Seether – Across The Ocean


Seether return! With a relatively new album in the bag Isolate and Medicate it is Australia’s turn to celebrate its release with a full tour taking in all capital cities. It promises to be a beauty with the band wrapping up tour commitments in the States and taking a short break to freshen up for this tour. John Humphrey (drums) from the band talks candidly with Across The Ocean about the tour and their album Isolate and Medicate.


It is really exiting to be talking to you on the eve of another Australian tour, you must be excited to be coming back again?

Absolutely, it has been to long and we’re really excited. We’ve been all over the States just wrapping up a headline run late May, been home to catch our breath and enjoying a little normal life and we’re looking forward to hitting it again, heading your way.

What makes Australia such an awesome place to tour?

The fans are great and very special. When you have a fan there they just don’t know the singles or what have you they know every song. They are pretty intense fans and I have to say that it is beautiful country there so for me it is a win/win, not only do I get to come to this wonderful country and play music but getting to see the world beating my drum. It is a wonderful thing…

Is this tour largely focusing on the album Isolate and Medicate?

Technically we’re on a tour cycle supporting Isolate and Medicate but we’ll definitely be doing the best of Seether. It will be a headline set so we’ll be playing a long one, an hour and a half plus depending, and we like to throw in surprises. We always on occasion play a cover song and like I was saying before it is how you start out in the business learning your favourite band’s songs. That is an element that is still fun for us. Sean is always going let’s learn this Nirvana song or Deftones song or what have you. That is always fun to throw in as an extra. We’ve been playing songs off the latest album that aren’t necessarily singles but are fun for us and fun for the fans to. I think it will be a good mix.

Have you been happy with how Isolate Medicate has been received?

I have to be honest, I don’t let reviews, negativity get to me. In most cases things have been positive so I can’t say that we’ve got any issues or anything but I don’t tend to seek out reviews to see how critics perceive it. What is important to me is what fans have to say and to be honest we make music for us and we really do make the best album that we can. In this case with Isolate and Medicate it was the three of us Sean, Dale and myself and bring in our producer Brendan O’Brien. We’d ask if this is sounding cool or is a good song or should we skip this for now and go on to something else. Whatever it takes to make the best album possible and that’s the reason why we make this music. We do it for us and don’t think in terms of whether this will be a hit or not. What is wonderful that it is well received and that after twelve years plus and for Sean and Dale fifteen years plus people still care, buying the albums and still coming to the shows and care about us returning to Australia – thank God!

How would you compare Isolate and Medicate to the last couple of albums?

I can’t speak to the lyrics specifically as Sean does all the lyrics but I do know that he is very honest and does leave them a little bit ambiguous so that the listener can take it in and apply to their life or how they’re feeling. Nothing literal or similarities that people can relate to with Sean and I think musically we take some chances we always have. The first single Words As Weapons is a lot different to a song like Remedy or something. Musically we do try and take some chances and I don’t feel that Seether has recreated the same album twice, this was our second time working with Brendan O’Brien and I think from working on Holding Onto Strings we learnt a lot from working with him before which helped us playing on the album together. Maybe what Brendan liked or didn’t like or expected were things that we learnt, good things, positive things, from working with him in the studio before. We had done our homework before going in to the studio and he didn’t really change much in terms of arrangements. It was about recording performances and this album was tracked really quick, went well. The guys came through Oklahoma near where I live in a friend’s studio and put together some demos that Sean had been working on and been writing songs as a band. We rehearsed, put them together then record them, play them back and make changes as we saw fit then two weeks later we were in California recording the album it was done, overdubs and everything.

The albums that are quick to make are often the best aren’t they?

Yeah, you don’t want to over think it and I think Brendan was a great barometer “yeah man, that sounds great, let’s keep going” or “I don’t know, let’s do that again”. He was really good keeping it in perspective for us particularly at times where we were a little too close to it.

There are some great singles on the album but what caught my attention was the film clip for Same Damn Life, was that something that you had a lot of involvement in?

It has been a long time since we’ve done a film clip that we were totally involved in from top to bottom. We had done Words As Weapons and we worked with a couple of directors and were promised a different thing as to how it turned out. It didn’t turn out like we had hoped so we felt that we needed to redeem ourselves on Same Damn Life and I always thought that the band has many sides to itself. It’s not just a rock band, that it is all serious, it’s dark and whatever but we have humour to. We have a lot of fun and that’s been shown in previous videos like Country Song or Fake It. Initially the idea was put to us that it would just be the band as normal performing in a nursing home but we felt like that had been done so why not make us old too? It was great, we were in make up for two hours with latex. It felt like we were in a serious movie. The makeup was amazing, you should see our photos.

So you had fun yeah?

It was a blast, we got to race around on scooters. There’s one scene where we are tearing it up the place acting like old farts out of control. It was awesome and a lot of fun to make, I’m really proud of how that turned out and I think the humour really came across.

Do you feel the pressure from within thinking about the next album?

We are definitely hard on ourselves as musicians and as songwriters and we definitely critique ourselves heavily. We just don’t jam anything, Sean does a lot of pre-production work in his home studio which he will then bring to Dale and myself. Then we’ll work out some parts before starting work on things. We always set that bar for ourselves that we want to improve, things be fresh and exciting and as a band we are a lot harder on ourselves that way. We’ve got a great new label, we’re no longer with Wind Up, Concord and we didn’t have that typical AR pressure with some guy hovering around on the business side checking his watch in terms of how long is this going to take, we need the first single or whatever. We didn’t feel that business pressure so the only expectation was that of coming up to our own and Brendan’s expectations. That was the sounding board from where everything comes from.

I hear that you’re an avid Kiss memorabilia collector, do you seek out record stores on tour?

Absolutely! That is my vice and on a day off I love going through vinyl records. I am a big Kiss fan and they started it off for me when I was a ten year old kid. They were the right combination of music and over the top figures of life in images that seriously impacted me as a youngster setting me on my track for what I wanted to do. I’m still a collector and it started out years ago and I have my Kiss and rock ‘n roll museum of sorts.

Do you worry about the future of rock ‘n roll?

Things come and go, we are who we are. We can’t change that! We’re a rock band pure and simple, we are your garage straight ahead rock band. We don’t have tracks or extra bells and whistles live as far as music coming from the stage. I think that straight ahead rock I believe won’t die. Like all things come and go, styles change and evolve but I don’t see rock disappearing from the face of the earth. If it did that would be a shame and I wouldn’t want that to happen anytime soon.

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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