INTERVIEW: Mark Poida – Aversions Crown

Three years since their last release, AVERSIONS CROWN have come down to earth with their latest record, Xenocide (read our review here). Featuring their new vocalist, Mark Poida, the album has been highly anticipated and is out now via Nuclear Blast Records. We managed to have a chat with Mark about the album, touring, and what’s to come for the Australian band.

What’s the initial reaction been to the album?

Mark: Dude, it was awesome. Like, everyone was commenting and saying they loved it and thought it was better than the old stuff.  Well, not thought it was better but thought it was how we wanted it to be, an evolution from the old stuff.  But yeah, people like all the aspects we’ve put in to it with like, the Egyptian sounding riffs and the real kinda black metal sounding vocals, so I think, yeah, the response has been great. It went on a few of the iTunes charts, I think it was number one on the Australian iTunes metal chart, it still could be, I haven’t checked in a few hours.  I guess it’s doing really well.  In the overall iTunes chart I think it got like, [number] 18 at one point and it was one above ADELE. *laughs* We put a little funny picture on Instagram. But yeah, I suppose overall it’s going well, I guess we’ve got to wait a few days to let it sink in but the initial response has been good!

Awesome!  How did the black metal vocals come about into the album?

Mark: We were in the studio with the person we recorded the album with in Gold Coast (Australia), Adam Merker. We were recording a section that was, like, atmospheric with clean guitars and no real drums in the background and a little bit of synth to kind of give it a good dark feeling, and he just suggested, you know, “Why don’t you try and do it real gritty, and then we’ll see if we can add some preverb and reverb effects to it to make it sound real ghost-ish?” It was one of those things we did that we did in the studio, it wasn’t in the original plans.  Yeah, we did it in the studio, and it came together really well so we decided to use it on quite a few of the tracks and I do think it really did spice up those sections because they almost sounded [like] black metal to begin with, and the vocals just fit in really well.

And what was the main inspiration behind the album?

Mark: Oh, I guess we all have our own inspirations, but as for mine personally it would probably just be a select list of science-fiction, video games, and books, documentaries. Just finding little ideas or seeing cool little events in a movie and taking inspiration from it to write a concept lyrically for the album.

What do you feel like the main concept or theme is on the album?

Mark: Well, it tells a story, so it’s a fictional story in there, but at the same time there’s references to themes like betrayal and the way humanity treats the planet, how we treat each other, like, within humanity and why aliens wouldn’t like that. It has overall themes of things that do relate to the real world, but it’s mainly a fictional story that goes from the first track to the final one, telling a story in a sequence of events that features song acting as a primary event in the story. So each song kind of describes a different, I guess, chapter of the story.

You mentioned aliens, obviously you guys take a lot of inspiration from science fiction, but how did that actually start to be incorporated into your music?

Mark: Since the band had started we had the idea that we basically wanted to write about aliens, we thought it was fascinating. We’re all really big, you know, “what’s really out there?” fans, we all have a load of theories and stuff, but I think the main way that it all came together for the first time was we just wrote a song, one of our first songs, and it sounded really atmospheric and almost like alien, with some of the lead guitars that our guitarist, Chris [Cougan] wrote. And just from that moment we decided that writing about aliens was the way we were going to do AVERSIONS CROWN. All of our songs have always kind of, you know, kept those roots throughout the album.

Awesome, I love it!

Mark: Yeah man, it’s sick, I love the idea. You can be really creative, like, you can write it really about anything, even if you want to write a more ‘conspiracy theory’ sort of song, or you can just create a fictional part of these huge, monstrous aliens just coming through our atmosphere and crushing us and our planet. It’s sick, it’s cool dude, it’s very diverse, you can do a lot with it so that’s what I like!

You can just stretch your imagination as far as you want and then make something out of whatever comes out.

Mark: Yeah, exactly! It’s good for thinking.

So how do you feel the band has developed since Tyrant?

Mark: Well, I actually wasn’t on the last record, this is my first record with the band as their last vocalist left. But as far as the band evolving sound-wise since that album, we all had to idea to kind of, go a bit more metal with less breakdowns and more riffs, and having a bit more diversity, with also instrumental parts that don’t have vocals and kinda just really sound nice. Also kind of upping the atmosphere with, I guess, all the clean sections and evil melodies and stuff like that, so yeah, I think we just tried to increase what we were doing before that, but also adding a few new elements, like more riffs, and a lot more atmosphere and also adding a little bit of synth to the atmosphere bit as well.

While we’re talking about development, how do you feel the deathcore scene as a whole has developed since you came into it?

