Latest release: Xenocide (Nuclear Blast)Band site: www.facebook.com/AversionsCrown
Rooted in a “thematic fixation on dystopian nightmares and hostile extraterrestrial encounters”, eight-string guitar-wielding Brisbane deathcore hit squad Aversions Crown unleash their bruising new platter Xenocide. Loud gets the lowdown from axeman and former male model Mick Jeffery.
Q: No disrespect to his predecessor, but Mark Poida’s voice seems to offer greater versatility. Did that afford more opportunities in terms of songwriting on Xenocide?
A: Yeah, you’re exactly right, it absolutely did. We kind of had his vocals in mind when we were writing a lot of the songs. He definitely brought a way bigger vocal range, different possibilities, and different ideas as well. He puts a lot of time, effort and thought into what he’s doing with his vocals. So he brought a lot of ideas to the table, whereas other people may not have put that much effort into it. We’re pretty stoked with what he’s achieved with this album, and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it. We’re stoked on his voice, and he probably just keeps getting better to be honest. The more touring he’s doing the stronger his voice has been getting, and just getting different ideas and approaches to how he’s going to do things.
Q: Who is the primary lyric writer within the band and who devised the over-arching concepts of the past couple of albums?
A: Mark’s definitely taken the reins now, and so he’s been writing all the lyrics essentially for the Xenocide album. He still would run things by us and all his concepts and lyrical ideas and stuff, but essentially it’s all down to him and he had a vision for what he wanted to achieve and what he wanted to write about. He set himself a pretty big task writing all the lyrics for this album, but he nailed it and we’re stoked with what he came up with.
Q: It can be problematic within heavy music to establish any point of difference that can help you cut through the noise. Do you feel this thematic approach helps set Aversions Crown apart from many contemporaries?
A: I think it does. It’s not something we force, it kinda just happens. We’re all into that kind of stuff, into all that sci-fi kind of stuff anyway, so it doesn’t feel like we’re thinking, ‘All right, maybe this is a different point that we can take to make us sound a bit different’. It just kinda happens, and I think that’s maybe why it works as well.
Q: The band members are scattered throughout Brisbane, Gold Coast and Melbourne, but given you’re on a large label and expected to be on the road regularly those geographic boundaries are probably less prohibitive.
A: Yeah, exactly. It’s past the point of us just getting together, jamming and playing a local gig on the weekend now. So when we’re back home we’re often just at work or whatever we’re doing, and then we catch up and we’re off for weeks and months at a time touring. It’s not so important that we live close together I guess, but we do spend a lot of time basically living with each other.
Q: This is your second record for Nuclear Blast. Do you feel like the band is making noticeable inroads overseas?
A: Yeah. Having Nuclear Blast behind us has definitely opened up a lot of doors for us overseas. People probably who would never have heard of us but have checked us out, maybe even purely because of us being on that label. It’s a pretty highly respected label in the metal community. I know I always have and I’m sure there’s a lot of people have put a lot of faith in seeing their logo on the back of an album. I definitely used to do it and probably still do it. You see that logo and you think, ‘alright, I’m going to give this a go’. I think that’s definitely helped us get noticed in places overseas that we probably wouldn’t even have been heard of without them.
Q: I think many of the misconceptions surrounding the financial side of the industry no longer exist, especially in the wake of Thy Art Is Murder vocalist CJ McMahon’s tribulations. That said, there can still be a perception that if a band is signed to a sizeable label they must be raking in the cash. I’m sure your experiences can dispel that belief (laughs).
A: (Laughs) Yeah, absolutely. It’s a different world to what it probably was ten, 20 years ago for labels and that sort of stuff. I guess essentially most bands these days with all the internet stuff and downloading and all that, bands essentially to make money have to tour. So if you’re not touring it’s pretty hard to make money. You can still sell merchandise and all that sort of stuff through your online stores and whatever, but the interest for that is still generated from touring and spreading the word. That’s probably why you’ll see a lot of the bands who are having a bit of success these days, they’re not really back home very often. We’re sort of in that hard stage at the moment where we’re not sort of making heaps of money, but we still need to tour quite a lot to promote what we’re doing. So it’s a balance between being at home and working and then being on the road as much as possible. It’s pretty hard and that’s why a lot of people aren’t really cut out for that and aren’t prepared to make certain sacrifices. But if you’ve got the right attitude and you’re determined and dedicated, then hopefully it pays off.
Q: So the band members all have other jobs you can return to when not on the road?
A: Yeah, absolutely, we all work jobs. I think at the moment we’re all working reasonably casual jobs that we can sort of take off at the drop of a hat and go on tour if something comes up. It is pretty hard if you want to have a proper career outside of the band at this point, because we are going to be spending a lot of time away. You do essentially just need work that you can come and go from.
Q: You’ve played extensively here and abroad. Do you feel like there’s a tendency within extreme metal for bands to tour with others of a similar ilk too often? For instance, deathcore acts largely touring with bands from their “scene”. That said, cross-pollinating can be a difficult proposition. Aversions Crown supported Soilwork in Australia, and that was seemingly a difficult crowd for you to convert.
A: We’ve toured with quite a variety of the heavier kind of bands in different styles. Like you said, we toured with Soilwork, and we just got just back from a tour in Europe with a band called Nasty and another band called Malevolence who are essentially part of the hardcore scene over there. Once again that was a bit of a tough crowd for us to win over sometimes, but at the end of the day we’ve branched out and played to heaps and heaps of new people that possibly would never have checked us out. If you keep doing that enough then hopefully you start seeing the crowds growing. If you keep playing to the same sort of, the same bands, there’s only so far it can spread.
Q: How disconcerting can it be when you face an indifferent or hostile crowd, for instance a more traditional death metal audience that may reject you due to aesthetic reasons? Especially as what you’re doing musically may not that far removed from the rest of the bill?
A: It can be hard, for sure. There’s definitely times when we’ve played to people who just… Whether they’re close-minded or whatever it is. It definitely happens. Personally for me it just makes me want to play even harder and be like, ‘You know what? I’m just going to put even more into this show just to try and get something out of them’. I think you can look at it either way. Some people might feel defeated by it, but it kind of fires me up, to be honest.
Q: Shifting topics, I’ve heard you speak before about your flirtation with male modeling. Do you still cop flak from metal fans for that?
A: (Laughs) Oh, man. Yeah, I do, for sure. That’s why I did it I guess, I think it was just a bit of a laugh. It wasn’t something I set out to do, I was approached for it and just thought, ‘You know, I can earn some money here and it’ll be pretty funny’. If anyone thinks there’s a problem with it then good on them, but it definitely doesn’t bother me too much. I think it’s pretty funny.
Q: Can fans still locate those photos easily enough online? Do they typically utilise them for memes?
A: I’m not really going to tell you where to find them, but if anyone wanted to I’m sure they’d be able to track them down (laughs).
Q: Any famous last words?
A: Check out the new album, it’s out January 20th on Nuclear Blast. Also keep an eye out for tour dates (for) Australia and various other places around the world. We’ll be pretty busy this year I reckon.