POMN Interview

For anyone out there who is not aware of it, the USA has been invaded by forces from the depths of South Africa, and have in fact taken root right here. That force is SEETHER, who have taken the airwaves by storm with their first US release DISCLAIMER. Formerly known as Saron Gas, they thought a name change and scenery change was just what they needed to make it big, and if response to their singles Fine Again and Gasoline is any indication, they definitely are on the way to chart domination if they keep going like this.

I met up with the band as they appeared at the Roseland Theatre, and sat with bassist Dale Stewart and vocalist Shaun Morgan, who gave up with some band history as well as future plans. Join us now in the dungeon that is the "green room" in the Roseland's underbelly as we find our conversation in progress.

BOB: Thanks for joining me guys. How is the touring going this time around?

DALE: It's going well. We went home for the holidays, back in South Africa. I don't know what the other guys did- probably went to Vegas for Christmas and New Years while we had three weeks off. Coming back on tour, the first two shows were a little bit shaky.. The first one was in San Diego and was a little bit shaky, but it has improved and the last few shows have sold out. They are playing the song more on the radio now.

BOB: Yeah, the local stations here are playing 2 of the songs pretty heavily.

DALE: Luckily some radio stations have actually playlisted the first single, Fine Again, so the fans are already becoming more familiar with us. It should be interesting to see how it runs it's course.

BOB: I understand you have released a couple albums prior to this one on Windup Records.

DALE: Yes, we put one album out in South Africa as Saron Gas, which is what we called ourselves at the time, and that is actually how we got signed. We sent that album to Germany, and they liked it there but they weren't signing any non-German bands. They did like it though and passed it on to Wind-Up in New York, and they pretty muched showcased it immediately. We were totally stoked and we feel very lucky.

BOB: Do you occasionally play Saron Gas tunes in your live shows?

DALE: We do actually. Some of the songs are the same on DISCLAIMER as they are on the first album FRAGILE, in fact I think six of the songs are the same. Fine Again was on FRAGILE-of course we re-recorded the songs for DISCLAIMER, but they sound basically the same. Songs like Driven Under, which is our second single, was on that album as well, but we totally changed that one around, as well as 69 Tea. Most of those songs we changed, but Fine Again was kept exactly the same as it was on the first album.

BOB: Yeah, Fine Again is definitely a well-formulated tune, and I feel it is fantastic just the way it sits.

DALE: It does work very well. We actually recorded that song four times to try to get how we wanted it.

BOB: Is that first album FRAGILE available now or will it ever be re-issued later?

DALE: The FRAGILE album is available on the internet, but I'm not sure what site. It can be found, but it's under Saron Gas.

BOB: Is that your own label?

DALE: No, that was our band name until we moved over to the United States and all of the terrorist threats were going on. It was pointed out that perhaps that might not be such a good name. We were actually signed there under a label called Musketeer, which was owned by this computer software guy we knew.He told us he'd sign us and make our CDs and distribute them, and here we are- we did it! And he wasn't even in the music business, he was just a computer guy and a businessman!

BOB: You must feel pretty lucky, because it is pretty hard for a rock band to make it in South Africa.

DALE: yeah, it's very hard for a band, especially a rock band, to hit it big because the percent of the population that listens to rock is very small. They listen mostly to pop music and traditional Africaans music and there isn't really a rock scene. There IS, but it is very small. We were very near the top of our game over there, but you can't really take it any further than that and you start to stagnate. So we sent the cd to Germany and planned on moving to Europe, but it just worked out that we ended up here. Had we stayed there in South Africa we wouldn't have gotten far at all. We got lucky, because look how many South African bands made it big here? None that I can think of.

BOB: Well now, you can't forget Trevor Rabin and RABBITT. They were huge over there.

DALE: That's true, and you must realize that those were terrible times in our country, with the apartheid and all that shit . It held back the progress of South Africa in more ways than one. I am quite grateful that we made it out, because there are a lot of good bands that will never make it out.

BOB: It sort of seems like a lottery in a way, because even here there are a plethora of acts that put out great music and never make it, and then you look at Brittney and Backstreet Boys who are making millions on what they do. It doesn't seem fair sometimes.

