interview with Act of Sin

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Have any of you played in other bands? All of us have played in bands before this one at some level of seriousness, and many of these projects involved more than one of us. A lot of our mutual friends play music as well, so this led to a bunch of bands/projects or one-off collaborations over the years and continues to this day.

How is it that you started playing music?

Nick and Dylan would often jam together in Dylan's parents' basement with a rotating cast of other musicians joining in but nothing solid developing. I'd been itching to play with other musicians again and started to join them every week or so – this was back in early 2011. We'd usually mess around with Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Kim Mitchell covers while having a few beers – nothing serious to start with.

Nick had a couple of songs written which we also started to mess around with – one of these was actually 'Breaking Point' which is still around today. The three of us noticed it was clicking and decided to try to form a band – we soon found James Benedetti to join on bass. The search for a singer took a couple of years however – we have more than a few horror stories about that process. It wasn't until early 2014 that Dylan brought up asking Matt to come sing for us, as they'd previously played together in a band during college. There was immediate chemistry and at that point Act of Sin was officially born.

What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?

Matt Paterson – vocals – 35 years old

Nick Gauthier – rhythm/lead guitar; backup vocals – 30 years old

Dave Readyhough – rhythm/lead guitar – 34 years old

Dylan Smith – drums – 30 years old

We are currently looking for a new bass player after mutually parting ways with our previous one in February of 2017

Where are you from? We are based out of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada although Matt lives nearby in Toronto.

What year did the band form? After a few years of solidifying a lineup, Act of Sin officially formed in early 2014 – recording a demo that summer and playing our first show in December of that year.

What's your style of genre? Personally I find it hard to categorize our style into any sub-genre of metal as we've evolved into a blend of our personal influences and styles. For example, I'm a huge fan of thrash metal – especially 1980's Bay Area stuff whereas Nick's more into contemporary American metal. As a guitar tandem and the band's songwriters, this led to the core of our sound. Recently, I've seen us described as melodic death/thrash metal – which seems to fit best I guess.

What inspires you? Just music in general, and our enjoyment of playing together. Anytime we have a show or rehearse its always a great time playing and hanging out.

How often and where do you reherse? We rehearse at Rehearsal Factory in Mississauga, Ontario – it's a great facility and also a convenient halfway point for everyone to meet at. When our personal schedules allow, we jam weekly – more often if we have shows coming up.

How have you developed since you started with the music?

I can only speak to my personal experience, but since rediscovering guitar as a teenager I've come a long way. Back then, I was a simple three chord punk guitarist. As my musical taste shifted further and further over towards metal, my guitar skills developed accordingly. My biggest jump was when I took a few years of lessons with Glen Drover, formerly of Megadeth. Along with obviously accelerating my lead guitar playing skills, he taught me a lot about songwriting and composition. I really can't say enough about how much those lessons have impacted my musical career. I know that Nick had a similar experience taking lessons with Kyle McKnight, who was the original lead guitarist from Threat Signal – a local band from Hamilton who ended up getting signed to Nuclear Blast records.

As a band overall, we've managed to develop into a tight cohesive musical unit. Our focus has always been to put on a tight, engaging and exciting live show first and foremost. Up until releasing a single at the start of last year and then our first EP in the fall, we had to rely on our live performance to build a reputation and a following for the band.

Do you have any interests of work outside the band? From learning to do a lot of the groundwork ourselves, a couple of us have found new interests. Nick has taken over most of our graphic design as of late, and is branching out into doing it as a side job. Matt also took the lead role in booking our EP release shows in the fall, including our hugely successful Beer Bash show in Toronto. This has led him to actually book and promote outside of the band, as well as continuing to work on our next Beer Bash event.

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? It's not something we've really discussed at all to be honest. We've worked with some great promoters in the past few years - Eric Camilleri from Chaos Promotions was a huge help and hooked us up with some big shows when we were virtually unknown. Over the past year or so, we've actually been booking and running a lot of shows ourselves – Matt has become very good in this role. Moving forward, a booking agency is realistically something we'd have to consider in order to get to that next level

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? Again, like the booking agency this is not something we've put much thought to as of yet. We've had a great response to 'Casting the Second Stone' since it's release in September 2016 – a label is something we'd have to take a look at when it comes time to work on a follow up album.

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? Nick and I write the songs individually then bring them to the rest of the band. The two of us don't write collaboratively at all, but we often will bounce a song to each other for constructive criticism before presenting it to the rest of the guys. One key difference between our writing styles is that Nick will also come up with drum tracks for his songs when composing in Guitar Pro, whereas I leave that up to Dylan to figure out. Once we start working on a new song, Matt will then start to come up with lyrics and vocal patterns as we jam the song out at rehearsal or at home.

Do you compose in a certain environment? Just at our respective homes, for me its usually in my living room and often late at night.

Have you done any covers live? Though we haven't played it in almost a year, we did do a cover of 'Bad Habit' by the Offspring for a while in the set. We transposed it down into drop C tuning and played around with the arrangement a little to make it into our style. It actually used to get a really good reception when we pulled it out and was a lot of fun to play, especially since I grew up playing in a punk band. We may try something similar again in the future, but right now we have more material than we usually have set time so there's no room.

