Screaming has been a part of rock music ever since Little Richard’s famous opening to “Tutti Frutti,” but it was taken to new levels as the decades passed. In the ’80s, hardcore punk bands like Black Flag and Fear and heavy metal bands like Slayer and Metallica began to experiment with how far screamed vocals could be pushed. Then, in the ’90s, death metal pushed this even further.
However, screamo is the only genre to earn the word “scream” directly in the name.
SycAmour is a local Ypsilanti band that put many screamo elements in their music, albeit diversifying it with hints of other influences. The six-piece group is made up of vocalist Jeremy Gilmore, scream vocalist Tony Sugent, guitarists Zack Ferrell and Jacob Liepshutz, bassist Charlie McCormick and drummer Victor Yousof.
“Well, our original lineup all met in high school,” Gilmore said, “Mutual friends and interests and such. Victor, Charlie and our former guitarist also all lived in the same neighborhood for a long time and were already messing around making more alternative music.
We’ve known Zack for a long time and we met Jacob playing shows with his former band.”
Their reason for starting a band is, simply put, for the music.
“Pretty much the music [inspired us to start a band],” Gilmore said. “It was just something that we wanted to do. I think we got serious and really started ‘trying to be a band’ when the three original members wanted to play the talent show and needed a vocalist. Enter me, and the rest is history.”
Liepshutz is the only member of SycAmour with formal training.
“Most of us are self-taught,” Gilmore said. “Save for early lessons from parents.”
Their influences include Chiodos, The Word Alive and The Devil Wears Prada, but their love of other styles is what makes SycAmour stand out. Their most popular song on Youtube, with nearly 200,000 views, is a cover of Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain.”
“We had some extra studio time and figured it would be fun to cover a different genre,” Gilmore said. “Everyone seems to always do pop covers though, and we wanted to recreate a song that was less typical of the pop music world. I think most people would agree Adele’s style is unique in its own right, almost more like jazz or soul, jazz and soul being styles we all really enjoy. Basically, we like Adele and know a lot of other people do too.”
About the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti music scene, Gilmore expressed disappointment in the lack of involvement from more people.
“Honestly, as of now, it doesn’t seem like too many people are particularly involved, though there are some beacons like the Metal Frat, Blind Pig and B-Side where I’ve seen some awesome performances and audiences,” he said. “Now we have to find out how to make it all more consistent and more inclusive. I think other activities take precedence in a lot of people’s lives and we need to find out how to return to what brought people out in the first place.”
The band’s name, meanwhile, is a clever play on words.
“[SycAmour is] a play on the idea of ‘sick love.’ We embrace the fact that pursuing music or any art will be difficult at times. The same can be said for promoting unconditional love,” Gilmore said.
“So our name is about self sacrificing for the sake of love. But we wanted a single word and dual meanings are always cool. So, tossing words around, we thought Sycamore stood out. We incorporated the spelling difference to emphasize the two main ideas (‘sick’ and ‘love’).”
One of SycAmour’s main goals as a band, according to their Facebook page, is to “motivate love and growth in as many people as possible.”
When asked whether he believes the band is accomplishing this, Gilmore responded, “Slowly but surely. More often than not. Being in the band allows us to meet a ton of people we otherwise wouldn’t know existed. In turn, we have the opportunity then to make some level of personal impact. Hopefully at some point we can reach more people in a single effort. But one person at a time for now.”
Through Youtube and Facebook, SycAmour has established a large fan base. They have over 9,400 likes on Facebook and on Youtube songs like “Crassinova,” “Get With the Times, New Roman!” and their “Set Fire to the Rain” cover have gotten a large numbers of views. All of this is impressive considering they are just on the verge of releasing their first EP.
Regarding the band’s future goals, Gilmore said, “To take this as far as it can go. We’re in the process of ironing out the details of our CD release and from there on it’s more shows, more writing, more networking and eventually full on touring.”
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