S Y Z Y G Y X which has to be pronounced as ‘siz-ehjix’ is a Washington D.C. (USA)-based duo set up in 2018 by Luna Blanc and Josh Clark. They debuted in 2018 with the EP “Encounters” released on Cold Transmission Music. 2019 became a real prolific year, which took off with the self-released album “Is That All There Is” followed by the album “The Graveyard Compilation” (again released by Cold Transmission Music) featuring remastered EP- & album songs. The album “Fading Bodies” got released at the end of 2019 by Negative Gain Productions (USA) and Cold Transmission Music (Germany/Europe). It reveals a retro- and minimal electro sound, which makes me think to an imaginary hybrid between Yendri (for the atmosphere and vocals) and Front 242 (for some of the bass lines). The album is a promising work and I sincerely think S Y Z Y G Y X has the potential to rapidly become a new electronic ‘sensation’. Enough reasons to catch the duo, who’s actually preparing their first European tour.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: How did you guys met and what brought you to set up S Y Z Y G Y X? Was there a kind of inspiration and/or a specific music you wanted to compose?
Josh: Luna and I met while working at a retail store in 2016. She came into the store for an interview and I was so excited when she got hired as I thought she was really nice on the eyes! We immediately connected and moved in together shortly afterwards. I used to make d’n’b music as Corrupt Souls in the early 2000’s and I had told Luna about that which excited her as she has always loved and wanted to compose her own music. It was about 6 months after we met that we really decided to throw some money down on putting together our own studio.
Luna: We were greatly inspired by the synth-wave genre (John Carpenter, SURVIVE, or film scores in general); film is also a big inspiration to us. Josh is a huge fan of 80’s film and I went to film school and soundtrack was always important to me. We have never really gone for a specific type of sound, we play with our synthesizers and come up with melodies and riffs without worrying about what kind of music we will be composing, we love to experiment and learn things from any genre that we enjoy listening to.
Q: I found out the name of the band was taken from the alignment of celestial objects, which meant to you that your music was coming together! Can you specify what you mean?
Luna: We are very existential people, so we thought, what better name than something that has to do with space? The Universe, in general. Syzygy, as stated in the question, is the alignment of celestial objects, to us it’s our inspiration, our sounds, both of our creative influences and all coming together to make our music -all those things align to make songs. The X is the unknown, there is so much that we don’t know.
Q: Can I affirm 2019 has been a very special year for S Y Z Y G Y X? You self-released the album “Is That all There Is?”, you released your official label-album “Fading Bodies” plus the compilation- album “The Graveyard Compilation” featuring remastered songs from EP’s and “Is That All there Is”! How do you look back at these releases?
Josh: Wow you’re right, 2019 was quite a year for us! All of these releases that we put out have a very special place in our heart as well as getting to see and hear the evolution of our sound. Being that both Luna and I can do what the other can do in the studio, we are able to write a good amount of music rather than the music just coming from 1 person so you’ll notice that on these albums there are a few more tracks than the standard 10. Although I must say, our next album will be about 10 tracks. Cold Transmission is an amazing label out of Germany that we released “The Graveyard Compilation” with. A lot of people were asking us for physical media so it made sense to pick a few of our favorite tracks from 2 of our EP’s and “Is That All there Is”
Luna: I never would’ve thought that SYZYGYX would grow how it’s growing and so quickly. When we first started the project we thought it would be more of a hobby, we got contacted by Cleopatra Records in 2018 just a couple of months after we started posting our songs on Soundcloud. After that, it just became more serious, and of course, we became even more passionate about our music and project. 2019 has been a great year, we could not be more grateful for all the support and love from fans that we have received, it has been just amazing. We hope 2020 is also another great year for S Y Z Y G Y X.
Q: Tell us a bit more now about the writing- and recording process from “Fading Bodies”? Who’s doing what? Who’s taking the final control? What have been the main difficulties to achieve this work?
Luna: We don’t like to put ourselves in a box, that usually can block the creativity off. We don’t have a set dynamic. Either Josh or I, start a new song. We usually start with the bass and the drums, which sets the mood for the rest of the song. If I started the song, I’ll leave whatever I did on the studio, and then Josh gets on the studio and does his part, by the time I go back to the project, it has new/inspiring sounds, so it makes me want to work on it more. And that goes for the both of us. We can keep pushing each other by adding sounds to each other’s sounds, and keeping it interesting. There is no final control, however, I personally have an intense love for mixing and mastering, so for “Fading Bodies” I did most of the final mix downs and mastering. Our creative flow hasn’t really faced difficulties, which we are grateful for, it’s just a lot of patience and work, which can be frustrating. We are perfectionists, and we will not rest until we think it’s perfect, and dissecting every single little sound from a song can be tiring, yet, rewarding.
