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Interview

Interview With The Agony Scene's Brent Masters

I caught up with The Agony Scene drummer and founding member Brent Masters for a phone interview during a two-day break from touring with the "Dirty Black Summer" tour while on their way to their El Paso, Texas show last week. Not being very familiar with them, the interview was pretty straight forward and should serve as a good introduction to the band.

Doug (aka deathbringer): So how many shows have you played so far. How is this "Dirty Black Summer" tour with with Himsa, Full Blown Chaos, The Estoteric and Scars of Tomorrow going so far?

Brent: It's going good, man. It's going real good. I'm not exactly sure how many shows we've played so far, but I believe we're about a week and a half into it, so I think we've done maybe sever or eight shows so far.

Doug: Have you toured with any of these guys before?

Brent: Yeah, we toured with Himsa about two years ago when we were promoting our first album, the self-titled one, yeah.

Doug: What slot is The Agony Scene playing in this tour?

Brent: On this tour we are second out of four through the first half, and then we're direct support for the second half - right before Himsa.

Doug: How does this compare with the RoadRage tour you did earlier this year with three other Roadrunner bands [Trivium, Three Inches of Blood, Still Remains]?

Brent: Um, they're both good tours, but I don't want to say one's better or worse or anything like that. But we've obviously known these guys for a lot longer, so it's more like a family reunion instead of an akward school cafeteria lunch or something like that.

Doug: So you didn't know any of the guys from RoadRage when you toured with them then?

Brent: Nope. No, it was an all new experience. And of course I came off that tour having a bunch of brand new good friends and stuff, but it's always fun to see people you not seen in a long time and talk about good times and all.

Doug: You've been playing with Mike [Williams, vocals] since you were 13, is that right?

Brent: Yep, absolutely. I think even a little bit before that. I think I remember turning 13 when I was playing with Mike, so I'm not even sure. We've been playing music for a long time!

Doug: In your bio - and even during Mike's RoadRage interview with us earlier this year - you lament the music scene where you're from. Where was it that you grew up where the music scene was so bad?

Brent: [laughs] I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. "The asshole of America."

[Editor's Note: I was contacted by The Agony Scene's Brian Hodges after Brent's departure from the band to clarify that Brent does not speak for the band in his negative assessment of Tulsa.]

Doug: So there's really like 10 bands there and no other metal bands?

Brent: Oh yeah, honestly, no. There's like…I don't even know… We just did a home show there not that long ago and I had a hard time. I couldn't think of even one band that was a heavy band to play. It took me three weeks to find three bands to open the show. There's a good example for you there. That's the thing - in a big city you'd probably have to turn a lot of people down.

Doug: How much did that affect getting noticed and picked up by a label, coming from such a musical void?

Brent: I don't know how it really worked on the industry-end, but on our end I think it kinda made us feel pressure to work a lot harder. 'Cause most people don't expect anything to come out of the asshole of America like that. You don't expect a metal band that's worth listening to to come from Oklahoma. I know if I was from New York City or LA or something, and I got a demo from Tulsa, Oklahoma, I'd just probably start laughing, you know. [laughs] So I definitely think it made us feel like we had a lot more to prove.

Doug: How many bands did you guys play in before The Agony Scene came together?

Brent: Oh man. I'm trying to think. Just Mike and I? Oh my god, I don't even know if I can count them! I'm gonna say at least four other bands, probably.

Doug: Did you guys have other bands where you weren't playing together as well?

Brent: Yeah, I've done countless projects. I'm sure there's at least twenty I can't even remember anymore. [laughs]

Doug: How did you come up with the name "The Agony Scene"? What's the significance behind it?

Brent: Um, not really. I mean, now I guess it's been kind of forming more significance. At first it just sounded cool. Our guitar player just kinda blurted it out and we all liked it. Now we're kind of figuring out who we are and our surroundings and our nation are changing and I think it has a little more significance and you can definitely pull a little more meaning out of it than absolutely nothing.

Doug: Are you pretty happy with the current lineup now? Has it been stable or have you still had some members come and go?

Brent: We've been absolutely stable since we got our current lineup about maybe a year, year and a half ago I think. This is like the best chemistry we've had between people. I never would have thought that five people could get along and have this much fun together, pretty much every single day of our lives without spending any time apart.

Doug: For some reason I have trouble keeping The Agony Scene straight from As I Lay Dying and All That Remains and lump you in the metalcore category. Actually I find your sound hard to describe though. How would you describe The Agony Scene's sound, since it doesn't really fit neatly into any one category?

