Most often, people expect bands to write songs based off their own personal experience. Yet if it’s done well – just as with films or novels – a band are able to tell the truth through fiction – write powerful, meaningful songs based around a narrative not inspired by their own lives. That’s exactly what Bristol five-piece are setting out to prove with their new EP, Paradise In The Dirt, the songs on which are all set in a fictional world of frontman/vocalist Simon Roach’s creation.
“I originally intended to write the story as a graphic novel,” the singer explains, “and was trying to juggle my time between writing it and doing music, so I thought why not combine them? We’d written three songs that kind of worked in terms of the mood and the feel of the story, so we wrote the narrative as the actual lyrics.”
The band – completed by guitarists Ian Chadderton and Josh Mortazavi, bassist Sam Leeworthy and drummer Mat Capper – plan to continue and complete the story with two more EPs, but the role of Paradise In The Dirt is, simply, to introduce the story’s main characters and set the scene for the unfolding drama.
“This EP begins with the introduction of the lead male character,” explains Roach, “then follows on with the introduction of the lead female character, and the third song is where the two of them meet. He’s a former superhero character who’s put away into an asylum and pumped with drugs. The title of the first song, It’s Morphine Time, is a play on Power Rangers – there’s no holds barred on the cheesy puns. He breaks out and goes on a killing spree, and linear to that is the second song, Danielle, about a sheltered Christian girl living with her mother but who loses her mother – and then her mind and her faith – and goes about trying to kill angels. She bumps into the lead character, and then the third song is the two of them setting off on their spree together.”
Not only are Syren City telling the story through song, they’re also making videos for each track. It’s an incredibly involved, thought out and considered multimedia concept, something that, with the odd exception, is not only unusual within music, but also something poses more of a challenge for a new band.
“It’s definitely something I wanted to challenge myself with,” chuckles Roach, “and the guys just thought I was a bit mental at the start. But I convinced them that I wasn’t crazy, and that I just wanted to do something a bit more ambitious and fulfilling. Luckily, we’ve got a lot of talented friends who’ve got involved with the filming side, and I have all the visuals in my head, so I explained the story to them and they absolutely nailed it.”
The new EP also marks new beginnings for Syren City, who formed in 2011. They’d previously released an EP called Escape, but unexpected line-up changes – their old bassist walked out at the end of a gig mid-tour last year and two others followed soon after – meant, essentially, it was time to go back to the drawing board. Roach is, he says, still incredibly proud of the Escape EP, but the new direction that Syren City went in as a result was a more than welcome byproduct from something that could have brought about the band’s premature end.
“It definitely redefined to me and Ian what we wanted to do,” says Roach. “But it’s brought us closer together both on a writing scale and as friends. After everything went wrong, it actually all just fell into place soon after, and here we are now. We really want to release the EPs, and then the film as a whole, and tour with each EP. All within the year. So it’s going to be a busy one, but we plan to keep pushing boundaries and seeing where it takes us.”
Paradise In The Dirt will be released on June 24. You can pre-order the EP here.