You wouldn’t expect to find a metal band amongst the neon and glitter of Las Vegas, but melodic metallers Sicocis call Sin City home. The band started with friends playing covers in a garage, with a revolving lineup of musicians, until 2011, when guitarist/singer Ernie Rodrigues, guitarist Rafael Ortega and drummer Robert McDonald formed a more cohesive unit, with bassist/singer Travis Perry joining them. A few months later, the band released its debut EP “Revelation’s End”.
“Since then, we spent the time working on the craft of the band”, explains Ortega. Their sound includes a wide range of influences, but the musician pinpoints Evergrey, Symphony X, Iced Earth, Arch Enemy, Ayreon, Pink Floyd as important ingredients in their sound. “These artists bring out a lot for me in ways of music style, their playing, songwriting, concepts, the stage look the atmosphere they bring is just bigger than a typical “metal” band or artist.”
Sicocis is a band constantly working on its craft, looking to improve, and the evolution is obvious when playing their debut EP and 2017’s “Requiem of the World”. “Our song process really differed from what we did in the past to what we are doing now”, explains Ernie Rodrigues. “Before, Rafael and myself would bring ideas to the table and work on them individually. Now, we are trying to take a different approach, and have all four of us sit in a room and write songs from scratch. I feel like there is more meaning to songs in that sense. Not to discredit our older material one bit”, he adds.
Sicocis’ music benefits from the contributions of two vocalists in the band, and alternates between melodic vocals and growling, a direction that Rodrigues says came naturally. “We really didn’t know which direction we wanted to go when we began as a band”, he explains. “At the time we were inspired by bands like Iced Earth and Symphony X. On the other hand, we we’re also inspired by bands like In Flames and Dimmu Borgir. We really wanted to incorporate the best of both worlds, and we found the right sound in doing so.”
Armed with killer songs, and a sound that represents them well, Sicocis’ challenge is to make themselves heard in an industry that doesn’t pay attention to metal, in a city without a significant heavy scene but with major competition for the listeners’ attention.
“It’s tough to make noise in a big city with such a small metal scene”, says Rob, “especially when it’s supposedly the entertainment capital of the world.” “It’s tougher than ever before”, adds Ortega. “With a click of a button you have access to endless amount of music and artists that are created by the day and are gone the next. The general public doesn’t grasp onto many new artists as they once did before which I believe is where the problem lies in the music industry. For us we still believe in it, we just have to adapt and evolve a little.”
Because of that, Sicocis cherishes every opportunity to play to new fans. “This will be our very first time playing in Montreal”, says Ernie, “and we are absolutely excited to be able to bring our music to you guys. There is a bit sense of excitement we get when we travel to new places, because no one has seen us play before. It’s such a great opportunity to show the band off, and to see how the people react. It’s one of the main reasons we do what we do.”
And Montreal’s reputation as a hot metal scene seems to have reached the Nevada desert: “We have heard so many great things about Montreal, and stopping there on the tour is going to be one of the highlights of this tour” he adds.
I asked Rodrigues what the fans can expect from them on May 16th at L’Astral, where they’ll play with Arkona, Sirenia and MindMaze. “We definitely like to put on a show”, he says. “We look at our music as a journey, and there is nothing that we love more than to share our art with our fans. We usually love to start out the show with a bang, with songs like We Shall Rise. It sets the tone for the night. Then we like to get a little heavier and darker with songs like Beyond the Quantum Waves and Isolated Salvation. We usually end the night with the title track off of our new cd Requiem of the World. We love having everyone sing along with us. It’s our favorite closer for sure.”
Arkona, Sirenia, MindMaze and Sicocis will be at L’Astral on May 16th. Tickets are available here.
He's also a regular contributor at the very rad site Montreal Rampage