2020 was a tough year for everybody; however, for Galway, Ireland’s four-piece, Slyrydes, the band was determined to build on the momentum gained from the release of four singles in 2019. By the end of the year, their determination had seen them record their debut album following that up in March 2021 with the release of their sixth single “Boy In The Debs Suit.” Following the release of the single, V13 spoke to the group about the new record, the single, and their ongoing fight for mental health awareness.

Thanks for your time, how is life treating you today?

“Thank you for having me. Life is treating me great today, Thank you. I’m working on band stuff at home and I have my cats for company. Honestly, this is heaven to me.”

Your new single is out, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind “Boy In The Debs Suit”?

““Boy in the Debs Suit” is about missing persons and the sort of connection we can feel to them as a bystander. When you see a missing person notice I think it affects everybody. There is such a community of fear and worry around it. I think especially if you’ve been to a dark place yourself. If you’ve ever seriously considered suicide and come from that you can especially feel a jolt in your soul when you see a person has gone missing. There’s a deep connection to it. Even if you’ve never experienced these things, you can feel winded by a missing person’s picture. I’m not saying all missing persons are suicide cases. It’s always an emotional thing. I can’t begin to imagine how it is for the families involved.”

Mental Health has been a subject of huge importance to you. How are you coping with your own mental health in 2021?

“My own personal mental health is something I’ve been actively working on for about 6 years. I have good times and bad times but I have such a real motivation to not let the anxiety take over anymore. Every day is a journey and I feel I’ve obtained the tools to keep things moving in a healthy and constructive way. Jeffrey Lewis has an album called It’s The Ones Who’ve Cracked That The Light Shines Through I think there’s a lot to that title.”

People struggled in the first lockdown, then the second, and now we’re in the third, what have you done differently from each previous lockdown to make life less of a challenge?

“I’m a weird person for this. I’m going to be totally honest and say I’ve been fine with the Lockdowns. I’m only speaking for myself here, I think it would be wrong of me to be dishonest. I know the Lockdowns have been very hard on a lot of people. I’ve been lucky enough to keep my job through these things. I’m the Head Chef in a busy Restaurant. It’s obviously not like before. We’re doing takeaway and now with Lockdown three, we’re only open at weekends so I’m not earning/working as much. But I’m learning a lot about myself. We managed to write our debut album in the first Lockdown. We did that over Email, which is crazy for us. But honestly, I enjoyed both the challenge and our defiance. I’ve had a very strange sense of calm in these times. I’ve been painting which I hadn’t really done in years. I have the most amazing girlfriend and we’ve had such a great opportunity to spend quality time together with the cats. I feel like I’m rushing around less. I know the end of these Lockdowns is coming one day and I’m also excited for that. I’ve embraced the situation each time rather than let it take over me. Obviously, I miss a lot of things but I’m treating this as an interlude. I know people that are having the worst time right now and I’m totally aware of all the bad things. I just try to stay as positive as possible.”

Artwork for “Boy In The Debs Suit” by Sslyrydes

Over the course of the three lockdowns, what have you learned about yourselves as people and a band?

“We’ve learned a lot about ourselves as a band over these Lockdowns. We’ve discovered an entirely new way of writing. That’s mind-blowing to me. We don’t all live in the same town anymore so being able to write music as a band remotely has been an absolute game-changer for us. It’s also assured me that nothing can stop us.”

You’ve said you don’t try to write sad songs so, on the flip side, other than the band, what makes you happy?

“What makes me happy personally other than the band? Creating makes me happy. Whether it’s food, painting or trying to make music videos. I just love this mad urge I have to always be creating things. Also family. My personal situation is so amazing right now. I feel I’ve hit a point in my life where I have all the right people around me.”

I’ve spoken to a number of people about using music as an escape, who or what is your goto album/band when you want to escape from life?

“I have a rule where I’ve allowed myself not to have favourites. No more favourite colours, Favourite bands or favourite movies. I just love what I love. But for the sake of the question I have always felt at home when I listen to Blur. Or Nirvana. Or The Smiths. Or Joy Division. Or The Clash or… see??”

You’ve said that the mental health service in Ireland needs a lot of work. What would you say the main problems are and what needs to be done?

“I have personally had huge issues with the mental health system here in Ireland. I know the other lads in the band have had similar experiences. If you have the money to see someone privately you’re probably fine but going through the Mental health services in the HSE can be a nightmare. It’s understaffed and overbooked. Getting an appointment is tough enough which is horrible because it’s such a big step to get the balls to ask for help. It’s a real fucking kick in the guts to be told you’ve been put on a waiting list. Or there is nobody available to speak with you now, Come back in a week. In an emergency situation that’s really not ideal. It needs an overhaul. It needs more attention/funding/ staff/time/care it needs to be taken seriously. We have a mental health crisis right now. If I break my arm Im going to go to A&E and I’ll get seen. It may take a few hours but I will be seen. If I think I’m going to jump off a bridge tonight I get put on a waiting list?”

Your championing of mental health has been well documented, will this be the main theme running through the debut album?

“We speak about mental health so much because it is something we’ve had to deal with a lot as a band. Literally. We’ve had some very dark situations and playing and writing music together in a positive way is how we are dealing with that. It’s definitely a theme on our debut but we do tackle some other topics as well such as shitty celebrity culture and corrupt politicians. We have a lot to say. There are a lot of great bands around now but I sincerely feel fuck all of them are actually SAYING anything significant.”

What can you tell us about the album then? How challenging was it to write an album over the last twelve months?

“A big chunk of this album was written over email as I mentioned earlier. Now, Luckily we had about a week together prior to going into the studio so we got to play the songs live and loud and fine-tune them. We definitely decided to open ourselves to a few different styles musically. We’re all music nerds in the band. We’d be lying to everyone if we just wrote 12 angry punk songs. I think this album will show people that we have a few different gears. I feel like our sound is ever-evolving and this album will showcase that. We weren’t afraid to go in different directions. Our producer Dan Doherty is an absolute legend too. He really pulled the best out of us as he always does. He manages our crazy ideas and reigns us in when we need to reign in. I can’t stress enough how Dan is the silent 5th member of our band.”

If life starts on the path to getting back to normal from March onwards what do you hope are the main changes you will see?

“I hope people will see that things like disposable fashion are fucking ridiculous. I hope people really start to appreciate the arts. I think we’ve all missed amazing shows or events because we’ve not really been bothered at the time. I hope people will see how good we have it in that regard. Especially if you live in a city.”

Finally, the album is out later this year, what other plans do you have for 2021?

“We have no release date for the album yet. This album is our main focus for 2021. We have a steady flow of promoters inviting us for shows. We have gigs being half organized and rescheduled like any other band. I think this year we will do our absolute best to give this album and our forthcoming single the best release possible. As soon as someone hits GO on live music again you won’t see us for dust. Unless of course you actually come out and see us play. I hope to see more people come out to support more underground artists. We could all use it. We will have our ducks firmly in a row. Thanks so much for your time. Please check out our music on Spotify or whatever you use and please buy a tee shirt from our BandCamp if you can.”

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.