Lie to me/Let me down/Where do we go now?/Where do we go now?/Lift me up/Let me drown/Where do we go now?/Where do we go now?
Sumo Cyco are a four-piece rock band from Ontario, Canada
. Its members are: Sever (Skye Sweetnam) on vocals, M.D. (Matt Drake) on guitar and back-up vocals, Thor (Ken Thor Corke) on bass and Legs (Ryan Kerry Leger) on drums.
Sumo Cyco have their origins in the solo career of their lead singer. In 2008, Skye Sweetnam found herself at a crossroads: her first two albums (2004's Noise From The Basement
and 2007's Sound Soldier
), which were very pop-oriented, hadn't exactly set the world on fire in terms of sales figures. Also, she had just turned twenty, and therefore, could no longer refer to herself as a teen pop singer. As she tried to figure out what she was going to do next, she got to work on writing songs with her longtime writing partner Matt Drake, presumably for a third Skye Sweetnam solo album.
As more and more songs were written, both Sweetnam and Drake realized that Skye Sweetnam's lyrics had begun taking a darker turn. With this, an idea sprung forth: rather than put these songs on a third Skye Sweetnam album, Skye decided that the best way to bring these songs to life was with the help of a band. That way, she could go down a new career path without letting her past get in the way. The idea of an alter ego also was hatched around this time. It didn't take long for Skye to figure out who would be a part of her new band project. Drake joined almost immediately, and soon, Skye and Matt's friends, Ken Thor Corke and Ryan Kerry Leger, rounded out the group. After some brainstorming (or rather, just going to a band name generator website and seeing what results, then combining two of the names that they liked, one of which was spelled differently originally), the four settled upon the name Sumo Cyco.
Sumo Cyco's first ever release was a free download of their song "Limp" on March 11, 2011. Since then, the band has put seven songs up for sale on iTunes and other online music stores, with the idea of a full-length album release continually being tossed around by them. A music video has been made for each song released thus far, every single one of them made by the band themselves on a shoestring budget (with a little help from their friends).
The band got a huge boost in popularity and some much needed publicity in the fall of 2011 when a video of Sever getting hit in the face with a moving ceiling fan during the making of the music video for their song "Interceptor" was posted on YouTube
by the band and ended up going viral, appearing on Ray William Johnson's =3 YouTube series
and the TV shows Attack of the Show
, Tosh.0 and Ridiculousness. Thanks to the band wisely putting a link to the "Interceptor" music video at the end of the ceiling fan video, many of the people who saw "The Ceiling Fan Incident" ended up checking out the "Interceptor" music video, and as a result, Sumo Cyco's fanbase saw a dramatic increase in its numbers in a matter of weeks. Even over a year after it was first uploaded, "The Ceiling Fan Incident" continues getting hits, therefore, more people are discovering Sumo Cyco and becoming fans of them on a consistent basis.
Since they started releasing music, Sumo Cyco have opened up for the bands Hollywood Undead
(this was their first ever live concert as Sumo Cyco, in fact) and Finger Eleven, and have played at NXNE (the popular Canadian equivalent of the also popular American SXSW festival), the annual S.C.E.N.E. Music Festival and on the Toronto stop of the Vans Warped Tour 2012. This is all the more impressive when you realize that Sumo Cyco have yet to be signed to any
record label, major OR independent. They wouldn't mind changing that last part one of these days, of course, but the band *does* take pride in being self-sufficient. They, without a doubt, believe in a D.I.Y. mentality.
Singles Released As Of This Writing
- "Limp" Released March 11, 2011
- "Mercy" Released March 25, 2011
- "Interceptor" Released July 15, 2011
- "Danger" Released October 28, 2011
- "Who Do You Want To Be?" Released January 27, 2012
- "Loose Cannon" Released June 29, 2012
- "Where Do We Go?" Released October 5, 2012
- Alliterative Name: Cyco City, where the band supposedly "lives".
- Alternative Metal
- And Then Sever Was A Zombie: The ending to the "Limp" music video.
- Badass Beard: M.D., Thor and Legs have all sported some rather excellent ones
- Bad Girl Song: "Mercy"
- Bald of Awesome: Thor
- Breakup Song: "Loose Cannon" and "Where Do We Go?". Sever has some rather morbid metaphors for how her ex made her feel.
