Synyster Gates recently spoke with Rolling Stone Italia (Italian/Translated) about being in the music scene for 14 years, being considered “the next big thing” in metal (in regards to becoming the next Metallica), the philosophy behind Hail To The King, the arrangement for “Planets,” moving to Warner Bros from Hopeless and more.
As Slayer have debuted with a label that specializes not in your genre: they’re on Def Jam, the label hip hop par excellence, you were on Hopeless Records, one of the most important labels of American punk scene.
“Well, they [Hopeless] were always very cool with us while we were with them, but then things stopped working, so in 2004 we moved to Warner that – unlike the other majors – has guaranteed 100% artistic freedom. Hopeless gave us less control, Warner instead have allowed us to cultivate the artistic growth of the band. For years now we are with them, they’re the perfect label for us.”
Bass Player Magazine has published their feature on Johnny Christ from their December 2013 issue. Johnny spoke about dialing in his sound on “Hail To The King,” how his playing techniques have changed over time, his signature Schecter bass, writing his bass parts on “Hail To The King,” what rigs he records with and plays live, the evolution of Avenged Sevenfold’s rhythm section with Arin Ilejay, how three different drummers have differed in terms of groove and more. Check out Premier Guitar’s Rig Rundown for Johnny Christ here.
“When I joined the band, I was the new kid, and I didn’t fully understand the songwriting aspect to playing bass—I just wanted to get in there and throw bass lick riffs around whether or not they made sense for the song. Now, I have a better understanding of the songwriting process, and I understand how too work as a band. I’ve definitely evolved to where I orchestrate my bass lines rather than throw down a bunch of riffs. As with other things, when you practice your craft as often as you can, it eventually starts to get better. I’m still proud of the work I’ve done in the past, but I feel that I’m maturing with each album, honing in and synching into the groove. I love playing, so I’m always trying to do things a little bit better.”
Submitted by Troy.
ScuzzTV’s Scuzz Meets Avenged Sevenfold session featuring M Shadows and Zacky Vengeance is now available for viewing online. Matt and Zacky sat down with Beez in July to talk about what artists(s) made them want to be in a band, outgrowing hardcore music, the evolution between Sounding The Seventh Trumpet and Waking The Fallen, if Waking The Fallen felt special when they released it, where M Shadows and Zacky Vengeance were when they decided to have Synyster Gates join the band, rebelling against the hardcore scene, M Shadows goes on record and explains what happened with his vocal chords after Waking The Fallen, City Of Evil setting them apart from similar bands during the time of its release, self-producing their self-titled album and what they wanted to accomplish with it, how KROQ and MTV helped City Of Evil, what the first day in the studio was like after Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan’s passing, tragedy tightening their bond of friendship, Hail To The King being a ‘blast of cold water’ for fans and the album being the next proper transition for Avenged Sevenfold.
Metal Hammer TV caught up with Avenged Sevenfold while the band were in Manchester and spoke with Arin Ilejay backstage about life with the band, his favorite thing about their show, reminiscing with his bandmates, being Download’s main event and more.
EMP Rockinvasion sat down with Johnny Christ while Avenged Sevenfold were overseas to talk about strip clubs, killing time on tour with books/movies/video games, criticism, comparisons to Metallica and the differences between Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, Mike Portnoy and Arin Ilejay and more.
The Irish Times interviewed Arin Ilejay backstage at the O2 in Dublin where he talked about “the success of Hail to the King, carrying the torch for a new generation of headbangers and how he came to join the band that have become the standard-bearers for modern metal.”
M Shadows called into (1:22:25-1:27:31) BBC Radio 1′s The Rock Show with Daniel P Carter to talk about how Avenged Sevenfold’s European tour has been, getting the opportunity to headline Download 2014 and older generations giving younger bands a chance.
