Rock It Bay Interview with Dale

Seether. It rolls of the tongue nicely, excuse the pun. Snapple drinking Dale Stewart, bassist/vocalist for the South African band Seether was an engaging fellow who would have talked for hours if given the chance (believe us!) While his accent kept it interesting, we learned that this band has not had it exactly easy, but is now rising above the expectations and beliefs of some, which at one point hindered them. This now marks Rockit's 2nd non-Canadian interview (the first being Andrew W.K.), and we're glad that Dale took the time to speak with us.

Testing, one, two.

First of all we would like to know what your personal definition of music is.
Definition of music… I'd say it's like a release. Like emotionally, I'd say it's a release from whatever you need release from. It helps you out. If you're going through shit, you put on a song. I think that's the main thing for me about music. How can I say that better? That's a really good question actually.

Thank you. So number two?
Yeah. Hit me with number two. (laughs)

What's a seether?
Apparently in the dictionary it means a small, black cooking pot. To like, cook something in. But I have heard as well that Seether is European slang for vagina.

Oh?
Yeah. We didn't know that when we (decided) to be called that name. I don't know if it's true. That's what people have been saying. But yeah in the dictionary it says a little cooking pot. We just like the Veruca Salt song.

We were going to bring that up. We thought maybe, you didn't know about it.
We thought that's cool, that's catchy. We just liked it.

You should ask them (Veruca Salt.) Maybe they'll know what it is.
Well if you listen to the song she's singing about her seether. So I mean, think what you want.

But that wasn't your original name. What was the sinister connotation of it?
Yeah, we used to be called Saran Gas. With all the terrorism and stuff after 9/11 people were like we're about terrorism and all nervous and shit. It was like a terrorist thing, saran gas. They used it like in the subway bombings in Japan and a lot of people think they used it in the Second World War. Which isn't true, but it's just the kind of name that people would associate to terrorism and people were sort of scared of that at that time. So Saran Gas wouldn't go down too well. Even though it meant something different. The way we'd spelt it, Saran actually meant music of God or something like that. So we decided, we've got to change the name. But I like Seether, we got a new drummer and a new guitarist, and basically started again almost. We're a new band, with new songs and that's cool.

How would you describe the sound of your latest album, Disclaimer?
I'd say it's dynamic and diverse. I think there's something there for people who like the heavier shit, it's got some heavier songs on there. Then if you like soft ballads, something that's down tempo, we try and do that as well. Our influences come from so many different places, from like Counting Crows to Slipknot.

So all those bands are popular there? (In South Africa, where Seether is from.)
Well not really popular but we listen to them, as a couple of rock fans. We listen to anything that's cool, anything that makes you feel something. Whether it's pretty or angry.

What about inspiration? What inspires you to write?
I think just the love of playing makes you want to write music and want to just play. Also just like… I can't think of the words. You should have talked to me about half an hour earlier. I would have made a bit more sense then… Like I was saying earlier, if something happens to you, if you break up with your girlfriend or a friend of yours dies, the first thing you'll do is light a cigarette and you'll pick up and you'll just play. And that's therapeutic, it makes you feel better.

How old were you when you started playing?
I started playing seriously when I was about thirteen. That's when I started playing guitar actually.

Oh, we're starting too late!
It's never too late! I've only been playing bass for about four years. You've just got to keep at it.

Has being from South Africa influenced your style or sound in anyway?
I wouldn't say consciously but, subconsciously I think so. Maybe because a lot of shit happens, you get a lot of shit to piss you off. We listen to other South African bands and I think they've influenced us, but as far as traditional music, African music, we might listen to it now and then, but our main inspiration comes from American bands. Through word of mouth, bands like Tool or even Korn, they don't really get out in South Africa. It's like word of mouth, like a buddy goes overseas and he's like "dude there's this band and they're hot. It's fuckin' Korn." And you're like, "what, really" and you check it out and you buy the CD. So there are many American bands (that influenced us.) My favourite band when I was a kid was Metallica, and then I got into Pantera and all that shit. But now Sevendust is my favourite band.

What about Canadian bands. Do you have any that you like except Our Lady Peace? (Seether is currently on tour with OLP.)
Yeah, I like Our Lady Peace.

Had you heard of them before the tour?
I had heard of them, yeah. I was speaking to someone just now about big Canadian bands and I'd never heard of them. It's because I've never been to Canada in my life.

What Canadian bands do you know of that get played in South Africa?
Only really like Nickleback and maybe like Bryan Adams, if you want to go there.

(We are interrupted by Finger Eleven's guitarist Rick Jackett (R), who's seeking a cigarette.)

What's that? Yeah.

R: Are you in the middle of an interview?

No…
(At the same time) Yeah.

Not at all.
R: You sure?

So it's time for a cigarette, eh? I've got some matches. Sorry uh, in South Africa the rock scene is very small. That's the thing, nothing much really reaches out there, unless it's like big in the States. Or like Europe maybe.

Ann: Even when I went to Europe, it was like Vanessa Carlton (meant to say Avril!) and Nickleback. Vanessa's not even Canadian. In fact there wasn't that much American music either, a lot of it was dance.
Yeah, there's a lot of dance music in Europe. South Africa's got almost both. Dance and a little bit of the rock. But it's only like mainstream rock like Creed and Nickleback. Puddle Of Mud, like really big bands.

What about Nelly Furtado or Shania Twain?
Yeah.

