My Prog Hero: Josh Middleton

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“When I was young I was obsessed with Tool, and I was a huge fan of really heavy death metal.

I remember getting into Opeth around the time of Blackwater Park, and reading interviews with Mikael Åkerfeldt turned me on to check out 70s prog rock. I’d never associated Tool with prog, but when I got into Opeth I discovered the more classic-sounding prog rock. After Blackwater Park I got Opeth’s live DVD from Shepherd’s Bush 2002 which had Steven Wilson in it – my dad missed the whole prog rock thing, but he’s now obsessed with Steven Wilson, so we have Mikael Åkerfeldt to thank for introducing us to great music!

In Sylosis we’re all huge fans of Opeth, especially songs like Ghost Reveries. They’re not an obvious influence, but they’ve influenced a lot in terms of making us think about writing, incorporating different elements and ideas, and trying to make it sound cohesive – not just like a mess of two styles that doesn’t really work. Edge Of The Earth was for us a more progressive metal album, but this one’s got more classic prog elements, especially the last song – the first half could be by Genesis, which was the intention. The older we get the more we get into more sophisticated and mature music, rather than the stuff we grew up with. We’re really inspired by a lot of the old school thrash stuff but there aren’t many heavy bands these days that really do it for us, so we tend to listen to Rush, Pink Floyd etc, and it’s hard for that not to creep in.

We don’t sound much like Opeth, but I think what they’ve done with death metal and classic 70s prog is what we’re trying to do – mixing up the old school thrash thing – and anything melodic and progressive is an inspiration. I watched that Kate Bush documentary the other day, and when they asked her, ‘Why do you write about all this stuff?’ she said, ‘Well, I’m not very interesting…’ It’s the same with us – we all had normal upbringings, so we tend to gravitate more towards fantasy and prog inspired music. If you can’t write from experience, you have to look elsewhere!”

Sylosis’ new album Dormant Heart is out now on Nuclear Blast. Visit http://www.sylosis.com for more.