Introducing: Sumo Cyco

By Ben Tipple

Sumo Cyco’s theatrically named Sever isn’t new to the music industry. Despite the relative young age of the Canadian punk-metal meets dancehall four-piece, the vocalist boasts a previous life as teen popstar, Skye Sweetnam.

“I found rock, punk and metal along my journey growing up, but things were going so well I didn’t have a chance to experiment as much as I might have,” Sever explains from a little café in London when asked about the transition from her early career to Sumo Cyco. “It took until I entered my late teens to get the confidence to take a risk and switch things up.”

The switch saw Sever give in to her alternative side. Having already scored writing credits with Tim Armstrong of punk veterans Rancid, and having provided guest vocals on one of his solo tracks, Sever already had a an idea of the direction she was heading in. With her second pop record on hold and the state of her contract unclear, Sever broke loose.

The result is Sumo Cyco; a predominantly melody driven metal outfit, with notable nods to punk and Skindred-esque dancehall (which Sever notes as one of her favourite bands during the course of conversation). With a multitude of singles and videos under their belt, Sumo Cyco now firmly have their sights set on the UK.

“I’ve been really paying attention to more international scenes. We feel like we fit over here, perhaps more than we even do in Canada. The type of music that gets played and featured, people are really open to our kind of sound. It’s been really well received,” Sever says of the UK market.

Their journey outside of their native Canada remains entirely under their control however. With a strong DIY attitude and industry experience behind them, Sumo Cyco are doing things their own way.

“We are an independent band,” Sever humbly notes. “We are slowly growing our team to help us navigate the industry for the next few years. We’re not closed off to working with a label but we have our way of doing things and enjoy that our vision gets completely thought out and presented the way we want. We have to make sure people we work with really believe in what we do.”

It’s an ethos that has seen Sumo Cyco release their own tracks, record their own videos and even make their own sets. With a b-movie theme running through all of their creative output, the band dedicate substantial time to their ever-growing community. Opting to release seven singles accompanied by a video each before releasing an album was in part to allow their fans to engage in regularly released content. Competitions to design characters for their videos has brought them even closer to their fan base.

“When we first started releasing music, for the first seven songs we literally just released a single and then a music video. We were loving releasing music that way, because it’s all about the tracks. We would just work on one song, and once it was done we could just put it out. It was a constant turn out of new music all the time,” Sever explains.

Yet the time became right for Sumo Cyco to release an album. “We kept getting asked when an album was coming out, and we were lucky enough to get a grant from Canadian government,” she continues. “There’s still an old school way of doing things. You can’t really get a single review in a magazine as much as you can an album – so there were a few things pointing us towards an full-length release.”

Although for Sumo Cyco, as with any band, the music comes first, Sever is clearly animated when discussing the horror theme that surrounds the band. “We’re big fans of b-horror movies. We love the imagery that we can create,” she says of their accompanying creative outlet. We just really enjoy that genre. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Our latest video ‘Fighter’ is me fighting a big robot in a miniature city, and I’ve spent the last 4 months building this city in our jam space. It’s been weeks of cutting out little windows and making little trees.”

With a handful of UK dates booked in, their 11 track ‘Lost In Cyco City’ LP ready to drop, and an unrelenting DIY attitude, Sever might find herself cutting out little windows way into the future.


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