In May of last year, Seether released their 7th studio album, Poison The Perish. Long known as a touring band, Seether has been on the road ever since, jetting around the world, and hitting the summer festival circuit.
With the support of a new label, and frontman, Shaun Morgan producing, Poison The Perish is a bit of a departure in sound for Seether. The songs are heavier and grittier. Certainly not as polished and pop-rock driven as some might expect, but it’s clear even when they get heavy and loud, they maintain that sense of melody Seether is known for.
On October 26, their schedule took them to Edmonton, Alberta for the annual Halloween Howler. I caught up with drummer, Dale Stewart via phone prior to them hitting the stage.
Shannon: Show number 3 of the Canadian leg. How does it feel to be back in Canada?
Dale: It has been awhile. 2 or 3 years. We love Canada. It’s always hard to get in at the border, but once you’ve done that, it’s great. The people are cool, the food is awesome, the crowds are good. And actually, it’s not as cold as I had been expecting. I went jacket shopping. I bought a couple new coats, packed all this warm stuff, and it’s like 45F and I’m like ‘I can handle that’.
Shannon: You’ve been on the road non-stop since Poison The Perish came out. Do you get a little break after this?
Dale: We are going to take a break when this run is done. We pretty much gonna start working on new stuff in the new year. So, we’ll break for Christmas and then start working on new stuff. We’ll probably do a few dates here and there, but I don’t know about a full 6-week or 8-week run. We’ll try to work on new stuff, so we can get a new album out, hopefully next year if we can.
Shannon: With this album, being pretty much your baby, being self-produced – Shaun producing, does this one feel a little different?
Dale: I feel it does, but in a good way. We’ve been fortunate to work with some great producers, and you do learn a lot from these guys with all this experience. I think we’re at the point now where I don’t know if it’s as necessary as it once was, back when we first started out, where we needed a little guidance. It almost feels like the last album we did with a producer, they didn’t change anything. That’s why we decided to do it on our own. The cool thing about that is, producers always try to pull the edge off a little bit, that’s to that radio will find it a little easier to play your song. This time, we said let’s sound like us, like old school garage days, the angry songs are going to be loud. We got to do that, it was fun to do our thing with no extra opinions
Shannon: Do you feel like this is an album you always wanted to release?
Dale: Yeah, I think so. We’re very proud of this album. We love all the songs. It’s kind of weird in this day and age, it’s kind of a dying thing, making albums. We owe our label two more, so there will be at least two more that we have to release. When that’s said and done, who knows where the industry is going to be, and if albums are even something that people work on anymore. You work on all these songs and release an album, then one song, rises to the top, maybe two and that’s all really people care about. It almost seems like it’s going back to the days when it was all about the singles. You release a single and hit the road. It almost seems like it’s going to go back to that kind of thing.
Shannon: It sounds like the new label pretty much gives you free rein.
Dale: They’ve been great to us. We didn’t always have that kind of freedom with the old label. When we came over to these guys, they were basically like ‘hey man, we dig your band, we believe in what you do. When the album is ready, we’d love to hear it.’
Shannon: Did you guys even have more input with regards to the singles that have already been chosen?
Dale: As far as singles, that we kind of deferred to management, and label. It’s kind of hard to pick a single when you’re closely attached to all the songs. They all have a special meaning in a certain way. There’s a bias there. It’s good to have a fresh set of ears, and somebody that’s not so intimately involved with the music, to make an objective decision on what the single’s going to be.
Shannon: I’ve seen you guys live a handful of times through the years. With this new harder, grittier sound, has it changed up your live show any?
Dale: I don’t think so. It’s the same as always. We like to make noise, and rock out, have fun with it. We have a new guitar player now – Corey Lowery. That kind of changes it up, when you get a different personality of stage, it changes things a little bit. But he blends right in, rocks right out with us. He fits in really well. I think it’s sounding really good. He’s a great player, he gives backup vocals. He’s fun to watch on stage. He’s having a ball and you can tell he’s enjoying this. It’s cool. It’s been fun having him on board.
