“APOTHESARY” INTERVIEW by David Maloney
Things are going very well, thank you! Obviously ‘Accept Loss Forever’ just came out last Friday so we’re riding the wave of euphoria that comes with releasing a new album. We played a couple really awesome CD release parties over the weekend too, so the bodies are recovering! Haha.
Fresh from a successful tour of the western U.S., the Northern California-based death metal/core quartet APOTHESARY – praised by No Clean Singing for their “impressive, hard-charging melodic death metal with a shitload of technical flair and enough pummeling brutality to leave bruises” – has finished recording their sophomore full-length. Titled “Accept Loss Forever,” the album, described by the band as an “ode to suffering. How was this experience of writing and recording this album compared to your debut 2011’s “A Harsh Reality” and 2016’s EP “Sensory Overload”? Can you tell our readers a little more about what was meant by your statement “ Ode to suffering”?
Well Sensory Overload is basically just half of ALF. We were debating how to release the full-length at the time (meaning on a label vs. self-release kind of thing), and we felt like we should release SOMETHING in the meantime because it had been 4 years since They All Carry Ghosts. That was when Marco and I started talking about a release on M-Theory; the EP made sense to do while we were deciding the fate of the full record. We were so young when we wrote and released A Harsh Reality; that album is basically comprised of every song written since the band formed – two of which I wrote at 13. So a lot on A Harsh Reality was me sort of learning how to write a song and coming into myself as an artist. Learning how I wanted to write and what I wanted to write about. I think it was similar for Jerry and Greg, too, though I don’t want to speak for them. With Accept Loss Forever, I was at a point where I knew what kind of writer I was, so I could really focus and channel my energy into writing about real things – these dark times and really intense emotions that I was feeling. That’s what the ‘ode to suffering’ comment means. We agreed pretty early on, because of the direction our songwriting kept going in, that the album had to be the most raw, emotionally honest portrayal of where we were.
Clayton you are well known for your band Hatchet, can we consider Apothesary as a side project? If yes would this mean the end to Hatchet for you? Or you would play, record for both bands? How easy or hard would it be to balance both? Are there other projects in the works?
Apothesary is absolutely NOT a side project. I started Apothesary in 2009 when I was 14. I joined Hatchet in January 2015. So yes, I balance both and have done that for over two years now. There are no concrete plans for a new/different project, but music is always being written that doesn’t necessarily fit Apothesary OR Hatchet…so we’ll see! Haha.
With the new album set to be released July 7th, It’s been described as an “emotional and cathartic album that painstakingly captures the group’s evolution, musically and personally. “’Accept Loss Forever’ is the true definition of ‘coming of age. Is this a accurate assessment? With this evolution can we say there was a personal grow or a maturity with the band and as individuals as well?
I think it’s very accurate, yes. Again, all of the music was written as we were teenagers transitioning into adulthood. So it was LITERALLY a ‘coming of age,’ so to speak. With that, and some very serious life events that took place over the years we were writing, there was an immense level of personal growth. We were able to really refine our writing and focus on what exact direction we wanted to move in. As hard as this record was to create, I’m very grateful that we were in a position to take our time and craft the album we wanted to. And, at least in my case, the things that I wrote needed to be said.
Do you feel that music and writing and the whole process is sort of a vice in which you use to express yourself and deal with what life throws at you? Does music for you as for a lot of people help put life in perspective?
That’s exactly what music is for me. I’m the kind of person who has a really hard time expressing themselves emotionally. Whether that’s an innate trait or just the way I was raised, who knows. But I was always a sensitive kid growing up and until I picked up a guitar, I never had an outlet. Learning to write lyrics was the escape that I always needed to make sense of those feelings. I REALLY hate the cliche saying ‘music saved my life,’ but I genuinely wonder where I would be if I never found that constructive way to express myself.
How has your experience with M-theory been? Everything you hoped for?
M-Theory is everything I’d hoped for and then some. I’ve known Marco for so long; no one has been closer to the evolution of the band (outside of the members) than him. So he already knew what we were trying to do and it was more than a right fit. It was the perfect storm of our album needing a home for release and him really wanting to grow his label.
Tell us about playing with such huge established bands such as Killswitch Engaged, Dark Tranquility, Fear Factory, Dying Fetus, and Helloween? just to name a few. What have you learned from these bands that you can apply to your band moving forward?
Well some of those experiences were much better than others, let me say! Hahaha. We’ve always been very…aware of our role when we open for more established bands – but their level of professionalism is what I would say we’ve learned the most from. How to handle ourselves, present ourselves to venue staff and promoters, even how to put on a better performance. There’s a reason they’re pros, obviously, so I try to absorb any knowledge I can from them.
I have a huge love/hate thing with subgenres in metal. Because I understand that you can’t just call every band in the world with gritty vocals and distorted guitar ‘metal,’ but I can do without the ‘post-blackened-d beat-melodic-dumpster-core.’ At the end of the day, I’d call us a pretty equal mix of melodic death metal and thrash. We’ve written some stuff that has been considered metalcore/deathcore, but I’ve always thought that was a bit of a stretch.
I really love big, hooky, melodic choruses that you find in 80’s arena rock bands, so in trying to incorporate that with our sound, I came up with the term ‘Arena Death Metal’ – which I think is both very fitting and my own ‘fuck you’ to everyone coming up with their own subgenres. Haha.
With your new album about to drop, what can we expect from the second half of summer progressing into 2018? Where can fans see you play?
Right now we have a tour slated for Late August/Early September, so that’ll be most of the US that will get a chance. Other than that, we’re playing Las Vegas on 7/28 at the Beauty Bar and Hollywood 7/30 at the Viper Room (Both shows with our labelmates Helsott and Sicocis). Should be bangers!
Just a random question, in your down time what bands do you listen to and are there any up and coming bands that have caught your attention?
My two favorite bands of all time are Metallica and As I Lay Dying. Recent favorites I can’t stop listening to are Aborted, Architects, and Touche Amore. A guilty pleasure right now is Paramore’s new album ‘After Laughter’. As far as up-and-coming, locally I’ve noticed a killer death metal band called Cartilage and a throwback heavy metal band called Hellfire. There’s also this pop punk band from Wales called Eat Your Heart Out – I’ve been jamming their new EP for a while now!
In closing I would like to thank you once more for being here with us and do you have any advice or message for your fans around the world? Good luck with all your future endeavors.
Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking the time to come up with these questions and do your research! Hopefully we can do it again sometime in the future. To our fans; follow your heart, be kind to each other, and live with integrity. Always try to be better than the person you were yesterday.
David Maloney/MHF Magazine