SYLENT STORM – A Talk With JYM HARRIS (Vocals & Drums)

Posted on January 27th. 2019

Questionnaire by Stefan on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM


Jym Harris

Yesterday I wrote down my thought on Sylent Storm’s self-titled debut EP, released through Stormspell Records. With this masterpiece they have managed to surprise me, it’s all about 80s traditional heavy metal… my alley for sure ! Many of you will never have heard of this band and that’s why I want to start a conversation with one of the founders called Jym Harris, vocalist-drummer and manager of Sylent Storm. I founded this website many years ago to show my support to diverse subgenres in rock and metal without giving a fuck about the bands’ level of fame. No preferred treatments, everyone gets the same attention they deserve !

Stefan: Welcome here at the Metal To Infinity office Jym, thank you for your willingness to cooperate with this interview. First things first, what drew you to the music industry?

Jym: Thanks for the interview, Stefan! You’ve been to kind. It’s much appreciated, really. I wanted to work in music business since I discovered my love for Heavy Metal at the wee age of twelve, or maybe thirteen. I hung out a lot at record shops & eventually got my first music retail job when I turned 21. I did pretty much nothing but record store jobs for over two decades. I had to step away a couple years back since there’s not much money in it anymore, especially being a shop owner. I simply couldn’t afford it anymore, but I have continued to book & promote Metal concerts, DJ on Metal radio, I’m a journalist (writing for a great Metal publication called BallBuster Music for twenty years), and of course play in bands!

 

Stefan: Who are your favorite musicians, list some bands – albums?

Jym: Favorites of mine change from time to time, but here are 10 classic albums that come to mind as influential:

*Metallica – Kill ‘Em All (of course I dig the next few as well but I always seem to gravitate towards the    first one)
*Lizzy Borden – Visual Lies (not Lizzy’s fave but certainly mine. From a listener standpoint, Max Norman seems to pull out the best in most bands he produces)
*Exodus – Bonded By Blood (as a whole, best thrash album ever, for me)
*OzzyBlizzard Of Ozz (again, Max Norman turning the knobs – every part of that record rules… although I admire many Ozzy records)
*Omen – Battle Cry (incredible songs, very inspirational)
*Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil (probably my first favorite album)
*Warlord – Deliver Us (Jack Rucker’s voice with Bill Tsamis’ songs and mark Zonder’s drumming together was pure magic)
*Twisted Sister – You Can’t Stop Rock n Roll (great simple blue collar Heavy Metal… super catchy songs)
*Y&T – In Rock We Trust (although they have other records that I love equally)
*Electric Angels – S/T (Jonathan Daniels writes fantastic lyrics)
*Metal Church – The Human Factor (again, so many great albums by them)

 

Stefan: What are your fondest musical memories?

Jym: Memories? Probably discovering this beast called Heavy Metal for the first time and feeling it in my bones …just KNOWING it was not some passing fad.

 

James Lind (Former guitarist & co-songwriter)

Stefan: Where when and by whom the band was founded?

Jym: I founded the band with guitarist/vocalist James Lind and bassist Matt Foster in 2013, but we had a 2nd guitarist at two different times that year. First, Randy Stevens who sort of co-wrote Patriots Of Metal, then Jenny Logan who later moved on to bigger things.

 

Stefan: The band was founded with a view on possible ambitions?

Jym: We wanted to create traditional Heavy Metal that fans of the genre would like, of course! When we put the band together, the term NWOTHM was not even being used like it is now.

There were only a handful of bands representing the old school and we wanted to be a part of the movement as well.

 

Stefan: Who are you guys inspired by and where the name of the band comes from?

Jym: I am more of a Trad Metal guy but do like melodic Thrash and a bunch of Hair Metal type stuff. James is definitely more into Power/Prog and Matt was a stoner rock kind of guy… the new lineup has a lot of varied influences.

We wanted a classic name that sounded cool and I’m a fan of contradictions where one word is delicate and one word is strong like Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard and Quiet Riot. With both words starting with S, the alliteration is attractive to me as well. I misspelled it so we would not be confused with another band called “Silent Storm”… plus misspelling Rock & Metal bands is not only acceptable but everyone knows who “RATT” and the “Beatles” are, right?

 

L to R: Mke Pugh, Jack Costa, Jym Harris, Rich Psonak, Michael Ian Brisbane

Stefan: Please explain Sylent Storm’s creative process.

Jym: I write lyrics / melodies, and arrangement a lot. I usually work with one of the guitarists on riffs, and we piece it together with the other members to make it a complete composition.

 

Stefan: What’s an average rehearsal day like for the band?

Jym: Currently we rehearse twice a week, and it’s kind of a band meeting time, too… mostly polishing up the EP material and discussing future plans.