Default?
They're huge, everywhere. It's crazy. They're a good band. I like Default.

The song "Hang On" is on the Daredevil soundtrack, how did this come to be? Did they just call you up?
Yeah, they wanted us to do a song. We were actually on Ozzfest and we had like an off day. So Shaun (Morgan, vocalist/guitarist) and I flew to L.A. and met a bunch of movie guys. It felt like we were rockstars in a hotel, it was cool. We met a bunch of guys and they liked the album, and (we were asked) "can we do a song?" Our record company set it up because they were actually doing the soundtrack. After Ozzfest when we had some time off and we spent about a week in the studio. We originally had two other songs that we had written that we thought would be kind of cool for the soundtrack, when we went in the studio with the producer. And he actually ran out for like forty five minutes and while he was gone we were just fucking around, we were just jamming. We came up with these chords, and Shaun started singing and we had this song, so we played it for him and asked "what do you think?" And he was like "Yeah let's put it down." We put down three songs, and that was the one that they chose. The one that we just came up with on the spot. So yeah that's on the Daredevil soundtrack.

It's good exposure definitely. Do you know what part of the movie the song's in?
Yeah it is. I think it's one of the big fight scenes or something. Apparently it's a cool scene.

So you haven't seen the movie? Is it even out yet?
No, I'll probably have to wait until it comes out. I mean we're all over the place, we can't go to premieres and shit unfortunately. That sucks.

It's cool that it's actually playing during a big scene in the movie.
Yeah it's halfway somewhere. It's gonna be badass. I've never been in a movie like it before. It's cool.

One last question, hopefully you can answer this. The song "Sympathetic" states, "My words will be here when I'm gone." What words do you hope to be remembered by?
What words? Party till you vomit and then get up and carry on. No, I'm kidding.

Do you know Andrew W.K? He's got a song called "Party till you Puke."
He's actually the nicest dude. He's a nice guy.

Oh yeah, we know. You like see him on TV and you're like…
… this dudes fucking nuts but you meet him and he's totally…

…the opposite…
…such a nice dude. Yeah, we had good times at Ozzfest. Words I'd like to be remembered by… be yourself, don't hate each other. There's nothing else I feel people should be…the rest is up to you.

There's actually one more question. You probably don't really know the answer to this. I read on your website that at one point Shaun sat with a guitar in one hand and a gun in the other, and he chose the guitar. What made him chose that?
Knowing Shaun for years now, I think why he would play guitar instead, was not to give up.

I couldn't believe it when I read that.
And also you know, not just to die and just be a number somewhere. To die and leave something behind. To whatever extent, leave something behind, even if (it's) for just one person.

Well, we're glad he chose what he did!
I'm glad too man!

How old was he when that happened?
I think he was about twenty-two.

And how old is he now?
He's twenty-four.

So it wasn't that long ago.
It wasn't that long ago, no. I think we were in the band already. We were playing already, back in South Africa, eating shit from everyone.

Yeah I read the bio. I thought it was really well written, by the way. It wasn't super happy, but I'm sure it's realistic.
It's not super happy you know, I mean, I'm always happy. I'm always like, fuck it. I don't really care, I don't really give a shit. But Shaun's been through some shit. It's hard. But it's nice now to be in a better position, when everything we've been working for is slowly starting to piece together, from the bottom up. We just hope it carries on. Hope that we can make something out of this. It's just nice to be in a place where people are starting to know who you are, songs are accepted on the radio. Having fans, people buying the albums, it's really cool when you eat shit for many years.

(In the background members of Finger Eleven have a toast to, "Really good Rock 'n' Roll")

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring musicians?
You've just got to carry on. You've just got to work hard and just keep playing. Don't forget about your fans. I think that's very important. We try to get as close to our fans as we can. After a show, we're going to speak to the people. I think that's really important because those are the people that put you on a tour bus through Canada. It's amazing, it's great and I love it. And you know, if it wasn't for those people you wouldn't have that. You can't forget about those people and you've just got to at it, you've got to work hard. There's heavy competition out there and this industry is so fucked up. So you've got to hope for the best and just play. If you want it will happen. If you want to be willing to work at it, you'll get your shot.

What do you think sucks about the music industry?"
I just think the dishonesty and the conniving and the backstabbing. The business side of it. You never really know who you can look at, whom you can trust. There are a couple people, like we have a really good manager, and I trust all the band guys, they're my brothers you know. We've had instances in the past with people that we used to work with. We trusted those people completely and shit happens. It's just crazy. It's really much a money driven cut throat industry. But getting up on stage and just playing, doing what you want to do, what you love doing, makes it all very worth it.

Do you like Canada? How are you finding it?
I love Canada. Canada's great.

What about the weather?
It's cold. It's cold! But it's beautiful. The scenery's beautiful, the girl's are beautiful, the drinks are cheap, the weed's free… you'll have to edit that out! It's great.

Do you think you guys will come back to do another tour, and play Thunder Bay again?
Yeah, I'd definitely like to. I'll move to Canada…Kelowna. I'll get myself a nice little place in Kelowna. I'll go snow boarding on the weekends, and in the summer I'll fish. An indoor fireplace, standing outside making fire, Playstation, entertainment systems, fridge, Dejourno pizza in the freezer. It doesn't take much eh? I'm just a hillbilly with a guitar. It doesn't take much to please me.