Latest release: Hell Will Come For Us All (Nuclear Blast)Website: www.facebook.com/AversionsCrown
Australian eight-string guitar-wielding deathcore heavy-hitters Aversions Crown return with a new vocalist (US-based Tyler Miller) and a blistering new album (Hell Will Come For Us All).
The drums and guitar for the album were recorded with Matt Shorteron on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland at Heliport Studios, with vocals and additional engineering done by Steve Seid. Throughout the entire process, renowned producer Will Putney (Thy Art is Murder) of Graphic Nature Audio returned to the band once more to assist in all things production and mixed the LP.
Loud chatted with guitarist Mick Jeffery about their recent US tour being cancelled after just one show due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their new vocalist, tackling different subject matter and more.
Q: How’s life in lockdown treating you?
A: It’s going alright. I’m just at home trying to keep productive and keep working on music and all that kind of stuff. I’d rather be on tour, but what do you do?
Q: Indeed. Do you have another job when you’re not touring?
A: I have a few jobs, but they’re all kind of non-existent at the moment. So I’m kind of a proper musician and I’m on Centrelink (laughs). I’m getting the JobSeeker at the moment.
Q: So, fill us in on what happened on the American tour. I understand you had only just started the run when you were forced to return to Australia?
A: We got one show in, and that night we were told we had to get out of the country. It was a crazy, crazy week (laughs). We flew over to do a pretty extensive US and Canadian tour, which was going to last about six weeks or so. The tour started on the 12th of March, in Philadelphia on the East Coast. We flew over, and we had two days to get everything together, try and get over the jet lag and get all the gear organised, all the merch, transport and all that kind of stuff.
We rock up to set up for the first show, which is always a bit of a nightmare because there’s just gear and merch boxes everywhere. It’s a pretty hectic day of tour every time. So we were just trying to get through that. As we were setting everything up, (we were) finding out information by the hour. We found out first that one show had been cancelled in Seattle, maybe two-thirds of the way through the tour. And then an hour or two later we start finding out that the shows coming up in the first week were all starting to get cancelled. By the time we went on-stage, we were told just before we got on-stage that this is going to be the final show of tour. So, ‘As you soon as you guys are done, you’ve gotta get off-stage, pack up, get out of here and we’ve gotta get you back to Australia’. It was pretty mental.
Q: Is that a really soul-destroying situation to find yourself in?
A: Absolutely, yeah. You put so much into it, to do a tour like that, especially coming all the way from Australia. You put so many things on hold as well – all the day jobs we work back home, we have to take time off all that stuff to be able to do these tours. You put everything on hold, and then all of a sudden you’re back home, you’ve got no work lined up, and you’ve taken a big financial hit from the tour itself not going ahead. It’s an unfortunate situation for us, but the positive thing we can take from it is everyone got out of the country safe and healthy, and we all made it back home in one piece.
So it could have been a lot worse. If it had even been an extra day over there, things could have been a lot different for us trying to get back into Australia. We were pretty fortunate to get back when we did, before any of the quarantine rules or any of that stuff was put into place. We kinda dodged that by a few hours. It was pretty fortunate in some aspects, for sure.
Q: I know the vocalist of Carnifex commented that their band lost many thousands of dollars from their tour being cancelled at the last minute due. Do you see the effects of this pandemic threatening the existence of some mid- and lower-tier bands?
A: For sure. With a band like us, maybe it’s almost fortunate in a way that we all do still have other sources of income when we’re not touring, we all do work other jobs. But there would be so many bands out there that are a bit past that stage, that do rely solely on the band for all their income. They don’t have any other source of income. It could kind of destroy a lot of bands and people’s lives in that aspect.
Q: Without putting a dollar figure on it, is the financial loss you endured recoverable for the band? Will it take a while to recoup a lot of the money lost?
A: It’s going to take a little while. There’s so many expenses that go into it, and (there’s) a big outlay for ordering a whole heap of merch stock and stuff like that. But we’ve been able to put that on a US webstore at www.indiemerchstore.com , and people have been able to purchase the merch off the website, which helps us out a lot. So little things like that will help us recoup the costs, and for anyone who was planning on coming to see us at a show can at least pick up a shirt. That’s something for them, and it helps us out too.
Q: You heard the man, folks. On a more positive note, let’s shift topics to the new album. How did your new US-based vocalist Tyler Miller join the band?
A: We found ourselves in a position early last year when we had some tours lined up, and our current singer at the time pulled out of doing the tours. So we needed to find a fill-in vocalist for them. We were wondering what to do. We were reaching out to some people that we already knew, and they were unable to do the tours.
So we started reaching out to people who we just liked the sound of their voice. We found Tyler; he was singing for a band called The Guild, who were based out of Knoxville in Tennessee. We’d heard that band and we really liked the sound of his vocals, and thought it could work with what we were doing as well. So we contacted him out of the blue, explained who we were and what the situation was. He was super keen from the get-go, and ended up recording a sort of demo version of one of our songs with his vocals over the top, so we could get an idea of how we would sound. It sounded really good, so we thought it was going to be our best option, (to) take a complete stranger from another country, fly him over to Europe, put him in a tour bus. He’d never been overseas before, he’d never left America, and he’s going to be singing a month of headline shows around Europe and the UK.