 

Stefan: Is there a hidden meaning in any of Sylent Storm’s way of music?

Jym: No hidden meanings. Just true Heavy Metal. We are celebrating a time when that meant something, before all the sub-genres splintered off and removed the power from the original intention. It’s sort of about the unity of brotherhood. To me, Heavy Metal is timeless and placeless. It doesn’t matter where you are geographically, if you’re a Headbanger, you’re part of the family.

 

Stefan: Finally, Stormspell Records offered you a deal for the records of six song EP, how did the collaboration come about?

Jym: I had worked with Stormspell in the past when I was at the record shop. They were my first choice and I seriously did not expect that they would want us. We were supposed to have a cassette deal with another label but that fell through… still hoping someone will release the EP on tape and vinyl.

 

Stefan: Meanwhile this effort has been unleashed, you sent me promo to review so besides leading member of the band you’re also in charge as manager, right?

Jym: Yeah I wear many hats, hahaha… I’m pretty much doing all of the behind-the-scenes work as well as singing. I no longer play drums in the band.

 

Stefan: Heard and reviewed the EP recently and have to admit that Sylent Storm delivered the good, especially those hooked on traditional heavy metal music should order the piece right on. Do you agree with the words I wrote in my review?

Jym: Actually, yes. Your critiques were fair, and I am greatly appreciative for the kudos too! I had no clue this CD would be received so well.

 

Stefan: On the inlay there is a photo of a three headed band – on Sylent Storm’s FB I saw a picture featuring some other guys. Please explain.

Jym: When the band was formed, we were a trio. That’s who recorded the EP back in late 2014/early 2015. That lineup split and I moved on to other projects. While performing with other bands (like BLOODMOON WARNING) people would always ask about Sylent Storm, so I decided to go ahead and have it mixed & mastered. The entire record had been sitting on my laptop for over two years, and my friend Doug Hill took on the task of making the songs sound finished and ready for a label.

L to R: Rich Psonak, Jack Costa, Jym Harris, Michael Ian Brisbane, Mike Pugh

What you see on our site is the current lineup moving forward: Me on vocals, Rich Psonak on drums, guitarists Jack Costa and Michael Ian Brisbane and bassist Mike Pugh. I played with both Mikes in BloodMoon Warning. These guys are monsters and I have no doubt our next record is gonna be killer. I kept James Lind on board for songwriting, as he lives far away now but his creativity has been crucial since the beginning.

 

Stefan: How are the reactions to the EP so far?

Jym: We ended up on a handful of “best of 2018” lists after the CD had only been out for two weeks. The reception has been unbelievable. We have gotten back a dozen reviews, all glowing. I get complimentary messages almost daily so the stakes are high for the new album (coming late 2019 I hope)!

 

Stefan: On which topics are the songs based?

Jym: The subject matter varies from being Patriotic toward the Heavy Metal movement to Salem Witch Trials, to going insane from the insomnia caused by panic attacks, hahaha… we have some new ideas for upcoming songs too but I don’t want to give too much away!

 

Stefan:  Speaking about live actions, have you ever dealt with performance anxiety? Can you tell me about Sylent Storm’s first live gig ever?

Jym: I don’t really get stagefright but I’ve been doing this a long time. I was a painfully shy kid so it took getting used to being in front of people. It basically comes naturally now. Our first show was at Musichead in Medford (most of our gigs were back then) and we opened for Portland Oregon’s SPELLCASTER. Most of those guys have moved on to an incredible new band called SILVER TALON!

Original line-up

Stefan: Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans?

Jym: I dig talking to fans! I call them “Stormbangers” haha… I guess I’m a real “people-person” as we say in America. I just enjoy chatting with others who love Heavy Metal music!

 

Stefan: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Jym: I’ll tell you how NOT to handle it… don’t ever look puzzled at each other. Don’t let the crowd know, simply push through it, I guess. It’s not how you stumble & fall, it’s about how you recover!

 

Stefan: What can we expect from Sylent Storm in the near future, maybe a trip to Europe?

Jym: Travel plans are being worked out as we speak. I truly hope we get to play abroad, yes. Fingers crossed!!  We are gearing up for some big stuff right now.

 

Stefan: I would like to thank you again for your cooperation and hopefully you can fulfill all your plans and ambitions. What you want to inform our readers before we finally end this interview?

Jym: Please check out http://www.sylentstorm.com/ for live dates and more updates! We are on facebook and bandcamp, plus you can just google our name “SYLENT STORM” (with quotation marks) and find tons of info online. We hope we get to share our music with every single person who enjoys old school Heavy Metal. Thanks to everyone for the support, and thank you, Stefan, for the interview! Stay heavy, my friend.