- Call Back: The "Who Do You Want To Be?" music video features references to the "Interceptor", "Limp" and "Danger" music videos.
- Call Forward: "Who Do You Want To Be"'s video also features a "Ronnie Roadkill" restaurant. Ronnie is the star of the "Loose Cannon" video.
- Christmas Song: The band did a hard rock version of "Little Drummer Boy" for a charity Christmas album.
- Cloudcuckooland: When Sumo Cyco first started releasing music, they would simply state that they were from Hamilton/Toronto/the GTA and that was pretty much all there was to it. But around the time the "Interceptor" music video came out, the band started saying that they all hailed from Cyco City. Sever would constantly refer to this fictional location time and time again, with "newspapers" from the city being shown to fans and a "Cyco City News" broadcast being shown in the actual "Interceptor" music video. Fans finally got a peak into Cyco City during the "Who Do You Want To Be?" music video...and it definitely looks like an interesting place to live. Apparently, in Cyco City, every store and bar has a dark theme to it (for example, the store Sears is known as "Fears"), people use products that only *exist* in Cyco City (there are billboards for "Sumo Soda" and "Vixen" vodka shown during the video) and and no one bats an eyelash at seeing a girl with a TV for a head walking around or alien mobsters playing brass instruments at a club.
- Concept Video: Every music video since "Limp" has been this.
- Cover Version: "Who Do You Want To Be?" is a note for note cover of a song by Oingo Boingo, the band that was helmed by Danny Elfman.
- Danny Elfman doesn't scream at the end of the song like Sever does, though.
- Darker and Edgier: Sever's real name is Skye Sweetnam. You may know her from songs like this one.
- M.D.'s other band, dodger, is a reggae/rock hybrid that has a catalog filled with upbeat songs about the good things in life. They certainly haven't gone into the territory that Sumo Cyco have, that's for sure. That's actually one of the reasons why M.D. ended up in the band in the first place; he loved dark, heavy music but couldn't write or perform it as a member of his own band. And as a fan of horror, he dug the horror-themed imagery that Sumo Cyco would soon make their trademark.
- Doing It for the Art: This tweet by Sever dedicated to all those who want her to go pop again.
- Dye Hard: In the time since Sumo Cyco started releasing music to the public (which, as of this writing, was 19 months ago), Sever's hair has been: red, jet black, turquoise, dark blue, dark purple, hot pink and blonde. Keep in mind that she also likes to mix and match colours too.
- M.D. has gone from his natural dark brown hair to a bleached blonde dye job and back again more than once. And sometimes he dyes both his hair and beard and sometimes there's a dark brown/blonde mix.
- At one point, he sported a purple fauxhawk.
- Ear Worm: All of their singles.
- Early Installment Weirdness: M.D. painted half of his face in the "Mercy", "Limp" and "Interceptor" music videos and Sumo Cyco's first live show, but has since stopped doing that.
- Echoing Acoustics: The bridge of "Mercy".
- Electric Torture: Sever is trapped in an electric chair throughout the "Danger" music video. It eventually turns her into one of the aliens (or "Terrornauts" as they are known as in the music video).
- Epic Riff: Quite a few.
- Even the Girls Want Her: More than one (otherwise straight) female fan has made it clear that they wouldn't mind spending a night alone with Sever.
- Everything Has Rhythm: Mr. Z uses spoons as drumsticks in the scene in the "Limp" music video where he is cooking Sever in a pot in the forest.
- Face of the Band: Sever.
- Considering the fact that Sever formed the band, is the lead singer of the band, edits the band's music videos, handles the band's social media pages (for the most part), announces band news in videos she posts herself on YouTube AND the very noteworthy fact that the first Sumo Cyco fans were Skye Sweetnam fans beforehand...is it any wonder that people think of her first and foremost when they think of Sumo Cyco? It's not just the fact that she is an attractive girl in a band otherwise filled with guys is all I am saying.
- Fan Community Nickname: Cycos.
- Fetish Fuel Station Attendant: Sever, again.
- Flipping the Bird: Sever directs a middle finger to the camera at one point in the "Limp" music video...while naked in a pot because she's being cooked by a zombie.
