Monday, April 24, 2017

Interview with Absinthe From Society

Absinthe From Society is a three-piece metal band from Edmonton. Late last month I covered the group's new EP, "The Angels Ignored US ", and now it is my pleasure to present this follow-up interview. I would like to thank Beverly Thornton for her help with setting up this interview and I would encourage all of our readers to check out this extremely-talented trio.

Andy-Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. Would you please introduce the band and tell us how everything came about? 

Absinthe From Society  (AFS)-Our current line-up is made up of Ian "Saint Absinthe" Harper who is our main vocalist, lead guitar and pianist, Lexi "Shitkicker 9000" Graham who plays bass and back-up vocals and Adam "The Caveman" Roberts who plays drums.

Andy-I love your band name and everything about "The Angels Ignored Us"! Let's touch down on the name part first. Is there a story behind that or was it just a lightning bolt to the old brain one day?

AFS-The name came from Ian who really likes absinthe and also was writing some songs he felt were outside the realm of usual societal norms. In a sense it's a play on words for being absent from society but with his favorite alcohol mixed in. We know he looks like a pirate, and while he does like rum, absinthe is still his favorite alcohol.

Andy-I'm down with absinthe. As far as your new EP goes I am completely floored by it! Can you tell us about its creation?

AFS-We chose the songs that we felt were the best songs that had the strongest messages and the ones we believe our fans, new and old, will enjoy the most. We took a lot of feedback into account from people who have seen us live regularly and we decided on these four. The EP was recorded in a timely fashion in just under a month. It was over the Christmas holidays and into January. The three of us are different in many ways but when in the studio, on stage, or creating music, it all comes together in a very unique and collaborative way. Everything is open for discussion but we tend not to step on each other's toes. Except when Lexi and Adam scheme up an instrument change and spring it on Ian at a show.

Andy-"The Angels Ignored Us" has this natural vibe about it. Thankfully it isn't overproduced. I'm guessing that was the plan all along. Am I right?

AFS-We like the raw sound in our music. We believe our musicianship and emotions show through much better without too much filter and we believe fans appreciate that. These days with autotune and technology, it's easy to sound great and spot on but it just doesn't feel very real. We wanted this EP to be raw and natural. That way if you see us live you get the same sound. Maybe we will always have raw recording, you never know.

Andy-Why was there such a long wait between this EP and your last one?

AFS-The former AFS had gone their separate ways. The former drummer, Alliye, had moved to Calgary and Lexi returned to university. It wasn't until Ian met Adam and Lexi rejoined, that things began to really take off. Adam adds experience, stage presence, along with raw talent and the ability to play with just about anyone. Paired with Lexi's powerful vocals and solid beats, they make a fantastic rhythm section that has propelled Absinthe From Society ahead and we have progressed rapidly.

Andy-Has the reaction from fans and critics been everything that you hoped for?

AFS-Any reaction is a good reaction. So far the reviews have been all good, which is always surprising. We were not quite prepared for the amount of exposure that we have received and we are simply thrilled to have been played on radio stations, and all around the world too. To have someone take the time to review our music is something we appreciate immensely. Yes our sound is RAW on the EP. Certain critics and fans need to realize that if you're not signed to a record label you're on the hook for paying for your music to be produced. We had limited resources, time and money. It will be fun one day soon to go back into the studio and record a whole album.

Andy-I think your sound is perfect as is, but that's just me! Lyrically-speaking, "The Angels Ignored Us" seems rather personally. Was that the case or did the EP turn out better than expected?

AFS-The lyrics to all the songs have some relation to what has happened in Ian's life. He is our main lyricist and has gone through some pretty rough patches in his life and instead of seeing a shrink, he writes songs. The EP name, The Angels Ignored Us is a line from the song "Never. Never "is about a former girlfriend that Ian had, loved deeply and lost. It's not always easy for band members to agree on anything but when that name was tossed around we all liked it immediately and it was chosen. It's funny how the name of the EP means something different to everyone we talk to. We think that if you have been through tough times you might feel forsaken, and ultimately ignored by God and the angels, and there are other metaphors in there as well and we guess that's why so many people love the title.

Andy-As someone who has been through some really tough times I can appreciate that message. That's just one of the reasons why I love this EP so much!  Another reason why I love it is because of its vast array of influences. Are these Ian's personal influences or is this the band's influences?

AFS-We all bring something different to the band. Ian loves the Tea Party, NIN and Nirvana, Lexi loves Insomnium, Linkin Park and Metallica and Adam loves Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Led Zeppelin and Dave Grohl. We all play in our own style and sometimes, that makes a really good song.

Andy-There are a lot of artists and bands that you mentioned that I also love. In my personal collection you'll find Stevie Ray Vaughn, Led Zeppelin, N.I.N., Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Metallica (well, pre-Black album Metallica, but still). That's all good stuff. Along with these influences comes cover songs I guess. Or at least your Facebook page mentions cover songs. Who do you cover in a live setting and what songs are they?

