INTERVALS Lose Guitarist, Drummer (and Can They Continue?)
I happened upon Intervals‘ Wikipedia page, investigating a comment I saw on YouTube discussing the departure of singer Mike Semestry (who left the band in November 2014). Curious to see if the group behind A Voice Within had hired themselves a new singer, I made my way to the aforementioned Wikipedia page, only to discover that as of June 23, 2015, both Lukas Guyader and Anup Sastry (guitar and drums, respectively) had left Intervals.
In a very lengthy Facebook post, sole remaining member and band founder Aaron Marshall discusses the events that lead up to the departure of Guyader and Sastry:
In January 2015, I underwent heart surgery. I was rattled, to say the least. This was a very dark time for me, but all I could think about, was how strong I was going to be when I came back, and how badly I want to make a new record. Months went by, as I spent day in, day out, writing new songs. It was becoming clear that the dynamic had changed and communication was at an all time low. Admittedly, that’s a two way street, but I was just so focused on writing that I figured, “its all good, we’ll get caught up…” Once we finally all touched base, it was very clear that everyone’s expectations for this record were quite opposed and after talking it out, we decided that it would be best to part ways. I want to be clear, and say that without Anup and Lukas, none of this would be possible. They helped me make this thing a reality and together, we accomplished more than I could have imagined. I love those dudes like brothers and I wish them the absolute best. Sometimes, that’s how things go. People change, everyone has different goals and expectations. The most important part, is realizing that some things aren’t worth forcing, and its time for a change.
As a longtime fan of Sastry and as someone who enjoyed A Voice Within, the news disappoints me. But it also left room for some speculation regarding bands and the revolving door of members. Most of the Toilet readers are aware of the consistent lineup changes in progressive/tech metal act The Faceless, but this phenomenon is neither isolated nor unique. Groups such as Sepultura, Threat Signal, Leng Tch’e, Misfits, Mnemic, Napalm Death, as well as more mainstream acts like Breaking Benjamin (among countless others) have all undergone drastic lineup changes since their inceptions. Some have weathered the storm, while others have not.
What is it about a band that allows it to ride out the torrid waters of lineup changes? Napalm Death’s Apex Predator was heralded by the Toilet’s own Edward as “. . . the first great heavy metal album of 2015” from a band “. . . invincible, and ageless, and timeless.” I know he isn’t alone in these sentiments. Yet what is it about Napalm Death that allows them to be so timeless and (relatively) consistent through a mind-boggling amount of lineup changes, while other bands like Mnemic throw in the towel after the first output by the new members, and still other groups like Threat Signal can’t seem to maintain any sort of momentum, being constantly held back by members coming and going?
In most cases of drastic and numerous lineup changes there is one member (usually a founding or the founding member) who is a consistent member and driving creative force through all the changes. This individual may be an unwitting victim of circumstance, or they may be the driving force behind the shifts. Is this necessary for the band’s survival through a member upheaval? If this is the case, then Intervals may be able to weather the storm under Marshall’s guidance. But this doesn’t seem to be; at least not always. Napalm Death no longer has any founding members. Though their current lineup has been the most stable, none of the people who originally formed the group remain.
Here’s what Marshall had to say regarding the future of Intervals:
So, where does that leave Intervals? Well, as you guys can probably tell, I’ve been in the studio making a new record and I am beyond stoked to show you guys these songs. I am also excited to announce that the album will feature Cameron McLellan (Protest The Hero) on bass guitar, Travis Orbin (Darkest Hour, Periphery, Sky Eats Airplane) on drums, and all other instrumentation by yours truly. There are also a few guest features, but I’ll get around to announcing those a little later. Moving forward, I am excited for Intervals to become my outlet for all things guitar and music related, as it was in the very beginning. My goal is to create more frequent and focused content, (lessons, vlogs, etc…) and of course, return to playing shows, when the time is right. You can expect collaborations with various personnel and lots of other fresh new opportunities. Its very exciting for me to take a new approach with Intervals and that’s what this whole thing is all about. People change, things change, and we all grow. Life happens.
What do you folks think? Will Intervals weather the storm? Will Marshall be able to hold his own in the next iteration of the group, or is this the beginning of the downward spiral that will mark the end of the band? What do Intervals (and, by proxy, all bands in similar situations) need to do to ensure their own longevity? What lessons can we learn from the groups that have survived it all and continue to produce top-tier music? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments.