We’ve covered Sertraline a few times before, but not featured them as a Band of the Day. With their new EP due out on May 15th, this seemed the ideal time for a catchup…
We originally formed in Stoke-on-Trent, but now we’re based in Leeds and Manchester.
How did you meet?
Mike met Hendo in about 2011 through the guys they used to be in a band with. Then after the previous band folded and formed Sertraline, they met Lizzie through Join My Band! This is back when we were all still based in Stoke. A couple of years later when we parted ways with our old guitarist, Mike was living with Tom (who he’d met through his uni housemate), and he was the obvious choice to join Sertraline. Then when we needed a new drummer, we met Si through a friend in another band. It’s a little convoluted, but that’s how we all met!
How long have you been playing as a band?
We’ve been together 5 and a half years now…it’s definitely flown!
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Sertraline is the name of an antidepressant. We were working off the idea that music is an anti depressant for a lot of people, our aim is to lift people’s spirits.
What are your influences?
Mike: My main influences are bands like Monuments, Tesseract, Architects, Northlane and the like. Or at least those have been the most consistent. That said, there are bands that I have loved for years who I wish I could emulate, like Porcupine Tree, or more recent discoveries like Karnivool or Spiritbox.
Tom: Monuments, Tesseract, Polaris, Periphery, Northlane always get a mention. Among the 5 of us we also have some slightly more unexpected tastes. From Ariana Grande, to Caravan Palace, to anything Phil Anselmo has touched, to Eastern European house-core.
Si: In terms of my playing style, I take heavy influences from Chris Adler, Travis Orbin, Dan Foord, and Tomas Haake.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Tom: Our music is very rhythmically driven, heavy and precise. We try to make our choruses as full and catchy as possible. I envisage the chorus being a delicious, sing-a-long sorbet sandwiched been the guttural screams of the verses. We just write and play what we enjoy!
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Lizzie: I usually write about people and events in my life. Writing lyrics is a great stress reliever and helps to process emotions. I always admire people who can write about important world issues and address them so well through music. That’s something that I am looking to do more of in the future.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Our live show is full of energy, we’re big fans of putting on an ACTUAL performance but also being able to play the songs as clean and tight as they are on track, it’s something we pride ourselves on. I honestly couldn’t count how many shows we have played, we’ve played a lot! Probably in the hundreds by now. It’s not just tours that stack up, it’s also the one-off shows and weekenders that we do throughout the year. – Hendo
Hendo: We’re quite sensible when it comes to being on stage, we try and keep our heads in the game and keep it quite professional, without sucking the fun out of it of course! I remember falling over after jumping into the crowd during a breakdown and falling flat on my ass. Then after the song finished Lizzie got the crowd chanting ‘You fell over!’ The wildest thing I’ve seen live whilst gigging has to be when we played with Ward XIV and they put on a real gnarly show with fake blood, mannequins (or could be real people) and chainsaws and stuff! Pretty crazy but fun!
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Tom: I use a Schecter KM7 MK-II usually tuned to GCGCFAD. A .76 gauge NYXL on the low G and a pack of Elixir .12 – .52 on the other strings. Dunlop Max Grip 1.14 picks (I’m a bit of a diva about plectrums). I run through a Line 6 Helix (waiting for the Line 7 to come out for that extra low end) which has been a complete game changer for me. I absolutely love the pants off of the thing. Oh, and I really want a custom strap from Epivo (The Blue Oyster Retro strap please).
Si: I use Pearl Export shells, Mapex Black Widow Snare, Speed Cobra double pedals, and a mix of Dream Bliss (the paper thin cymbals are gorgeous!), Sabian AAX & HHX Cymbals.
Mike: Gear wise I play two Mayones Duvells (a six and seven string), through Horizon Devices preamp/OD pedals and either a Seymour Duncan Powerstage 170, or a Two Notes CAB M for playing straight to front of house. Recently I’ve been implementing a Line 6 HX Stomp into the rig for everything extra! Then it’s mostly midi controlled from the laptop via a Morningstar ML5 loop switcher for minimal tap dancing.
Hendo: I’ve just recently changed to a Line 6 HX Stomp pedal which does everything from Amps,Cabs, pedals and all kinds of effects. They’re pretty impressive and the perfect bit of kit for touring. My bass, my baby, is a Fan Fret 5 string, Ibanez SRFF805. I don’t think i’d want to own any other bass! It’s bloody perfect!
Lizzie: I use a Shure GLXD-24 wireless system with a Beta58A mic. Very simple!
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Hendo: Right now we’re promoting our new EP Clouded Minds & Silver Lines which you can pledge for over on Kickstarter. You can get yourself some banging merch and a copy of the EP through various pre-order bundles! We recently released the first single from the EP (“Inside Out”) along with a music video which you can catch over on YouTube. Finally, we have another single dropping on 24th April called “Isolation” (excuse the timing of the name, completely accidental)!
What are your plans for 2020?
Our plans for 2020 are still being finalised, with everything that’s going on. However, keep an eye out on our social media channels for gigging dates which we are currently pushing back to September/October time.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Lizzie: Hands down I’d love to support Architects, and I’m sure the lads would agree! A band that we’ve not had chance to play a show with yet and would fit really well on that bill would be our pals The Human Veil, a sick metalcore/hardcore band from Manchester. Check them out if you can, they are currently releasing some new music.