- Fun with Acronyms: In the music video for the single, "Limp" stands for "Lucid Interactive Mind Project".
- Genre-Busting + Genre Roulette: One of the reasons why no one, including the band themselves, can quite figure out exactly just what genre Sumo Cyco belongs to is because they've done songs mixing influences from various genres. "Limp", "Mercy" and "Loose Cannon" are all firmly in the hard rock genre. But then there's "Danger", which is a softer tune with heavy synth throughout. And "Who Do You Want To Be?" is a note for note cover of the original, therefore it is very much a ska tune. There's also "Interceptor", which is a combination of punk and heavy metal. "Where Do We Go?" is a heavy metal song that has Sever rapping in the breakdown section. This has led to the band being called heavy metal, hard rock, nu metal and goth.
- There is an as-of-yet unreleased song called "My Murder" in which Sever raps the verses over a guitar riff.
- Sever tweeted recently that the band is working on a song that mixes a dancehall beat with heavy guitar riffs.
- Skye Sweetnam once referred to the band on her own Twitter feed as "metal dancehall punkrockpop".
- Great Balls Of Fire: In the "Loose Cannon" music video, pyro goes off behind the band at one point in the performance scene (pyro set up by the band themselves, by the way).
- Hand or Object Underwear: In the scene in the "Limp" music video where Sever is being cooked by Mr. Z in the forest, she uses her right arm to cover her breasts.
- Hard Rock
- Harsh Vocals: Sever in "Limp", "Mercy", "Who Do You Want To Be?", "Loose Cannon" and "Where Do We Go?".
- Heavy Metal
- Hot-Blooded: Sever and M.D. can most certainly scream with the best of them. This is certainly most evident in their live shows.
- I Want To Be Song: "Who Do You Want To Be?".
- In Da Club: The end of the "Who Do You Want To Be?" music video takes place in a club (in actuality Thor's basement) where Starla King (the "star" of the music video, played by Sever) sings the last verse and chorus with the rest of the band.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Just what the hell is Sever saying at the end of "Mercy"?
- List Song: "Who Do You Want To Be?".
- Metal Scream: Sever does this twice in "Where Do We Go?" and once in "Who Do You Want To Be?". When performing live, you can bet that Sever and M.D. will be doing a lot of screaming throughout the show.
- Method Acting: While taking a break from shooting the "Loose Cannon" music video, Thor, Sever and M.D. went to a Tim Hortons, with Thor still completely in his Ronnie character.
- Mid Vid Skit: In "Loose Cannon", during the breakdown section, we get a profile on Ronnie.
- In "Limp", the song is put on pause at the part where Sever thinks she has escaped Mr. Z.
- In "Who Do You Want To Be?", when Starla King shows up at the club and has a rather...interesting conversation with the Terrornaut doorman.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: 7
- Monster Clown: Three of them in the music video for "Interceptor".
- Mood Whiplash: "Who Do You Want To Be?" is pretty ska-ish and much less heavy than their other songs.
- It was a note for note cover of a song by Oingo Boingo. Having said that, if you listen carefully, you'll realize that the song does contain some cynical lyrics, which might be one of the reasons why the band chose to cover it.
- "Danger" definitely counts, but again, the lyrics of that song aren't exactly cheery and upbeat either.
- Ms. Fanservice: Sever.
- Music Video Credits Sequence: Every music video except "Mercy" and "Who Do You Want To Be?" has had one.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: See above.
- Never Live It Down: While the video of Sever getting hit in the face with a moving ceiling fan did lead to many people discovering Sumo Cyco, for a lot of other people, all Sumo Cyco will ever be known for is that one particular video. For proof of this, check out the comments section of the band's other videos on YouTube, where there are several comments made by people that point out the fact that, yes, Sever did indeed get hit in the face with a moving ceiling fan.
- Night Nurse: Sever is dressed as one throughout the "Limp" music video.
- No Animals Were Harmed: The disclaimer appears at the end of the "Loose Cannon" music video with an added "BY US!" graphic, a reference to the fact that the dead, rotting raccoon shown at the beginning of the video was actual roadkill.
