Allegaeon – Beyond the ElementsSunday, 6th December 2015
Dead Rhetoric: With that in mind, where would you like to see the band go as things move forward?
Burgess: I look at certain bands, as a career arc. I really like Slayer, AC/DC, and Cannibal Corpse – I like their career arcs. They just stayed true to who they were, and I think they earned a lot of respect with that. But as an artist, and I don’t want to get into that “I’m an artist;” we are musicians and we are entertainers. We have to fulfill that musician part while staying true to the people that got you where you are. It’s a hard line for a lot of bands. There’s people that say, “I’m an artist and I want to do what I want.” But I think you have a responsibility to the people that get you to where you are, so you can do what you want. I want to stay pretty true to what we’ve done, while pushing the boundaries a little bit, which seems pretty cliché. Slayer has made the same album over and over again, but it works for them and people love them because they are Slayer. Cannibal Corpse is the same way. You can’t argue with the success with either of those bands. They’ve proven time and time again, that they stay true to what they started out as.
Dead Rhetoric: I think you have to push in that one direction of finding out what that one piece is within your sound. Do you feel that Allegaeon has found that at this point in your career?
Burgess: I don’t know. I think we all still just feel we are small fish. I don’t think the industry gives a shit, to be honest. I think we’d be way farther along if they did. We don’t make money, we just make friends along the way and just have fun.
Dead Rhetoric: Your sound is based in that melodic death metal tag, and some people lean towards you being technical death metal. Do you ever feel pigeonholed, particularly with melodic death metal – in that many view it as a genre that is dead?
Burgess: I get a little frustrated when people call us tech death, and not because I don’t love tech death. I think we all love tech death, but I don’t think that’s fair to the tech death bands at all – because they work way harder than we do. There’s definitely elements of tech death in our music, but it’s not tech death. I think it’s flattering to get the label, but it’s a disservice to the actual tech death bands out there.
The melodic death metal thing – we are all huge Soilwork and old In Flames fans; Carcass is one of my favorite bands – Heartwork, and that stuff. There’s a lot of that in our music. So it’s almost fair – I don’t mind getting pigeonholed as that, because it’s what we like. But there’s a lot of thrash in our music, touches of black metal and symphonic metal. And the whole genre-fication thing is dumb. It’s just a way for people to classify things so they can wrap their heads around what you are doing. No one did that, like say 20 years ago.
Dead Rhetoric: Going along with that, what would be the top 3-5 influences to get you to where your sound is?
Stancel: Death, Cynic, and Megadeth. If you can listen to an album 10 times on repeat, and still enjoy it every time that’s something special. And that’s how I’ve felt about pretty much every Death record, every Cynic record, and all the early Megadeth albums.
Burgess: Since Mike joined the band, I’ve become a huge Cynic fan. I never really listened to them, and they were one of his things. Traced in Air is beyond awesome, and their last one [Kindly Bent to Free Us] was amazing too. Megadeth – that’s my favorite band as well. Killing is My Business is the record I look to. It’s just raw, and it’s so complicated and fast. That was a huge part of my style. For me, Megadeth, Dream Theater and Yes – I’ll put those two together. Then I think, Miseration and Bloodbath. The whole Domination Morbid Angel-era, started to creep into our sound a little bit, which I think is helpful. When Ryan [Glisan] was in the band, his influences were Nevermore and Arch Enemy and Behemoth. When he left, we kind of lost that side. A lot of the writing of Elements was listening to his influences so we could keep that sound. In doing that, you kind of gain other influences. For me, going through more death metal stuff – it’s become more like old school Deicide and stuff like that. It’s usurped its way into our sound a bit, which wasn’t there when I joined the band. When we first started writing, it was more like Soilwork and melodic death metal and thrash, straight up, with prog thrown in. But it would be like, “that’s too progressive, you can’t put it on the record.” Now I don’t have that.
Park: Megadeth, again. Testament…and of course Kiss, Ozzy, and hair metal. But as far as my drumming, it’s more like Behemoth and Dimmu Borgir and things like that.
Dead Rhetoric: This is kind of an ironic day to do this, but what are the best and worst aspects of going out on tour?
Park: For me, food. That’s the worst. I hate fast food. The best part, is seeing new places and meeting new people.
Burgess: Travel is definitely awesome. I love New York City. I’m a huge NYC fan; I’m from Washington D.C. so I really like the east coast vibe. The culture here is amazing! I really like it because it’s not like anywhere else. Travelling is a huge thing for me; I love seeing new places. It’s always funny where the shows are the best. Like Canada, it’s amazing. Every show we play there is awesome. Montreal this time was by far one of the better shows. Denver is always good, because that’s where we are from. New Jersey is always great. I know Austin, TX will be fantastic. Parts I hate? I really don’t like how much sleep we get. You basically sleep as much as you can because your sleep is crap. I would much rather get 4-6 solid hours and maybe get to enjoy the day, but instead, any moment we are in the van, I am asleep. Which I guess is okay since it makes the travel go quick and I don’t sit there bored; but it’s like wasting your days when you could be productive…because I like the shit food.
Stancel: What I like is traveling around, hanging out with friends and fans and seeing people get really into the music. Because it’s our music, I can’t get into it that much, but to hear other people say that they have been moved by it is incredibly awesome and humbling. I’d say what I hate are 15-passenger vans. They never work right, they are uncomfortable, they get horrible gas mileage, and all they know how to do is break. The answer is a little biased after today, but I still think it’s true.
Dead Rhetoric: My last question here, which you’ve really kind of touched upon already but just to sum it up…what are we going to see from Allegaeon in 2016?
Stancel: New album, hopefully a bunch of tours…
Burgess: We have a really hard time [with tours]. We do not get support tours – we headline every tour and it’s not because we want to. No one gives us the opportunity to support, which is horrible because our fanbase does not grow. It’s another reason that I think the industry doesn’t give a shit because we don’t get any opportunities. We see our friends, Black Crown Initiate for example, get every tour under the god damn sun. We hear, “yeah, you are on this tour” and then, “oh no, Black Crown Initiate got it.” And Rivers of Nihil gets all the tours too!
Stancel: It’s okay, we love them!
Burgess: We love them so much…so much love, but god damn, we hate them [laughs]! But hopefully, our luck will change.
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