Shannon: The artwork on the new album, and you changed up your logo – why the change? Is that a whole new breath of fresh air for Seether, with the new sound, or no real meaning, you just decided it was time for a change?
Dale: Kind of, I guess. It does feel a little like a new beginning for us. That kind of scratchy logo, I don’t think it was ever something that tied to the band. We kind of strayed away from that. It was a little bit of a new beginning for us. But we still have the old logo on our merch, along with the new one, whatever people like, which one they like the most, that’s up to them.
Shannon: Rise Above Fest – it’s quite remarkable how that’s grown in the five years since it started. What was the genesis of that event? Was it just Shaun’s personal experience with suicide, and he wanted to do something?
Dale: Yeah. The passing of Shaun’s brother in 2007, had a big impact on all of us, Shaun especially, obviously. It took a long time to come about. It’s something that was spoken about a lot, but it’s a big undertaking, so it took awhile to officially do it. There’s just been so many, in recent years, so much bullying, and suicide and military people with PTSD, and all these really sad, sad things. I kind of think a lot of it is tied to social media too, with cyber bullying has a big impact on the suicide rates. It just seems really bad and doesn’t seem to be anything that anybody was really talking about. So, we wanted to kind of do something, in honor of Eugene. And it’s grown, it’s gotten huge. Unfortunately, the venue we used to do it at tried to steal the festival out from under us. They booked bands and put it all together without us even knowing. So, we had a fall out with that promoter, unfortunately. We’re working on a new bigger, better Rise Above Fest. The Seether Rise Above Fest. Keep an eye out of this one. We’re looking for bands now, and trying to get it together, and it’s looking good.
Shannon: Do you find it’s easy to get the artists to jump on board?
Dale: It has been fairly easy. A lot of bands believe in the cause. They’ve had their own experience with friends and loved ones, loosing them to suicide. It’s cool to see everybody come in and do the show for a little less than they normally would, so we can give more money to SAVE [Suicide Awareness Voices of Education]. It’s a positive thing. It’s something we’re really proud of, and very grateful to all the bands that have made it what it is today.
Shannon: Like with all of us, music is tied to memories in our lives. Do you have a favorite music memory?
Dale: I have lots of music memories. I think every major thing in my life was tied to a song or album at that time. There’s a ton of memories there. Literally everything is tied to music. I’ve got a lot of great memories with the band. Just playing great shows. Getting to meet amazing people. Getting to meet your heroes. Playing with Metallica was just insane. Things like that. I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It’s etched in the brain.
Shannon: It’s been 20 years, and speaking of musical heroes, is there a musical hero you have yet to play with?
Dale: I feel like we’ve gotten to play with pretty much everyone. All the fests we play it’s really cool because as a fan those are great because you get to see all these bands that you are a fan of. I think there’s a lot of people that I would like to have seen that aren’t around anymore. I would like to see Pantera live, I’m such a fan. Nirvana, obviously is another band that we never got to see. Bands that didn’t come to South Africa. Actually, no bands came to South Africa when I was growing up. I think there’s more of the stuff we lost that I regret never getting to have seen.
It’s clear Seether is reinvigorated, and ready for the next chapter in their almost 20-year career. Even they aren’t sure what 2019 has in store, but rest assured, they will do it with their own melodic way.
Seether still has a few dates before they take a much-earned break.
Sat, NOV 03 – The Rave / Eagles Club, Milwaukee, WI
Sun, NOV 04 – 20 Monroe Live, Grand Rapids, MI
Tue, NOV 06 – Sudbury Community Arena, Sudbury, Canada
Wed, NOV 07 – Budweiser Gardens, London, Canada
Thu, NOV 08 – Peterborough Memorial Centre, Peterborough, Canada
Sun, NOV 11 – Meridian Centre, St. Catharines, Canada
Tue, NOV 13 – Centre In The Square, Kitchener, Canada
Thu, NOV 15 – Place Bell, Laval, Canada
Fri, NOV 16 – Casino New Brunswick, Moncton, Canada
Sat, NOV 17 – State Theatre, Portland, ME