another lifetime to fit it all in!
Mirk: What hobbies do you have aside from music and singing?
Skye: Film making is quite a passion for me and same with running the online store for our band. In order for us to survive up until this point we had to learn a lot of skills to help the music be a career and not just a hobby itself. In fact it’s kind of funny because getting good at skills like video editing, social media, and running a merch store are more of the money makers and music is more of the bow that ties it all together.
Mirk: Thank you for the interview Skye! It was a great pleasure to talk to you!
Skye: THANK YOU! Appreciate the chance to spread the word about our band.