As MetalTalk's Australian outpost basks in the rays of sun flooding through the office window, sitting in one's comfort pants and idly chewing on a bit of toast, one immediately becomes aware that, even though Sydney Goths As Angels Bleed are blasting out of the office death deck, this isn't a very Stokeresque tableau were one to be seen by outside observers.
I'm meant to be interviewing AAB's vocalist Avelina de Moray in mere moments, so I hurriedly get up, pull the curtains and don some black strides in honour of the occasion.
Girded suitably, I make the call, and we get down to the job in hand, viz, spreading the good word about the band, and their excellent self-titled debut album which has been doing the rounds for about six months now – are you happy with the responses to the record you've heard, Avelina?
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"Yes, yes I am. We've been very pleased with reviews. In fact a bit surprised with what some people have been saying about the record, and how they feel it has poppy moments and songs that will appeal to people that don't usually listen to this kind of music."
Image and commerciality are both things I'd was planning on touching on with some of my other questions!
"Sorry, I do that a lot!"
No worries. It's good that we're on the same wavelength about these things. So, talking about that image – you have a very strong gothic/vampiric bent to your visuals – were you worried that that might turn less enlightened people off before they even get to hear a note of your music?
"Not at all. It's not as if we're naked on stage, covered in blood and practicing Satanic rituals or something. I guess the cover of the album is us at our most vampiric. But you know, there's no swearing on the album, you could play it to children... fuck no! this isn't childrens music!"
And I guess this is very much who you are, isn't it? So it isn't really image?
"Ha! Have a look in my wardrobe! It's all black! I don't have any other fucking clothes!"
So image shouldn't be a problem. And the music definitely isn't. We touched earlier on the fact that people have identified a very melodic edge in your music. The songs 'I Drown' and 'Lumiere' are both tracks I could imagine hearing on the radio in my local shopping mall.
"Thank you! I guess they are. A lot of people have mentioned I Drown in particular as being almost poppy."
Poppy or mainstream needn't be terms that are used exclusively in the perjoritive sense, are they? Being able to cross over from your perceived niche into a broader listenership must be a good thing. So does it annoy you that, unless you're a big band like Evanesence you've little or no chance of getting on the radio, especially in this country?
"I guess so, but you don't even really hear bands like Evanessence on the radio any more. Ten years ago, maybe, when they had that huge album, but not really now. Heavy Metal just doesn't really get a fair go on the radio stations – the big ones – so we have to go the underground route, which is what we are doing."
I've read a couple of pieces about you where you mention how long it took to get this album out. Tell us a bit about that process.
"Well, myself and Von have been writing together for about ten years, though only for around three as As Angels Bleed. We'd already recorded two or three albums' worth of material – got it to that stage, recorded it and then just decided we didn't like the material very much. So this has taken us a long time.
"And then we went to America to record the album at Audiohammer Studios (recording home to such metallic luminaries as Holy Grail, The Black Dahlia Murder, Devildriveretcetc) and I was changing vocal lines and melodies right up to a week before we were due to record. It's been a very fluid process.
"And then it took the guys there a bit longer to mix the record than they thought – we opened up our sound files and these songs have 220-230 tracks on each of material – they said 'that's a lot of tracks!' so we came back to Sydney and by then we'd decided that we needed to put a band together to play the stuff live'.
Ah yes, playing live. You clearly have a very ambitious vision for this band. Given that, and the fact that despite being together as songwriters for ten years you're comparatively 'new' as a band, do you think you'll have any trouble reproducing that complexity in the live arena, considering the sort of venues you'll have to play as you start out?
"Absolutely not. No. We will not compromise because compromise is not a word that's in our vocabulary."
Good. I guess in my roundabout way I was asking whether you'd be prepared to compromise your sound to get out live.
"No. We don't want to play too much around Sydney anyway – playing pubs every weekend doesn't appeal to us – but there are also a lot of venues that can't accommodate us anyway. A venue like the Bald Faced Stag is the smallest we can play in Sydney, most of them either don't have a big enough stage, or enough inputs on their mixing desks. We need a lot of inputs!"
So do you have much new material for album number two in the pipeline?
"We've got a few things, yes. We're always writing. And we've stopped rehearsing the band now as we're going into creative phase. We have these crazy twelve hour rehearsals, and you can't really write too much when you're doing that."
What's the new stuff sounding like?
"We'd like to go more in the direction of songs like I Drown. Actually it's strange because we'd like to get more melodic but also we want the new material to be a lot heavier, and we're experimenting with faster passages."
So no plans for any more live action for the rest of the year?
"We've done a couple of shows, and we'd like to do more. But we're maybe looking in to doing a show and live streaming it on YouTube or something like that. We put a video up on our YouTube channel last week and it's already had 1600 views, which is more than we'd get by simply doing a show in Sydney."
So, despite the Vampiric outlook the future's actually looking pretty bright for As Angels Bleed. They're an ambitious mob and, if they can secure a bit of managerial/business backing to enable them to flesh out those ambitions, you get the impression there's a lot more that this band can achieve – and I for one will be keeping an eye on their progress – care to join me?