By Amy Hutcheson
Photos by Stefano Ferrian
As we gaze upon the changing face of music today we take into our ears and our minds a variety of powerful thoughts and sounds. Among those sounds are the reverberations of many souls and voices. One of these such souls is Dalila Kayros. A composer, musician and singer whose voice and style echo a unique sound and viewpoint of the world today. SYK is an avant-garde extreme metal band from Italy conceived by guitarist Stefano Ferrian, and drummer Federico De Bernardi Di Valserra, also consisting of front woman Dalila Kayros, and second guitarist Gianluca Ferro. Both Stefano Ferrian and Federico De Bernardi Di Valserra are former members of the well-known band, Psychofagist that devastated many stages over the years with legendary groups like Brutal Truth and Misery Index. Together with Dalila Kayros, these two formed the innovative group we now know as SYK.
SYK is not Dalila’s first stab at music. This brutal front woman has worn various hats in the music industry and began as many seasoned musicians do, during her childhood.
“I decided to be a musician when I was 4 years old. My mother and my uncle have been supportive of me. I've been a musician since the very beginning so basically I study, research, listen, and compose, trying to fix on paper my ideas and trying to achieve them at the highest level of accuracy possible. Always fighting my inner chaos, I try to destroy all the ‘atomic hells’ that choke my will to express myself freely. Besides music, I belong to the Italian Society Of Radionics, which works on widening the possibilities of the human mind, and researching in the field of the so called "dissent action". Radionics is, in a few words, the science and study of the possibilities of the mind in correlation with matter, putting them at the same level.
“I played through the years in several bands and totally different contexts. I gladly remember 'Die Hexen', I played drums in this band when I was 16! I can’t put a 'start marker' on the birth of my solo project 'Dalila Kayros', but there's another great project called dE-NOIZE that was formed before SYK's birth. It's a collaboration I did with Stefano Ferrian who asked for my voice for the recording of the 3rd album. It is still in a hibernation state and we'd like to find some label that would release this crazy baby!”
From Dalila’s early years as a 16-year-old drummer to her role now as an extreme metal front woman, her music career has formed into a unique and diverse musical journey that has transformed her into the nihilistic vocalist we see today.
“Everything took its shape while I was touring along Europe supporting Psychofagist in autumn 2013, during their tour for what became their latest effort, "Songs Of Faint And Distortion". It has been a huge experience. Unfortunately, their bassist decided to come back home while we were right in the middle of the tour without any decent reason, so we decided to go on with the tour without him. At that point Federico came out with the proposal to do another project since Psychofagist was over at that point, so we did SYK! The fastest death / resurrection cycle ever!”
In 2014, SYK released their first album “Atoma”, via the Czech label L'Inphantile Collective, and was followed up by supporting shows with bands like GODFLESH and Gigan. From there the band signed with Housecore Records for U.S. distribution of their new album, “I-Optikon.” The album I-Optikon was produced by Philip H. Anselmo and engineer Stephen Berrigan via Housecore Records. It was during this time second guitarist Gianluca Ferro was added to the group and “I-Optikon” was born.
“Unfortunately, we didn't manage to be present at the mix so we basically did it through the internet, but finally we made it happen anyway.” says Dalila of the producing and engineering process for “I-Optikon.”
“Philip Anselmo and Stephen Berrigan have been the sweetest masters you could ever imagine; they really care about our sound. We're totally satisfied with the result.”
“I-Optikon” was released to the public on Friday, December 2nd 2016.
Dalila Kayros is a seasoned lyricist and composer as you can hear in her solo project and other various projects she has had a hand in, but “I-Optikon” was largely the brain child of Stefano Ferrian as Dalila explains, “Usually I take care of the lyrics as well, but "I-Optikon" has been entirely conceived by Stefano Ferrian. The process has really been like an esoteric kind of act. The lyrics represent real answers that Stefano got back from the I-Ching that was perfect all the time satisfying each particular question.”
"’I-Optikon’ is about death in order to be reborn again with a different shape. It's about a deep inner, and painful evolution process. It's about your inner search that unavoidably leads to the path that brings you to the demons that reside inside yourself. You need to know your demons; you need to consciously feed your demons if you want to have the chance to manage them.” says Dalila of the profounder meaning behind this album. "’I-Optikon’ is an invitation to look for the gate that leads to your real consciousness and essence.” Dalila wants listeners to take away the will to “fight and kill all the 'demons' that keep you far from your real self”, when listening to this album.
This concept is visually displayed in their recent video for the song “Fong” off the “I-Optikon” album. Dalila’s unique vocalizations mix flawlessly with imagery created in the video.
“Standing at the I-Ching book, ‘FONG’ means abundance. The process for writing ‘I-Optikon’ has been pretty special, and it's tightly connected to a particular moment in the life of Stefano Ferrian (SYK's guitarist, composer and brilliant mind of the band), a moment of deep changing and understanding. ‘FONG’ is like a wide open portal on what yourself really is, a consciousness awakening. The self-evolution metaphorically explained with the reaching of your personal ‘Zenith’ which is a comfortable place where you can even change your point of view.
“‘Roughly touch the sun, observing the pole changing point of view…’, as written in the song. ‘FONG’ is about the final part of a painful process which leads oneself to meditate and evaluate things from a different perspective, like a real initiation. The mind starts to find an order in chaos, leaving space for clarity about our roles on this planet. This level of mind could be achieved by those people who are not stable in their convictions.
