INTERVALS Lose Guitarist, Drummer (and Can They Continue?)

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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.


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  • Ariana Grande’s Jock Strap

    They’re decent at best.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Your name change >>>>>>>

      • Buttcheeks Full Of Sardines

        Hehe I always come up with the best. Have to keep the KJU avatar so people know who I am though. And just in case of another clone account attack like a few weeks ago, people know my writing style lol.

        • Lacertilian

          There was a clone?

          • Buttcheeks Full Of Sardines

            Not of me, but there was an apparent clone attack on here a few weeks ago.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    The band seems pretty guitar-driven, I’m sure they’ll be fine. Lineup changes suck.

    • Kevin Nash & Friends

      They sure do suck.

      • Buttcheeks Full Of Sardines

        Nah, they definitely have their points. Just didn’t really stick with me.

        • Guacamole Jim

          I think he means that lineup changes suck.

          • Buttcheeks Full Of Sardines

            That too.

        • Kevin Nash & Friends

          I was talking about lineup changes

          • Buttcheeks Full Of Sardines

            Kinda like when Stride brought in vocals, except this time they brought in a really bad vocalist.

    • Guacamole Jim

      I think you’re probably right, but I’m still curious. It’s not easy to see how much influence band members have on a sound until they’re gone. I didn’t realize how much Coheed & Cambria’s drummer affected their sound until he was fired, and they didn’t put out an album that I liked until he rejoined. I’m wondering if it’ll be the same for these guys. Intervals may just become a wank-fest, which I thought they managed to stay away from on “A Voice Within”.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        I’m guessing a lot of that is just the personalities in the band; if everyone got along better with drummer A, who’s gone, drummer B is going to have a hard time following that up.

        • The W.

          Ah, the ol’ reverse-GNR.

          • MoshOff

            > implying Axl Rose gets along with anyone
            > ayy

        • Like Jason Newsted?

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            Exactly. I just wish he would rejoin Flotsam and Jetsam.

    • if Deus Ex ever suffered a lineup change, i’d be a SAD panda

      • CyberneticOrganism

        I’m thinking of kicking out the singer. He’s a dick.

  • The W.

    Regarding having a sole founding member driving the focus of the group, that didn’t seem to work out so well for Chimaira. It was pretty clear that Hunter considered himself the heart of the band, but he ended up being unable to hold it together without Rob Arnold.

    • Guacamole Jim

      I suppose then you could argue that though Hunter thought he was that person, it was Arnold who really was, and had he stayed and Hunter left, Chimaira would still be around.

      • ME GORAK™

        ME LIKE CROWN OF PHANTOMS THOUGH!!!!!!

        • Lacertilian

          That’s because Daath are a good band.

        • normally would upvote, but………………..

          • ME GORAK™

            WHAT THE FUCK DID GORAK DO?!?!?!?!?!

          • we’re still friends!! i just find that album weak. sry bby

          • ME GORAK™

            GORAK AGREE IT NOT THEIR BEST!!!!!

    • Buttcheeks Full Of Sardines

      Sole member becoming the main attraction?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSTct2FFamw

      Listened to ‘Empires’ nonstop yesterday and still wondering where they went wrong, and where Geoff Tate went wrong in such a bad way. And listening to Operation Mindcrime’s new tracks is definitely not a good sign.

      • KJM

        Simple case of Lead Singer Disease complicated by the other band members being unwilling to stand up to him until it was almost too late.

        • Kevin Nash & Friends

          His new album doesn’t look good. The sample sounded like a watered down Dedicated To Chaos and the plot is just not up to par with Mindcrime. I have no clue where he went wrong though.

          • KJM

            Nah, it was obvious from the beginning. Tate was the last person to commit to QR 100%. He only joined as a full member because the EP was doing well. He’s never been comfortable as a Metal singer.

          • MoshOff

            He and Brent Hinds should get together to talk sometime.

        • MoshOff

          YES. All the dudes in QR need to do now is:
          1) Stop touching up LaTorre’s vocals so obviously
          2) Stop mastering their albums hotter than a pancake press in Hell
          3) Outwrite Taintryche (eeeeeeeeeeeasy)

          • KJM

            4) beg Chris DeGarmo to come back or at least contribute some new music.

          • MoshOff

            Haha, exactly.

          • MoshOff

            QR’s whole demise is especially strange considering the fact that Tate wrote some really good songs back in the day. It would be easier to swallow if DeGarmo had written absolutely everything good and Tate’s songs sucked, but it’s far from that. I guess everyone’s good ideas run out eventually.

          • KJM

            Well the thing that’s saving them now is still having Michael Wilton on board. He claims to have HDDs full of material that Tate didn’t want to use because it was too Metal. Wilton was a huge part of early QR.

          • MoshOff

            Haha, old material FTW. It worked for Carcass and Van Halen

        • Buttcheeks Full Of Sardines

          I blame the vests.

          • KJM

            Always a safe bet.

      • d00d. their s/t album from last year is really gud. i have hope.