AFS-We cover NIN's "Wish", "Suck", "No, You Don't", and Marilyn Manson's "Anti-Christ Superstar" and "Sweet Dreams". We also occasionally cover "Zombie" by the Cranberries (Lexi sounds amazing on that song), "Cut the Cord" by Shinedown, "No You Don't" by Nirvana and we have even done "I Don't Care" by Apocalyptica. We have also been known to cover "Strawberry Gashes" by Jack Off Jill, "Mobscene" by Marilyn Manson, and "Psychopomp" by The Tea Party.

Andy-I would LOVE to hear Lexi's version of "Zombies" sometime! It's not common knowledge, but I really like the Cranberries. I feel in love with the group thanks to "Linger" and I'll still find myself listening to their first two albums.  Let's say you could release one whole album of covers. What would the track list be?

AFS-Probably some of what was listed before along with things we have planned to do but haven't started yet. Lexi would love to cover Tool's "Forty Six and Two" and anything by Metallica. For sure we would do NIN's "Wish" and "Suck". Other ones like: Foo Fighters' "Burning Bridges" or "Everlong", SoundGarden's "Superunknown", The Cure's  "Love Song", Nirvana's "Territorial Pissings" or "Heart Shaped Box", and Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Pride and Joy" (but like a metal version).

Andy-Damn! I've got another confession to make. I'm in full geek mode about the idea of your band doing a cover of "Love Song". Honestly, I thought I was the only person out there that loves The Cure and all things wicked metal. Amazing enough I'm not alone! LOL. Let's change things up now. Who are some of the band's that you have shared the stage with?

AFS-We have shared the stage with some amazing artists. The Stephanie Harpe Experience is one band that is just incredible and one very young talented band called Savage Playground who could go places. We have also played with many local bands in the area such as Alleviate, Black and Blue, Our Darkest Moments, as well as David and the Titans.

Andy-I'll have to check out those names.  If you could plan the dream line-up then who would you play with?

AFS-I think we would all fight over who our favorites are. Lexi would love to play with some crazy bands like Rammstein or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Adam would give his last dying breath to open up for The Foo Fighters or Queens of the Stone Age. Ian would probably give up his left nut to share the stage with Manson! Ian would totally die to join Trent Reznor and Jeff Marton too.

Andy-What should people expect from one of your live shows?

AFS-We bring a lot of energy to our performances and we try to get the audience engaged. One of our songs, "Asshole", usually gets the crowd going pretty good. Adam incorporates a lot of trick shots while drumming to keep the crowd fully engaged with entertaining antics to boot. We have fun at our shows, we meet new fans, but Lexi signs the most chests. Adam and Lexi sometimes switch instruments which is always intriguing and entertaining.

Andy-We briefly touched on the subject, but I'd like to take it a bit further if you don't mind. Are there any local bands that our readers should check out?

AFS-We like Savage Playground, Striker, Forsaken Rite, All Else Fails, Our Darkest Moments, Stephanie Harpe Experience, Blues Puppy Trio, Devil's Sons, RC Sindicate and David and The Titans.

Andy-Again, I'm going to have to check out those names. Especially seeing as I like to give some of the more less known bands a chance to be in the spotlight. If that describes any bands that you know then please feel free to point them my way. Now, it is almost impossible to make a living by being in a band alone. What (if any) is every one's day jobs?

AFS-Lexi is currently a student but during the summers she tends to work driving trucks, forklifts or just general labour. Adam is a carpenter and a jack of all trades. Ian has no regular job but a couple of sources of income.

Andy-Cool. Where should our readers go for more information on Absinthe From Society?

AFS-People should check out our Facebook page, Twitter (link) and our website

Andy-What's the next move for the band? Are you able to tour any or do you play mostly local shows?
AFS-So far we have stuck to playing in Edmonton. We would like to tour our province (Alberta) this summer and maybe go to BC for a week. Other than that we have no touring plans just yet. We hope to have a video finished this summer as well. We know a few people who could help us out with that. We definitely want fire in that video! We are currently working on a couple of lyrical videos as well.

Andy-Fire is always a good things! Hey, I'm still a bit lost in the greatness that is your new EP. Is there anything that I missed out on that you would like to address?

AFS-If you haven't already listened to the earlier EP, "Project Infection", we would recommend that. And we really do want to share this new EP with as many people as we can so anyone who wants to help should buy the EP and help promote it so we have more sales and more fans. Maybe we can get big in Europe and go on tour!

Andy-That would be great, but I also want you to make it big here in the U.S. so that you can play somewhere a little bit closer to me! I like to close interviews by letting the bands have the last word. The microphone is all yours so have at it!

AFS-What good is a mic if we can't scream into it? Ha ha. Seriously, we just can't wait to play for more venues, for more people and eventually record a full-length album - that shit will be awesome! Thanks for the
help and keep on rocking!

Andy-I will and the same goes for you three! Keep on rocking and rolling!!

To our readers: You can buy "The Angels Ignored Us" by heading here.

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