Hyperia – Beware of Silhouettes

Tuesday, 15th March 2022

Continuing to provide blistering thrash to a new generation clamoring for younger musicians delivering quality material, Canadian act Hyperia with their second full-length Silhouettes of Horror continue to up their game in terms of aggression, brutality, and versatility. Developing catchier material and driving home solid rhythms, tempos, and mechanics that rival their contemporaries of the past, their work sits toe to toe with many present headliners. Fortunate enough to speak to all five members of the group on Skype one recent evening from their rehearsal room, you’ll learn more about the latest record, their choice to go back to a DIY release, moving to Vancouver and gaining a new drummer in the process, plus talk about thrash’s resurgence thanks to the internet, visiting Taiwan just before the COVID-19 shutdowns, and future touring/promotion plans.

Dead Rhetoric: Silhouettes of Horror is the second album from Hyperia. How would you assess this set of material in terms of the songwriting and recording – where do you see the major developments or key differences compared to your first full-length Insanitorium from 2020?

Colin Ryley: We all agree that Silhouettes of Horror is quite a step up from Insanitorium, as far as our playing goes, the recording of it, the songwriting. I think we all matured as far as musicians; we’ve become more comfortable working with each other. Figuring out our own parts and cohesively arranging our own songs in a way that we like. We all agree that it just seems to be more of a cohesive album. The riffs flowed better than the previous album, our playing has improved, I think. We’ve got more comfortable into the sound that we want to portray.

Marlee Ryley: The production is better as well.

Dead Rhetoric: You chose to go the independent route for this record after being with Sliptrick Records previously. Any specific reasons on this change, do you feel confident to be able to take matters in your own hands with the tools at your disposal better having more experience and seasoning under your belts?

Marlee: Basically, with Sliptrick, it just didn’t give us as much as we were hoping for and what we signed up for. We felt like we could do more for ourselves than they were doing for us. We are pretty business-oriented, and communicate well as a band. It’s a lot easier for us to have full control over everything, and also, we were hiring more PR guys like Jon Asher and From the Depths Entertainment, we hired a couple of people to get our name out there more. Financially we invested in ourselves.

Colin: Going off that, so far with the cycle of promotion that we’ve seen right now, we are seeing much more being done than we could have done ourselves with Jon Asher and From the Depths Entertainment. A good thing about Sliptrick is we did meet a lot of outlets that now we can reach out to independently. I think even your publication, we met through Sliptrick. That stuff is awesome. Now it’s like we have the resources that we can do it ourselves. Not to say that we don’t want to be on a label – we would be happy to sign a deal.

Marlee: Right now, we are just cool with this. Just so you know, Nuclear Blast, if you are reading this… we would love to sign with you! (laughs).

Dead Rhetoric: Where do you think you’ve seen the biggest growth behind the boards when it comes to capturing Hyperia accurately? And why did you seek out Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios to give the record that final ideal touch mastering the proceedings?

Colin: This time around we were more focused on getting things right from the beginning. Our problem with Insanitorium when looking back is we were all in a rush to get something out there. We overlooked certain aspects of performing, with the idea of fixing it later – which never seems to work out when you want it to. This time we were very adamant about getting good source sound, good performances from the recording takes. Even if it meant recording a take like nine hundred times.

Mika is really awesome. He did the Insanitorium mastering as well – and he’s been there in that capacity for my previous bands as well. The main reason for that, he’s mastered so many bands that I’ve loved growing up. All the Finnish metal bands, a lot of Swedish metal bands. I like the sound of the stuff he does, he’s really easy to work with. I’ve always thought its cool to mix your own stuff but when it comes to mastering, you want another pair of ears as well as someone who has a properly treated room and studio to do that. I think it’s worked well, for me to take care of the tracking, recording, and mixing, and then send it to him and he honestly does a great time every time.

Dead Rhetoric: Tell us about the video shoot with City Zero Films for “Operation Midnight” – what do you remember most about the intertwining of narrative and band performance sequences?

David Kupisz: The things we remember about this, when we worked with them, they were intuitive about what our image was supposed to look like. They were very helpful to try to get us to that position. Everything we threw at them, they just amped it up to that next level. The final product really spoke for itself, especially when it comes to their skill and professionalism. When we got back the final video, it was pretty crazy to see the effort they put into it. The skills in filming, narrative, production, and all that.

Dead Rhetoric: How did the idea of recording an ABBA cover with “Gimme Gimme Gimme” come into being? I feel it’s always more impressive to take an outside the box track and make it metal rather than going with a tried-and-true staple…

Scott DeGruyter: Basically, we decided as a team to do ABBA. It’s a fun song that we anticipate would be crazy live for people to scream their lungs out to. Everyone knows that song, plus we added the speedy section to make it even more metal than you can even imagine (laughs).

Colin: It was probably alcohol influenced. It’s funny, ABBA when you break down the structure of their songs, it’s quite similar to the structures of most heavy metal songs. We think it works well as a metal song.

Dead Rhetoric: Who is the biggest ABBA fan in the group?

Scott: We all really love ABBA.

Marlee: I think we would have to have an ABBA-off to see. Maybe top five songs!

Dead Rhetoric: Andrei Bouzikov once again worked on the cover art for the new record. What do you enjoy most regarding his approach, and how do you view the importance of art / imagery these days in setting the right tone for what listeners can expect from the band?

Scott: Art is basically the way… when something pops on YouTube for instance, you want to check things out. With record stores in the 70’s and 80’s to now, it’s the way music is conveyed in a visual approach. If the artwork isn’t as cool as the music, then it prevents you from reaching for the album in my experience. You look at your record collection, you look at the art, it sells merch too. Andrei’s artwork is legendary within the thrash realm, and it works with our style of music.

