Sectioned stands ready to provide you with what’s no doubt one of the most musically intense experiences you’ve had in awhile — at least until the new Frontierer record comes out in July 2018. Most of the members of the Scottish outfit known as Sectioned play in Frontierer as well; as Sectioned, they’ve now come out with their debut full length album, Annihilated.
It would be a mistake to gloss over Sectioned because of the intensity of their new music; they’ve got something to offer like other artists do, although their offering does function as a funnel for a massive dose of energy. Annihilated represents a major step forward for the band, which has existed in some form for about ten years. It’s only ahead of Annihilated that guitarist and principal songwriter Pedram Valiani feels that circumstances aligned so as to spark a true “start” in contrast to the false ones experienced before. Alongside Valiani in the present incarnation of Sectioned are guitar player Dan Stevenson, bassist Calum Craig, drummer Owen Hughes, and vocalist Jamie Khrist.
To be clear, Valiani doesn’t regret the work he’s done under the Sectioned name in the past; it’s simply that times change and he finds new ways to express sonic ideas. The intense band is a uniquely human project; the point of the music is not just to be provocative for the sake of being provocative. Rather, it goes beyond that, and in line with dedicated songwriters from across the spectrum of styles, Valiani’s aims include coming up with songs born in part from Valiani’s own experiences with music that give him a “boost” and that “flow,” he explains.
As he puts it: “When it comes to stuff like the shock factor of writing a heavier record, it does wear off, but you challenge that in different ways. I try not to overthink what it is that I’m trying to do. I’m just trying to write bits and pieces of riffs and music that flow well that surprise me as a listener.”
Valiani explains that he feels well-equipped to do just that at this point.
“I have a vague sort of process that I go about writing with that allows me not to get angry or frustrated in the studio,” he says. “I’ve got a set-up such that I rarely ever get to that stage. I never get annoyed; when I do, I just put it down, walk away, come back. So often, the majority of the time that I’m writing something it’s productive and I come away with something that’s tangible and useful and that a lot of the time has longevity.”
That longevity takes material that Valiani writes through a process that includes input from the other band members before a listener might ever hear it live. That process functions across the music that Valiani writes for both Sectioned and Frontierer. Although the general production principles at play lend themselves to both bands, as the uniquely human project that Sectioned is, to Valiani, it’s just not the same as Frontierer.
One of the themes that is shared by both bands through Valiani’s person is his taste for molding something that represents a thrilling artistic endeavor, even if those creations don’t resonate with people precisely how they do with him. To him, there’s just more to it than the strictly surface chaotic aspect that might stick out to the unaccustomed listener.
He explains: “The thing we keep getting thrown at is that “oh it’s chaotic, it’s chaotic” and when I see reviews, I kind of find it lazy writing. It’s like lazy journalism. I think it’s an overused term. I’m not bothered by it; I just think that there are other ways to describe it in more words than just summing it up in one. And if that’s how somebody feels, cool, but it’s not like I’m purposefully trying to shock somebody into writing a review because it sounds like noise and therefore it’s provocative or anything like that. It’s not the case at all, because I actually find after awhile when I write something, the intensity starts to wear off.”
He adds: “I get desensitized after awhile to my music, which is why I think currently with what I do, I’m trying to go beyond that. It’s almost like a fix where I’m trying to go further and further into some sort of adrenaline hole of what I get out of music.”
In the end, in line with that idea, Valiani explains that in his view good music “doesn’t have to… force you to ask questions. People often look for music like that, and it doesn’t have to; it can just be good music and there can be no bullshit about it and it can just be a really good, catchy melody. It can be a radio song — anything.”
Valiani and his bandmates aren’t in a hurry to bring their version of that “anything” to a live setting, although they do hope to do so sooner than later. For now, he explains: “We’ve got a record, it’s out, we’d rather people listened to it, absorbed it so they can enjoy the live show more and understand what it’s about. So we are not really in any rush, but we want to play shows soon.”
Get the new Sectioned album here: Annihilated on Bandcamp.
Image via Calum McMillan