With sub-genres within sub-genres of music, nowadays it seems that no matter what music fans need to put a label on a band. So, when a band has been plying their trade for more than seven years and is still mixing up what they play they can sometimes avoid the pigeonhole treatment. For New York-based Sylar, like their TV show villain they take their name, they seem to absorb their influences and display it in a unique manner, which some may feel is an acquired taste.
“I think it’s helped us have our own identity,” vocalist Jayden Panesso tells Already Heard. “Whether someone likes our songs or not, I love it when people know that its Sylar.”
The five-piece don’t play with the normal conventions of genre, slamming together bits of rap, metal and hardcore to produce the sound which has seen them tour the world. With their third record, ‘Seasons’, they have delved even further into these influences, producing riffs which could easily fill out big venues, but with lyrical bars which would not go amiss in an MC battle on the New York streets.
As music scenes constantly change, Panesso believes the band has evolved with these changing times, and their third full-length is evidence of that. He adds: “We had a lot of time in the studio this time around and that just helped us experiment a whole bunch. I personally tried a bunch of different vocal styles onto the record.
“I want to evolve as a singer through every record. I don’t want to sing the same way every single time. I want to grow.
“It’s just always so interesting to see the different things that become hot within the scene. Sometimes a certain sound will climb to the top of the world for a couple months, and then drop just as fast. You never know what you’re gonna get and I enjoy that.”
Being a bit of a black sheep of the music scene hasn’t always worked in Sylar’s favour as when Panesso was recruiting members it was sometimes a bit of a hard sell. “I felt like a lot of people didn’t understand it at first, and that’s okay,” he tells us. “But, I do feel like the more people listen to Sylar, the better they understand what we’re going for.”
Talking about the embryonic days of the band, Panesso continues: “I felt like it was a strange time for a band like us around that time, because everyone wanted the more hardcore vibe that Sylar didn’t offer, but I’m very proud of what we accomplished and becoming more than just a band playing local gigs.”
From those days, the band has gone on to tour with the likes of Insane Clown Pose, Issues and Of Mice & Men. Now, with a new record behind them, they are about to hit the road with Beartooth and Knocked Loose. A tour that really does blur genre lines. But with Sylar not fitting into any particular soundscape, the band’s vocalist sees every show they play as a challenge to win over new fans.
“Every show has new people, and yes; it’s always a challenge. But it is a challenge I enjoy taking on,” Panesso continues. “I don’t want to put any limits to who we can play shows with. We’ve seen all sorts of new people listening to our music recently and its nice! I love it especially when older parents tell me how much they enjoy our music.”
Sylar see themselves as a band which celebrates self-expression, and with three albums of genre-bending metal, it is clear why they were that badge with pride. Whether you like them or not, for Penasso if you know the name, it is something you are not going to forget.
‘Seasons’ by Sylar is out now on Hopeless Records.
Words by Tim Birkbeck (@tim_birkbeck)