The Bellwether Syndicate: Underground Aristocracy
On August 25, punk and goth royalty will be visiting Kilby Court. The Bellwether Syndicate bring the talent of William Faith and goth DJ Scary Lady Sarah’s musical venture to Salt Lake City for a night of alternative fusion. Faith took a moment out of his tour preparation to have a chat with SLUG about his recent releases, memories from the past and a general look at underground music communities.
After 18 years with Faith and the Muse, founder William Faith thought the project had runs its creative course. His “rock & roll” roots were calling, signaling a new direction for his music. The Bellwether Syndicate is the fruition of this musical pivot.
Faith’s event partner and wife, Sarah Rose Faith, was also interested in branching out and has been an underground gothic DJ for decades. It is important to her to play music that she has a part in creating as well as the music that is created by others. Many know her as Scary Lady Sarah from Chicago—she is also an underground legend in her own right. The timing was opportune, so the musical collaboration began.
“Music is cheaper than therapy.”
During the last five years, many factors have contributed to the delayed release of the full album, but thankfully the importance of the singles as a “run up” is still relevant and profitable in today’s digital markets. “The Dystopian Mirror,” their latest single, has a powerful message that challenges one to look inward before things get too deep. But as with most artists, the meaning behind the lyrics connects to a powerful memory of the duo. This song was done out of necessity—it allowed the band to process their grief. One of their friends entered a downward spiral and never came out of it. Depression and other mental illnesses can cause a person to withdraw from society and stay there if they do not receive some type of treatment. Drugs and alcohol are often used to self-medicate these feelings and can cause a person to lose touch with their reality. Once a person has gone this far, it is very hard for them to come back, and, as in this instance, can sadly result in suicide.. The takeaway of this song is to check in on your friends and, most importantly, to check in with yourself when times get tough.
As far as the other content on the album, it’s not about what is happening in the world but more about the listeners’ feelings and reactions to what is going on around them. It is an internal commentary, which is slightly different from the overt commentary that the act is known for.
“It’s really a matter of younger generations steering the boat and how they decide to turn it.”
The underground community has split, and Faith recalls the days of bands touring together that covered many genres. He recalls bands like Christian Death and Fear being on the same bill but does not see that happening anymore. Still, he sees hope in stratified lineups like those Psychofest and Riotfest have. These types of festivals are blending the alternative cultures and reuniting them.
Faith worked with former Christian Death singer Rozz Williams on several projects and admits that playing live together was a realization of a dream for him as he was such an avid fan of the band. As luck would have it, one of his favorite performances with Williams as Shadow Project was recorded at the Mirage in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is available on Youtube. Faith returns there to visit the memorable event often.
Be sure to head out to Kilby Court on August 25 to check out The Bellwether Syndicate, Then Come Silence from Sweden, locals Solid State Soul and Magon Mahoney. Arrive early to find parking, and doors are at 7 p.m. It’s going to be a great show covering several genres reminiscent of the golden underground, and you do not want to miss it.
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