Gyre's Ian McCartney Gets Circled In

Using a comboination of musical genres metal, progressive, post-hardcore, groove, and rock from the New York and New Jersery area, Gyre have got an EP "Second Circle" out with more music underway with shows and tours to likely follow. Guitarist Ian McCartney talks about the latest EP and future plans.

1. What type of band are you?

Ian: We are a progressive metal/rock band that has tendencies to thrash and groove.

2. Tell us the brief history of your band.

Ian: As a full line up Gyre has been together for a little over a year. We started out working as a trio: Juan (Guitar), Pablo (Drums) and myself (Ian, Guitar), we were all in another band called Junta that had recently broken up. We still wanted to create music, so we began creating new songs between us. For some reason we all felt we were not done creating. Soon after we finished self-recording, self-financing, and self-distributing our first EP, both Chirag and Gio hopped on board. Chirag and Gio were both from bands in the area and were perfect fits for what we were and are trying to achieve as a band.

3. How did you get your band's name and what does it mean?

Ian: The name "gyre" we stole from a line in W.B. Yeats' famous poem about historical cycles and modernities inevitable decay called "The Second Coming."  Read it!  Or, just read in general.

4. Where are you guys from and what is the music scene like?

Ian: We hail from Northern Jersey.  The scene here is definitely alive and well... You just have to find the right shows and venues.  We know a lot of bands in our area and have played with many of them... No band is an island and we recognize we are a part of a community of bands trying to make it.  We cheer for the other bands around here like: The Binary Code, Julius Seizure, Torrential Downpour, Toothgrinder, Darkness Descends, Lionel Pryor, Impossible Voyage, Family, Stagger, Seas of Wake, Body Farm Robbery, Eye of Anubis, That of a Lion, Cryptodira, FX Zero, Pathogenic, and many others (I apologize if I forgot any).
5. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Ian: From the inception of this band the founding members have had an idea and vision towards what we wanted to create and how we would proceed.  We have a plan for 7 recordings that are loosely based on the 7 chakras.  We use this inspiration to guide our lyrics and artwork.
6. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Ian: Sometimes a song kind of writes itself. We will usually start off with a riff or a drum beat one of us has created and start wrapping and creating other riffs around it that we feel add to and go along with the feel of the song.  Other times it’s like a long, strenuous birth. We get frustrated with each other in the process, but we know each other enough at this point to not let it effect the creation of the song...The energy you gain from frustration is a healthy part of real creation. It’s all about how you put that energy to use.

7. Who are your musical influences?

Ian: As a band we have a lot of influences.  Of course if your in a metal band Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Slayer are always going to be there as influences, but we also harken back to 70's progrock bands like Zepplin, Yes and King Crimson.  As for current bands we enjoy Converge, Mastodon, Periphery, Gojira, Baroness, Meshuggah... etc.

8. How would you describe the overall sound of this EP?

Ian: The EP is progressive metal/rock that has tendencies to thrash and groove.

9. What would you say is your favorite track off it?

Ian: Personally speaking, I enjoy "Circle to Feed."  I think, in terms of song writing, we built the song to take the listener on a journey with peaks and valleys.

10. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this EP?

Ian: We wanted better production on this EP and we wanted to focus on song structure.  We also, if course, wanted more recognition as a validation for our creation.

11. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

Ian: No. We stick with what we know... Guitar, bass, drums an vocals.

12. Can you go into one or two tracks on the new EP? If so, can you give us the track title and brief description of how the track sounds and how it came about?

Ian: The first song of the new EP “Second Circle” is called “All Revealing Eye.” We wanted to showcase this song first because it has a very powerful beginning, but also showcases the dynamics of the band. The song goes from slow groove metal riffs with growls, to rock riffs with clean singing, to tribal buildups, and finally, to djent-esque sharply picked riffs. The song deals with the idea that our senses are filters to the world around us, and not exactly receptors. If our eyes were able to take in all the spectrum of light, or if our ears were able to hear every frequency of sound, our brains would be in overload. Our senses help us make sense (pun intended) of our surroundings. Everything would be too much to handle. These are very old ideas found in Hindu religion that were later stolen and reworked by European philosophers, such as Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and more recently Huxley.

The second song of the EP is “Ever Devourer.” It is a faster paced song and stays within the same heavy dynamic through most of the song. The song deals with the idea that when wants exceed the needs of people, inevitably that type of system will begin to devour itself from the inside. It is an unsustainable system and will eventually end. Readers can make their own interpretations on what systems we are talking about.
In terms of BPM’s “Circle to Feed” is more of our groove-bomb song. As with most of our songs we take you on a journey, but I feel like we really did well in building the structure and dynamics of this song in particular. Most of the lyrics for “Circle to Feed” were written when I was out hiking and I realized that vultures were hovering and circling over me. Were they waiting for me to die? What is interesting about vultures and other scavengers is that they do wait for death before they consume. As humans we are predators and kill our prey or gather our food, so we look at vultures as less than the birds of prey, like eagles and hawks. Just look at the U.S. dollar to see how much we glorify the hunters of the bird world.
“Circle to Feed” is really about how everything that lives resides somewhere in this circle of feeding. “Good” or “bad” has nothing to do with it. Just being a part of and conscious of this amazing circle of life must suffice. Nature just “Is.” Understand and accept that death is part of this circle of feeding. Vultures are patient and understand.

The last song off the EP is “I, Receiving All.” It is a mid-paced that swings back and forth between a groove feel and a very metal/robotic choppy riff. The dichotomy of these two riffs really could be seen as a metaphor for the lyrics themselves. The song deals with this kind of back of forth play between mind and body... or man and machine, and the desire within all of us to find a home somewhere in all of this division. It’s not until you realize EVERYTHING is connected that you find peace, or metaphorically, a home in your mind.

14. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Ian: Of course you can go to There you will find links to our Merchnow and CD baby accounts where you can buy shirts, physical CDs and our first EP.  You can also go to Monolithic Records' Bandcamp to download our most recent EP "Second Circle" here:

15. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Ian: We have already begun pre-production for our next recording.  We are aiming for another release around June 2014. We also plan to do our first East Coast tour this summer which we are particularly looking forward to.

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