        • Buttcheeks Full Of Sardines

          Haven’t heard it. Is it the one with the ex-Crimson Glory singer?

    • Lacertilian

      Agreed.
      I think vocalists in general are drastically over-rated by the entirity of the music industry. If they don’t play an instrument that is.
      This possibly stems from the listeners who don’t have any experience playing music, focusing disproportionately on the vocals/lyrics.
      I know that when I started playing guitar the way I listened to music changed immensely, I have been through stages where I almost completely disregard the vocals altogether. I could babble about this topic for a while so I’ll just stop and wait for the appropriate Think Tank.

      • king diamond needs to fire their vocalist
        *flushes self down the filthiest toilet ov hell

  • Hubert

    Does this mean Intervals’ next album will be instrumental again? How will they play stuff from A voice Within live then?

    • Buttcheeks Full Of Sardines

      I hope! Their instrumental stuff is awesome. Adding vocals kinda killed it for me.

      • Hubert

        I agree. Didn’t really add anything to the sound.

        • Guacamole Jim

          Really? I thought the vocals added a much-needed dimension to the music.

          Different strokes, etc.

  • *gulp*

  • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander
  • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

    Christ, I haven’t heard of Leng Tch’e in fucking ever. I’m pretty sure that categorized them selves as “Razor Grind”. I don’t know what the fucking fuck that even means.

  • I think Napalm Death’s ability to stay relevant stems in part from the fact that they are a defining, influential force in heavy metal, so I would think it wouldn’t be hard to find new band members who understand their sound in some way.

    • MoshOff

      Plus everyone seems to forget that Shane Embury’s been in the band since 1987, and he writes half the songs.

    • Max

      This is very true; although I’ve always felt it’s better to think of Napalm Death as a name that several bands over different eras happened to have shared.

      It was originally a punk band in 1982 with an entirely different line-up that was even on the first side of the debut apart from Nik Bullen; so to say that the Napalm Death of today has anything to do with the Napalm Death of the early ’80s is a bit of a stretch, really. They even have a different logo. Whatever songs from that era that might still be in the set-list – if any – are better thought of as covers.

  • Dagon

    I’ve seen Queens of the Stone Age catch some flack because of the line-up changes, but it’s always been Josh Homme’s project since inception. He wrote and performed every instrument on the debut album, and later had other members join for tour and subsequent records.

    Also, their line-up changes were never detrimental to the sound, all of them marked distinct phases of good musical output. None of their albums sound completely alike.

    • Trees ‘n Shit is Kvlt O)))

      I think you have them confused with Foo Fighters. Josh did a lot of Rated R on his own, but definitely not alone. And that was the second album, not the debut.

      • Trees ‘n Shit is Kvlt O)))

        And if I really want to split hairs, the Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age split could be considered the debut, making Rated R the third album.

        • Dagon

          That split is so good. 4 great songs.

          • The W.

            Born to Hula >>>>>>>>

      • Dagon

        The debut I’m referring to is the self-titled album. And I’d say Rated R has a ton of collaboration, Oliveri and Lanegan did major work on the album.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaVlYh7Je9Y

        • Trees ‘n Shit is Kvlt O)))

          The self-titled had the drummer from Kyuss. But Josh did do everything else mostly, with some guests here and there.

          • Dagon

            You’re right, Hernandez drummed on that album.

    • MoshOff

      I think the flak comes more from Homme being an ass rather than from the lineup changes themselves. Then again the lineup changes probably happen because Homme is an ass, so yeah.

      • Dagon

        The only change that to me felt unexplained was Joey Castillo’s. The dude was a beast behind the kit and I felt him leaving was kinda random.

        All the others were amicable or had understandable reasons, like Oliveri’s spousal abuse problem.

  • Every band and project is their own universe. But you can see sometimes who is in charge, who is a hired gun or who is a mere composer.

    From a listener/fan perspective this is very interesting, because a band as a unit is a cultural content as itself, and people can relate a lot with some musicians because a lot of reasons.

    I just hope for a new style in the sound when that happens.

  • Scrimm

    Line up issues are a bitch in so many ways.

  • ChuggaChuggaDeedleyDoo

    They also apparently are continuing the sad trend of blue/orange artwork

  • Max

    Slightly off-topic from line-up changes but still relevant – I truly believe that once a band has survived beyond their formative phase, they really need to allow more than one or two members to contribute to the songwriting in order to fend off creative stagnation.

    Having one guy call the shots is a totally natural and perhaps necessary state of affairs when a band is starting out and defining their sound. There’s usually one member who is more talented than everybody else anyway, so it makes sense to let that member have the deciding vote. But after a few albums, that member’s creative well will eventually start to run dry, and that’s when the other members need to step in.

    So in as far as those other members are capable of delivering artistically (and it doesn’t have to be the ability to write a whole album by themselves like the main guy can do; just submit a couple of songs per album that don’t get rejected out of hand by the shot-caller as being below his usual standard), I think that’s more important than who’s actually in the line-up per se.

