About Me

Interview with Sumo Cyco

“Oh Nah Nah
I don't wanna be a bystander
Watching the world go…”

These lyrics speak so much about the world we live in and much more. Who knew that a band from a small town, in Canada, could rule the world and much more, with “Initiation”, released, via Napalm Records, on 7th May 2021?
We had the pleasure to talk with Skye "Sever" Sweetnam (vocalist), the charismatic frontwoman of the band, about the conception of the album, the videos, the gangs and more.

M.I. -  Hi there and thanks for making this happen, on my behalf, Metal Imperium and the fans. How are you, guys, and Canada? Is it difficult living the big dream, despite coming from a small town?

Thanks! We’re at a very hands-on band. We do a lot of the work, when comes to making this record happens. So, it’s keeping us really, really busy the last few months, specially 20/21, we’ve been making music videos every single month. So, that it’s a lot of pre up, prep custom design, getting all the schedules together, storyboards and contacts. Filming and editing the videos. So, even if I only had that as a job, for the last three or four months, it would be taking up all my time and on top of that, we’ve got pre orders, promotions, interviews. All the other things that come putting up a record. Surprisingly, even with the lockdown, I’ve been so, so busy. I mean, the last week, I’ve pull like three all-nighters (laughs). I try to get all the pre orders packages finished and trying to get all the music videos ready, for record releases. It’s been quite busy, and I still feel that I don’t have enough time. But at the beginning of the lockdown, like last year, that’s when I kind of I didn’t really know what was going on with the World. I was very, very distracted by all the news and I couldn’t really focus on the band. So, at that point, I started doing a few new things that I never done before. I learned how to make candles, sculptures, molds. Matt, my guitarist, is started learning how to tattoo. So, we did kind of find some new hobbies, along the lockdown as well. 
Well, you know, a lot of people don’t necessarily bring up the fact that it was really a small town that I grew up in, but what is crazy now, is because Toronto has grown so much. It’s swallowed up all the small towns, as time has gone by. And now is like, you drive from Toronto to where I used to live, where I grew up. And it’s just constant city and buildings. And it doesn’t feel like you live the city and get out to the country, the way that you used to feel. I started very, very young in the entertainment industry. I kind of swept out in the whole world, but then, when I started Sumo Cyco, it’s almost like I retreated back to Canada. Almost building a band from the ground up, because I maybe skipped a few steps when I was younger. I really wanted to experience, what was like to get on the road, in a van, with a bunch of your friends. Just play a bunch of shows, thrill thick and thin, through storms, through breakdowns and just feel that real feeling of just like loving the music and doing whatever you can, to get out there and play. That’s the kind of attitude we also have, when comes to making our music and our music videos. We’re very much like: “We will get a music video done, no matter how tough the situations end up being! Whether there’s no budget! Whether you don’t have any resources! Whether you’re piecing together pieces of junk from your house, in order to make some art out of it!”. We’re very resourceful and very focus, on what needs to be done! Yeah! I do have big, big dreams! I think I blamed a lot on the fact that, when I grew on a small town, that wasn’t much to do, as a far as a young kid. I was in my “forest”, surrounded by forest and I had my imagination.

M.I. -  First of all, congrats on signing with Napalm Records. With “Initiation”, that was released on 7th May, you will go into new directions, that with your two previous albums, that were released independently (“Lost in Cyco City” and “Opus Mar”) you couldn’t dive into. What do you think, this label has to offer you, artistically and what made you choose Napalm in the detriment of others? For example, the same point of view?

Thank you very much! Yes! Napalm is known for being an amazing label, when it comes to having music. We had a number of run ins with Napalm. Starting in 2017, where one of their representatives came out to a show. I think that thing that made us feel attracted and end comforted to go with a label, like Napalm. They have a system of how they know how to reach people, that we have never been able to reach before. They have a wide reach when it comes to their YouTube channel, with the proper channels through PR, to meet people like yourself. And for us, since we’ve been a band for ten years, we realized that at the rate that we were kind of growing, it was great. We were getting more and more fans but was very slow increments, because we didn’t have the type of resources to reach out to all the places at once, that we like to reach out to. And I felt that Napalm plugging us into their company, was able to bring an entire new audience to the band, that never experienced us before. And that’s partially why we call the album “Initiation”, because we wanted to initiate new people to our world and ask them, you know: “Hey! Here we are! Do you like what we are doing, because we’ve been here for ten years, and you haven’t heard about us yet! So, now is the time to get into Sumo Cyco!”. Napalm has been very supportive, when it comes to my artistic vision, although it’s very different from a lot of the bands that they have on their roster, they’ve been encouraged me at every step to just do the art that we do! They just come in and, like I said, help push it out there, help reach the masses, but they don’t, other than the order that we released our singles in, really have let Sumo Cyco completely take creative control of every aspect of what we do. 

