Sunday, June 11, 2017

An Interview With Connie and Ethan Sgarbossa by Nick Novak

Hailing from San Diego, SeeYouSpaceCowboy... was birthed from the ashes of Rene Descartes and current members of Letters to Catalonia. Connie and Ethan have birthed numerous projects since Flowers Taped To Pens and with each release and new project you could feel the constant stream of time maturing their musical endeavors. Each project becoming more refined while also existing as standalone testaments to periods of growth, loss, and dysphoria. When I first listened to the demo they released in December of last year my first reaction to the whitebelt/emoviolence crossover was pure elation. Not only did it feel angrier than anything they have released before, but it sounded so natural and comfortable. From the anthemic gang vocals that open their demo to the sassy, grating diss tracks Connie releases in throat wrenching meter. From the dual swirling guitars that could be mistaken for a bee hive prodded too long, to the pulsing, shambling percussion that sounds like it will fall apart at any second. SYSC is bringing sass back with an almost OG metalcore flourish. Check out their single, "Pep Talk from a Nihilist", off their forthcoming EP, "Fashion Statements of the Socially Aware", for a taste of what's to come.

You've both been in many projects together but the other members seem to be as inconsistent with the style of their projects. Do you think SYSC is a culmination of your musical endeavors or should be viewed as a standalone project altogether?
CS: Personally I think it should be viewed as a stand alone, it's defiantly a lot different than the genres we have played in the past and honestly a nice palette cleanser for me personally. Approaching and executing different styles is very nice. It has a much different feel and flavor when it comes to constructing aspects of songs and expression and satisfies something that other bands weren't able to.
ES: I think its a standalone project for sure, and definitely one of my favorites. I think the people we have been in bands with are a product of location. All people that I have been in a band with are for the most part different people, other than Connie, but these people are in no case replaceable. These people are all people I became friends with and love very much. I can't even stress how thankful I am for all the friends I have made during these bands (I miss you Jonathan)
Sonically SYSC reminds me of groups like The Great Redneck Hope, CombatWoundedVeteran, etc. Who are your influences?
CS: I take influence vocally from bands like The Blood Brothers, Heavy Heavy Low Low, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and the Red Light Sting. The band as a whole draws from Daughters, Norma Jean, Hayworth, Heavy Heavy Low Low, and some others that the other band members could probably name.
ES: Honestly, what the fuck is grind or whitebelt? All jokes aside, I take a lot of my influence from Loma Prieta's drummer Val in terms of specifically drums. I have never heard anyone blast as hard as Val does. Dance Gavin Dance for fucking sure is up there as well as Hail The Sun. I'm a sucker for that shit.
Who are some of your favorite artists in the San Diego music scene and who are some of your favorite bands outside of San Diego?
CS: In San Diego I am really into Letters To Catalonia, La Bella, Left Astray, Heritage Unit, Vessel, and Fuck White God. All over the world .gif from God, thecheeseburgerpicnic, Black Nail, Tweak, Coma Regalia, and Truman. There are honestly more but it would take me a while to list them out.
ES: The San Diego music scene is pretty small right now and I'm gonna have to say Letters to Catalonia. I don't even care that one of the members is in SYSC. That band fucking shreds and Jesse amazes me on guitar, Taylor shreds on drums, and Dom is fucking wild.
I've seen a lot of attention on SYSC on social media and, personally, I see Connie as a role model for queer youth. Does your identity have a presence in your art and music?
CS: With Rene Descartes it definitely influenced me a lot lyrically. For this band it comes into play differently, it definitely feels liberating to have a more femme influence in heavier music like this. Honestly sassing is the most rewarding and cathartic vocal style I have ever done.We also try to make sure our views are very prevalent when it comes to interacting with people who like our band. We really want to use our platform to speak out, raise awareness, and to make sure that people know what we are about. It also influences some of the more personal pieces (non-commissioned work) as I have.
ES: I have no identity and am invisible.
In regards to the sassiness that is prevalent in SYSC, how does it feel to be provocative on stage and showing more of your femme side?
CS: Oops, kinda addressed this with the other question, but to sum it up quickly it's fucking amazing and liberating.
ES: That's more for Connie. I have to focus on not fucking up the songs.
What are your favorite mediums for creating art and where do you draw your influences from?
CS: I really like working with multiple mediums in one piece to create more dynamic pieces, but I also am a fan of just sitting down with microns to do a heavy line work or stippling piece. In terms of artists, when I was younger I would draw influence from Ralph Steadman. Currently I don't really find myself drawing influence from existing pieces, but I am also extremely uneducated when it comes to art and artists haha.
ES: No comment
If I recall correctly, in past projects that you shared you weren't the percussionist, Ethan.
What is your live set up like? Do you think you've found a good fit as a percussionist?
ES: Nah, I have never played drums prior to this band. I was once again (like with Flowers Taped To Pens) thrown on an instrument that I had never played before, and yo this is the hardest most satisfying thing I've done in my life. I've been playing now for 8 months and its been really fun..... and hard. I've got a standard set up live. One ride, crash, hi hat, tom, floor tom, snare, and double bass pedal. I absolutely love it, this is definitely the instrument I will be sticking with for as long as I can tell.
Is there a formula for writing together that you two have developed over time? SYSC being a supergroup between your various projects and Letters to Catalonia, how is it to work with Jesse? How does Jesse's guitar work fit into the process with SYSC?
CS: Not really since there are shifting band members. You really have to just go into each band and figure out what works with that group of people. It's fantastic working with Jesse, This whole band is really great to work with Taylor and Timmy are some of the chillest and nicest people. It usually comes down to some us coming together to sit at a computer and demo out songs we write as a group.
ES: With me being a new drummer I have definitely not been writing my stuff quite yet. I leave that to Jesse who is also a fantastic drummer. Jesse is honestly so good at writing music. The work they have done in Letters to Catalonia and SYSC has been really tight. I'm just praying that Jesse takes it easy on the drums for the next album. But yo, Timmy and Taylor are fantastic musicians as well. This group of people is honestly so tight. Everyone is super talented and super sweet.
SYSC is a reference to Cowboy Bebop, correct? Are you both into anime? What are your personal favorites?
CS: Yep haha. I used to be very into anime but find myself having less and less time to pick up new shows. Some of my favs are Neon Genesis: Evangelion, Mirai Nikki, Akame Ga Kill, Serial Experiments Lain, Akira, and Perfect Blue.
ES: Neon Genesis. Princess Mononoke, and for my favorite rom-com, Toradora.
Does SYSC plan on touring in the future?
CS: We have a West Coast tour in July, and we are planning on getting together some tou
rs for 2018 as well.
ES: Def.
Can you give us a hint on when the full SYSC release will drop?
CS: I will just say sometime in June.
ES: I never know that kind of stuff. Connie does.
What was the most memorable show you two have played together?
CS: Definitely the last show Flowers Taped To Pens played before we went on hiatus and everyone moved away form each other. The show its self was good but right as we finished the set I looked over to see Ethan sobbing his eyes out over his amp. It was such a powerful moment for me because I hadn’t seen Ethan express so much emotion in such a powerful way and it really showed me that this music meant something to him and was truly a tool for catharsis.
ES: I try to block out all the FTTP shows because I can't consider myself even playing close to remotely well enough to consider myself a musician. I did cry at one show though. I was going through a tough time, I will always remember that. Maybe another one was a house show in Santa Rosa as Rene Descartes. Felt real screamo and dark and I felt good about my guitar playing at that point, somewhat.
What do ya gotta say to the haters?
CS: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
ES: You are insignificant and worthless as I am. Lets drift into the void together.
*Edited by Gabe Page

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