Musicians Friend spoke with Synyster Gates about how the lead-guitarist ended up working with Schecter, having 100% input on his signature guitar designs, how he uses the Sustainiac system, his road setup, Hellwin amps, the noise get nightmare, how his rig has evolved over the years, the hardest guitar piece he had to write for “Hail To The King” and more. You can also enter to win their Avenged Sevenfold Sweepstakes which includes a Schecter C-1 guitar autographed by Avenged Sevenfold, an A7X All Access DVD, Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough CD/DVD, the “Hail To The King” single, A7X catalog CD sampler (plain cover) and A7X guitar picks. The contest starts 12/3/13 and end on 12/17/13. Please read the Official Rules for eligibility.
MF: The new album, Hail to the King, is kind of a stripped-down version of years past, but it’s still guitar-heavy. What was the hardest guitar piece for you to write and/or record, and why?
SG: Oh, my goodness. Probably “Planets,” the second to last song, because it’s just so dissonant. We really wanted to have this cinematic quality to it but maintain the catchy melodies that kind of bind it all together, so when you took it apart you’d say, whoa, there’s a lot crazy modulation, chord changes and crazy s**t going on. It’s a different kind of arrangement, but it sounds very palatable still, and communicates what we were trying to communicate. Which was intergalactic f*****g war, I guess.
MF: What was your toughest solo to do on that album?
SG: They are all tough, either writing or playing. They take pretty much the same amount of time. There’s nothing that stuck out more than another. Definitely “Planets” and “Acid Rain” are my two favorite solos.
Midwest Music Scene conducted an interview (18:06-20:13) with James Cassells of Asking Alexandria at Metal Fest and touched on the subject of Avenged Sevenfold headlining Download Festival 2014, the good they’re doing for metal/rock music and the criticism they’ve received over “Hail To The King.” Back in August, Australia’s AHM Network caught up with AA’s Ben Bruce who commented that Synyster Gates is his guitar teacher.
Avenged Sevenfold’s headlining Download next year which is just crazy.
JC: Avenged Sevenfold… to start off they’re good friends of ours. We went on tour with them, they’re sweet dudes, awesome guys. They are stepping up, man. They’re going to the next level. They’re already a massive, massive band but they’re becoming the next Metallica, the next Iron Maiden. The next… a band that’s gonna go down in history.
A true big rock band. We haven’t had that in a long time.
JC: I know. That’s awesome. It’s so good how a true metal/rock act is getting to the point where it’s like, “You’re making this a mainstream thing. You’re becoming a household name.” And, that helped.. them doing that is helping every band that plays metal.
You’re playing Aftershock Festival in September in California and there are some big names on that tour like Korn and Megadeth. Who are you looking forward to hanging with most?
BB: Avenged Sevenfold are on that festival as well aren’t they? I’m looking forward to hanging with them because they’re such cool guys and we get on really well with them. Synyster Gates is actually my guitar teacher now, he makes videos and stuff for me so I can, y’know, learn how to play my instrument [laughs]. So I’m looking forward to that!
Front Magazine has made their interview with M Shadows from Issue 185 (August) available in full online. Shadows talks about being excited for the release of “Hail To The King,” never being told what to do from their record label, not being able to please everyone with each album, the weirdest thing he’s read about himself, if he misses the lack of glamour in the early days, raising his son on the road and keeping him grounded, the fans being the deciding factor of if they become one of the biggest bands in the world and more. You can also read an extra feature, “M Shadows On Gaming,” that touches on testing Black Ops II as a beta, being a developer if he wasn’t in a band and the triple-A game he wrote, his favorite games and character, Skyward Sword, Super Meat Boy, Mortal Kombat and playing Call Of Duty with his clan.
As it’s album number six, is there more freedom to just write songs you like?
MS: We’ve always been like that. People have an interesting perspective of major labels. Our relationship with the label has always been, “Here’s the money to make it, let us know if you need anything, and hand the record over when you’re done.” We’ve never been told what to do.
Would you like your kid to follow you into metal?