M.I. -  Let’s talk about the title of the album, shall we? “Initiation” is an invitation for the listener and fans to be ‘initiated’ into your world. What kind of world are you talking about? Could you describe it, please?

Sure! With Sumo Cyco, there’s two layers everything that we do! There is our personal struggles and perceptions on the world, world events and how that’s translates into the things I write about in my lyrics. How the music moods us! And then there’s the layer of our art and our music videos. All the Sumo Cyco records and music videos, take place in our world of Cyco City, where anything goes, anything can happen. It’s an alternate universe, where there’s aliens coming down from the sky, that we call Teraknots and there is big skull headed mascots. I play many different characters, which is something I love to do, because I come from a musical theatre background. So, I love to make different styles of makeup and play different kind of moods, ideas through the characters. We love to create storylines within our music videos, that kind of threat each video together. I direct all of our music videos, as well as my guitarist Matt. Everything has a very consistent feel of our world, that we want to represent. For instance, we just released the music video for “Bad News” and in that music video, is taking these crazy events that are happening in Cyco City, such as massive explosions, giant spiders, fires everywhere. And relating that to our first music video for “Bystander”, where the character also experiences the same things happening: giant explosions, massive spiders crawling everywhere and fires. There’s two different characters and two different videos, about two different people but they’re experiencing the same events. And that’s how I felt when it comes the pandemic, about us all experiencing the same event, but from different perspectives. You can see where the real-world inspiration translates into my crazy world, where we don’t have giant spiders running around, but it’s a metaphor for the things that we’ve experienced in the past year. 

M.I. -  Can the album title also refer to a new beginning for the band, since the band is getting well-known and stronger? Any thoughts?

Yeah! I think you’re exactly right! It is a reintroduction to the world and to new fans. And so, for us, “Initiation” isn’t about us being “initiated”. It’s about you being “initiated”! it’s about new people listening to our music and becoming part of our community. The only thing that people have to do, if they want to be “initiated”, is listen to our music. It’s a simple task to request, but sometimes you’ll be surprised at how many people won’t give a band a chance, because they’re so busy with their lives or they just see a photo and they have a wrong first impression of who you are. I think we’re the type of band you need to listen more than once, to understand what we’re trying to do. It’ kind of an invitation to say: “Hey, guys! Come on in! The water’s great! Just listen to it a few times and I’m sure you’ll love it by the end!”.

M.I. -  The other thing that is real fascinating are the themes. And there are two main themes: the real one, where we live in and the ‘Cyco City’, a comic book-esque alternate universe, where all your music videos take place. Give us more details about that ‘city’, please.

Yeah, sure! It is a kind of a world, that we’ve created from our first music video, all in. And if people want to experience more of what the vibe of our world is, it is left in breadcrumbs throughout ten years, worth of music videos. When our first record came out, we were putting out storylines that the first music video would end and the second one would continue right where that character left of. We continued that for nine videos, until we realized that we needed to move on to a new record. The second album was all about the train, called “Opus Mar”, that runs through our city, Cyco city. All the music videos take place on different train cars, on the train, in different times. One of them, feels like the 1800’s kind of vibe. Other ones happen, where feels like in the future. For this record, “Initiation” it’s all about four clubs, or gangs, that are taking over Cyco City and in order to know which gang you belong to, there’s quiz on our website, that you can take and will tell you, based on your answers, which club you belong to. Those different groups are having a lot of different interactions, in Cyco City, that are kind of like Easter eggs, that we’ve hidden in all the music videos. Each of the different characters, had associations to different clubs or gangs in the videos and some of them, are kind of like, for instance, there’s a “Romeo and Juliet’s” story with my character Glory and Tragic, where they fall in love, even though they’re from different sides and factions. All of these things are very complex and detailed. The fans will want to dive in, but on the surface, we still want to make sure that our music videos stand alone as one piece of art. If you watch it, it would still be super fun and easy to understand, but if you want to dig deeper, there’s a lot of hidden meaning in there.