What language do you sing in? English

What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? Least attended was at the Velvet Underground in Toronto a couple of years ago. It was a Thursday night and I think we were booked for it less than 48 hours beforehand. Besides the other band, who was an indie rock trio there was maybe a half dozen people there. It's part of the territory though for any band starting out and trying to build a name.

What ages are most of your concert attendants? Woonly played a few all ages gigs, so the usual majority is 19 to 35 but there's often a lot of older people as well. It can really depend on who we're playing with and where.

Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? We will usually come up with a setlist and stick with it for a series of shows. This lets us really focus on perfecting the transitions between songs and the overall flow of our set. We usually only have 30 minutes to play, so we work hard to make the most of it and play as many songs as we can. If we have 30 minutes, 29 of them will be music.

Do you have a regular place you play live often? If we play a show in Hamilton it's usually at Club Absinthe if it's a bigger show or supporting a touring act. Our favorite venue though is Doors Taco Joint & Metal Bar in Hamilton – it's a small place but we feel very comfortable playing there and it's almost an unofficial second home for the Hamilton metal scene.

What was your first gig like? Our first gig was a Wednesday night in December of 2014 at the Cage in Toronto. It wasn't a great turnout but it went well and turned out to be incredible important in our band's career in retrospect. We played that night with Men to Wolves, another Hamilton band as well as with a band from Toronto called Thirdrite. We've become great friends with the guys in both of those bands, have gigged together numerous times since and have played both of their album release shows. Fittingly, both of those bands played at our Beer Bash 2 EP release show in Toronto last September when we put out 'Casting the Second Stone' so it came full circle.

What was your latest gig? We played on February 4 at the Bovine Sex Club in Toronto as part of the Heavy as F#&k contest series. It was probably our best show in a while and the place was packed as all the bands brought out a good crowd.

Have you had to cancel a gig? No, mainly because we're very organized when it comes to scheduling. This is out necessity as some of us have kids, some work rotating shift schedules, as well as all the other commitments in life. We make a habit of having quarterly band meetings where we all come with our personal schedules and put them all down on a calender to find what dates are available for everyone. We've had to turn down great show offers due to not everyone being available, but we've never had to cancel a show once we've agreed to play it.

Where have you played live this year? So far this year our only show was the Toronto one at the Bovine.

Where do you plan to gig the comming year? There's lots of places within a few hours drive that we haven't played yet, so we are working on making contacts in those individual music scenes to help us do that. Now that we have the album out it's a little easier to get out of town shows compared to before. Beyond that, we'd love to make our way up to Montreal this year as it has a great music scene. We've also begun planning for our next in the Beer Bash series of shows which we hope to throw this spring in either Hamilton or Toronto.

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? We've had t-shirts for a couple of years now, and currently are selling two different designs as well as tank tops. We also have our CD 'Casting the Second Stone' for sale as well as stickers. Previously, we had a small number of Act of Sin pint glasses which were a big hit. We have some beer coozies coming soon and we're bouncing more ideas around.

Where can people buy your merchandise? It's all available at our website ActofSin.ca – just click on the Merch tab.

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? There's honestly nothing you can do about it, its become a fact of life. For a band at our level, we think it's more important to just get our name out there and have our music heard so it's not necessarily a bad thing. That's why we have the whole album up on YouTube now as well as for free digital download from our website. It's kind of funny, because a few weeks ago I went on a bitTorrent site with the intention of actually figuring out how to post our album. When I logged on, someone had posted it four hours earlier and I was shocked to see it at the top of the page. Since then it's been downloaded over 700 times – which is great as far as we're concerned.

How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? There's been a huge change over the years, especially with how even major bands handle the release of their new albums. Take Metallica for example, they posted a music video for every song online in the days before it was available for sale. Bands and labels have needed to come up with new promotional tools and hooks to get people to buy a physical copy like added bonuses. I think too though, the emergence of streaming services like Spotify has changed things. People don't need to be a little tech-savvy to pirate their music because most of it is available to listen to for free in many different places.

How do you get psyched for a gig? We usually have a few beers to loosen up, then about half an hour before we play we'll start getting ready. Each of us have our own little individual routine to get limber and warmed up. Playing a set of metal can be physically demanding, so we all have do a little stretching too just so you don't cramp up onstage. Other than that, about five minutes beforehand we'll make sure we get enough beer on stage for the set.

Do you have any new material? We have a couple new songs that we've been starting to jam on with the intention of getting them into the set soon, as well as a few more still in the incubation stage. Some of our songs like 'Breaking Point' we've been playing for years, so if nothing else we need to keep it fresh for ourselves. That said, we will continue to focus on promoting 'Casting the Second Stone' as we add new material – especially if it's somewhere we're playing for the first time. Beyond that, Nick and I have had a lot of discussion about the direction of our sound moving forward and we're both excited on writing our next album.

What are your web sites? Our offical website is www. ActofSin.ca – from there our album 'Casting the Second Stone' is available for streaming, digital download or CD purchase as well as other merchandise. We can also be followed on social media at: www.facebook.com/ActofSin

How can people reach you? Via email at act_of_sin_band@hotmail.com or through messaging the band page on Facebook.

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