Josh: As I mentioned earlier, Luna and I both have the same process in the studio. Luna has learned her way around engineering and the technical side of this process quite quickly. It always amazes me when I think about how much she has picked up and knows. With pretty much every track we make, either Luna or myself will start making it and then when one of us is done for the moment or has a cool idea or inspiration then the other one jumps in and composes more parts. I especially love when Luna makes most of a track by herself because I can really use that for myself as a measurement of sorts of how her skill continuously evolves. To have never worked in a studio or with audio engineering gear before 2018, to now being able to do what she does is pretty fucking amazing.
Q: Your sound is interesting to analyze, but not easy to label; there’re some retro-80s elements running through it. Can you give us more details about potential sources of inspiration and what’s the impact of your previous music experiences and projects on S Y Z Y G Y X?
Luna: I am inspired by many things. I can be inspired by my surrounding, films, people, poetry, other music, of course, and emotions. I can be very emotional and that can also set the mood for songs I work on. We are inspired by synth-wave, and musicians such as John Carpenter, SURVIVE, etc, but also other genres. We like to learn things from every genre possible (that we enjoy listening to). For example, “Fading Bodies” has a few samples from Latin music instruments. I also am inspired by film greatly, as I went to film school, and soundtrack was always very important to me. Experimental and horror were my favorite film genres, and in those particular ones, sound is extremely important to be able to impact your audience. We would not be able to label ourselves either, our music has influences from so many things, so many arts, so many film and music genres, we just like to have fun, and let out whatever comes out, without worrying about a label. I consider myself an experimental artist in general.
Josh: Having been a kid and grown up in, and molded by the music and movies of the 80’s has stuck with me since as long as I can remember! It was and is one my favorite time periods of music. From the electro hip-hop, glam-metal, and all of the synth bands I love. Like Luna, movies have always been a huge part of my life and inspiration. I love cult movies from the 80’s stuff like body horror to one of my all time favorite films “Big Trouble in Little China”! Luna mentioned that we really enjoy John Carpenter. Not only are his movies genius, but the synth work that he and Alan Howarth put into each of his films is legendary!
Q: Your album has been released in the US by Negative Gain and in Europe by Cold Transmission Music. That appears to be a main advantage to gain a wider audience, but what have been the reactions thus far and what do you expect from the record companies and the European continent?
Luna: They are both amazing labels, that have both helped us greatly to grow, and we will always be grateful for that and love them all dearly. When it comes to Europe, we have had a much bigger impact there than I had ever expected (as an artist, you don’t really expect all the good things that happen to you!) And this is thanks to Cold Transmission. They’re hardworking people who promote us to no avail, we often can create in peace, and do all the things that we must do as musicians without worrying too much about promotion, because we are fortunate to have people out there working with us to make S Y Z Y G Y X be known, to grow, to reach wider audiences. Our growth is already more than I expected, so I don’t really know what the future holds, but it seems to be a very positive one. We started the project thinking we’d be the only two people listening to our own stuff. It’s mind-blowing to think that we have actual fans, and that our music is allowing us to travel to different parts of the world to share our art with others. It’s a dream come true.
Josh: It is nothing short of wonderful that 2 great labels teamed up for “Fading Bodies” it can make you feel like a spoiled child at times haha, no really, they are both ran by super awesome, passionate groups of people who we thank greatly for putting up with us during the process! Luna and I are both kinda control freaks (Luna more so than me) so we can imagine there were some face palm moments from both labels during the process, but they delivered and it’s great to have “Fading Bodies” shown up on so many editorial pages and many lists of best albums of 2019. When I produced d’n’b music back in the early 2000’s, it brought me to Europe to play many times. Being that d’n’b began in Europe, it was also big over there, being a genre of electronic music. I have always felt that Europe has a greater appreciation and love for all styles of electronic music in general so it is awesome that we have so much love and so many fans of our music over there. When I stopped making music in 2006 I thought that I would die before I ever got the opportunity to get on a plane and go back over, let alone get on a plane and go play shows again! Our 1st European tour as S Y Z Y G Y X starts in just under 2 months now so we are getting increasingly excited as each day passes. We hope to see all of you at one of our shows in both continents soon!