M.I. -  And what about the real world? What influenced you to write the concept of the album? The pandemic?

A lot of the lyrics were recorded before the pandemic and half the record, was recorded after. So, you can really feel the roller coaster ride, all emotions through this record, because all of us were experiencing so many different things, but songs like “Vertigo” and “Overdrive”, we wrote those in Vegas, in 2019, with a producer named Kane Churko. That experience of writing songs in that atmosphere, it was all fun and games! We’re in Vegas! We’re partying, it was great, you know. Songs like “Bad News”, was written out of the frustration of constantly being bombarded with bad things happening all of the time and how I was processing it and if felt like any time you look at the news, it was another story. Another story from everything from Black Lives matter to US presidential show, that everyone had to witness and watching all these events. Unfold if you get to cut up in it, it can drive you insane, because it can’t control everything. I felt so hopeless watching it all happen. The lyrical themes deal with depression, anxiety, to feeling lost, to feeling like I want to have fun, just throw cushions to the wind. I remember one experience I had, where me and my boyfriend went up north and it was the first time actually allowed myself to have fun, because the entire pandemic I was: “I’m not having fun! Everything stops! I’m feeling stress, anxious, anxiety, all these things!”. For one weekend, I said: “I’m going to a lake and we’re going to isolate ourselves by the lake and finally allow myself to feel joy again!” and I think that it was a turning point for me where I realized, that making music isn’t as trivial as I thought as it was, in a world like this. That making music is probably one of the most important things I could do. To try to help myself cope and others cope, with some of the most traumatic times, that we live through, as far. Yeah! It’s been a up and down roller coaster, for sure! 

M.I. -  Are the themes of this album a continuation of the previous ones? A next chapter?

Sumo Cyco has a distinct sound and that distinct sound, is basically throwing everything into a giant pot and mixing up. I think that we refined the taste of our crazy soup. I guess if you can call it that (laughs). We enjoy all different genres, and we always take pieces of different things and put them together, even if they don’t feel like they fit up together at first, we just keep jamming together, until it comes one. But with “Initiation”, we had a lot of time, because we started this record back in 2018. We had a lot of different moments, through the pandemic, the signing with Napalm, the fact that our 2019 was jampacked with shows, that we didn’t have time to write as much. We were writing in between all over our tours. That were many moments, that reflect on body of work and wonder: “Do we need another song, that goes like this? Should we rework the chorus? How can we make this record the best it can possible be?”. With that extra time, you’d be surprised that how much can refine a whole in that sound, to get exactly perfect to what you wanted to be, whereas the previous records it was like: “Hey! We wrote ten songs! Just let throw them on an album and it’s going to be great!”. And we didn’t think about it, take as much hair and kind of readdress things the way we did with “Initiation”. 

M.I. -  With “Initiation”, you introduce four gangs or clubs. Care to explain? Does it refer to a feeling or can we find them on the music videos?

Yes! Our first music video that we’ve done for this record: “Love You Wrong”, is about Tragic and Glory. Tragic being from Assassins, Glory being from Not Sorority, they fall in love and at the end, ends in tragedy. The second video is all about our Nine club and Glory is a Not Sorority and they have kind of like a gang war at the baseball park. There’s the next video from “Bystander”, where it shows Glory as a child, or a younger version of her, dealing with a crazy world and she’s stuck in a house. If people look closely, they’ll see that the house is all themed gold, which is based on the moused company gang. She’s finding her own identity and wants to escape her family’s club or gang and come up with her own identity. So, she jumps at the window at the end! It kind of continues through all the videos. Kind of showing a little bit of the storyline. How each of the clubs are connected. We also, for this record released a 28-page, photo book, which explains and shows photos of all the different gang members. We also have limited edition USBs, that if you buy them, they have the record on there, as well as some little videoclips, explaining some of the storylines. 

M.I. -  From a lyrical perspective impact, how much of the lyrics is very important on the ups and downs of the melodies? What is more important for you?

