AN INTERVIEW WITH SIGHTMARES
Rough and riotous, Sightmares embody British grime and all night benders. Following the dissolution of Vague, former members Bryn Stagg (bass and vocals) and Hugo Kiff (guitar), wiped off the lipstick prints and enlisted Ryan Frankish (drums) to record their debut EP. Meant to be blasted at ear splitting volumes while you give shitty stick-n-pokes and chain smoke cigarettes, the 3 track EP delves deep into the psych-rock realm. A drastic change from their perpetually bored Driffield days, they showcase their own individuality and the punk mentality of doing whatever the fuck they want whether you like it or not.
WHO ARE YOU OUTSIDE OUTSIDE OF THE BAND? HOW DO YOUR HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF MUSIC INFLUENCE THE BAND?
RYAN: Outside the band I am a music student, don’t do a lot else really, I’m just a very talented, handsome young man. All I really do hobbies wise is play football and do as little exercise as possible so I try and put stamina and speed into drums, that’s about it.
BRYN: I’m currently studying fashion design which is another platform for creativity. I like using music genres & subcultures as a key point in my work most of the time and vice versa with the music we make.
HUGO: Outside the band I am a biology student. My life basically revolves around that and the band. The only other hobby I have other than music is getting drunk which is slightly tragic but hey it’s all good fun.
BRYN AND HUGO, YOU GUYS WERE ORIGINALLY MEMBERS OF VAGUE! HOW HAS YOUR TIME IN VAGUE + THE TRANSITION INFLUENCED YOUR MUSIC NOW?
RYAN: Doesn’t involve Razzle Dazzle.
BRYN: Vague felt like a mini prologue of what’s to come with Sightmares. I held back during Vague with the checklist nitpicking we had and I got bored. we ended on bad terms at the time with Vague left derelict on social media and unable to gig - it was a real shame. With Sightmares however it felt like an independent band both me and Hugo were really behind - of course taking Ryan on would bring a totally different experience for us and we wouldn’t change that at all.
HUGO: The transition has been good in my opinion, both of us were sick of Vague by the end and therefore wanted to create something completely different. We got rid of the overly dramatic songs that seem to go on forever without any real destination, swapping them out for punchy, up-beat bangers that just make you want to fucking move about. I feel Vague for us, no matter how many good times we had, showed us what music we didn’t want to play.
TELL ME ABOUT THE MOMENT YOU GUYS DECIDED TO BECOME A BAND.
RYAN: Bryn rightly thought I was a sick drummer on instagram so he messaged me to come for a jam because some other donut cancelled on them last minute. I went over there and we literally clicked, Hugo was horny for what I wanted to do with Stoop because it was meant to be a lot slower and I wanted to throw in a shit ton of fills and speed it up.
BRYN: Me and Hugo were always itching to gig again after Vague’s downfall so jamming in spare time was always inevitable especially with material we hoarded over the months. Finding a drummer was another story though, with Driffield being the back and beyond, looked about online for a couple months until we found Ryan who brought a brand new twist in the music we would write.
HUGO: It was the second Vague died, Bryn and I had already written a couple of new songs together before Vague disbanded and we couldn’t wait to get ourselves a drummer and start playing again. The first thing we did was get jamming again!
YOU GUYS HAVE A HEAVY SOUND, HEAVIER THAN VAGUE. WHAT DREW YOU TO THAT? CERTAIN ARTISTS?
RYAN: I wasn’t in Vague but the Rogues, my old band, was of a similar genre and there was only so much I could do with indie rock, I felt quite restricted. I have always been into punk and the lads might tell you different but I believe I am a huge influence to the punk sound simply due to my influences of The Ramones, Blink-182, Neck Deep, Rise Against, Sum 41 and Linkin Park so my sound alone brought a whole new aspect to Bryn and Hugo’s tunes along with the ones we wrote.
BRYN: In my opinion Vague’s aesthetic had held me back from the music I’d rather play myself and get a better kick off, with people comparing Vague’s music to Longpigs/Pulp etc it didn’t feel like it was music I would listen to myself if I wasn’t in the band. Kasabian, Joy Division, New Order, Black Sabbath & Pixies etc are bands off the top of my head that initially brought me to where I am.
HUGO: Yeah it’s far heavier, I think that as opposed to being drawn to punk we were just sick of indie rock, wanted something with a little more bite. For me, Frank Turner, he’s folk punk, more in message than actual sound but he’s the one that got me into it all
MAIN INSPIRATIONS WHEN WRITING YOUR FIRST EP? WHAT DID YOU WANT TO EXPLORE IN YOUR SONGWRITING? THEMES YOU FIND YOURSELVES COMING BACK TO?