    Take a look at somebody like Mayhem. The line-up that recorded Wolf’s Lair Abyss is quite different to the one that recorded De Mysteriis Dom Satanas, but no fan of Mayhem would ever deny that both records have some defining merits (though different ones) in that band’s output. Euronymous and Blasphemer might be different guitarists and songwriters, but they were both talented ones. Ditto Maniac vs. Attila.

    Contrast that with Slayer: A relatively stable line-up over many years, Slayer have nevertheless basically become almost a Kerry King solo project of sorts. Until recently he wrote half the songs, and played all the rhythm guitars and bass on the records. The first record where he did that was Seasons in the Abyss, and while that’s considered one of their classics, it’s also marked as the beginning of their creative stagnation by many. With the passing of Hanneman, that state of affairs will probably become even more pronounced.

    So basically, the creative autonomy permitted in any line-up is, to me, a more crucial issue than the line-up itself.

    • MoshOff

      WOAH, Burger King played bass on Slayer albums? This I did not know.

      • Max

        It’s been happening since 1990, yes. And both rhythm guitars, too. Jeff only recorded his leads, even if it was a song he wrote.

        It’s actually not an uncommon thing in rock when a band gets to the studio. There’s one guitarist who’s a lot tighter than the other, so assumes double-duty for a more synchronized performance – Carcass do this too on their records.

        As for the bass – well, in many bands, the bass player is really just a touring guy. Dino Cazares did the basslines on the first Fear Factory album; Billy Corgan played all bass and guitars on his records.

        It might seem trivial (and sensible from a production standpoint), but I really believe that it compromises a band’s creative power eventually.

        • The W.

          I’m pretty sure Fredrik Thordendal recorded the bass on every Meshuggah album up until Obzen.

          • Max

            The first Down album is another where the credited bass player did not actually play on the record.

          • MoshOff

            On that album you can really tell that it’s two guitarists with different styles playing each rythm guitar, I think it’s part of what makes it so unique. But it can only be done if both guitarists are really tight and have a siilar skill level.

          • Max

            And naturally it’s a lot harder to have that in types of metal that are faster than what Down plays.

          • Stockhausen

            I would honestly like to hear more of that. Slightly different guitar styles, variations in snare sound depending where the drummer hits the head, even different approaches to tone/mixing depending on the mood of the song. Too many metal bands are obsessed with making everything I humanely perfect (as we all know). I love when I listen to a Tom Waits album and style, sound, instruments, and mixing are constantly fluctuating song to song. Never underestimate my power to bring up Tom Waits.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            A good way to waste an hour of time: http://avhguitarrepair.com/the-meshuggah-guitar-archive/

          • The W.

            Huh, Thordendal/Hagstrom did play the bass on Obzen. I wasn’t sure. Lovgren was still credited.

        • MoshOff

          The rythm guitar thing I understand. Sitting in front of your band’s raw tracks really makes you learn these things quickly.

          • Max

            I understand it too, but I’ve often thought that it must lead to a lot of frustration for the guy who doesn’t get to play. Imagine being in a band and waiting a couple of years to record an album and show your songs to the world – and all your recorded contribution amounts to is a few leads.

            If on-point twin-guitar performances are that important, I would have thought that in the digital age, it’s a lot easier to synchronize the identical parts of two different players. Sure it might be cheating, but wasn’t just having one guy play twice a form of “cheating” as well?

          • MoshOff

            Exactly. Speaking from personal experience though, sometimes it’s just easier and less of a hassle to re-do parts than to edit them.

          • Max

            True enough.

        • “it compromises a band’s creative power eventually”.

          I believe in this. A lot of musicians in this genre can become stale very fast.

        • Lacertilian

          It may not even come down to a factor of one guitarist being tighter than the other, just subtle nuances in technique or style could make the difference between a riff sounding exact or not, thus if you remove the variable of 2 guitarists’ techniques you’re one step closer to what some would consider perfection.

          • Max

            That is all very true. No two guitarists play the same riff with exactly the same inflection; and it’s probably this as much as a desire to be “in sync” that compels two-guitar bands to have one guy handle both rhythm tracks on record.

            At the same time, listen to something like Reign in Blood where, I believe, they did share the rhythm guitar recording duties. And ask yourself: Does it really matter that much that the tracks aren’t identical?

          • Lacertilian

            I agree completely, I personally would prefer to hear the slight variation but others might think it’s a sign of being a lesser band or something so I guess some bands would try and cater for that crowd.

    • Guacamole Jim

      This is spot on, and I’m responding to say I agree completely.

  • Some bands have one guy that runs the whole show like Death or Gorguts. As long as that guy continues making music, you can expect quality material. Others need a couple guys – Converge without Bannon and Ballou would probably not be very good.

    • Max

      Yeah, but in the case of Death, look how many other significant players he had going through that band over the years. I honestly don’t think Death would have stayed as interesting for as long if it was just Chris Reifert on drums and Chuck playing everything else like on the first record.

      • True, I was thinking of albums starting with Human on up. I don’t think previous members would’ ve had the chops to play the later material.