Brent: I don't even know if I know any genres to put it into - not that it's too good to be in any genre - but I think it's more just some raw aggression. Heavy. I put it closer to the kind of heaviness and aggression like you get from like maybe Hatebreed or maybe Pantera or someone like that. Obviously we don't really sound like Hatebreed or Pantera, but I think we've kinda got that raw, heavy aggression for sure. That's pretty much what our band's about.

Doug: So you wouldn't call yourself a metalcore band?

Brent: [first part is inaudible due to bad phone signal] I don't know. I don't know exactly where the [inaudible] are these days - metal, metalcore. They're so unclear these days. Anyone can be a metalcore band, so I don't even know if I'd want to be classified as that, but it doesn't really matter. I mean, I don't care. We're just heavy, we're music, we're metal, we're rock, whatever. We're heavy. [laughs]

Doug: You recently released your Roadrunner debut, "The Darkest Red". How has the response to that album been so far?

Brent: It's been really, really good, man. I think that we're in a good place because we're not this huge band, so we obviously don't have 200,000 fans out there who were expecting something from us, so we're kind of a new and up and coming band, so we kinda have this - I think we have a good, fresh, quality product that people are just finding out about. The response is more overwhelming than I'd have imagined. It's been really, really good. People have been really responsive to it. It's got good diversity I think and people are recognizing that. It's been good, real good.

Doug: How was the writing and recording process different being on a bigger label?

Brent: [inaudible] We had pretty much the same amount of time to write. We had about six months - I think it was a little bit less time. I think we spent nine months on the last album. We had a little bit less time to write, we worked a lot harder this time because I think we still have a lot more to prove. Other than that, it wasn't like we had any slave-drivers or anything like that just because we're on a bigger label. Obviously we just had more time in the studio to record, more time to work with different people in different places and better studios and all kinds of stuff like that. So I think it just upped the quality of everything overall for the most part.

Doug: Are you guys happy with Roadrunner Records and the job they've done with you and "The Darkest Red"?

Brent: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that we have a lot to prove to them. If this world was perfect, I'd say just go ahead and put our album in every store that ever existed and make sure that it was there all the time and advertise for our band all the time, but that's not how it works and obviously you have to show that you're a good employee/musician and whatever to get them to work harder for us. I think they're getting better and they're doing a little more for us. They're professional people that know what they're doing.

Doug: How many records is your current record deal with them for?

Brent: I'm not sure. I think it's four maybe?

Doug: Isn't that a lot?

Brent: Actually four is very, very little. [laughs] I think most bands have between six and ten records.

Doug: Yeah, I guess they want to get you when you're a small band and ride the wave when you get big.

Brent: Exactly.

Doug: What's next for The Agony Scene after the "Dirty Black Summer Tour?"

Brent: We're going on tour with Throwdown...let me think...and I think Remembering Never. We take 20 days off after the Dirty Black Summer Tour and we wait for them to get off [inaudible, presumably Sounds of the Underground] their tour.

Doug: Any final words for your fans and potential fans?

Brent: Nope. [both laughing]

Doug: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and I look forward to seeing you at Jaxx in Virginia on the 9th!

deathbringer's avatar

A self-described "metal geek," Doug Gibson has been listening to heavy metal for more than twenty years and designed and coded Metal Underground.com from scratch over ten years ago.

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23 Comments on "Interview With The Agony Scene's Brent Masters"

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Anonymous Reader
1. Multoc writes:

I met Bret in Detroit, with my band Multoc as local support at Harpos. He's a very nice dude he offered to help me bring in my drums when we went on, I had no idea who he was at the time but they played the best set of the night (although my band had a bigger pit that night) but I bought their cd and I love it!
KEEP RULING THE STAGE!
-Ashton Parsons
drummer of multoc
check us out @ www.multoc.com

# Jun 30, 2005 @ 12:49 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. mark writes:

got the first cd and was f***in amazed by the drums(being a drummer my self) on top of that the vox and everything were just brutal as hell.If my band gets that heavy and we get the line up steady it be f***in insane to play before sutch an distructive band.u f***ers kick ass.new cd is great.

# Jul 1, 2005 @ 1:43 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. Rob writes:

f***in rule!! canr wait to see them in syracuse!!!!

# Jul 1, 2005 @ 11:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. Pat writes:

i saw these guys a few months back with SYL and Misery Signals. Probably on eof the best shows ive ever been to. i do have to say i like the self titled cd better than the new one. its still a good cd but...yeah. whats with this dry spell of bands not coming to minnesota all of a sudden?

# Jul 2, 2005 @ 2:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. Danjamin writes:

Sorry bout Tucson.. America has a huge a$$hole , centering in tulsa and we are the outer ring of it .. The fans here had no idea who the agony scene are and they played at sKrappy's>;. the sh**tiest place in town.. besides me . there were only 2 other people screamin along with em.. But they got past the sh**ty p.a. and worthless employees and f***ing rocked my world.. it was the best show ive seen in a long time altough i told brent and mike that my living room is louder with my p.a. then the concert was.. . Play at the rock next time around and you wont be disappointed.... anyway.. keep f***ing rocking ........... both albums are on the top of my list

# Jul 2, 2005 @ 11:13 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
6. Slipknot 666 writes:

The only opertunity I got to see these guy's was on April 9th, but unfortunatly I could not remember the part of the concert when the Agony Scene played because I was to stoned to remember. I guess I learned my lesson huh.

# Jul 3, 2005 @ 11:02 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. craig writes:

their is actually alot more metal and hardcore bands here than they are giving credit for

yeah the scene here kindof sucks but the opening bands where good and they had bands wanting on there that were unable

the concert they had here recently shut downt he place the played at for over capicity from them so sh** i dunno what theyre talking about here being the a$$hole of america but whatever

# Jul 6, 2005 @ 7:57 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
8. me writes:

i TAS way back in january at the glasshouse on the praise the war machine tour with zao, ftbmof, and if hope dies. i pretty much went for zao and TAS, and they didnt disappoint. their new cd is cool, but i prefer the old one (no singing!).

# Jul 6, 2005 @ 9:39 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
9. Go_Me writes:

Those guys are fukcing amazing! I went out and bought The Darkest Red the first day it came out and have listened to it ceaselessly since! I personally think, contrary to most, that the second album is better bcause I think they have a more full and deep-heavyish(there isnt really a word for it) sound, rather than a noob scattered sound. Tho the old one duz have some kick a$$ stuff too like We Bury Our Dead At Dawn. COME TO CANADA GUYS, U'LL GET A GREAT RESPONSE!

# Jul 7, 2005 @ 6:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
10. Rom writes:

It's typical for sell out metal bands like The Agony Scene to proclaim such "hardships" with their hometown as they tried to make their way out. These guys have gone from being a pretty decent band to a pompous scene-absorbed pile of drunk, coke snorting hillbillies. Tulsa's more popular acts could out perform The Agony Scene no matter the show or venue. To see Masters speak so rudely of the city that birthed their stardom is pretty expected since they are on one of the biggest and trendiest labels of all time. Roadrunner records is the melting pot of Hot Topic bands, just where this band belongs.

Good work, Brent. You and your band will always suck.

# Jul 20, 2005 @ 2:58 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
11. dc writes:

christ hangs his head in shame. what happened to you guys?

remember when you kicked mike out for having sex with his girlfriend?
that sh** was awesome.

# Jul 21, 2005 @ 1:00 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
12. TULSAN (and not embassed by that) writes:

of course youre gonna talk trash about tulsa, they hate you here!

the reason they hate you is because you are such d!cks when you come home.

you know how sh!tty it is when bands turn into a$$holes because they get signed? yeah... that happened to you. and the tulsa "scene" (who birthed you) wont forget.

only the "hipster" "scene whores" who dont know better come to your shows. your last show had turnout, but the previous two shows... you got owned.

as far as not being able to find any local bands who are hard or "metal" enough.... blow me.

# Jul 21, 2005 @ 1:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. fred writes:

lmao

# Jul 21, 2005 @ 2:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

14. deathbringer writes:

Why are you laughing at yourself, Fred?

# Jul 21, 2005 @ 4:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
15. anti-poser writes:

Too bad the agony scene aren't metal.

When the agony scene comes down here, all the hot topic scene whores come out of hibernation. The real scene here knows better than to ruin their credentials by showing up at an agony scene show. When the "true" scene kids here are too underground for even another scene show (such as an agony scene show), you know you guys have to be pretty pathetic. Last time I saw the agony scene, I saw people that never participate in tulsa's scene at the show. I saw bands (very sh**ty I might add) that I've never seen play here before. When the agony scene plays, it seems all the naive hot topic kids are purposely blind folded and shielded from tulsa's real scene, by having such sh**ty and random opening bands open for them.

The agony scene: a band still stuck in the past. Metalcore has died in tulsa, true metal and hardcore lives on. Maybe this is why the agony scene hates tulsa? Because they are sellouts? Dare I say posers?

It's bands like the agony scene that are again shoving the knife deeper into metal (and coincidentally hardcore). First it was nu metal, now this. First they rip off at the gates, and now they rip off slipknot. Next album they will rip off Staind or some other nu metal band. It's the next logical step.

hail satan

# Jul 23, 2005 @ 5:29 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
16. OKHC Midwest Pride writes:

It's sad to see that getting signed has gotten you your heads, calling Oklahoma the "a$$hole of america"
where the f*** do you think you guys were sh** out from? If Oklahoma is so sh**ty then why the hell do you come back so often?

your old cd was fairly metal, and now your new one... nu-metal. Its sad to see you guys sound like slipknot, gwar's biggest cover band and all, you might as well wear masks. Expecially after all the sh** you just said about Oklahoma. Listen to some napalm death and canibal courpse and write new sh** with balls.

