Brisbane’s Aliencore monsters Aversions Crown released their brutal new album Xenocide on Friday January 20th. We spoke to frontman Mark Poida about the new songs and how the band approached the song writing.
Steve: So right off the bat how does it feel to have new material out, it must be exciting?
MP: Yeah man for me it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been sitting on the new album we are about to release probably for about a year now and just getting it all recorded and all the processes, it feels great and to see this coming to fruition and to be able to release some new songs and see what everyone thinks, it’s a relief. That’s what I’d use to sum it up.
RP: Yeah sure I can only imagine! And how was it to jump into the studio with a legend like producer Mark Lewis?
MP: It’s great man, he’s awesome to work with. He made the album sound really good, we went to him with some specific ideas about how we wanted it to sound and stuff like that. He’s always been a good friend of ours and he’s always loved the band and he’s always been keen to work with us so it worked out really well. We went to him and we were like, “Hey we want an album that sounds a bit more metal then our previous stuff ,with our mix for example we just want to mix the sound a bit less produced and more kind of raw”, and I believe he has nailed it really well.
RP: Sure, so did he basically let you have free reign or did he come in with ideas? How did that work for you guys?
MP: He had a few ideas that he swung past us that was mainly in the post production type stuff, he added some great input but as far as restrictions go he didn’t really have any. He just said, “You guys do what you do and let me know how you want it to sound”. He was really easy to work with, it was great.
RP: Cool sounds like the ultimate mix, pardon the pun [laughs].
MP: [Laughs] Yeah exactly!
RP: So in terms of lyrical content did you come in with any firm ideas ie the state of the world, war? How does that work for you, do you carry around a pen and paper and jot down ideas?
MP: I think it all starts out that I’m a massive fan of film, I watch a lot of sci-fi films. I also play a lot of video games I watch a lot of documentaries, it just came through watching things I hadn’t seen before. I would see an idea for example, I was watching a tv show about how to survive the end of the world, I looked at crazy theories about how the world could end and I was like you know what aliens could do that aliens could destroy the moon or they could throw the earth off it’s axis and we could slowly spin into darkness and the earth would slowly freeze over from lack of sunlight and I would say that’s an awesome idea and somehow incorporate that into a story, the concept that I’ve written and that’s basically how the album came to be written. I’d just find a lot of little things that gave me inspiration to put it into a story just a bunch of small ideas put together .
RP: So you were looking at some pretty dark content from what you were just saying?
MP: Yeah it’s definitely pretty dark and it’s a lot more focused on the alien side of things as opposed to seeing it through a human perspective or all of the songs are about humans where as a lot of songs on this album aren’t about humans, they are more about the aliens and they have their issues just like humans do. Like there are people out there that are good and there are people that aren’t as good and want to cause destruction and havoc.
RP: Yeah I totally agree! So in terms of how you guys write your material, do you have a collective idea, throw it into the middle and see what comes up? How do you guys do it, do you do it separately or all come together and jam out ideas?
MP: Well how it all basically starts is our guitarist Chris Cougan he will write a riff or what not and he’ll record it on his computer and he’ll put a certain drum beat that he envisioned the riff to kind of go with and basically what happens from there is he will send it to Jayden Mason our drummer and Jayden will put his own kind of spin on it with the drums. That gets us an idea of how the drums should sound from the genetic programmed ones Chris has done and once those two have collaborated and Mick Jeffery (guitarist) has put his ideas in they get an instrumental track out and then they end up sending it to me and I put my vocals over it and the lyrics and what not. It’s a massive collaborative effort, we all do it separately, we all do our own bit in our own time and if something doesn’t sound right we’ll all be like we don’t know about this bit or that bit but luckily everyone seems to be on there “A” game. Not much of that seems to happen, most of the stuff that you hear on this new album was pretty much the first time we wrote it. That’s how it sounded, we were like that’s sick we don’t need to change it!
