Attack of the Garage Bands (Segment 1) "Sykotyk Rampage"

Posted: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

The concept of the "Attack of the Garage Bands" thread is to show how local bands create their music and the technique and gear they use to record it.  Over the years I've noticed that no 2 local bands record the same way and that each tries to accomplish a product that is unique yet at the same time, attempt to capture the band's signature sound and energy as best as possible with the resources available.   There are so many local bands recording these days that I thought it would interesting to start a thread showcasing how these bands achieved their goals in recording.

I recently saw the local band Sykotyk Rampage play at the KISS Battle of the Bands contest where they offered up their brand of Sykotyk "muzyk".   You could see that the audience didn't know what to expect
from the band and watched with curiosity as the band kicked out 2 of it's original songs.  I can easily say they are local garage rock pioneers and that night stood out as being the most original sounding.  This band has released over 20 albums.  Yes kids, over 20 albums and a new one on the way.   What does that tell you?  It tells me these guys love music and creating it, and that nothing will stop them from blessing the world with it. ;-)

I've known guitarist/ vocalist Dirk Becker since our days in highschool so when I asked him if he wanted to take part in this "Attack of the Garage Bands" thread, he jumped on it and contributed all the info below, so enjoy this article on how they create their "punkish, Zappa meets the Ramones, Sykotyk rockisms" from one of the true pioneers of  local garage rock. ;-) 

"Creating music for Sykotyk Rampage has basically been the same since its inception in the 80’s, we just plug-in and start crafting music. All the lyrics and music are created as we play, and recorded live. No editing out guitars, lyrics, all happens for a reason, no redo’s no overdubs, just us creating live music as we have done for 30 years.

The Sykotyk Rampage band members are;
Paul Becker drums and vocals
Shane Kokis guitar
Dirk Becker guitar and vocals
And we did have Brian Cattapan as bass player but he has moved to Sudbury,

We each have a shure vocal microphone that has a noise gate between 45d/60d. The main vocals for the songs are created by the Drummer Paul as he plays drums and sings at the same time – an amazing feat just in itself…let alone creating the music and lyrics at the same time. Occasionally I will sing a song, but mostly it is Paul’s creativity that drives the direction of the song and music. One of the guitar players, Shane or me, will start a “riff”…rhythm then we just flow through the creative process; from one new mantra right into another usually with numerous changes of genres. We have played together for so long now that it comes natural to “know” the inflections and dynamic changes of each other.

The drums, guitars, vocal microphones and if we have a bass player they are all routed into a 12 channel peavey non-powered sound board. There is a vocal effects off-board compressor/noise gate system. The sound board is the mixer for recording, it takes a while to set the tones, peaks, vocal effects, and levels but basically they are set the same for each session. We usually play once a week, either as a recording session or an actual band practice if we are going to play somewhere.

The drum kit has 6 dedicated drum microphones
Snare, kick, tom left, tom right, floor toms, and 1 cymbal overhead, they are all tight to the sound resonant zones. The kick and overhead have direction covers to cut background noise. Each microphone is level separate, with the kick having a high peak zone, and the cymbals and high hat at low peaks. On the kick and right toms a small amount of effects usually running at level 1.

The guitar amps- crate 2 12”speakers 150watt, and Ibanez 150 watt 4 10” speakers stack
external mic’d 6 inches from the speaker. On the sound board they are at peak level 1. point 2 flat tones, no effects, .5 gain
Shane and I are both using a zoom pedal systems between amp and guitars.
Guitars are a telecaster, and a hagstrom swede.

Bass amp is direct out to the board, that way there is more control over tones and volume peak levels.

Recording is into a computer that is running a program called Gold Wave (, and is recorded in stereo. Volume and gain levels from the board are levelled in the computer by an analogue metering system. Tones are metered by a digital graphic control.
Basically I just set it up and we play and record live, we may play 10 or 15 new songs in a 3 hour session, 5 are junk, 5 are good, 5 are amazing. I take the songs chop them to length, equalize them and that’s it…what you hear is raw Sykotyk Rampage, all music and lyrics created and recorded live. Recording the way we do, we don’t actually “write” the music, ever. We will then take a song and learn it after it is done, learn it for when we play live. With a song catalogue in the thousands, so many songs have not been released; we could pump out an album a month, which I don’t have time to do. The songs that go on the albums are just random, from a few recording sessions. We actually think of an album name then find the songs to fill it from the recording catalogue.

 The newest album “Bella Disgusta” was thought of on the beach by Brian and Paul back in 2009. The last album “22” was called that by Shane for the only reason that it was our 22nd album. We have a double album with completed songs, “Genius Mushrooms with Thoughts of Intellect” which will be released in September; we thought of a theme and ideas for it then just made the music. It’s in post production right now.

Well that’s how Sykotyk Rampage makes Blues Chinese Metal Crash Punk consistently for the past 30 years and always thinking of new ways to give people brain tumours with our own version of garage rock!"

Big thanks to Dirk Becker for the input on his band's recording process
To listen to or buy music by the band, click the following link.  "Sykotyk Rampage Music"

Glen "The Freq"