“We managed to do the video by ourselves with the fundamental support from our family represented by Housecore Records.” Says Dalila of the “Fong” video released January 16th, 2017.
Dalila’s vocalization style is unusual and profound, catering to uniquely esoteric individuals or lifestyles. As a front woman Dalila finds inspiration for her music from a variety of different sources. “Simply I love and devour constantly all the music I can, and of any kind. I'm always discovering new stuff and I'm excited when someone can show me something new destroying all the schemes and structures that usually take place in my mind as a listener. I'm pretty grateful to all the people who did it in my life. When I compose my vocals lines, I'm always taking care about the feelings and the concept of each song, so it might happen that the style will change a lot at any time. I never thought about music with fixed schemes. I[AN1] like to think about music as a living creature that creates, develops and destroys itself endlessly. My vocals totems are represented by artists like Philip H. Anselmo, Beth Gibbons, Barbara Hannigan in the Ligeti's Mysteries Of The Macabre piece, Bjork, Maynard James Keenan, Fever Ray, Skin, Patty Pravo, early Ozzy Osborne, Dio, Stefano Ferrian's harmony, Adrian Belew, Chris S.R., Diamanda Galàs, Yolandi Visser, Opeth's Damnation harmony, Pink Floyd's melodies, Ligeti's textures and last but not least the solos of Dimebag Darrel. I also learned a lot of guitar solos during my experience as a singer.”
We can hear these influences very much resonating in her performance and style. When not on the stage, Dalila listens to a variety of artists and claims her choices, “depend on the times. I like all kinds of music that can subvert my mind and take it in another dimension! From classical contemporary music to metal, and all the crazy music in the middle of this range. For example, in this precise moment I’m listening to Tool, but a few days ago I was in an airport listening to Schammasch, and it was very funny and crazy to see the people occupied in common affairs while Black Metal was marking their movements. Music can change everything in your world in infinitely different ways. From Ligeti to De Andrè, from Pantera to Penderecki, from Death to Portishead, from Bjork to Meshuggah, from Deftones to Schammasch, from King Crimson to Die Antwoord, from Kriegsmaschine to Science Group, from Berio to Tony Danza, from Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals to Present, from Spiral Architect to Ghostemane, from Katatonia to Uochi Toki, from Schönberg to Scott Walker, from Opeth to Fever Ray, etc., etc., etc., etc., also something of new pop (like some releases of One Little Indian label) and some of the new Djent stuff.”
But when it comes to Dalila’s interest in the Metal music genera she says, “Metal is the most innovative, multiform, surprising, shocking and strong genre in the whole wide world! And more... I like to scream loudly!”
Our world is constantly turning and changing in many ways. Dalila is no different in that she also harbors her own opinions on the state of our world today. “The world changes its face all the time. Every era is different, and this is normal, even death is an indicator of some changes. Unfortunately, the only cliché that never changes is the unjustified massacre, done by those who holds the real power, of normal people that keep our world constantly on a situation of real disease. We could talk forever about all the negative aspects of our actual world that leads to a new path made out of ignorance, hidden slavery, control and conformism. But I think it's better to spend our time on positive thinking, there are also a lot of good things in the world. I think we are more and more conscious about the power of the mind that creates and changes constantly what we used to call "reality". We're talking about hyper-communication and hyper-connection, these days discovering the connection between our mind and the universal web, which is kind of bio-internet. New DNA discoveries talk about the fact that we can interact with our DNA anytime, programming it with simple communication, healing sickness and leading to a healthy life. We're also more conscious about our inner energy that is the real essence of what we are. Of course this is not news for those who are more open minded and can look at the world as a unique connected entity without splitting it in pieces separating the north from the south or the west from the east. Quantum scientists discover new things every day that are, in fact, already unfolded in ancient books. We're always getting into hot water just because we cannot simply open our minds. Everything is already there, hopefully in the near future we will use our brains to get a real connection with the world instead of categorize it all the way. Categorization is real ignorance.”
What does the future hold for Dalila and SYK?
“For the moment we have some shows in Italy, and we are organizing some tours around the globe, but right now it’s a work in progress. Some other various things... I'm accomplishing the work of the 2nd album of my new solo stuff, SYK are already composing new material (Stefano is getting out some insane riffs), and finally a brand new 2017 release of a new 'monster' born from a collaboration between Combat Astronomy and me.”
It’s easy to read the passion in Dalila’s words here within our interview. Her insight into not only her own music but into music that others have created is a refreshing change in the music industry today.
“Be honest in your music without fear of nothing and nobody.” ~Dalila Kayros
“Extend to its limits the scope of your views so as to escape from your narrow conceptions, be your own Ruler!” ~ Oswald Wirth
YOU CAN BUY OUR ALBUM HERE:
Dalila Kayros - vocals
Stefano Ferrian - guitars
Gianluca Ferro - guitars
Federico De Bernardi Di Valserra - drums
Music & Lyrics by Stefano Ferrian
Executive Producer: Philip H Anselmo
Make-Up by Sofia Usai
Camera by Sofia and Dalila Usai
Photography by Stefano Ferrian
Video Editing by Dalila Usai and Stefano Ferrian
SYK would like to thank:
Philip H Anselmo / K8 / Liz from Earsplit PR / Stephen Berrigan / Scott Hull / Shawn Knight.