Hailing from Leeds and Manchester, progressive, melodic metal band Sertraline have certainly been making a name for themselves for the past four and a half years. The last year alone saw a huge year filled with exceptional milestones for the band, and if they keep creating such terrifyingly electric tracks such as this, then this is surely only the beginning of an incredible journey for the quintet.
Just before their killer set in Leeds, we caught up with (most of) Sertraline to hear more about their latest single ‘Relapse’, whose existence lies deep-seeded in the warming embrace of metal. Vocalist Lizzie’s shocking screams and carrying vocals stand tall against the driving percussion and intricate, metallic riffs: her voice was simply born for this track
Just to kick us off, would you like to introduce yourselves and what part you play in Sertraline?
Mike – I’m Mike, and I play one of the guitars
Hendo – I’m Hendo and I play lead bass
Tom – I’m Tom: I play the other guitar
Lizzie – I’m Lizzie and I sing/shout a bit
Tom – And we’re missing Si, he plays drums, I think he’s gone to Greggs or something
What’s the story behind the band name Sertraline, seeing as it’s probably more commonly known as an anti-depressant?
Lizzie – There’s not really a story as such, it’s just the idea that obviously anti-depressants make people happy and help sort out life’s problems and obviously music is a massive anti-depressant for a lot of people. The idea is that the band and the music that we make is going to make people happy.
Hendo – And it’s probably not socially acceptable just to call your band ‘Drugs’
Let’s talk about your latest single ‘Relapse’, how do you think that has been received so far?
Lizzie – Very well received, more so than we thought. It’s been really positive all round and the video has just passed 8000 views in a week and a half which is crazy.
Hendo – I think about 7900 of those is probably us!
Lizzie – It’s been really positive, we’ve has a lot of good comments about it.
Mike – It’s been a while since we’ve released anything and this is the first time that we’ve had Simon on the writing process as well. He’s fit in to what we do very well over the past couple of years and I think that’s reflected in the recording. We’ve had a different production style as well, so this [Relapse] is a general improvement on everything I would say.
Can you give us a bit of insight into the track itself?
Lizzie – It’s been a work in-progress for a very, very long time. We started it about a year and a half ago maybe, and we started playing it live when we thought we’d finished it and it’s evolved since then and it’s been cut down quite significantly. We played a version of it at Bloodstock last year and it has changed a lot since then. We just wanted to write something really different and something that really showed the direction that we wanted to go in.
Tom – It reflects us more as people now than back in 2016/17.
Hendo – It shows our influences a lot more now as well. The stuff on ‘Guilty’, you could hear our influences in there but it jumps out a lot more in this and it’s a focus on the direction of where we want to be going.
Mike – We write differently than any of us have written before in bands with the way we throw about ideas. We’re not big fans of writing a song and saying ‘that’s done, next one’, we always find that there is more room for improvement.
Tom – Even when you think the song is finished, like with ‘Relapse’, we still refined it and it is so much better than it was before.
Hendo – Everything goes through several demo phases and pre-production phases that we do in our own homes and we meet up in different groups and go through different parts too.
Mike – And playing it live too, that changes a lot of things. Some things you try and you think, actually that doesn’t work live. It worked on Guitar Pro, but not live.
On that note, you’ve just done a few live shows, how have they gone?
Lizzie – So good! They’ve just been really packed rooms every night. Everyone has been really into it and a lot of the time when we go on tour and support a band, obviously the audience are there to see the headline band and they might not actually be into your stuff. But that wasn’t the case, everyone was really responsive and supportive of what we’re doing and it’s been a massive success.
Hendo – Speaking for myself, it’s probably been one of my favourite tours that I’ve ever done. And it’s just been super fun and everyone has been so cool.
Lizzie – You’re going to cry aren’t you?
Hendo – One solitary tear maybe…
Mike – It was very hard saying bye to Skarlett Riot and Farhan, we said ‘Bye, we’ll see you again’, but we don’t know whenabouts. It was sad but it was very nice, it was a great tour.
It seems that last year was a pretty big year for you guys, with doing Bloodstock Festival and your UK/EU tour, was that the biggest year to date for you?
Lizzie – Definitely! It was a great year and a springboard for this past tour for us and for this year. We’re playing Amplified festival this summer, and I can think we only got that because one of the guys that books Amplified saw us at Bloodstock and it’s things like that. It’s all following on from everything else.
Hendo – It was a milestone for sure. A few other things that we’ve gained from last year have fallen into place and we’ll know more about certain things soon that we can’t say about yet. Things and stuff as it is now formally known as.
In these testing and uncertain times we’re living in at the moment, as musicians how do you feel that the world of music fits in to the average person’s life?
Mike – For me, it doesn’t have to be political. There’s space for bands that want to send a political message, in fact there’s a very wide space for that. But for us, it’s never translated as that.
Tom – Music can communicate whatever you want it to and personally, it’s just a release for people.
Hendo – Definitely, it’s down to interpretation. One of the reasons why I’ve always loved being in the music scene and playing music, is because from the early days of going to gigs I realised that music is a place for anyone. So I don’t think it’s sometimes necessary to project your opinion onstage of what you believe in, but again as we’ve said before, it’s down to interpretation.
Mike – It’d be a bit strange for us anyway if we started singing about political things because we don’t always agree on things, we don’t have the same views all of the time. It’d be hypocritical for us to start singing about one thing, and then we don’t actually think that.
Is there anything in the music scene that you would like to see change at the moment?
Lizzie – Ooh I don’t know. I suppose within the music scene, you have all the different genres and within each separate genre you have a different experience when it comes to gigging and stuff. With our metal scene, I feel like everyone is really friendly and stuff, so I don’t know if I would change anything.
Hendo – More free food.
Tom – More free beer!
And finally, have you guys got anything else coming up for the rest of this year?
Lizzie – Amplified is probably the one to watch. I think we’ve only got maybe three gigs booked that have been announced so far. We’re also doing an all-dayer in Birmingham for Mind charity, which will be a really, really good day of live music. That’s in Birmingham on the Bank Holiday Sunday, 5th May. So that will be a really good one for anyone that’s Midlands based. Amplified in summer and yeah, I think that’s about it.
Hendo – Just keep your eyes and ears peeled…