DALE: That's the thing. I think we've pretty much laid our bases now. It is now a case of building on it. We pretty much played shows throughout America, and we are starting to re-play these places now, so it's cool to sell out a place where before we played for maybe twenty people last time.

BOB: You seem to have gotten the attention of Portland, because there are already people lining up outside.

DALE: That's awesome. The last few shows have been like that and it gives me a good feeling.

BOB: I happened to catch you guys on KUFO last night just as you were playing a new or unreleased song. I just caught the tail end of it, but it sounded cool. Is this to indicate that you are already working on the next record?

DALE: Well, that was one of the songs from FRAGILE as well, but we just never released it here. We have, however, been writing new stuff all along, including one song for a soundtrack, and at the same time we recorded two other new songs that we hope to include on a new album. On the road we occasionally come up with new things. Most of that is acoustical jams that we record and hope to work into something later, and sometimes we'll test them out at soundcheck. But I think before we actually go into making a new record we will tour this one as much as we can, and then take about two months off where we can sit down and do some serious writing in the studio.

BOB: Yeah, I imagine working out new songs will be a quite different thing than playing songs that you have had around for ten years. As they say, you have your whole life to write your first record- after that time isn't as plentiful.

DALE: That's true, and also we have had new members brought into the band who add their own flavors to the sound. So I am quite excited as to what future music might come to the band. But we do plan to take our time and work at the next record at our own pace rather than try to rush one out.

BOB: Well you guys have a great sound and if you keep up the work and caring for the craft, it will most certainly pay off. One thing you have on your side is Shaun's vocals. That guy has the best tone and I would be willing to go out on a limb and say that when he gets older, he will even sound better.

DALE: I know, and when the vocal chords stretch out with age, I think it will just add to that "husky" type of vibe. That's another thing-with Shaun's lyrics it is, like you mentioned, open to interpretation. It's not "think this-do that", but he'll say things in such a way that you can interpret it as, or relate it to something that is personal to you. People will ask "what is that song about?" and it's like, I can't tell you or every time you hear the song you'll think of that. Make up your own meaning and relate it to your own life.

BOB: But there will always be that one twisted individual that will read in the wrong things, and possibly be seen running around town with a can of gasoline looking to torch his girlfriends house.

(the band laughs )

BOB: Have you got videos planned for this album?

DALE: Yeah, well we've got the video for Fine Again, and we were actually in LA for a week before this tour, and we shot more video for a couple of songs. One for Driven Under, which will be out in a few weeks, and another for Sympathetic, So basically those videos are done and we willl just tour.

BOB: Have you filmed any live shows for possible inclusion into a DVD?

DALE: You know, I have a hell of a lot of stuff on tape, just in my personal collection with all kinds of shit from Ozzfest to these shows, so I have a ton of live footage. Possibly even enough for a live DVD. but if we did do a DVD I would like to bring along a producer on the road and catch us as we really sound and look, but in a more professional light. But it might be wiser to do this when we are more established, maybe after this tour has run it's course. Then when we are working on the next record we can bring out this DVD to buy us some time! Of course, my videos would have to be edited due to the nature of some things on them. (laughs) After all, we don't want to get stuck with a 21-plus rating.

BOB: Hehe...yes, some of your audience is still young and impressionable. Do you guys all have home studios, or bring an ADAT with you to record those moments of brilliance?

DALE: No, we don't do much recording on the road, but when we do I usually just set out my camcorder, which records pretty damn good. Then we do have a little ProTools and a little Mac I-Book which we can foolm around with. It's sort of difficult to set up on the bus, as we have limited space. But we will sometimes gather in the back lounge and kick back.Otherwise if we are somewhere for a week in a hotel room we will set it up there.

BOB: Well, it sounds like you will have plenty for your next record, but before we go I'd like to say that THIS album is one of the best debuts to come up the walk in a long time, so play it out as long as you can. Dale, thanks for taking the time to talk with me on behalf of POMN.com, and thanks for the music!