# Jul 24, 2005 @ 5:29 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
17. TULSA FUCKING OWNS YOU writes:

Wow I just totally lost any respect I had left for The Agony Scene.

I remeber watching TAS at show whenthey were really really small and playing on shows where they would play like 3rd or 4th on a 10-12 band show.

What happend? Honestly. Remeber the days of
"The Skull"?

If it wasnt for Tulsa and the kids here believing in and supporting TAS they would have never made it past playing at The Mustard Tree. You Oklahoma kids know what im talking about.

I honestly cannot believe I just read what I did.
Im going to sell my 2 TAS cds I have tomorrow. Im keeping the oringinal cd I have with "The Skull" on it since those were the good days.

f*** you guys.
Take your Roadrunner Records contract, your albums, and shove them up your pompus asses.

f***ing sellouts.

Oh yea by the way I was at the last show you TAS played here and tulsa and to say there was no turn out is bullsh**. The Pinkeye was f***ing packed wall to f***ing wall. I didnt find them to be good that night anyways. MY PLEDGE f***ing owned that night anyways.

Oh yea Brent, if you happen to read this, tell your theiving bass player that he, along with your band, and nothing but worthless peices of sh**.

I HOPE YOU f***ING FAIL!

GOOD DAY TO YOU ALL!!!!!!

# Jul 25, 2005 @ 12:59 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
18. 918-hxc fan writes:

that's a shame. i'm from california, but i grew up in tulsa/claremore. it really isn't all that bad. every band has "hardships" anywhere you go. tulsa has become a mecca. all i have to say is "i remember when the agony scene had bible verses on their stickers." c'mon, guys. which one of you works at quizno's in claremore? can't remember your name. hmmm... not important. you probably should have stopped after the first album. guess i'll see you at quizno's! i might consider downloading "the darkest red"; i wouldn't want to waste my friends cd-r's since he's already wasted the money on the actual cd. everyone watch out for SCALES OF MOTION, THE PROGRAMME, and COPY COPY coming out of the tulsa area. great music with integrity.

# Jul 25, 2005 @ 2:22 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
19. Ryan writes:

Pretty much everything that has been said, is all that needs to be said...

as for their band name not having any signifiance? what? i have your first agony scene sticker that has the bible verse where im pretty sure it came from...bullcrap.

# Jul 25, 2005 @ 2:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
20. xtulsax writes:

yea well i still think tas sucked from the beginning and they had no real talent especially brent how can you guys call yourselves metal when you worship the misfits and have the same double bass line through out your whole cd. you guys are all style no true talent why dont you guys just quit talkin trash about my home town and listen to some f***in coalesce not that misfits bullsh**

# Jul 25, 2005 @ 10:07 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
21. Dun Dun Dunnn writes:

i remember when agony scene first got signed to solid state and played murderfest at the loft. i was the first one that bought a shirt. mike thanked me personally. thats when they were christian and actually stood for something. now they're signed to roadrunner, they dont give a sh** about anyone back home who supported them in the beginning. and sold out as musicians and as people. for anyone who wants to know what agony scene's new cd sounds like...go buy Slipknot's "Iowa". it's the exact same f***ing thing.

# Jul 26, 2005 @ 1:13 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
22. gilly gilly writes:

ha ha! god i know who that last post was but i will keep his name under secrecy! u know that i know who you are!! lol... but man! i know exatly wat he means!! i remember when that first CD came out... i swear biggest thing since... black sabbath!! well maybe not black sabbath but for tulsa it was huge!! ya know? i mean iv seen the agony scene a million times and they were never getting old... i still listen to the self titled like crazy... the new stuff... i stear clear of... im not really that big of a fan of it... and yea i remember when they were a christian band or wat ever... lol thats when they kicked SOO much ass... now... they are jst... there... they are all cool ppl but... coming from Tulsa myself and being in a band many times (date of breath n all those bands that sucked as well that i was in.. cept shadowcast... i liked that band) i know that it is a lil harder to get ppls attention... but i think the agony scene should have gotten their attention with how they started out... heavy and fast and unique... the first cd i love how there is NO singing... now that there is singing... its jst a matter of time before we have another sh**ty a$$ band on our hands... The agony scene... GUYS!! COME ON!! STICK TO YOUR ROOTS!!!!!

***GILBERT***

# Jul 26, 2005 @ 1:43 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
23. Jessica writes:

ah- who cares-

# Jul 26, 2005 @ 3:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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