Product of Hate – Aggression and ProgressionThursday, 15th June 2017
Dead Rhetoric: At this point, how do you guys define success?
Cody Rathbone: Being able to travel – obviously we are not rich in money, but we are rich in travels.
Adam Gilley: To be able to afford it – I don’t care if I’m in a band as long as I can still maintain it and pay the rent.
Geno Rathbone: The fact that someone on the other side of the country wants us to play a show. Being here – someone in Connecticut wants to hear us play. Cool – load up the trailer and let’s go.
Mike McGuire: Going to places that you’ve never been and never thought about going, and seeing people in the front row, singing your lyrics…knowing the drum parts and every change – it’s extremely humbling.
Geno Rathbone: Steev, from Skinlab, said something cool last night at the show. He said, “You know, we aren’t out here to make money, we are here to make friends.” That’s really cool – if you go out there with that attitude, you are never going to be disappointed. That’s the coolest thing. The more we travel, especially coming back to other markets, you run into people you saw 2 years ago and hang out with them. It almost makes it so when you go to those places – you know where everything and who everyone is – you can just make friends and it’s cool.
Mike McGuire: The fans add you on Facebook, and they’ll chat with you. It feels good.
Dead Rhetoric: On the other side, what’s the toughest thing…you aren’t really a new band, but you only have one album so you are kind of new…what’s the hardest thing about being an up-and-coming act?
Cody Rathbone: Finding tours…like, bigger tours.
Mark Campbell: It’s kind of the catch-22, like when you are 16 and you need a job to get a car and you need a car to get a job. You have to be established to get those tours to get you established.
Geno Rathbone: Before we signed the record deal, it was like ‘you aren’t on a label, so you can’t get a booking agent, and you can’t get a booking agent because you aren’t signed,’ and it was literally like, at some point something has to give. Now that we have a record contract, we’ve been through like four booking agents. At the same time, they only do what they can. They have a roster of like 60 bands…
Mark Campbell: And you are band 56 on the list.
Geno Rathbone: You are just another 30 bucks for them a day, or 15 bucks…whatever their commission would be. That’s the toughest – just trying to stay busy. Even the bigger bands! There’s a reason why all these big bands are touring together – it’s the only way they are going to make money. The buy-on culture is just killing everybody. There are so many bands that are just calling it quits. Bands that have toured all over the place. You see a band like Allegaeon, who are our buddies that we toured with. They got so much crap for the Patreon thing – it’s like…reading the comments and knowing them personally and everything. They are some of the cheapest dudes I’ve ever met, and some of the comments were like, “oh these guys make so much money – they are on their fourth album at Metal Blade and they just blow it on _______.” It’s like no, these guys are sharing macaroni and cheese and frozen yogurt with each other. They are extremely frugal.
People just assume there’s all this money to be made and there’s not. That’s why these bigger bands group together. There will be three huge bands on a tour and then 2 bands no one knows. Those 2 bands, there’s a reason that no one knows of them. But at the same time, we get the offers for those tours but its like, “yeah, come open for this band. It’s only going to cost you $10,000.” And then you get to open that tour for like 20 days. Then you go there, and you feel really bad for those bands. They play for a 1/5 of the crowd that the big bands are playing to. So they end up losing all that money.
That’s what spurred us to finally record Buried in Violence. We had a buy-on offer for a decent tour, and we decided to take the money and do a record and do something we can control and hope that we could tour that way. We took a gamble on it and it kind of worked out. But still, it’s not just baby bands, because we are still a baby band too, but you’ve got all these bands. If you’ve got the money, it doesn’t matter how good you are. We’ve played with bands like that. You know the money is coming from somewhere. They aren’t signed, they don’t have a booking agent, but they are on tour with say, Testament. It’s like, I remember when we had that opportunity to do that but it was like, $10,000.
Cody Rathbone: We can’t afford that.
Geno Rathbone: It’s totally cool if they can. If I had the money, I’d be writing checks left and right for it, but it is something that has been discouraging a lot of bands coming up. You hit that wall where you do local stuff, but if you can’t afford it, you are stuck.
Mark Campbell: How many small shows can you play, before you say “I can’t afford to do this anymore?” We are getting paid the bare minimum and you are only playing to a couple of people…if you are doing that for a couple of years, it just kills you. You are coming home with just as much as you left, or negative. And then you’ve got even more problems – like if there’s something wrong with the van.
