4Arm's Michael Vafiotis Checks In From North American Tour
Australian thrash export 4Arm is currently out on tour supporting Slayer and Gojira on a North American trek that runs through the end of the month.
With the band on the road, I got in touch with 4Arm drummer Michael Vafiotis to see how the tour is going and find out what fans can look forward to when the band finally returns home in December.
Read on to see what the band member's reactions were when first learning they would be supporting such high profile metal acts and find out about upcoming new material from 4Arm.
xFiruath: When did you guys first find out you’d be opening for Slayer and what was the band’s initial reaction?
Michael: We found out, it was quite early in the year actually we were out in Wales doing Hammerfest, I think about March. We were actually all sleeping and Danny, our vocalist, got us up and said “You’ve got to check this email out dude!” I thought I was dreaming to be honest and then I thought he was joking. The initial reaction was definitely “wow!”
xFiruath: How has the tour been so far?
Michael: Besides the RV giving us a bit of a grief, it’s been good man, it’s pretty smooth. We’ve done four shows so we’re in the early days. Everything’s going real well, the crowds have been great. The Hollywood show was packed out.
xFiruath: You’re still pretty early in the tour. Are there are any places in particular you are looking forward to hitting?
Michael: I think the whole band is looking forward to Madison Square. Just from what you hear about it. Back at home you see all these big bands and entertainers playing that venue, so we’re excited to be there as well.
xFiruath: There have been some articles lately about the Slayer guys deciding to hang up their hats in the near future. How has the band’s live show been and do you see any sign of the group calling it quits?
Michael: If there’s anything to go by on how they are performing , I would say they won’t be anytime soon. They are kicking ass every show. As a fan, I wouldn’t want them to stop anyway for a few more years to come at least. And the crowd is responding to them and feels the same way. They are going nuts every show.
xFiruath: I wanted to clarify something on 4Arm’s lineup. I saw back in May there was an announcement about recruiting a new guitarist, but he doesn’t seem to be on the band’s roster anymore. What happened there?
Michael: That would be Marcus, he was in the band briefly. It kind of didn’t work out. It was an interesting situation. Being from the States, we met him over Skype and he definitely had the talent, but he wasn’t the right fit for the band at the end of the day. So we had to make a decision after the European shows to look for someone else. So we were lucky enough to have a friend of ours, our ex-lighting guy James, he’s taken over, so that was easy getting him in.
xFiruath: Is there a follow-up to “Submission For Liberty” in the works for when you get back from this tour?
Michael: Definitely, definitely. We’ve already written nine tracks at this stage, so we’re waiting to finish the tour, have a couple of weeks off, and then get back into it. We will hopefully have a release next year.
xFiruath: Do you have any finalized track titles or album info you can announce at this point?
Michael: Nah, nothing as such. That always gets left for last, the naming of the album. On the themes, I’m not sure what Danny is doing, he comes up with the themes for the album. I don’t know where he’s at with that at the moment. The music is definitely on the same vein as “Submission” so far, but taking it another step, hopefully in the right direction.
xFiruath: What’s it like coming over to the U.S. and how are the differences from your local metal scene?
Michael: We’re excited to be here and play in the U.S. The local scene in Australia, it’s not thriving as such. We’ve always had a conscious decision to want to venture out internationally right way. You’ve got to focus on it, because it’s a very small market. So we tend to focus a lot on overseas. There are great bands that have come out of Australia though. There’s a band called 12 Foot Ninja and they are actually in the U.S. at the moment doing great. Staying locally in Australia and playing pubs in front of 20 people each night, you can’t just stay there and hope for a miracle to happen, you’ve got to get out there.
xFiruath: Are you guys with any other projects besides 4Arm right now?
Michael: For myself, Andy, and Danny it’s 100% devoted to 4Arm. James on the other hand is still with another band himself. It’s something we’ll work out for the future, his project and 4Arm, but we’re just with 4Arm at the moment.
xFiruath: What’s happening in metal you are excited about and what albums are you listening to?
Michael: I love that new Carcass album. It’s been just on repeat for me really. That’s the most exciting thing for me at the moment in terms of metal releases.
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