So it was a bit of a risky move, but it ended up paying off. He did a great job, and throughout the tour he was just consistently improving, and we just saw a lot more potential for him to continue to improve. When it came down to album time and it was time to decide on who was going to be the full-time singer… And we didn’t want to jump into it and find ourselves in a position of losing another vocalist. So after figuring it all out with him and the logistics and stuff, he ended up being the dude.
We started working on the album with him, just over correspondence with him. Sending demos and pre-pro versions of the songs, until we were all really happy with it, we sent him into the studio and off we went.
Q: Obviously having a singer based in the US when the other members are in Australia creates some logistical issues.
A: The rest of us are basically based in the north coast of Australia, in Brisbane, and I live on the Gold Coast, so that’s not too far from Brisbane. But having him over in the States, that was obviously an issue we had to think about a lot before making the decision to get him in the band.
But the way the band has operated – this is pre COVID-19 obviously – but the way the band has operated the past few years, the majority of our touring and our time on the road has been overseas. A lot of tours will be around America. He’s already there, so that’s one less flight and one less visa we have to pay for. We do a lot of touring around Europe, and it’s a lot cheaper to fly from the US to Europe than it is from Australia. So that was some more money saved there. And if we were going to play in Australia, we wouldn’t just be doing one-off shows of a weekend anyway, it would be like a full tour of Australia. So to bring him over for that would be worthwhile, because we couldn’t be bringing him over just for one-off shows and that kind of stuff.
We figured, ‘This is probably going to work out in our favour’, to have someone who’s already based over there. It kind of gives us a bit of a home base in the United States as well. It just seemed like it was probably going to work out. Unfortunately we haven’t had an opportunity to test that theory yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Q: What do you feel Tyler brought to the table on this record?
A: There’s a whole bunch of elements. Obviously the sound of his voice is going to be different, so he’s brought a more aggressive vocal approach. There’s a lot more natural, raw aggression in the way he enunciates his words. He pronounces words really clearly as well, which is really cool. Not a lot of people can get that kind of clarity when they have such a heavy vocal tone as well.
So we really wanted that, and that opens up the possibility of people hooking into the lyrics a lot more and tapping into what the band’s saying, singing along at live shows and all that kind of stuff. Things that we’ve wanted to do for many years, so it’s great to finally be able to do that.
He had a really mature songwriting approach when we started working on the songs with him. For him it was never about showing off vocally… Trying to be just brutal all the time. It was about trying to service the song as best he could with his vocal patterns, his placements, the way he approached verses and choruses of songs. Trying to put those hooks in, which have always kinda been there in the music I think. But I think vocally we’ve always kind of lacked in that department until now. So he’s definitely brought that to the table.
And also just overall personality and attitude; he just gets on really well with us, and it’s a good energy on-stage. There’s a lot of energy and a lot of aggression, and that’s the kind of thing we’ve always strived for in our live show.
Q: The group has been pegged as “aliencore”, or a sci-fi death metal band. Do you feel the group has been pigeon-holed in that regard?
A: It’s kind of a sub-genre within a sub-genre. We’ve kind of been labelled as an “aliencore” band for the past three albums. And that’s really cool and we’ve always embraced it. Essentially the band was writing about sci-fi and alien concepts and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, I can definitely see why people just threw us into that category.
But we’ve always felt there was a lot more to us than just that, and we wanted to expand lyrically and visually all the themes and imagery to go with the band for a while. But this kind of felt like the right time to do it. It was the fourth album, so we’ve been doing it for a while now, and we were also bringing a new vocalist into the fold. Obviously we wanted to bring his influences and input into the music as well, so he had a whole heap of cool lyrical ideas and concepts that he brought to us as we were working on the songs.
He started off, he did a few kind of sci-fi songs as well, so there’s a four-part, sci-fi concept story that runs through four of the songs on the album. But the rest of them are written about other kinds of issues and subject matter, which is a bit left-field for what we’ve done before, but it just felt really natural and organic for us to do that, especially with Tyler. It just felt like something fresh for us to do, rather than just regurgitating the same ideas. We didn’t want to feel like we were just going around in circles. We wanted to move forward, and hopefully bring some new fans on board by not only doing the thing we had done for the past three albums, but trying some new things as well.
Q: You’re releasing a new album at a time when artists are facing great uncertainty in terms of when they’ll be able to tour again. Has Aversions Crown considered doing a livestream show, for instance?
A: There’s definitely bands doing things like your livestream concerts, which I think are really cool. For some bands I think that will work really well, and be a really cool, effective way of playing live for people to watch.
We’ve always been a live band; as far as I’ve been concerned that’s been what this band is, and where it excels is being a live band. Part of that for us is the energy, aggression and heaviness that comes with being at a metal show, rather than just watching a couple of guys in the studio playing their parts. Which is really cool for certain things, but I don’t know if what we do will translate as well to that kind of situation. So it might be something we experiment with, but it may not work for every band.
We do have some tours lined up for later in the year, which we are assuming are all going to go ahead. There’s one booked in for December around Australia, and there’s tickets on-sale for that. It was supposed to be happening around now, but it’s been pushed back to December, and it seems like everyone is saying that’s going to be a go-ahead and everything will be alright to do that tour. At least we have that to look forward to down the track.
Q: Any famous last words?
A: The album is out through Nuclear Blast worldwide. There’s clips up for the singles The Soil, Paradigm and Born In The Gutter on YouTube. So if you haven’t heard us before, give those a listen and tell us what you think.