RP: That’s the cohesion most bands would kill for in terms of being able to go into the studio and nail it 110% and walk away knowing that you”ve given it everything you possibly could?
MP: Exactly, that’s how we felt as a band when we walked away from the studio. It went really smoothly, there were no real delays from everyone, it was a good time.
RP: So was there anything musically you were listening to get inspired or just in general or did you cut yourself off from music in order to focus on writing the new album?
MP: I didn’t really cut myself off from music, I’ve always been a massive fan of music. I have lots of genres that I go through, I don’t really just stick to metal or hardcore or anything like that. I definitely delve [into] hip hop, electronic dance music and stuff like that, I just listen to a lot of different styles so I didn’t cut myself off really when writing or recording my album and making sure that I wasn’t ripping anyone off. I wasn’t copying ideas or anything like that but rather I’d hear something really cool and I was like, “This makes me feel like writing music”, because sometimes when you hear a good hook in a song and your like, “Damn that’s awesome!” Your like, “Man I want to write a hook that sounded cool like that, something that inspires you and moves you in a certain way”. I don’t know, the best way for me to write more music is to listen to more music as funny as that sounds, it just works.
RP: No that’s cool I was just interested to get your perspective as I know that some artists are very staunch in terms of while they are writing or whatever the case maybe they’ll cut themselves off so they don’t get distracted.
MP: Nah usually when I’m sitting down writing I could sit there for a good 8 to 10 hours and go at it, it’s almost like homework but it’s not like homework because homework is not really something you want to do. But it’s kind of like homework if you enjoyed homework, that’s what it’s like.
RP: Cool yeah I’m sure some people could relate! So what is your favorite track off the new album and why is it grabbing you?
MP: I’m going to have to go with the last track “Odium”. It’s my favorite because it was the second song I ever wrote for the band since I joined at the start of last year and it’s always been one of my personal favorites. The reason it’s been one of my favorites is it’s a really “riffy” vibe, a real dark black metal-ish sound and there is lots of atmospheric guitars. It’s a really long track I think it goes for about 6 – 6 and a half minutes. I don’t know, just something about how the lead guitar is played it gives this really ominous grim feeling when you hear it and when I put my vocals over it I only ever envisioned it one way. I never recorded it and thought, “Oh maybe I can try it this way”, or anything like that. I remember that even before I recorded it I was just like it has to be this way and then when I tracked it I said this is perfect, it add so much more to this dark feeling that I had before there was vocals on it and now that they’re on there it gives this really sort of…I don’t know, it makes you feel disgusting like when someone scratches a chalk board your just like, “Ewww yuck”, and I love that you can listen to something and squirm because it’s so gritty and evil sounding.
RP: You feel almost dirty and need to go and have a shower [laughs].
RP: So I know that you guys have just come off an extensive tour of Europe, any chance that Perth will get to see you in full force anytime soon?
MP: Yeah we are lining up some Australian tours right now but we haven’t announced anything unfortunately because we’ve been lining it up since December last year. Perth will definitely see us again but I can’t say when because nothing has been announced and I don’t want to annoy anyone who’s organizing the tours and what not but we’ll never forget about Perth. It’s actually one of my favorite places in Australia, I love playing shows at the YMCA and Amps. It’s a great time, it’s a great place.
RP: Yeah man and we are busting to see you guys rip Amps in half!
MP: For sure man, Amps is a great place. You get to party and have a few drinks with your friends, it’s sick! Amps has got me onto Captain Morgan 100 percent, they had these Captain Morgan parties there a few years back, it hooked me on it. They had these little treasure chests around the place and there were keys everywhere and you open them and possibly get a free drink.
RP: Oh I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing!
MP: I’d say a little of both [laughs].
RP: Well it’s been awesome chatting with you this evening, thanks so much for your time. All the best to you guys, see you sometime soon.
MP: No worries man, thanks for the interview. It’s been a lot of fun.