When I write music, I write melodies usually first. Usually, I have one or two words, maybe like a theme of a song. Or phrases, that I kind of play around with. But mostly I want to make sure that the melody is super, super strong. When I go in, I’m always thinking about how I can take some obvious parts, that you would think: “Ok! It’s a Metal part! Scream over this part and I think the exact opposite! If it’s the Metal part of the song, how do I make it sound like it’s a Reggae vibe with my vocal? If it’s the soft part of the song, how do I add more screaming or dynamics?”. I think that’s one of the keywords. Our guitarist, Matt, is an amazing producer. He always talks about how you want to add dynamics and change as you go, to make things feel like it’s taking you on a journey and a big chorus, is going to sound so much better, if you have kind of like a smaller built up, because it’s going to explode on you. For me, it’s all about doing that the melodies, as well. I love Pop melodies. My brain goes like right to trying to create, like things that I want to sing along with. Matt is rhythm king! He’s so great with rhythms, that he’s always trying to push me further and he’s been a great collaborator, because he knows what I’m capable of and won’t settle for anything but the best, you know! 
I always write the melodies first. To me, is very important to have that super strong musical attachment. As I think people listen to a melody first and then the lyrics kind of slowly come together, as they keep listening to the song, they are like: “Oh! Ok! I understand what she’s singing about and what the themes are!”. In order to get the listener in the first place, you have to have that super strong melody and then, once they’re there and they can relate, the lyrics and feel like the lyrics make sense to them, in their own way. I think that’s the perfect combination, when someone can fall in love with the song, because they’re already hooked in by feeling the melody and really enjoying that but also the lyrics feel like it could be rhythm for them.

M.I. -  A more infectious heavy metal album that grooves a perfection of punk and pop flavor, combining a metal riffage. How did you create the music, the riffs and the melodies, especially the instruments? 

Matt, our guitarist, is primarily the one who does all the music. He’ll go into the studio, and he’ll work on riff after riff, after riff, after riff and honestly, it takes hours, and nothing usually is good enough for him. When he finally finds them, that magical combination of something he’s really happy with, he’ll record it, then send it to me and then all start jamming through the lyrics and the melodies. Then I’ll bring it back to him and say: “Hey! Here’s what I came up with!”. At that point, that’s when we kind of go head-to-head! We kind of battle: “I like this idea better! I like this idea better!”. I’ll say: “No! don’t go to the bridge! At that point, play the chorus again!”. We’ll just kind of battle it out, until we both are really, really happy with the product! At sometimes, it comes together within like a few days, or like a week and we have a song, that we’ve written, like really fast. And then sometimes, he’ll give me the instrumental and I can’t think of the right thing, I’ll wait, come back to it and like a month, I’ll rewrite something and if it’s not good enough, then the whole process takes like months and months to finally come up with the perfect combination. So, really are all different ways but we work really good together, because he’s a multi-instrumentalist. He knows everything from a production standpoint as well. So, he has that outside point of view. So, it’s a really great collaboration and I really love working with him. 

M.I. -  Some people, when they listen to the record, compare your vocal to Tatiana Shmailyuk (Jinjer). How you deal with it? How did you develop that amazing voice? Did you create different characters for your voice?

Interesting! I was lucky enough to be able to tour with Jinjer and Tatiana is awesome! I mean, every night I had the pleasure of getting to watch her, from side stage. Just, you know, killed it! I don’t think she had a bad day. Her voice was amazing! I don’t even claim to know how to scream the way that girl can scream! She’s a queen at it and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do what she can do! It’s just not my style, but there are elements that I completely admire from her, I think that we’re similar, that we both really love Reggae and I know that she’s a big fan of Gwen and No Doubt, would sing those songs at sound check and that’s where I relate to that as well, because I’m a big fan of that. Honestly, it’s an honor, if anybody wants to compare me to any of the amazing female artists that are out there, including Jinjer, but also take my inspiration from fans, that you wouldn’t expect, because maybe my voice sounds a lot different than someone like Benji, from Skindred, for instance. A lot of what Benji does, inspires me massively and changes the way I do vocals. Same as like even Rap, a lot of southern ATL Rap, I’m really inspired by! I also love when Matt, my producer and guitarist, will be working on a song and he’ll say: “Try singing like you were Nicki Minaj!”. And I’ll be like: Ok!”. I’ll just try to make my voice kind of have that character that she has. “Try doing a Gwen version! Try doing a version like you’re Ben, from Billy Talent!”. He’ll just come up with different influences and see what my voice does. You’ll thinking of them in my mind and then, you wone in and go: “Ok! Take this piece from here, this piece from here, this piece from here and then make your own style with it!”. And I think of that, the way a lot of bands work, when it comes to inspiration, is by almost when you grow up, you kind of emulate who you admire. As you mature, you start finding your own signature style, in between all those different influences.
I come from a theatre background. So, the idea of trying on those different characters, like I’ve talked about, is really fun for me! I love being: “Oh! I can sing so sweet and this!”. Then I can be like: “Yeah! I do all the screaming and then I can go (starts to Rap)!”. Then I’ve just kind of like think of all those different ways, that I can use my instrument to create dynamic and different kind of feelings, right? For me, it’s been a very experimental time in this band. And I think that’s why I started Sumo Cyco to begin with, it’s because I wanted a place that I can feel free, to experiment the entire rainbow of things that I can do with my voice. Not feel boxing by one sound. That’s what I really enjoy by this project, is anything can happen and goes (laughs). 