- Official Fan-Submitted Content: The "Who Do You Want To Be?" music video features videos sent in by fans of themselves lip syncing the chorus. An alternative music video was made that primarily shows the fans' videos. Both versions have the fans' videos played on Starla King's TV head.
- Old Shame: Averted. Sever is actually quite proud of her pop music past (although she does admit that she would have done one or two things differently). Sumo Cyco isn't about erasing Skye Sweetnam from the public consciousness. It's about taking her in a direction that she couldn't go to on her own.
- The Oner: The alternative music videos for "Limp", "Danger" and "Loose Cannon" are just a continuous shot of the band performing while a camera spins around them. The alternative music video for "Interceptor" has Sever playing poker with the three murderous clowns who want to make her their next victim while a camera spins around them. Outside of "Danger", the videos come with an onscreen graphic at the beginning daring viewers to watch the video without vomiting.
- Our Zombies Are Different: "Limp" and its accompanying music video.
- Performance Video: "Mercy". Their other music videos always include shots of the band performing the song on a set somewhere.
- Piss Take Rap: Well, you don't see too many white girls from Canada rapping in some of their songs now, do you?
- Precision F-Strike: "Limp" and "Danger".
- Rerelease the Song: When "Limp" and "Mercy" were first released, all proceeds went to the Canadian Red Cross to support them in their efforts to help Japan recover from the devastating 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. A little over a year later, "Mercy" was rereleased, after Sumo Cyco had donated over a thousand dollars from the sales to the Canadian Red Cross. "Mercy" and "Limp" both got new single cover artwork after the donation was made.
- Record Producer: M.D.
- Rock 'n' Roll
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Sever employs this sometimes.
- Shout-Out: Cyco is spelled the way it is as a homage to the legendary hardcore punk rock band Suicidal Tendencies.
- Singer Songwriter: Sever co-writes all of Sumo Cyco's songs with M.D.
- Song Style Shift: In "Limp", after the second chorus, the song speeds up, leading to the awesome breakdown section. Then, the song just stops for one second, before slowing down, building back up to the chorus.
- Soprano and Gravel: Sever is a one woman version.
- Spoken Word In Music: After the breakdown section in "Loose Cannon".
- Stage Names: Sever, M.D. and Legs all use one. Thor just uses his actual legal birth name.
- Subdued Section: "Mercy", "Danger", "Who Do You Want To Be?", "Loose Cannon" and "Where Do We Go?".
- Surreal Music Video: "Mercy" and "Who Do You Want To Be?" can both be considered this.
- Talky Bookends: "Interceptor" has the most glaring example. The song is about 3 minutes long, but the music video is almost 10 minutes.
- That Girl Is Gone: Sever absolutely refuses to acknowledge Skye Sweetnam's solo career or reference her past in any way. When the band first started releasing music to the public, a story was concocted that Sever had kidnapped Skye Sweetnam and had locked her up in a cage in her attic. A YouTube video was even made by Skye showing her getting kidnapped by Sever. Yet, at the same time, Skye would say that Sever would take control of her body at random moments, which she continues to say to this very day. These days, Skye constantly talks about her band on her own social media pages, but Sever just pretends that Skye Sweetnam doesn't even exist.
- It should be noted that whenever Sever does an interview, she drops the act and *does* admit that she is both Sever AND Skye Sweetnam. Or as she said in one particular interview, she decides whether she'll be Skye or Sever based on the situation that she is currently facing.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: This video.
- Three Second Silence: The beginning and ending of the "Mercy" music video.
- Three Minutes of Writhing: The music video for "Mercy".
- Throw It In: Sever trips and falls flat on her face while running in the forest at one point in the "Limp" music video. This wasn't intentional. She ended up scraping her knee in the process, but rather than bandage it, the band decided to just keep filming, with her open wound clearly visible throughout the video. It ended up fitting in perfectly well within the context of the video.
- Sever nearly slips at the end of the "Mercy" music video.
- Who Wears Short Shorts?: Sever wears short shorts. A lot.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: "Who Do You Want To Be?" contains the line "I might just cross the other line and walk around in drag".
- Zettai Ryouiki: Sever rocks Grade B in the "Limp" and "Interceptor" music videos.