Valerie Bastien ofRockSource360recently conducted an interview with guitarist Mike Sarkisyan of the reactivated original lineup of SPINESHANK. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
RockSource360: I have heard that you have been keeping yourself busy in the studio recording new music for your upcoming album, “Anger Denial Acceptance”. This will be your fifth album; explain how you have grown musically since “Self-Destructive Pattern”.
Mike: I think the biggest difference in making this record was that it was done by us from the writing stage all the way to tracking. We didn’t have a label rep up our asses all the time and we just kind of had the freedom to do what we wanted, when we wanted and how we wanted. Musically, it’s light years ahead of what “Self-Destructive Pattern” was, as it should be. We all have grown as writers and performers, and we’ve gotten better at expressing ourselves in our music.
RockSource360: We are doing this interview to celebrate the releasing of the first single and title track; tell me about the song “Anger Denial Acceptance” and why you felt it was a perfect fit to name the whole album after it.
Mike: That song was like my “baby” on this record. I had come up with the skeleton of it before bringing it up to the guys. I had a pretty clear idea of where it needed to be, musically. Those three words just kept ringing in my head the whole time I was putting this together. It’s some of the stages of dealing with loss. Any kind of loss. It was the first time that me, Tommy [Decker, drums] and Jonny [Santos, vocals] collaborated on lyrics. It sort of became the centerpiece of the record and although it’s not a full concept album, the album does tie together in more ways than one. And it’s not structured like a basic song either. It’s not that “verse/chorus/verse…” thing. It has three distinct and different parts that sorta tie in together and represent “Anger Denial Acceptance”. I’m super happy with the way it came out and am very proud of it.
RockSource360: What song is the heaviest and what is it about?
Mike: Wow, I haven’t really thought about this. “After The End” is pretty fucking heavy; the title is pretty self explanatory. There’s a song called “I Am Damage” that’s basically two and a half minutes of bashing your head in. There’s another one called “Everything Everyone Everywhere Ends” that has some of the heaviest and also the darkest sounding things that we have put to tape ever. Overall, if I had one word to describe this record it would be dark!
RockSource360: Are there any surprises on the album that fans will be happy to discover?
Mike: There are many. As I’ve said before, we took chances and pushed ourselves beyond even what we thought we were capable of. And it shows.
RockSource360: Tell me about another song where you dared to try something different to challenge yourself musically.
Mike: The first thing that comes to mind is, using a duduk, which is an old Armenian woodwind/flute type of instrument. It is the saddest, darkest sounding thing that I’ve ever heard. I’ve always wanted to use that and vowed to use it on this record. I don’t think it’s ever been used in a metal song and just hearing it in there still gives me goose bumps to this day.