M.I. -  Juno Award-winning producer Kane Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, In This Moment, Papa Roach) helped with the album. How was it working, for the first time, with Kane? Was the record produced in Canada and what experiences did you learn from such an experienced person?

Kane is another Canadian and his dad also worked on one of my first songs, when I was 14 years old. So, it’s really crazy we have kind of a connection, even though we never met. When we flew down to Vegas, we didn’t know what we were in store for. But Kane made us feel super welcome, super comfortable. He invited us to his house, to hang out with his wife, his cute dog. I think that trip was like really a highlight for me, of 2019, because Matt and I were really excited about our music. We were in a new place, like Vegas, where there’s lots of fun and partying. Working with Kane was such a great experience! Kane works very quickly and efficiently! He’ll be editing my vocal as I’m singing it! So, he’ll put on the song on loop, and I’ll start getting warmed up and sing the parts! He’s automatically already taking the sneep, that he thinks are like the best chunks of vocal and already putting them aside to look out later. That’s done before, even get off the mic. He works so fast and also, he’s really inspiring to Matt and myself, as a producer, because he knows how to break to right rules! Matt being a producer, took a lot of tips and tricks from him, on where you can kind of bend the rules of engineering and production, in order to help the song actually sound bigger and better, even though you’re taught, like Matt went to school for engineering, not to do that or that. But it’s amazing that when you really free your mind of these constrains of what you’re told to do and think outside the box, you can come up with amazing things. Kane taught us that, he’s awesome and everyone should check out his work! All the best to Kane and his family! They treated us great! 

M.I. -  Since you’re a big fan of comics, have you ever thought about making a comic book about this album? If so, who would be the responsible for making it happen? Something in the DC style?

Yeah! You know me very well (laughs), because I’d love to make a comic book! When I talk about this world of Cyco City, it is screaming to me, to be completed and easy to understand the storyline in some type of graphic novel comic book. I’ve been thinking about this idea for a long time, but I need to meet the right artist, because I have the ideas on what to write, the storylines, the characters, but I need to find the right visual of representation, of what I would love to see on the artwork. But if you know anybody or anybody’s out there, who is a great illustrator, you can message me, because I would love to make it become a reality! 

M.I. -  “Bystander” is the first single and was inspired by the pandemic and lives being turned upside down. It was produced, filmed and edited by Matt (guitars/vocals) and you. Very interesting. How did you create the concept?

We have built a massive wall, upstairs in our attic, that we took some photos, for the album and I thought: “How can we use this, with we are already built and kind of change it enough, to “Bystander”?”. So, I thought: “One of the lyrics, in “Bystander”, is “View the world through a telescope!” and wouldn’t it be cool, if we made like a big, massive telescope and I’m looking through it and see my eye, at the other end, looking out and what would I be looking at?”. So, it’s kind of snowball from there. So, I thought: “So, I’m looking out and I’m looking out at a window!”. We had to make sure that we had windows in the room and then I thought: “How do we make it feel like there’s something happening? Exciting happening, but you’re still stuck inside?”. And then I was like: “What if the house is floating so you can’t escape? You can only watch!”. And I was like: “That feels exactly like what we’ve all been going through Covid!”. And then I thought: “Ok! So why don’t we make some like big explosions and maybe there’s giant spiders, the powerplant exploded, there’s nuclear spiders coming out, because the explosion happened and there’s fires everywhere!”. All this is happening and you’re watching, through a window, feeling completely helpless and meanwhile it’s talking about sometimes, not only about the world that we all have been through Covid, but I also wanted to feel like a coming of age. Kind of idea, of the fact that when you’re stuck in a house, the way that I relate that, is feeling like when you’re living with your parents and you’re kind of feeling like you want to break out. You finally want to be out on your own and you feel kind of suffocated by, maybe every teenager experience that you want to feel free and be the person you want to be. You want just like to jump out the window and start your own life. So, I thought, it was bringing me this early 2000’s, 90’s vibe, when I was growing up. So, I made all the technology in the “Bystander” feel, like it was from that era. It also explains the stories of our gangs because Glory, the character, is realizing she no longer wants to live by the rules of her family. She wants to have her own identity and all the colors are very thematic of what she’s going through. Yellow and gold is what everything in the room is: is pristine, vineyard, of a perfect family and she’s this bright pink, just wants to explode, then you’ll see the contrast in the video. Has gold everywhere from her family and this bright pink color, that kind of representing her. That’s “Bystander” in a nutshell, but what I really thought is cool, is how we were able to eco the ending scene of the video, being the album cover of our album “Initiation”. The character’s jumping out the window and falling towards Cyco City, in an act of rebellion, on an escape of what’s going from the world. 

