Thursday, November 29, 2007

Interview: Age of Evil

With an appearance at Germany's Bang Your Head festival and a debut album that is drawing praise from critics, Arizona's Age of Evil  are poised to break open the metal scene. I recently had an opportunity to fire off some questions to the guys about their album and plans for the future.

[HMM] Living A Sick Dream has been out since spring and has been generating extremely good feedback. Since then you've played a few gigs locally and earned a spot at Germany's Bang Your Head Festival. What has Age of Evil been up to lately?
[ Age of Evil ] As of now we are mostly writing new material and will get back to playing more shows starting early next year. We are also going to be shooting a music video very soon for the title track of the album, "Living A Sick Dream". The video should be done sometime in January and we are very excited for the ideas and images that we will be able to capture on film, expanding our creativity beyond just music.

The winter months are understandably difficult for Age of Evil to tour. You've been invited back to the BYH Festival next summer, but are there any plans for a U.S. tour?
We plan on touring all throughout Europe this summer with the Bang Your Head Festival as our main performance so far. There are no official dates set up but the goal is to attack every major country overseas. We would like to tour the U.S. but nothing is official yet.

I'd like to talk for a minute about the origins of the band, and where you find your inspiration. The original moniker for the group was Mortuary Tribute. What prompted a name change, and what factors led to the ultimate decision of Age of Evil?
Some of the bands that inspire us are Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Pantera. The 80's metal scene has always been a huge influence on us. As for the name, it was something we just had to do. We felt like Mortuary Tribute didn't portray the message we wanted to send out to fans and it was not strong enough. We wanted a name that defined what we were about. Age Of Evil is to the point and needs no explanation. We live in an age of evil every day and that can be interpreted many different ways.
Age of Evil
Is there a process that you guys follow when it comes to writing songs?
For our current CD, we would usually have a band practice and just take it from there. If one of us happened to write a riff or had an idea, we would bring it to the practice. Sometimes we would write a song in one day and others took weeks. Now that we have written and recorded one album, we are much more experienced and our process has changed a bit. We can write drums on the computer and experiment with different ideas and then take those ideas to practice after much thought has already gone into the song. This way our ideas and songs are much more developed and well thought out.

What are your usual sources of inspiration when it comes time to lay down the lyrics?
Common in our lyrics are events, ideas, or theories that we believe change the lives of millions of people. We want to connect to our listeners and write about topics that they can relate to. Some of the songs on our album are politically influenced and others stress the importance of finding what is important in life and give a more hopeful message. Our inspiration comes from whatever we may feel at the time we decide to write the lyrics.

Your sound is firmly rooted in traditional metal. With most young bands embracing what I'll call the modern trend in metal (and I'll leave it at that), what prompted you to rejuvenate the classic metal sound?
We write what we want to hear and we grew up on old traditional metal. When we incorporated our influences with a modern sound we ended up with Living A Sick Dream, an album with melody and heavy riffs that isn't just noise for people to mosh to. One goal of ours is to also continue to raise the flag of old-school metal and never let it die.

You earned a glowing recommendation from Marty Friedman, who also guests on Living A Sick Dream. What was your reaction when you first read his praise?
Marty has been a big influence on all of us through all of his bands such as Megadeth, Cacophony, and his solo projects. It is an honor for an idol such as him to agree to play on our album and take the extra step to write so well and sincere about us. Hopefully it is not the last time we work with him and we look forward to meeting him.

What sort of feedback have you received from other notables in the genre?
We have received feedback from so many people including artists in Germany, Los Angeles, and here in Phoenix. All feedback is good and helpful, from nobles or not, and we are thrilled to hear that it is all positive.

How about labels? Are you actively looking to sign?
We've been in contact with a few labels, but nothing official yet. We don't want to rush into the first opportunity we get and then get raped by our first impulse. Also, with the change of how music is being sold and the change in power of the label going to the artist, we are trying to anticipate how the music industry is changing and decide how we want to be represented. We do plan on putting out the new record with a label or a backing of some kind.

Living A Sick Dream is quite a collection of great metal songs. Were there others that didn't make it onto the album, and if so will they ever see the light of day?
There were only two songs that didn't make the cut. The first one entitled, "Shadow Of An Angel" was written almost 3 years ago. It was the first song that we had ever written and we had outgrown it by the time we recorded Living A Sick Dream. The other was a ballad called, "Story Of Mine". Our producer, John Herrera, was very set on having the album heavy and straightforward all the way through and we agreed. The song would not translate well live and it did not fit in with the rest of Living A Sick Dream.

Are there any songs on the album that you consider your favorites?
We are all proud of every song on the record. Each song has its own unique sound and the listener will notice how no two songs sound alike. In a live setting we enjoy playing "Call Me Evil" because it is bursting with energy for three minutes and forty-one seconds and is fast paced. Along with that song comes our title track featuring Marty Friedman and "Fingertips Of Fate", a heavy and melodic song with a grand uplifting end.

I wrote in my review that "The Storm" was my favorite on the album. Very melodic with a lot of atmosphere. Tell me a bit about the inspiration for that track.
Jordan and Jeremy just sat down one day and decided to write a song that incorporated melody and a type of catchiness, while keeping the song metal. Garrett wrote most of the lyrics and the song is very metaphorical. We like putting ideas and thoughts into our listeners' minds for them to interpret themselves. This allows everyone to connect with the song on a more personal level.

Do you see yourselves altering your sound in any way on the next album?
Age Of Evil is currently writing new material and our sound and songs have matured in a way that no one will expect. We are keeping the new album heavy and melodic, while incorporating ideas and new directions that we have never experimented with before. We look forward to the day that new songs are released and can tell you that the future for Age Of Evil is a bright one. Fans of Age Of Evil will become bigger fans and no one will be disappointed.

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. Do you have any parting words for the fans out there?
We love you all and would not be where we are without you. We promise to write new music that blows your mind because you all deserve it. Cheers!

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