Dead Rhetoric: At the end of our previous interview, you mentioned traveling to Taiwan just before the COVID-19 virus infiltrated the world. How was your time visiting the country, and how have you handled personally the changing landscape of the world over the past couple of years due to the restrictions, lack of live entertainment, etc. that took place?

Marlee: Honestly Taiwan was the perfect place to be during that pandemic, it was super well.

Colin: Things were great there. If we had stayed a week longer, we would have had to be quarantined there, I think. We came back a week before the world shut down.

Marlee: They already had (measures) in place. They were taking temperatures before you could even enter a building. You didn’t have to necessarily wear a mask, but in busy areas you would wear a mask. That was even before the pandemic, on the trains it would say if you are sick, please wear a mask. They had low cases compared to the rest of the world, some of the least people that have died. The trip was awesome, it was beautiful. We went all around the island.

Colin: COVID-19 affected us probably as much as any other band. We had tours booked through Europe, UK, and Canada that all got cancelled. Which was a bummer for sure. Looking back, we’d like to think it happened for a reason. It allowed us to focus on the recording.

Marlee: As well as move to Vancouver as a band.

Colin: I remember as soon as the world shut down, we were like jamming non-stop for the first couple of weeks. We wrote an album, moved to Vancouver, found Steve Maloney who is the new drummer and he’s been killing it. You have to find the silver lining, and hopefully it works out as it should.

Dead Rhetoric: As the newest member Steve, how do you feel joining the group? What do you think you bring to the table for the band?

Steve Maloney: Joining the gang has been super. I’ve been living in Vancouver over the past four years, playing with some local bands around here. I was really impressed with Hyperia when I saw them post on one of the Facebook metal groups around here. The guys present themselves as very professional, the previous recordings were very good. That’s what attracted me towards them. What I think I can bring to the band? We have a lot of similar music tastes- Colin and I especially are fans of the Finnish metal scene. Children of Bodom is one of our shared loves, I think we grew up listening to the same stuff. Listening to the new album, it was easier to learn the song structures, and this is good band for me to join. It’s similar in style to bands I played in when I lived in Ireland. Looking forward to working with the band in the future, we have some tour dates coming up, shows east of Vancouver and maybe album three next year.

Dead Rhetoric: By moving to Vancouver, was this a conscious choice because of the active music scene there compared to Calgary, or were there other factors that came into play?

Dave: There were a lot of factors that came into play. First and foremost, Colin had a school here that he was going to be taking to do audio engineering. He postponed it because of how successful Hyperia was initially. Instead of going to school he took another year off. And then Marlee and Colin were going to move here. We talked about moving together – and myself personally, I was upset about how our venues were getting closed. I work in a restaurant as a cook and being in that field is a big passion of mine. There were so many more opportunities for this in Vancouver, so that was a big opportunity to leave. Also, the conservatives got elected in Alberta – they destroyed venues and restaurants for me, my two loves. I had no reason to stay in Alberta, outside of the very genuine and precious friends I have there. I decided it was a better move. Our old drummer Jordan Maguire felt the same way, wanting to move here with us. He departed shortly after we got here, and then we found Steve. Scott, almost a year later, he decided to come down here – he went to the island to live over there. We are all in the same vicinity. We are loving it here, the weather is wonderful, the scene is fun, and I love the restaurants. Colin doesn’t love the heat, but that’s it.

Dead Rhetoric: If you had the opportunity to teach a high school or college level course on any subject outside of your comfort zone being a musician – what area of study would you develop and why?

Marlee: I always talk about doing a Ted talk on mental health. I think I have a lot of interesting perspectives on how I deal with things, and conflict resolution within mental health. That is a huge thing, dealing with both being the person that has mental health issues and the person that is struggling because they don’t know how to help the person. That can create conflict. I would love to talk to teenagers and some adults about how to handle those issues and how to support each other.

Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on the current thrash scene – there seems to be a healthy amount of support not just for the old guard, but newer bands from all parts of the globe? Do you believe the newer generation have an added benefit of additional influences and dynamics to pull from to separate themselves from the original generation who developed the movement?

Scott: Yes, with the advent of the internet, any genre and sub-genre has found an audience. Thrash metal is no different. In the early 2000’s it was just as raging as it is now. Even more so, you have channels like the New Wave of Thrash Metal on YouTube, promoting new albums constantly. There are usually two new great thrash albums coming out per week. Traditional metal too, and thrash, both have very prominent scenes. We are living in the good times.

With the internet too, you can gain influence from any point in time. It creates a lot of diversity in the sound.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the agenda for Hyperia over the next twelve months or so to support the new album? Have any of the members been working on any side projects or guest appearances, or getting a head start on songwriting for the next record considering the extended downtime from live performances?

Marlee: For me, I did a side project with this act called Triskelion. I did one song with them, and I’m hoping if I have time, I can do more with them. It always about scheduling.

Colin: We really just want to focus on promoting the new album. We haven’t been really thinking about writing anything new at this moment. We just want to put our energy into the live shows, we have some release shows booked for Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and hit up the island as well. Potentially do Seattle and go down the coast and we have been talking with another band about potentially doing a tour of the West Coast down to California. We have loose talk about playing some one-off shows in Mexico. It’s all right now seemingly like you can plan more stuff a bit now, the world seems to almost be getting back to normal. All we can do is plan stuff and hope for the best. The rest of the year we are focusing on promoting and playing shows, maybe the later half of the year looking into writing new stuff.

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