M.I. -  “No Surrender” is very outstanding. Who are the characters in that video? 

Glory, who I talked about, is the central character for the “Not Sorry” sorority. That’s the one gang that we have. The second one, is “Malison Company”, which is represented by the Gold’s character, whose skin is all gold, and she is the matriarch of Malison’s. She’s a business boss and all these different characters represent a side of me, because I have many different personalities (laughs). She’s the business boss. We have the sporty rebel, which is Jencks, from “Anonymous Nine”. She’s the one with the baseball bat and she’s the shit disturber. She’s the one who’s like trying to cause trouble, being the rebellious type and very energetic. So, I gave them the guys of a sports team, because with their friends, they are always rolling together. And finally, you have the darkest side of my personality, which is the group’s assassins, based on our mascots, which are the skull characters. They are often in our world with the spiral eyes, because they’re psycho, gone a little bite crazy. These characters are representing the dark, depressed, melancholy side of my personality. They kind of represent the impending doom that you feel, whenever you’re depressed or anxious. Kind of represent death in a way and darkness. That character kind of comes with a shovel, ready to take you to the grave. They all show like these different sides of me, but are also kind of integrated into our storylines, as well.

M.I. -  You’ve released a new single, called “Bad News”. What news are you talking about and tell us more about the video.

“Bad News” represent what we experienced in the past year, with not only Covid, but watching, like I’ve mentioned, different riots, protests, police brutality and the crazy political system that we’re living in. All of those things really have affected me over the past year, watching the news, constantly bring up all these issues, that feel like they’re such huge issues, that many people have to be aware of. So, I wanted to be aware of it, but I was also starting to affect my mental health, because of how the pandemic is to everyone’s lives, changing how they’re living their lives, not seeing all their friends and being out in the world. On top of that, you’re dealing with these massive, systemic issues, political issues, climate change. All these things that feel like they’re suffocating, as far as how do we tackle this. This is insane! I don’t even know where to start. It almost was like, as I picked in the video, just scrolling bad news, bad news, bad news. It just doesn’t stop! You can scroll for days and all you can see is all these things growing in our society, in our world. It really talks about the frustration. One of the lyrics: “I don't wanna debate…” “Hold on…” “I mean Wait!”, because you’re isolated. You don’t want to debate with someone, because sometimes you’re clashing with each other. Getting angry with each other, over different opinions, but also, you’re really lonely. So, I feel like I don’t want to debate, because it’s making me depressed, but at the same time, I miss people. So: “No, no, wait! Come back! I want to debate some more!”. But then at the same time you hate it, because it’s dealing with all these issues: contrast of feeling like you want to be involved in all these issues, but you also suffering yourself mentally and not knowing when the stop consuming, is keep on going. I’m sure many people have experienced very traumatic times. The song struggles to wanting to educate myself, but also wanting to feel joy, happiness again and not feeling caught in between, of not knowing of what to do. 
In the music video, it’s pix like I’ve mentioned: explosions, giant spiders, all these kind of crap happening in the world, which is kind of an analogy for what’s happening. We’re in the home of our “Assassins” gang, which is our skull headed family. You have the young girl watching the TV, which I’m playing in the music video. She’s been inundated by all these images, but all she wants to do, is turn on the band. So, she keeps switching the TV, so she can watch Sumo Cyco play. Sumo Cyco’s rocking out and so it’s like the dad’s going back to the news, trying to see what’s going on. Then we have the issue where eventually dad gets frustrated and throws his TV dinner, at the TV. The TV breaks and inside the TV, is the band. I don’t know if everyone else thought this, when they were little kids, but I thought that, when we were watching TV, that the people inside the TV, were actually tiny people. I thought would take that concept and make it into the video. So, once the TV is broken, you can reach in there, grab us, as band members. That’s what happens at the end of the video! I can be taken out of the TV and I’m a little version of myself!

