They pick on each other like family. Guitarist Matt Haven and bassist Jake Gilliam spit one-liners back and forth, but the more they joke the more lead singer Mark Forman focuses. He’s the serious one.
“We’re all pretty much the same misfits,” Haven says about the four guys that make up the Sparks metal band Sinister Scene. “We mesh together really well.”
Meshing well doesn’t begin to tell their story. The band has been together for a short six months and recorded its first songs after only three months. The two recorded songs, “Destination Kill” and “Carnivale” (which can be found on the band’s MySpace page by music searching “Sinister Scene”) are smooth, well balanced and, as Forman explains, recorded on the first take.
“The creative process is quick,” Forman says with a smile. “That’s how you know you’re in a good band, when it just flows.”
Forman explains that he takes influences from metal group Lamb of God and alt-rock band Alice in Chains into consideration when he sits down with Haven to write new material.
“Most of the lyrics are very positive; they’re based on personal experiences,” Forman adds. “It all comes together. We add elements of hardcore, punk, metal and rock together. You can play aggressive, fast music and be positive.”
While the members are adamant about their music having a unique sound, Haven explains the hardcore music scene is about progression and Sinister Scene is trying to push heavy metal rock to the next level. Haven said bands like Atreyu and Avenged Sevenfold are at the top of the metal rock food chain, but something new and more progressive is always a few steps behind waiting for their big break.
“We don’t want to sound like something you’ve already heard,” Haven said.
Sinister Scene is trying hard to become the next big metal band. Haven explained that the Sparks band has received a few offers from local independent labels, but is holding out to sign with a larger indie label that has roots with a large corporate label. In the meantime, Sinister Scene is playing local shows and gaining a much-needed and devoted fan base.
“This is home for me,” Gilliam said. “Anything we can do locally is what we want to do.”
“Most of the shows we play are free,” Forman adds.
“We do it to put our name out there and play just to play,” Gilliam chimes in.
The band, which jokes about the drunken raucous at last Friday’s show, understands that rock and roll stardom doesn’t always mean a rock star life. Haven explained that the band’s name comes from the acknowledgment that the record industry can be cruel.
Luckily for the band, they are getting support from sponsor Sparks Music and Learning Center, located on the corner of Baring and Vista boulevards.
Owner Mike Manning said that he has known Haven for four years and is happy to see him playing with a band that creates all its own music. Manning provides practice space and equipment for the band and believes that community support for the arts is a positive thing.
“They’re art for the community and they’re a voice for the younger generations,” Manning said as he explained how art programs help keep kids out of trouble.
Misfits they may be, but the band members are grateful for Manning’s help.
“He is a very selfless person,” Forman said. “(Without Manning) we wouldn’t be where we are now. It’s a huge help.”
And while there are still day jobs, bills to pay and dreams of the big time, members of Sinister Scene believe their day in the spotlight will come.
“I’m waiting for the day I can quit my job,” Gilliam said with a grin. “I don’t hate my job but I like being in the band because there is a hope that one day I can just play music.”
A calendar of events is posted on the band’s MySpace page. Sinister Scene will play at Decades bar in Carson City on March 9 and 15, and will play at Knuckleheads in Reno on April 19 and the Loose Moose on April 25.