Geno Rathbone: It’s the old joke – guy never got sick in his life…went to the doctor one time and boom, cancer. It’s the same thing. We go to get the oil changed in the van and boom…tires. Getting an oil change is going to cost us $600 in tires now.
Dead Rhetoric: Given the games you are already setting up, and knowing this is one of your bigger tours that you’ve had length-wise – what are you going to do to keep yourselves occupied for the next 5-6 weeks?
Mark Campbell: Go to parks. We try to hit national monuments when we have the time. That’s the thing every always assumes when you go on tour – you get to see the whole country and see all these cool places.
Geno Rathbone: You see a hell of a lot of parking lots…
Mark Campbell: You see a lot of Walmarts, interstates, and truck stops.
Geno Rathbone: Like the first time we played Seattle, it was like, “did you see the space needle?” Yeah, we pointed right at it as we drove by on the way to the parking lot we sat in for 4 hours.
Mark Campbell: That definitely helps to try to pass the time. We try to plan ahead of time and see the routing. If we get out and get up at this time, we can go somewhere. We went to Gettysburg, we went to DC, we went to Tombstone. Every time we go out on tour, we try to focus on getting to see some cool shit.
That’s other big benefit to it…you think about it, and you may not be making money doing it, but how many people work their whole lives to retire and go around the country and see all this stuff and you are right in the hub. You are young enough to take that memory and have it for the rest of your life. That’s something that really helps to pass the time. You are grateful to be out there, even when you are going stir-crazy in the van. How many people would kill to be in this van sweating their ass off right now? It’s about being humble about it and just trying to respect everybody and help each other out.
Cody Rathbone: It’s only day two of the tour so we haven’t busted out the grill yet. We tailgate.
Geno Rathbone: Skinlab didn’t get here until late yesterday, so we hung out with them a little bit after the show. Usually by week two, you don’t know who’s in which band because we are all just hanging out. It helps to be out on the road with good people. We’ve been really lucky so far – every band we have toured with has been really cool that way.
Mark Campbell: It’s like one big family.
Geno Rathbone: They look at us – they know we are on the way up…it’s cool that we haven’t run into that ‘dickhead band’ that is going to haze us or whatever. Everyone has been really cool. That’s all the bigger bands that we have toured with tell us about. They remind us how lucky we are [laughs]. We definitely don’t deserve some of the bands we’ve played with.
Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned that there’s new stuff written, you are on the road now, what’s next over the next year?
Adam Gilley: Probably keep writing…
Geno Rathbone: When we get home, we will think about recording one or two more and then taking the pick of the litter for the next record. Then getting the mastering done and getting a release date. I would love to have a record out by the end of 2017. We need to pick artwork and figure out the politics behind the release date. There’s so much science that goes into it that I never realized. It’s like, you can’t release it here because there’s an early weekend for all the colleges east of the Mississippi – you can’t release it that day, we have to push it back two weeks.
Mark Campbell: Or this band is releasing something the same day and they are going to blow you away.
Geno Rathbone: The original release date for Buried in Violence was supposed to be the same day as Slayer. So ideally, it’d be awesome to get the next album out in 2017. We are going to play a couple new songs tonight. That’s the cool thing about a tour like this…
Mark Campbell: Get your feet wet, see what they like and what they don’t – then you modify.
Cody Rathbone: With Buried in Violence, we got to test out all those songs live before we recorded them and then tweak and change them. There’s a few songs that we have recorded that we have never played live. It’s fine to try them out and see how it works.
Geno Rathbone: The first one is always easy – you have your whole life to write those songs. The next one is like, “you have 30 days to have six demos to us.”
Cody Rathbone: Meanwhile, we are working on like 12 songs that are only a quarter done. It’s crunch-time!
Dead Rhetoric: It’s almost like you want to have the stockpile even before you go out on the road.
Geno Rathbone: We did for a long time…until we didn’t. We didn’t even have a record done and we had like 35 songs. Now it’s like a record comes out, then you do an EP here and a few singles and you are like, “shit, we have four songs!” But I’m really excited to get a new record out. To have people hear these songs that we’ve been sitting on for like three years, that have been recorded. Hopefully we’ll know here in the next couple months…get a release date and move forward with that.
Mark Campbell: And if not, get our asses back on the road until that point.
Adam Gilley: The main goal is to keep writing, keep moving, and don’t stop.
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