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Stygian Celebrate 10th Anniversary, but the Hard Work Continues

It’s nearly impossible to scan metal news regularly these days without reading about another band breaking up. That’s why you have to give a group like Stygian a lot of respect. The Langhorne, Pa. hard rockers are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, and while that on its own is commendable, the fact they’ve done it without the power of a label behind them puts the feat on a whole new level.

Through touring and the networking force of the Internet, Stygian have built a small yet respectable corps of fans, and they’ve recently signed with Mortal Music. The label is co-owned by Tim King, the bassist of Soil, and they will be releasing Stygian’s next album, ‘Fury Rising,’ on Feb. 9.

Noisecreep spoke with drummer Steve Bacchia and got his thoughts on the new label deal and their first 10 years as a band.

You are celebrating your 10th anniversary this year. What has been the toughest part of the entire journey so far?

The toughest part of this entire journey has probably been balancing a full-time job in order to invest in this band. It’s also hard being musicians, writing, recording and playing out late on weeknights before getting up at 6 AM to start the cycle over again. In the end it’s completely worth it to do what we love to do.

For most of your career so far, you haven’t had the clout of a bigger label behind you. Has that been frustrating?

At times it has been frustrating, because we have always believed and still believe that with a little help we will be an unstoppable force in the rock and metal worlds. Mainly, we just wanted someone to help us get on a tour. We’d go to shows and see bands opening shows that they didn’t fit on, and the crowd having no reaction. It became frustrating, thinking we’d do great with this crowd. We have always worked very hard to put together strong albums of music, and we deliver 110 percent live. We also knew we couldn’t sit around saying, “Why did that band or this band make it, and not us.”

It’s all about working hard, building relationships and finding ways to get people to believe in you. Every band or artist that gets to that level has someone who sees something in them. Everyone won’t always understand it, but I always think of a band like System of a Down. If I heard their demo, I would have thought to myself, “These guys are weird. Who will listen to this?” Then years later, they’re huge and a favorite band of mine.

‘Fury Rising’ is being released via Mortal Music. Can you tell us how you hooked up with them and who is behind the label?

Mortal Music was started by Tim King of Soil and Rob Such of Twelfth Gate and the Chicago Powerfest festival. We knew of Mortal because we are all big Soil fans, and we usually keep up with the band and what the members are up to. A few years back, after we kept showing up at Soil shows and supporting the band, we all became friends, and Tim said when he could help us, he would. We knew Rob from working with Mortal for some touring inquiries so the relationship groundwork was there.

This past year when we ran into Tim at a show, we kept talking up the new album and low and behold, he kept his word and we got a call from him one day about his label. We never looked back. It’s been a pleasure working with Rob and Tim because they are musicians and they are looking out for us. We have great communication, and it’s a real open environment where we can bounce ideas back and forth while in the end we both have the same goals in mind.

What kind of advice has Tim given you since you’ve signed on with him?

Tim’s advice has been just keep working hard and be prepared to make sacrifices. He’s also told us to be patient, because sometimes things click overnight and sometimes it could take a good year of working it for things to really happen. Other than advice, one thing we picked up from Tim over the years was the manner in which he treats the people that support his band. He also keeps his word. We try our best to uphold those lessons in talking with our supporters, and we never burn bridges. As I said earlier, it’s all about building long, good-standing relationships.

Has your family been supportive of the band? It has to be hard on the ones you love since you are away so much.

Our families have all been out to our shows and continue to support us. In particular, I think the whole band would recognize that my parents have been truly amazing to us. 11 years later we are still practicing, writing and recording in the very same basement we started in, and they still don’t complain about all the noise [laughter]. In fact, I look to my mom for the best feedback sometimes, because she knows the stuff better than anybody else. The other element is they all know how hardworking the band is, and they see our true potential beyond what we’ve already achieved.

What would you do differently if you could go back to the first few years of the band?

Personally, I would’ve worn ear plugs because I’ve definitely done some damage over the years. Also, knowing the trends in MySpace and Facebook, we would have gotten a better jump on those types of things. As far as playing and writing, I don’t think I would change the early years. We spent a lot of time learning songs by other bands, and in the end I strongly believe that is what has gelled us together and is probably a big reason why we’ve stayed together this long.

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