One listen to “Faceless” is all it took to hook us completely on Sigils debut full length You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves. Pallbearer and YOB are the obvious RIYL jump off points but those only scratch the surface of the emanations from a band that’s endured a world completely devoid of feeling for anyone or anything different from what is tragically considered the norm. These four songs are occult, haunting, lonesome, methodical and strangely uplifting at the same time but always seem to be reaching for the stars like a young kid would reach for understanding of such a large and unknown world. And the fact that the album was recorded and mixed in a house that’s been in guitarist Tom Colello’s family for four generations just lends a personal touch to the proceedings that no one else can even get close to. Ahead of the band’s debut we had a chance to pose our Profile questions to Tom and vocalist Salvatore Rex to get their backstory so head below to see what they had to say and whatever you do, don’t miss this album. Links are included to help out in this endeavor.
How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?
Tom Colello: The first song I ever learned to play was a Green Day song. I listened to a lot of the 90s alt/radio rock stuff when I was a kid (Third Eye Blind, Oasis, etc.) and that made me want to learn how to play but it wasn’t until I got more into punk and hardcore that I wanted to play in a band and do the whole thing. I personally have achieved more than I could have imagined possible for myself and I still marvel at the fact I was given the opportunities to do what I’ve done. It’s been a wild ride!
Salvatore Rex: I think the first experience I had playing music that made me feel creative and think, “oh this is something I could do forever” was playing in some real goofy post-rock bands when I was a teen. Me and my best friend would sit around and tinker with pedals and drones and write little riffs together. It was an experience I would never trade
away for anything. I think when I was younger I wanted to be an appreciated genius. When I got older I was much happier with the creative side of the experience, rather than the notoriety. Making something worthwhile has really been the part that kept me going
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)
TC: I have lucked out in the sense that I haven’t really had to debase myself for shows or publicity mostly because I’ve never really cared for it. I’ve done plenty of debasing myself in other aspects; stealing food on tour to eat, stealing things from WalMart to sell on eBay for money to get home from tour, asking businesses for handouts, siphoning gas from church vans. The kind of things that make parents proud!
SR: I think the only part of my musical life that really makes me cringe was being one of those teenagers, standing in a mall food court, trying to sell tickets to some terrible local show to anyone that looks weird enough to show up. Fourteen year old me REALLY wanted
to open for The Bled that bad.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
TC: There’s some great music being created and recognition is being given. High On Fire winning a Grammy is pretty heartwarming. I think there’s been a little more progression in the form of inclusivity in metal and hardcore and I hope to see that continuing to grow. More voices and more perspectives can only lead to more ideas and more of that creative spark igniting. The worst thing is lingering ignorance and perpetuating of close-mindedness. As stated prior, there has been progression but it needs to keep moving forward.
SR: I think the slow but steady shift towards giving other kinds of voices and other kinds of people the space to feel like they belong, that is what I am most excited about. Seeing more non-men, non-white folk, more attention being paid to the power our bodies and our voices
have. But metal bars and metal shows will always be places where there’s a high likelihood you’re going to see some asshole in a white supremacist black metal shirt, and no one around seeing how it’s a problem.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?
TC: I personally have a passion for environmental conservation and the human and ethical treatment of animals and humans. Equality for all. I mean it’s common sense stuff to me. Protect the planet, protect each other. Don’t shit where you eat and treat others how you wish to be treated. I write about these things in other bands I play in so
Sigils is a nice break for me because I get to focus a bit more on RIFFS.
SR: This first SIGILS record deals with a lot of important issues to me. To keep it somewhat brief, it deals with the reality that we live in a world that profited greatly off the persecution, execution and commodification of women, people of color, and anyone else who dared to rattle the chains. It’s about being queer and weird and thoroughly
“other,” and finding and reclaiming some autonomy and pride.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
TC: My introduction to music in general was through my dad and I remember hearing Black Sabbath when I was little thanks to him. It was actually one of those wonderful, “coming full circle” experiences to go to The End tour with him in NYC. Over the years I gravitated toward faster and angrier stuff in the punk and hardcore world and kind of
stayed with that until I came across bands like Vader, Behemoth, and Necrophagist and got properly introduced with more modern metal, not just the tinged “cores” of the day (which I loved). From there on I just kind of listened to anything that made me feel something conveyed through lyrics or music regardless of genre or style.
SR: I think the first time I was ever shown heavy music I was just a kid, my friend’s cousin put Metallica on and told me it was, “the worst and most evil music [he’d] ever heard.” My little rebel nature took it as a dare to love it, and I’ve been finding and consuming
metal music ever since. My family have always been really supportive of how weird I’ve been. They are kind and generous people. They put me through art school, drove me to shows, they still buy a copy of every record I put out and they actually listen to it.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
TC: Personally, I don’t know how you do it. There’s so much stuff out there and I can’t even imagine how you handle taking it all in. The only thing I could say is maybe just be passionate and honest in your writing. That’s really all you can do.
SR: Spotlight more queer people, spotlight more women, spotlight more gay people, spotlight more trans people, spotlight more non-binary people, spotlight more people of color, and stop giving the time of day to every and any racist and bigot left in this genre.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
TC: We want all your money. I’d love to be able to play shows in some other countries, make my way over to some I haven’t hit yet. Not trying to start a cult but definitely a coven. I work for a distribution company owned by Sony Music as a physical inventory
manager so I get to work with labels I love on a daily basis making sure their records get out to retail. Outside of that I read and learn as much as I can, practice divination and learn more about the craft, consume sci-fi and horror media, bake, and write music.
SR: Starting a cult is definitely at the top of my list. I’ve been working on a book of poetry about rare mental illnesses which I’ve been researching. I have a record of solo piano compositions with a string quartet based around various healing rituals I wrote last year,
I’m hoping to finish that and give it away soon. Also if you ever see me at a show and want to talk about Magic: The Gathering I would be as happy as a clam.
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
TC: I’ve been obsessively listening to Chelsea Wolfe, Cave In, and Jenny Lewis.
SR: The new Pedro The Lion record is stunning. Honestly I want to add more, but it’s just that on repeat.
What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?
TC: We’re releasing the record on 22 March 2019 so leading up to that, we’ll be promoting and playing as many shows as we can. We’ll keep on writing and creating and growing.
SR: I am beyond ecstatic to release this album. Tom and I have some plans for the next one, I imagine we’ll start writing again soon.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)
Many thanks to Tom, Salvatore, and Sigils for their time!