Somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind there exists a movie of your own creation. You know its players, the scenes, every camera movement and casually uttered one-liner by heart. Sometimes, when you dream about it long enough, you can even hear the score floating ethereally through the depths of your consciousness. This imaginary soundtrack may very well come courtesy of Eastern Pennsylvania quintet Sinch. The band has been soundtracking the films in their own heads with a sound informed by the heavy styling of Tool, Alice In Chains, and Nine Inch Nails, while finding it's subtle coloring from sonic pioneers like Radiohead, Bjork, and The Prodigy. Stem describes it simply as “emotional rock...whatever comes to us comes to us in the moment of creation, it's all about the moment.” Imagine a movie that combines the aesthetics of Requiem For A Dream, Fight Club, City of the Lost Children, and American Psycho and you get an inkling of their intentions.
Singer Jamie Stem, guitarist Tony Lannutti, bassist Mike Abramson and drummer Dan McFarland all crossed paths growing up and finally decided to form a band at the end of high school in 1994. Being in a band was their escape from the monotony of normalcy and the music they created was filled with an impassioned discontent and yearning. The foursome's first gig was a year later at a self-described “dank club in the middle of nowhere.” Despite the less-than-desirable debut environs, they always believed in their ability to rise above and beyond their circumstances. Later that year, they released a self-titled demo and followed it over the next six years with two full lengthers, Strychnine and Diatribe, and most recently an EP, Project: Bluebird. McFarland maps their musical evolution - “Over the years our music has become darker, heavier, angrier, and utterly confrontational. We're always trying to do things that make this more interesting for us.”
Despite making great leaps forward in their songwriting, Sinch had always wanted to expand the dynamics of their live shows. So when Stem brought visual performance artist Jay Smith and his spectacular Ocular Noise Machine into the fold a little over a year ago, the Sinch experience was truly complete. Smith had designed and patented an interactive video manipulation device known as the Ocular Noise Machine, which is played like a guitar and moves within the rhythms and beats of the band's musical performance. Unlike someone who would merely complement the band with trippy background imagery, Smith wanted to make it a multi-tiered, multimedia collaborative effort that would redefine concertgoer's expectations. And they succeeded -- between the performance and the accompanying visuals, Sinch have single-handedly created a completely overwhelming stage show. “We all enjoy the art and storytelling of filmmaking that allows you to see inside a captured moment, yet allows you to take your own story away,” declares Smith. “And that's what we wanted the live shows to be.” As their extraordinary live shows started taking on legendary status, the band's fan base continued to grow until Sinch found themselves opening for the luminary likes of Linkin Park, Korn, and Rob Zombie when they came to town.
After eight years of independent success, the band inked a deal with Roadrunner/Island Def Jam. When the time came to record what would become Sinch, the band chose producer Malcolm Springer (Fear Factory, Full Devil Jacket) to helm the project and Charlie Brocco (B.B. King, Talking Heads) to mix it over a two-month period in Nashville. The four musicians hammered through 11 tracks and under Springer's supervision the songs began taking on depth and complexity as he expanded Sinch's sound beyond what they had been able to achieve. “Each one of our songs is special and unique,” says McFarland. “All of our songs have a different sound and different things going on. Even we don't really know what the next song we write is gonna sound like.”
Indeed, Sinch stands as a testament to its creators' artistic diversity. The first single, the anthemnic “Something More,” was originally inspired by the apathy and complacency bred out of watching too much television, but it eventually evolved into addressing the belief that there's something more out there to believe in. “Having hope is what it's about,” Stem declares. Opening with an insistent bass hook and slowly building into a deafening sonic maelstrom “Tabula Rasa” is the kind of song that mosh pits were created for. The title is derived from a philosophic term for 'blank tablet,' used to describe the state of an infant's mind before it has been corrupted by any outside influence. However, the title and the lyrics have separate intentions, as Stem clarifies “Sometimes it feels like you can't win, no matter how hard you try. I've felt that way my whole life and that got summed up in this song.” The roaring chorus echoes that frustration “Paralyzed you can't breath/Paranoid you can't sleep/Through the lies that surround you.”
The electronica-influenced track “Bitmap” blends a startling array of images from Bladerunner and The Matrix to The Sixth Sense and beyond as Stem dissects our relationship with the afterlife and those who have passed away, while also exploring the way nature and man interact. The near-complete structure for the song was brought to rehearsal by Lannutti and then fleshed out by the band. “Sometimes music just comes from nowhere,” reasons the guitarist. “I'll come up with a little part and then parts just keeping adding themselves to it. For me, making music is about experimentation.”
A lot of band's don't know what the future holds in store for them, but Stem has a feeling of manifest destiny when it comes to Sinch - “I feel like there's no choice, this has to happen. It's what we were meant to do.” So, as Sinch head unflinchingly forward, they bring some merry mayhem to the soundtracks of our lives.