RYAN: I wanted the EP to be fast and a punch to the gut sort of music. I also wanted the drumming to be as full up as possible, fills, rolls, technical grooves and if you’ve listened to the EP I’m sure you’ll agree I succeeded in doing so.
BRYN: With this being the first recording of a band that wants better tunes pushed out, we prioritised on the variety of tracks for our debut EP. “Stoop” was our first track written off the bat after Vague split up, “Liverpool” is your chill vibey track and “You Bleeder” is one of our heavier tracks so by bringing this variety we’d show that we aren’t like other bands who are primarily ‘indie rock’. The general vibe I got off from writing this EP was mainly getting pissed off with people, being a pushover, holding back from aspirations then simply going out to resolve it with alcohol whilst being skint like nothing happened - that to me is what sums up Driffield and the surrounding area.
HUGO: I don’t write lyrics so I try and convey my emotions through my guitar work. I wrote the basis and structures to “Stoop” and “In Loving Memory.” “Stoop” was an outlet for heartbreak on the guitar side which is completely different to the finished song. I like that though as it is, as if the shit stuff that I poured into my guitar work is overpowered by the energy of the lyrics and drums… minimising what my thoughts were at the time of writing… if that makes any sense. I think the main theme of all my stuff in the EP is just energy and passion, those two things made it what it became.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF “LIVERPOOL?” WHAT INSPIRED THAT SONG? IS THERE A CERTAIN SENSE OF NOSTALGIA THAT COMES WITH IT?
HUGO: It’s where I live! I go to uni here and I fucking love the city. It’s so disgusting and horrible but it’s so beautiful at the same time. I wrote the guitar for “In Loving Memory” when we had a week of really good weather and then suddenly it just turned to shit again so I wanted to write a really summery tune to kind of satire the fact that the weather was bad.
CAN YOU GO IN DEPTH WITH “YOU BLEEDER?” WHAT DO THOSE LYRICS MEAN TO YOU?
RYAN: My mum shouted at this geezer once because he shouted at her first and she couldn’t think of an insult so she told this fella “Fuck off, You Bleeder!” I later insulted Hugo with that as it’s hilarious and that’s how that tune name came about.
DESCRIBE THE EP WITHOUT USING MUSICAL TERMS - WHAT FEELINGS/MOMENTS/PLACES IS IT MEANT TO EMBODY?
RYAN: It’s just full on energy to me. The Rogues split up in 2016 after some decent gigs and since then all I’d done in two years is college and smash out the simpsons so I was raring to go with a bang when we got together and nailed a punk sound.
BRYN: The EP for me embodies the reality we live in, everyone worrying about the inevitable future whilst winging life like there’s nothing wrong. The importance of where we come from and what it brings is imperative otherwise we wouldn’t have had our base influence for the music.
HUGO: Anger, passion, happiness, heartbreak with a dash of hatred and a bit of love. Honestly, I poured everything into my side of it.
SOMETHING ABOUT THE EP THAT NO ONE KNOWS?
RYAN: Me and Hugo tried back up singing in “In Loving Memory” but it got cut because we sounded shite. Me and Hugo had a scrap in the snooker room and we’re still awaiting on a point decision.Ryan is the Knob Goblin.
BRYN: Hugo and Ryan battered each other in the snooker hall whilst waiting at the studio, it’s still undecided who came out on top. Ryan is the knob goblin.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE ATMOSPHERE OF LIVE MUSIC CHANGES THE WAY PEOPLE LISTEN VS ONLINE STREAMING? FAVORITE THING ABOUT LIVE MUSIC?
RYAN: Live music is class, I try to throw my sticks, do windmills, mosh and sweaty stuff like that to enhance the show, nothing can beat an energetic live performance from a punk rock band. Streaming is decent when you’re in a chill mood or you’re feeling sorry for yourself, which we’ve all done. But live music wins hands down.
BRYN: Online streaming is all good for chilling at home in the bath but I much prefer gigs - both watching and playing. Having some drinks with everyone to see music live is as social as it gets, literally a night out with live music!
HUGO: Live music is just the fucking best. Spotify and all that are good, but nothing can ever compare to actually feeling the music running through your whole body like you do at a gig. It’s such a beautiful thing and being on stage just takes that feeling to a whole new level because not only can you feel the music, but you are creating it. It makes me feel whole.