Interview: Seas of Conflict

Matt Henry Photography

Matt Henry Photography

By Mark Derricutt

Catching up with friends who are musicians at their gigs is always an odd, awkward, rushed affair between sets, pack-down, or a series of inaudible shouts as another band plays. So with the release of the new Seas of Conflict single Monachopsis, I thought it was time I simply scheduled time for a chat, not only once but twice--due to technical issues--with guitarist Declan Storrie.  Whilst a more fluid conversation ensued, we ended up skipping some topics, such as the single being selected for Apple Music's Global A-List Metal Playlist, or the fact the song reached over 10,000 plays on Spotify within the first 3 weeks of being released.

We're here with Declan Storrie, a guitarist from Seas of Conflict.
How's it going?

It's going good. As you just said, it's like we just did an interview. Technology always gets in the way.
It's amazing. We've gone back in time.

We've gone back in time, yes. Going all the way back in time. For those who don't who Seas of Conflict are, who are you?
We're a bunch of guys in their early 20s from Hamilton who like to play music and have fun. That's pretty much all there is to it.

What genre would you say you are? Are you more metalcore? What area would you actually kind of put yourself in?
We don't like to really pigeonhole ourselves at all. Our new stuff I think will really show people what we can really do, just how versatile we really are. We like to just be progressive metal because we like to try new things and not do things that are done already.

That's kind of like the modern interpretation of prog metal rather than your classic “music for musicians” where it's kind of overly pretentious. Still awesome - but kinda not very appealing to non-musicians.
Yeah, we like to be very genuine and natural with our writing. We go with what feels right rather that's heavy, soft, sad, happy, whatever. Just whatever we really feel is necessary we'll do.

The band's been around for a good number of years. I believe around about ten years or so? How'd you guys get your start? How'd you guys meet and how did the band kind of come together?
Probably about sort of eightish. Most of us met in high school, then I met Kody through some family. I saw my family and he was a friend of hers so we met that way. Then the rest of us just in high school. We just sort of had the same love of the same sort of music and just bonded that way naturally, yeah. That was probably 2010, 2011 sort of time, about 14, 15 sort of age.

That would have put you kind of being a school band kind of thing. Would that be Smoke-Free Rock Quest and that kind of stuff?
Yeah, definitely. We did that two years in a row. I mean both years we just got through the regional finals. That was cool to us because we were even more raucous and less melodic back then. We were pretty stoked that we got to get through and perform twice to a pretty big crowd and that sort of thing. It was a good buzz.

I see that you recently announced that Kayne McVeigh has left the band. How stable has the band been over time? Is it pretty much the same line up since Vestige or has it changed over time much?
No, it's pretty much been the same me, Nic and Kody have been in it the whole time. Then Michael had left to move to Wellington and follow his career, and then Kayne has recently left but Alex--who's on bass--has been one of my closest friends for eight years, from the start of the band. It's very natural and everyone's there to stay and everyone has the same dream. It's perfect.

Just thinking more about the band situation. Nic also plays for Devilskin. How does that kind of interact or interfere with Seas of Conflict?
It's usually really good. Usually, it's fine and we don't have any issues. Well, we've never had issues but when we have gigs, if they clash with Devilskin jobs we have fill-in drummer, Levi, or Blake who are both really good drummers. Levi drums in Organectomy which are a wicked band. Blake plays in FALLSTATE and Godzilla Takes New York. They're both in very good bands and are used to gigging and touring. We get one of them on the road when we need to. Other than that it works out perfectly fine.

That's sweet. The new single that's just been released the Monachopsis, that's featuring the current line up or that's the last line up, isn't it?
Yeah. It's sort of the farewell to Kayne and Michael. Michael contributed to a lot of the writing. Kayne contributed to recording it, tracking it. We did that as a sort of a farewell to them. The last of the chapter of Vestige in a way because it feels sort of on that sort of vibe and fame. With the next singles that we had recorded already, that's the new line up and the new sort of chapter.

Is that still recording with Zorran Mendonsa?
Yes. We'll still be recording with Zorran Mendonsa. We've recorded already two singles with him. We'll be doing a full-length album with him as well.

Any kind of timeframe for when that might drop? Or is that a bit too early to kind of judge?
It's a little early to judge. The album's primarily the instruments have been written. We're just going through the vocals and stuff. The singles will be out hopefully in the next three months probably. After that, we'll hopefully hit the studio, do the album. I mean, ideally, have the album well underway this year.

In between then, I understand you've got some shows coming up with Alien Weaponry.
Yes, yeah. We're excited about that. That's going to be a good time playing. Because we've never played South Island either so it's our first time down there. That's going to be ...

Whereabouts in the south? Is that Christchurch or Dunedin?
We're doing both, Dunedin and then Christchurch. That's going to be a blast for us, yeah.

...and then there's Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland I believe?
Yes, yeah. Those are going to be awesome too.

How did you guys hook up with Alien Weaponry other than I guess you're both Hamilton based bands. Is it just the scene connection?
I don't really know, because they're not from Hamilton.

Oh, they're up north, aren't they?
They're way up north in the ... We met them because Nic Martin's older brother Jake, a few years ago had his 21st and we played and Alien Weaponry played. Alien Weaponry were probably about 13 years old, 12 and 13 or something crazy like that. They were awesome. They rocked it. Then about a year and a half ago, we did another North Island little tour with them. We both just really loved each other's music and get along as human beings. With this tour, they just asked if we wanted to be a part of it. Yeah, we jumped at the opportunity.

That's cool. Just thinking back at the new single, who's the primary songwriter in the band? Are you primarily music and lyrics or who's kind of responsible for what?

How does that change with lineup changes?
We all just adapt. We've all song written in the past. I wrote a lot of the older stuff and then we all contributed with Vistage and the overall sound of it and everything and that sort of thing. We've all always contributed so I think no matter what we do it always sounds like us. It just gives us an extra sort of range to be versatile and gives us another ... I think that's why especially with the newer stuff our songs are very different because each song has a different writer. Then we all come together and collaborate to finish it off.

Well, I definitely look forward to seeing you guys at the studio coming up soon. I hope that all the other shows and these two South Island shows go off really well.
Thank you, yeah, we're pretty excited. They should be good shows.

Is there anyone else on the bill other than you and Alien Weaponry?
Yeah, there's this Australian band called Copia - I believe that's how you pronounce it. They're supporting as well on all the shows. Yes, it's three bands at this stage. I'm not sure about local openers or anything. Yeah, it should be good.

That's cool. I think three bands is probably more than enough for a good night. Anything above that I think it kind of gets a little bit ... You're reaching festival level there.
Yeah, I think so too. Yeah, local shows we used to have five, six, seven bands but I think those sorts of shows are good for serving three. Yeah.

Well, it's been good chatting with you... again.
Thank you. Yeah. It was good. I felt like that one was smooth.

Is there any parting words that you'd want just for someone, for anyone who's listening.
Go to local shows. Support local musicians, local artists--anyone who's trying to put some positive into the world.