M.I. -  What were your influences, while writing this album?

Lot of things influenced me and throughout the current events, were huge influence on a lot of the writing, especially during the pandemic. But for me, when I write a song, as much as I love a lot of different types of bands, to me it’s always about trying to find my true authentic identity, within all the amazing art, music, movies that I watch. “How do I find and take the best of every little influence that I have and own it, into something that feels uniquely Sumo Cyco?”. For me, finding that originality and when I feel like I’ve found that, is the most creatively fulfilling for me. When I feel like: “Oh, man! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do it before! I don’t think I heard anyone sing like this specific wave before! Or make these genres the way we have it!”. That’s when I get really, really excited, about the project! When I start seeing these bits of originality, kind of come through all these influences. 
One of the things I really, really love, is scrolling through Pinterest, with lots of artists. I don’t know if it’s big from me and if everyone else uses, but I love when you get the right feed, that starts trading all this beautiful art. There’s so much to take out of it and different artists, because I just feel like the world is filled with amazing artists out there: visual artists, musical artists and to me it’s really inspiring when I see people really going for something authentic and original. That’s what inspires me! It really inspires me to see people go against the grain and do something that feels really true to them! I think usually that’s the point in which society can grow the most, is when you’re super honest with yourself and not trying to fit into anyone else’s molds, because then we get another true representation of somebody who is out there, that may not have been exposed to the world before. Then you start realizing that other people either feel the same or think of things the same way and it’s really kind of an interesting thing. Yeah! Visual artists really inspire to me, when comes to be there!

M.I. -  You are quite experienced on touring, but if you could choose an artist/band to tour with, who would it be? And which countries would you visit?

I have this fantasy, that I’m back like in the early 2000’s and I’m on stage with Gwen Stefani, in her prime, doing “Tragic Kingdom”. To me, that is my prime! Gwen Stefani is like “Tragic Kingdom”! There’s one video of her doing pushups, while she’s singing “Just A Girl” on stage! To me, I’m like: “That’s challenging everything that I would love to do and be!”. That powerful girl that’s out there talking about how it feels to be a girl and that song was really paved for a lot of young girls out there, that felt maybe they couldn’t be Rock stars in the same way that the guys could. Then they see someone like Gwen, going out there and do pushups and sing “Just A Girl” and you’re screaming: “YES! That’s awesome!”. 
I also have a weird fantasy too. That was from my childhood as well: becoming the sixth Spice Girl and being the Rebel Spice, that comes in there and was just like the Rock ‘N Roll version of the Spice Girl. I think that would be really awesome! I think that’s kind of my childhood fantasies, but if had to take it to the new age, I could open up for Rage Against The Machine! That would be sick! Or Skindred! Or Refuse! Some of my favorite bands! That would be awesome! 
Which country would I not like to visit is the question, because I love travelling! Travelling is one of my biggest joys and one of the biggest parts of being in a band! In most of the times, now is a little bit different, but when I get to go to new city or experience a new place, it is probably the highlight of what I do, because I’m just really a fan of just go for a walk. Like not knowing where you’re going to go, don’t have any place to be! You just start exploring the city and walking the streets. 
I’ve never been to Portugal, and I would love to come! That would be so amazing! I would love to experience it! And I actually recently had a promoter reach out to us, from that area! Fingers crossed, if everything comes back to normal, we can make a trip and possibly make a show! That would be awesome!

M.I. -  Thanks so much for this interview and I wish you lots of success. Final words for the readers?

Thank you to everyone who’s been reading along! We really appreciate the support and thank you for spreading the word, for Sumo Cyco! If anyone wants to learn more, you can go to our website: sumocyco.com. We appreciate it so much and hope everyone can be “Initiated” and come to our side, of Cyco City!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda