INTERVALS Guitarist Ditches Entire Lineup, Goes Back To Being Instrumental
Intervals has had an interesting history as a band. The group had released The Space Between In 2011 and In Time in 2012. After gaining a lot of attention as an instrumental group, Intervals added vocalist Mike Semesky (ex-The Haarp Machine, Raunchy, etc.) and put out A Voice Within in 2014 to general applause. That was followed up by a bit of silence, heart surgery for guitarist and founder Aaron Marshall and a few hints that things might be going back to being instrumental. Namely the fact that A Voice Within was released instrumentally and pretty much avoided being referenced as an album with vocals.
The following statement from Aaron Marshall on Facebook is really, really long. So here's the TL;DR version, should you not feel like going through it.
- Guitarist Lukas Guyader, drummer Anup Sastry and vocalist Mike Semesky are all out of the group, leaving only Marshall.
- There's a new album coming and it's al instrumental.
- The album will feature bassist Cameron McLellan (Protest The Hero) and drummer Travis Orbin (Darkest Hour, Periphery, Sky Eats Airplane).
- There will be lots of guests.
- Intervals will not be participating in being on a label.
Now for the long version!
Hey guys, Aaron here. I'm writing this update to bring everyone up to speed on things. This is a little lengthy, but to put this all in perspective, I would like to recap the last four years. For anyone with questions about anything, you will want to read this. This is super important, so thanks in advance for reading!
For those who don't know how this all started, Intervals is sort of an accident. In 2011, I began writing and recording my own music at home for the first time. After years of playing with local bands in Toronto, this was the first time I had written and recorded any of my own music. A close friend proposed the idea of filming me playing a tune (Still Winning) and cutting a video. Initially, I didn't understand the concept… "Why would anyone want to watch me sit here and play guitar?"… After being persuaded, I sat down and performed the tune a countless amount of times while he filmed me. I didn't think anything of it, but he was very adamant about getting this thing out there for people to see. After showing me the finished product, I still didn't really get it… "So, its like, a music video, but with no low budget actors and fake cars?…" From there, he prompted me to choose a name and create a YouTube and Facebook page. Being a perfectionist by nature, I was sort of reluctant to follow through, as I had intended to write an album's worth of material and put a band together, before venturing forward with music. After some coaxing, I sort of settled on the name Intervals and made all the necessary pages so he would stop hounding me to post this video. Having zero experience with anything like this, we were both taken back by the response this video was having. All of a sudden there was a surge of new people demanding more songs, new content, etc… I had nothing more than that one song and no idea what I should do next. As interest continued to grow, I felt that I owed it to myself, and anyone who cared, to follow through and see where I could take this thing.
As a guitarist that also plays drums, it was very important to me, that I connect with a drummer on the same wavelength. I received an email from Anup about making a video for a tune and I was beyond excited. I had been following him on YouTube for some time and couldn't believe I would get to see him play one of my songs. Coincidentally, Matt Halpern (Periphery) and I had discussed that Anup would be an excellent fit and that perhaps we should consider working together. After he made his second video (Duality), I HAD to make this happen. This wasn't very easy, as I live in Toronto, Canada, and Anup lives in Maryland, USA, which isn't necessarily right around the corner… Regardless of the distance, we were determined to make this work. After announcing that we would be working together, offers for shows and other ventures started to become a reality. We were invited to support Periphery in Toronto on their "Frak The Gods" tour with The Human Abstract, Textures, and The Contortionist. This was such a major opportunity that we absolutely could not pass up, but we needed another guitarist and a bass player in order to make the show happen. I was introduced to Lukas and original bassist Matt De Luca through a mutual friend, and we hit the ground running. The show was confirmed and rehearsals were set. I don't think we played music together as a collective for more than 5 or 6 hours before taking to the stage for our first performance. The show was a success and I was immediately hooked on this Intervals thing.
Next up, was officially releasing some music. The Space Between EP came first and was then followed up by the In Time EP, less than a year later. Somewhere between those releases, touring became a reality and we brought Ever Forthright to Canada for a string of dates with Mandroid Echostar. Next up, we supported The Contortionist for just shy of 2 weeks when In Time was coming out. Anup was on tour with Jeff Loomis in Europe, so Nathan Bulla of Auras filled in on drums for that tour. After that, we supported Between the Buried and Me for a few dates and those would be Matt De Luca's final shows with us. With no bass player, we weren't really sure what was next, but at NAMM 2013, I was introduced to Mike Semesky. Mike and I hit it off, and he expressed interest in filling in on bass, as he had just parted with The Haarp Machine and wanted to continue touring. Everyone felt that it was worth exploring, knowing that Mike could perform beyond the bass guitar, and we should see where it takes us. From there, we ventured across Canada for our first national tour with Structures, Texas In July and Northlane. The end of this tour also had us routing home from the west coast for our first ever US shows and we picked up a few dates with Glass Cloud. During this tour, it had been proposed that the collective felt we should explore the potential of Mike singing on our next release. Admittedly, this was something I had brought up before we had even started to tour with Mike, but I was still somewhat reluctant to do so. I was really becoming comfortable with my role and excited to explore where we could take instrumental music. After a long period of deliberation, I decided it would be closed minded not to explore the option, and agreed to move forward with Mike singing for the band. We convened at Anup's to prepare for a tour with Misery Signals, The Color Morale, and The Kindred. This was Mike's last tour on bass and from there it was time to focus on the record. After about 5 months, we were ready to make AVW. As per usual, drums were recorded at Anup's and I recorded bass with Cameron McLellan (Protest The Hero), who also produced and co-wrote Mike's vocals for the record. I recorded all guitars with Jordan Valeriote and some additional clean and acoustic guitars were recorded there by Lukas. Feeling good about everything, we geared up to put out our first full length record.
2014 was shaping up to be our busiest year yet, having already confirmed a full Europe/UK tour with Protest The Hero, Tesseract, and The Safety Fire, as well as a full North American tour right afterwards with the same line up, sans Tesseract, plus Battlecross and Night Verses. We played our first show with Mike as day 1 of the Europe tour in Karlsruhe, Germany. Everything was going great and we couldn't wait for the album to come out. After releasing the record in March of that year and finishing up nearly 80 shows with PTH and The Safety Fire, we were pretty shot and homesick. Apart from a few dates in June 2014, we took the summer to recharge before heading out for two months with The Contortionist. The first leg was with Periphery and Toothgrinder, and the second leg was just us, The Contortionist and Polyphia. This is where things get a little delicate, as I'm doing my best to be completely honest here, but at the same time, not everything is for sharing. In a nutshell, this tour was a major indicator that things weren't working out with Mike. The band was experiencing some issues that were not easily reconciled and everyone had mixed emotions about how things were going to play out. Personally, I was becoming uncomfortable with some things and everyone's performance was being impacted by this. After discussing things as collective, including management, we decided that everyone needed some time to think about things and we would convene after some time had passed. During that period, it had become very clear to me, that not only were there issues with the current dynamic, but I was also longing to front the group again and that I was feeling the most confident to do so, then ever before. After tirelessly deliberating, we had decided it would be best to let Mike go. We had also decided that it would be best not to leave any stones unturned, so we made auditioning for the group a public affair. With one more show in 2014 with Protest The Hero and Unearth, this was the first time in well over a year that we were returning to our roots and performing as an instrumental band again. For me, the show felt like a place that I had been missing for so long. It felt like coming home and I was ecstatic. The new year passed and Anup, Lukas, myself, and our manager met to discuss our course of action. I expressed how excited I was about the show and how it felt. I conveyed that I was more confident than ever to grab this thing by the horns and return, refreshed and recharged. It was clear that the same sentiment was not shared between us. Anup and Lukas wanted to continue searching for a new frontman, and myself and our manager were not comfortable with this. We went back and forth for some time and there was no clear resolution, but I couldn't deny my instinct to resume playing instrumental music, the way this all began.
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.
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.
If you've made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read and make sense of all this. I know there has been a lot of speculation regarding why things are the way they have been, and I felt that I owed it to those who care, to be completely honest about everything. Throughout all of this, I have maintained Intervals as 100% independent, because I truly believe in the support you've all shown over the past 4 years and you are all the backbone that keeps this thing standing upright. You all helped a kid from Toronto and his friends see the world and make music for you. How amazing is that? It doesn't stop there either. This is just a new beginning and I can't wait to show you guys what comes next.
Love and respect,
Told you it was long as fuck.