Interview With Drummer Chris Avgerin of Blood of the Tyrant
One of the tightest and most innovative bands from the Chicago scene, Blood of the Tyrant, is set to conquer the Midwest. From playing House shows in Dekalb to co-headlining at The Empty Bottle, Blood of the Tyrant has established themselves as the biggest name in progressive metal within the city of Chicago. Having already encountered Chris in person on four separate occasions, I felt that it was time to conduct an interview.
Dasher10: Having heard some of your new material live, are there any plans to head into the studio again to follow up your self titled Debut?
Chris Avgerin: Yes, we're planning on demoing some of the new tracks to send out to some interested labels.
Dasher10: You're obviously inspired by Black Sabbath and Mastodon. What other bands have influenced your sound?
Avgerin: We're really influenced by a lot of classic progressive and hard rock. A lot of the bands we listen to aren't even that heavy. Bands like Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Wishbone Ash, or Goblin have had a big impact on our songwriting. We've just always tried to take a heavier approach to that style.
Most of the heavier stuff we're into tends to be on the doomy side. Sleep, High On Fire, Isis, Pentagram, Melvins, and Neurosis are constant sources of inspiration; we just happen to play a little bit faster.
Movies tend to be a big muse for us as well; especially the horror genre. We try to take a cinematic approach to some of our songwriting. An image will get stuck in our head and we try to convey that feeling through music. Have you ever listened to Slayer and thought, "Man, this sounds like the soundtrack to Hell"? That's pretty much the effect we're going for. It's a goal to have some one say about our music, "Man, this sounds like the soundtrack to..." well, whatever is in the listener's head.
Dasher10: Given that you're such an underground band, how did you manage to get your debut to sound as good as it does in terms of production?
Avgerin: Before we ever performed live as a band, we spent a good deal of time trying to find the right sound for us. That included the selection of amps, cabinets, guitars, bass, and even tunings. Everything was chosen to have a cohesive sound throughout the group. Going into the studio, we tried to be as prepared as possible with the tone we wanted. Sanford Parker is also and amazing producer. He was able to come up with a recording that completely captured our sound. He's real cool about letting you do your own thing, but he will definitely add his input into the process. Working with him certainly played a big role in the sound of the recording.
Dasher10: I'm surprised that a band that's gotten as much attention in the Chicago local metal scene - including an interview with the Chicago Tribune - isn't signed yet. Is there a deal in the works?
Avgerin: There's no deal yet, which is why we're demoing the new tracks. We've done a lot with the self-released E.P. but, we're ready to take the next step with a label behind us.
Dasher10: Chicago was once a metal backwater that produced only Disturbed and Ministry. Now the city is finally seeing successes like Nachtmystium, Born of Osiris, Lair of the Minotaur and Oceano, who are all getting signed and making an impact. Why do you think that Chicago is now making such a huge impact now in the metal scene?
Avgerin: A big word that we like to use is family. The bands in Chicago all feel connected with one another, like a big community. Fans and musicians alike show constant support to one another. Whenever there’s a big show going on, the audience consists of a “who’s who” of heavy music in Chicago. That definitely gives all the bands a huge boost of encouragement. No one’s afraid to experiment or come up with new ideas because there are constantly people telling you, “Go for it.”
Geographically, it’s also easier for Chicago and Mid-west bands to tour. It’s easier to go to either coast.
Dasher10: Are there any plans in the near future to tour out of the Chicago area?
Avgerin: Yes, look for tour dates starting in late spring/summer.
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