By: Gemma Mastroianni
Sicayda is an alternative shoegaze band based out of Toronto. Their sound is built of layered melodies, rich tones, and melancholic characteristics.
Kevin Tipan is on guitar and vocals, Marcos Villar plays guitar and synths, Ian Fragomeni is on drums, and Zachary Clarke is on bass. The guys came over to my basement apartment and I learned a bit more about them.
Tipan and Villar have been friends since elementary school and began playing together in high-school. They both grew up with parents who were zealous with religion, so they were both listening to strictly Latin music that aligned with their culture, along with easy-rock hits.
As they grew older, they were looking for more music to listen to and became intrigued by Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and more. They eventually got into Alternative rock including Radiohead, Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, and Stone Temple Pilots which lead them to their interested in Shoegaze. As they explored more music, they began molding their influences together and formed Sicayda.
Why the name Sicayda? As three out of the four members are Hispanic, they wanted to take inspiration from their culture. It's inspired by 'to fall' in Spanish. They went with Sicayda because of it being a bug. An early rendition of the band was originally called 'Humbug', but they went with Sicayda, sticking with the theme of bugs.
They stumbled upon Fragomeni after they posted an ad on Facebook looking for a drummer. Fragomeni messaged them, but they were skeptical as he was younger, and they had already gone through five unreliable drummers, "We told him to just play anything and he blew us away, leaving us in literal awe and that's reflected in our music. Just the sheer musicianship he brings to our sound," Tipan said.
Clarke too responded to an ad on but this time on Kijiji. He was actually only looking to gain a client as he was beginning his sound engineering business. He felt a lingering curiosity and decided to try out for the band. He quickly learned one of their tracks overnight. This impressed the rest of the band because he knew what he was doing, and brought professionalism they had not yet witnessed first hand in their music careers. Ever since he joined the band, they have felt a stronger motivation to push things further, and they've been doing it for a bit over two years.
They've been playing 'notable' shows for the past year at a variety of hit Toronto venues. Although their music can be pretty shoegaze, their live show is very high energy. They described their previous show to me as much more "chill", but they have dramatically changed their style, which always has people jumping and dancing at their shows.
"When we first started, we were playing more Indie stuff, and then we slowed things down and played more Shoegaze. When we started playing with the new lineup, we started putting the energy back into the songs and going back to that Indie flavour, but now its more hard rock energy," Villar said.
Fragomeni stressed to me the new emphasis on dynamics in how their songs are performed. When live, they capture the energy that takes place in the rehearsal room where everyone is on the same page, musically speaking.
"Even in terms of not just physically playing the instrument, but movement and engagement have stepped up in the past year. We're definitely more of one steady link and the music is more genre-fluid," he continued.
Their new single "It Changed" is a way to show their audience what they were, but not necessarily what they are doing now. The single is a fun high energy song that has been in their line-up for a long time, and has actually seen three different versions! Currently, the band is more influenced by Alternative and Metal Rock, but it steps outside of those genres. When I asked about musical influences they mentioned Mastodon albums such as Crack in the Sky and The Hunter, along with the band Deftones.
"We like the aesthetic of Deftones, the ability to play a lot harder music but at the same time really vibing. A lot of passion in there too, because in metal you often lose the passion that you get in alternative music,"Villar explained. With that being said, they do believe metal does have a lot of unique emotional qualities to it.
Their new single was inspired by the band Tripping Daisy, "I was inspired by it as I wrote the song and I liked how they contrasted a lot of ideas. It was a fun song but the lyrics were talking a lot about society, and things they found issues with, but most of the album isn't like that,"Tipan explained. The band also told me that they were also influenced by Johny Marr, Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, and vocals from Tame Impala and Black Sabbath. I was confused hearing those two bands in a sentence, but Tipan told me that he is inspired by their higher vocal registers- it all made sense!
What's next? They are going to be releasing a series of new singles, followed by an EP to be released this Summer. They plan to tour across the Midwest to the East Coast. Keep your eyes peeled- I sure will be!
As we approach the year end, I wanted to know their favourite albums of 2019. See below!
Ian Fragomeni (Drums)
New Tame Impala singles, "When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go" by Billie Eilish, "Case Study 01" by Daniel Ceasar, "IGOR" by Tyler The Creator.
Kevin Tipan (Singer and Guitar)
Marcos Villar (More of a 2018 kind of guy)
It Won/t Be Like This All the Time by The Twilight Sad
Zachary Clarke (Bass)
Baroness - Gold & Grey