MS: He’s very into music – he’s one and he’s banging on drums, making noises into a microphone. I want him to do whatever he wants to do, whether that’s being a golfer, a physicist… Usually people grow up and go “Whatever my Dad does, it’s not cool. Fuck you dad, I’m going to college!”
Johnny Christ and M Shadows sat down With Radio.com to talk about streaming “Hail To The King” on iTunes and the fans reaction to finally hearing the album, the journey the fans have gone on with them, if it’s their goal to become the biggest band in the world, if having a child has changed M Shadows’ priorities and being compared to Metallica.
M Shadows took part in a short Q&A with the San Antonio Current and talked about playing Rock In Rio, if he thinks Avenged Sevenfold suffered from “successful band syndrome,” achieving big success after two tragedies, if his screaming is gone for good, their relationship with Mike Elizondo, who “The King” is, having his own beliefs regarding religion and playing San Antonio.
Do you think Avenged Sevenfold suffered from the “successful band syndrome”? I mean, you seemed to be loved or at least respected by critics until you started selling some records…
You can’t be everything at once. There’s always going to be small factions of people that are very vocal in their opinion of you when you’re not exactly what they want you to do. When we started as a very young band in the Orange County hardcore scene, as soon as we started separating ourselves from that, all those kids wouldn’t come to our shows. They hated us because we sang and were a little bit more melodic. But that happens. We were a cool band to watch at Warped Tour, but if you ask those kids now they’ll say, “No, Avenged Sevenfold is not a Warped band; they suck.” “They’re too big, corporate”. The bigger you get, you get that. So we just write the music we want to write, we go on tour, do the production we want to do, and we basically live in our own little bubble. We really don’t care what anyone says.
If they like it, great. If not…
I’m a firm believer that people don’t know what they want until they get it. There are very few bands that I still listen to that write the same record over and over, one being AC/DC, and one being NOFX, they always do the same and I love them, but most other bands I fall out of love with because they do the same things but they no longer move me or challenge me. That’s what we want to do with our band: to move you in ways you didn’t necessarily think you wanted. You have to give people things that frighten them a little bit, throws them off but then they get into it. That’s how things evolve.
Filed under: Avenged Sevenfold, Hellwin Amps, Interviews, Synyster Gates, Zacky Vengeance
There’s talk of Avenged ‘carrying the torch’ for modern metal, but to join those ranks, they need to produce an album that could one day be regarded as a classic and fill the sizeable songwriting shoes of deceased drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan. There’s only one certainty: whichever way things tip, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
Talking to lead guitarist Synyster Gates and rhythm man Zacky Vengeance over two days – first at Warner Bros’ Kensington HQ, then in a marbled hotel suite overlooking Hyde Park – it occurs to TG just how big the Californian metallers have become. Completed by bassist Johnny Christ, vocalist M Shadows and new drummer Arin Ilejay, the band have gone from being the ugly ducklings of the Huntington Beach hardcore scene to arena-dominating metal swans. Every step of the way they’ve delighted in spanning genres, taking gambles and, as Synyster Gates succinctly puts it, being a band that does “whatever the f**k they want”.
“Ever since we put out Sounding The Seventh Trumpet, we’ve gotten it all!” explains Zacky. “People said, ‘They’re not hardcore!’ Or when Matt started singing on Waking The Fallen they said, ‘That’s not metal.’ Then, when Jimmy died, somehow we’re headlining festivals around the world and we’re the band that could ‘carry the torch’. So for this album it seemed natural to throw everyone another curveball.”
Arin Ilejay was interviewed backstage in Detroit, MI by 101 WRIF and talked with Lyndsey about going from being a member of Confide to being a member of Avenged Sevenfold and the biggest difference between the two, selling out Wembley Arena, what he feels he brings to the table, what advice he would give up-and-coming bands and musicians, small venues vs. arenas, bouncing his ideas off of the band in the studio and more.