Protosequence is a progressive, djent-y, deathcore band from Edmonton that is about to release its latest EP, Biophagous. And when I say “about to release,” I mean it comes out tomorrow. As is the custom these days, the request went out to Decibel for us to stream their forthcoming EP so those unfamiliar with the band can try before they buy. This sort of thing has become the way of the world these days, so in order to counter that and offer up something a little different, we gathered the band and only gave them one interview question: talk about each of the four songs on the new EP, which technically isn’t even a question. So, given those instructions, that’s what they did; the different members discussed each of the songs from the perspective of their role in the band, from the lyrical ideas and writing to the recording and theoretical nitpicking. You obviously won’t come out of this exercise knowing the usual informational nuts and bolts of the band like their history and how they formed, but hopefully this will shine some light onto the band’s creative process.
Joe McKee [vocals]: “Parasitic” is a song that lyrically brushes along the topic of the human condition. Basically, we are just shitty for this planet [so] why not try to make the world a better place? Regardless of your stance on climate change.
Logan Vars [drums]: “Parasitic” is a super-fun song to play; high energy for most part, with a nice chill section at the end. It has some of my favorite fills in it too.
Dylan Parker [guitar/backing vocals]: This song is one of the more straight forward songs on the album. Usually, Kyle and I use a lot of polyphony in the songs, but in this one it’s just harmonies really. Lots of fast riffing and a nice darker vibe with a chill ending. Tylor Dory (Death Toll Rising and Tylor Dory Trio) tracked guitars for us, and in the studio we had the idea to put a piano part in, which Tylor wrote. We couldn’t be happier with the results.
Kyle Hunter [guitar]: This tune was difficult for myself to record, being that there are a variety of techniques used on the guitar at a high tempo (tremolo picking, string skipping, etc…) From a theoretical standpoint, the majority of the song is written using C# Phrygian dominant, mainly being outlined with the use of diminished arpeggios and the augmented 2nd within the scale (between the 2nd and 3rd degree) emphasizing that Phrygian dominant sound. Towards the end of the tune after the clean guitar and piano break, the song becomes more stable resolving to the diatonic minor, which is F# minor.
Joe: “DFL” is a song that came to me while listening to the music of my youth. I thought to myself, “Why not have a song about my teenage angst”? To be completely honest, I consider this to be the black sheep of the album. I’m not proud, but it’s there. The title (“Dissecting Final Lullabies”) was another thing I was not stoked on. So, we just made it “DFL” until we could come up with a new one. Over time, the acronym of “DFL” turned into such titles as ‘Doug’s Foot Long,’ ‘Down For Lunch’ and many more. Protosequence being Protosequence we kept it.
Logan: “DFL” is the oldest of the songs on the EP, despite that it’s one of the most challenging for me. Also, Diaro Irvine’s guest vocal part is insane. Make sure to check out his band Plaguebringer.
Dylan: As mentioned by Logan, “DFL” is an older track. Again, one of the darker songs on the EP, it has a very Schizophrene [a previous release] vibe to it. So, fans of our older stuff will really enjoy it.
Kyle: As mentioned by the other members this song is the oldest one of the four. At the time it was written, I was heavily influenced by deathcore, so it draws a lot of influence using breakdowns, dissonance, fast-paced staccato riffs and clean passages. This one is also settled in a Phrygian dominant sound, but in the key of F#. Overall, it’s a straight ahead deathcore tune.
Joe: “Shepherd” is a song about my father giving me advice at a younger age. Taking this advice sheltered me from caring and engaging into people’s lives. The older I became the more I realized he was only protecting me from saying too much or the wrong thing.
Logan: This song is one of my favorites to play on the album. I love blasting and playing fast but this song gives me an opportunity to add some extra feel and dynamics. Definitely one of the songs that the crowd seems to react very positively to in a live setting.
Dylan: “Shepherd” is our power ballad of the album. Definitely the sappier, groovier one of the bunch. Lots of clean sections with powerful melodic lead lines. Personally, this is the song on the album that gives me goosebumps every time I play it. Lots of feels.
Kyle: I remember with this song I wasn’t sure if it would flesh out to become a Protosequence track being that when I had the first minute or so on guitar written it was very sappy and a majority of it written on piano. Eventually with transposing the music to guitar and changing the main melodic idea to bass it turned out to be a song with a lot of emotion and substance. The main movement in the beginning uses a chord progression of C# minor, A major, F# minor and G# minor. This progression is based off of a i-bVI-vi-v idea which is quite a popular sequence of chords because it has a strong pull to go back to the tonic. The entire song is also mainly modal, being entirely written in C# natural minor.
4. “THE HATE SUBSIDES”
Joe: This song is about a personal friend’s hardship throughout the last couple years and my feelings of hopelessness towards helping him. This is also the only song that has a repeating chorus section in it.
Dylan: Now this song features a lot of polyphony. “The Hate Subsides” is a technical, melodic rollercoaster. We go from feel changes to the heavy harmonizing of different riffs. In fact, a section of the song was written when a riff was accidentally pasted on top of a different riff in Guitar Pro. It just worked so we decided to leave it. Personally, the most challenging of all the tracks on the album. Expect a playthrough soon!
Kyle: This song was also another one that was difficult to record. Similar to “Parasitic,” “The Hate Subsides” utilizes a lot of techniques on the guitar. The first few riffs were heavily influenced by the band Fallujah taking a more progressive approach with some time signature changes and feel changes. Another song written mainly using F# natural minor being that we tuned our guitars based around that note. This one I’m particularly stoked and also kind of scared to play because it’s fairly challenging, but in my opinion is never lackluster or boring to play.
Logan: I totally agree with Kyle in that we were heavily influenced by Fallujah in this track. I really enjoy this one because of the syncopated rhythms and some fun blasting parts. This was the last song I laid my drum tracks on toward the end of two days of recording. Going into the studio with Greg was very casual and stress free despite my initial trepidation. This song goes out to my two dogs, Butters and Cosmo.