Mark: I think a lot more people are into it now, it’s a lot more popular. When I first started going to shows at a really young age, there was a good 30-40 people at a venue, and it was always a good time but I think these days, there’s so many bands out there that pull really big crowds and play in festivals and stuff and I don’t think around the early days of deathcore that stuff really happened because it was all kind of really new. As time went on, more bands kind of got bigger and bigger and it really caught on, and I think at the moment it’s probably the best it’s ever been. It’s really thriving in places like Europe and America, and even Australia, really holding it down with new people getting into it and new fans coming into deathcore on a daily basis. It’s good to see that it’s not dying out, but growing.

Definitely. There’s usually peaks with genres, and then they just fade out for a bit, but deathcore’s always kind of stayed relevant.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. It’s always had its core fans, which is cool. Like, people who were always into deathcore, always will be. Say they’ve been listening to it for like, 4-5 years, it doesn’t really get old if you’re really into it. So, I think it has to do with the people that listen to deathcore, they must be some weird kinda crazies, like all of us, it’s just how it is! *laughs*

Towards the end of 2016 you ran the Taste of Anarchy tour with NASTY, MALEVOLENCE, and VITJA. What was that like?

Mark: Oh man, it was sick. All those guys in those bands are honestly some of our best friends. It was awesome because all of the bands were really diverse, we all played different styles of music, but on the first day of the tour everyone just kicked it off really well, and now they’re some of, like I said, our best friends, life-long friends. We’re always planning on doing some stuff in the future as well, because it sucks when you get along with people that well and then you leave off the end of the tour. It’s like breaking up with a girlfriend, it feels sad because you’re like “I know I’m not going to see you for ages!” And yeah, post-tour depression for that tour was a big one because we’re so far away from all them. Like, MALEVOLENCE and NASTY, they’re fairly close as far as the hour range goes, whereas we’re probably like on the other side of the world, so it’s kind of hard for us to, you know, keep in contact face-to-face, but we keep in contact online so it’s sick. But yeah, awesome tour, the crowds were sick, all the people and the bands on that tour were just amazing, 10/10.

There were a few UK dates on that tour. How does playing in the UK compare to Australia?

Mark: I think it’s a bit different but it’s similar at the same time. I guess it depends, everywhere you play is kind of different as far as the UK goes. I’ve found that you can play for just a couple of hours down the road or out of town or whatever, and it’s a completely different scene. As far as the general gist of things, Australia vs UK, in comparison, I’d guess in Australia there’s a lot more people that sit back and study and watch what’s happening, and have a good time by just enjoying what they’re seeing. Whereas in the UK I’ve seen a lot of people who are really into moshing and throwing down, and having a good time headbanging and all that. But at the same time, those people who just study the band are also at UK shows, so it’s kind of a 50/50 really, and just depends on where you’re playing because each time is different. Sometimes you’ll play somewhere and it’s more like an Australian crowd, and vice versa.

Australia has a pretty big extreme metal scene. Other than yourselves, who would you say the biggest players are coming out of Australia at the moment?

Mark: If I could just pick three because there’s quite a lot, there’s plenty out there. To anyone who’s reading, I’m not trying to leave anyone out! I’d have to say MAKE THEM SUFFER, THY ART IS MURDER, and DISENTOMB, those three are pretty big extreme, heavy bands, and they’re killing it at the moment. They’re touring around the world, and doing Australia proud, they’re all signed to great labels. THY ART IS MURDER is signed on to Nuclear Blast, as are we, so it’s cool to see there are other bands in Australia that are just blowing up and it’s showing that Australia does have a good metal scene. We’re not just down here, not rocking out, you know?

What do you think makes AVERSIONS CROWN stand out from other bands in the scene?

Mark: I think it’s just the way our melodies and the way we use our guitar and drums structurally, I guess makes us sound a bit different. We don’t kind of, you know, stick to one type of sound within deathcore. It’s always very fast and kind of atmospheric, but one song might just be a lot of slams, and the other might be heaps of riffs and no slams at all, but at the same time, as I said, the atmosphere and our songs just kind of stands out in people’s minds. It’s not just, you know, heavy, fast riffing, it’s also got some tasteful melodies and stuff in there that really stick with you, and we try and write catchy choruses and stuff.  So basically after you listen to a song, it sticks with you instead of just having a one-time listen and then not really going back for it or really thinking about it again. We just try to make catchy, atmospheric, evil songs, and I think people are just into that.

Lastly, what else can we expect from AVERSIONS CROWN this year?

Mark: We’re just gonna tour the world, man. We’re going to try to get absolutely everywhere. We’ve got a lot of sittings in the works right now, and we’ve also got some other little things we’re working on that haven’t really been announced yet but there’s some cool little things for the fans and stuff like that. So yeah, we’re just going to be touring a lot and trying to see everywhere and play face-to-face to all the countries so everyone can see us and not feel left out. I feel last year we might have focused on touring Europe as opposed to trying to get absolutely everywhere, so for this album we’re going to promote it face-to-face all around the globe! That’s our plan, world domination! *laughs*

Xenocide is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.

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