Today we spoke to Brandon Park, the drummer of American Death Metal giants Allegaeon. For years, Allegaeon has been reputed for making music that is both technical and melodic with innovative song structures and lyrical themes. Here, he talks about how his life has changed and how challenging things were after joining Allegaeon. The band is set to release a new studio album in 2016. A simple, funny guy who has spoken quite frankly in this exclusive interview! Read more to know about him and the band.
MJM. Hey Brandon, thanks for taking time out to do this interview. How you doing?
Brandon: I’m doing great! just practising a ton and living life.
MJM. How did Allegaeon enter your life? I am sure a lot of people would be keen on knowing that.
Brandon: I was playing in a different band at the time called “Suffer The Wrath”. We got an offer to open a show for Allegaeon, so I looked them up and immediately fell in love with the music. I also saw that they did not have a permanent drummer at the time either and was touring with fill in guys while they searched. I contacted Greg and started sending videos and checking in every once in awhile to let them know I was serious and that I wanted the job. I eventually got the call to fill in for a tour and everything went great, I think it only took about 4 shows for them to ask me to join haha! Oh and we broke down on the side of the road and I fixed the van. That might have helped my chances a little.
MJM. For a band that started out in 2008, it had its boundaries ever expanding. What are some of the memories you can probably recall ever since you joined?
Brandon: This band has given me the opportunity to travel and see a lot of places I might not have seen otherwise, and meet a lot of people I may have never met.
MJM. The last full length studio album ‘Elements of The Infinite’, boasted of some complex technicality merged together with striking melodies. It had a well struck balance in all aspects compared to other releases. How does the song writing go by?
Brandon: Well, for that one I had just joined a few weeks prior to tracking so all of the songs were already written. I only had about 3 weeks to learn everything and try to add my own personality to the drums.
We never do the old fashioned way of writing where all of us are in the room jamming, it’s always finished or a pretty well organized vision of a song before I start doing my part to it.
MJM. With constant change of members, has the work flow ever been affected? How rough was it to establish a convincing environment within the members?
Brandon: I’ve never noticed it making us skip a beat since I’ve been around. We all work hard to be well prepared and do our best. I think we all feel obligated to stay on top of our game and try not be the weakest link. I live about 800 miles away from everyone else too, so I definitely have to do my homework.
MJM. Talking about the lyrical themes, unlike most other Death Metal bands, Allegaeon deals mostly with Science, Universe and so on. What fascinates the band to revolve around innovative themes such as that?
Brandon: I think it’s just things that we are all interested in. There’s so many metal bands that write about the same old things like gore, religion, politics etc., which I have no problem with, but it’s nice to hear something a little different sometimes. Since science is always progressing and finding new exciting things, our possibilities for interesting subjects are always expanding.
MJM. As a drummer, who would you cite as your biggest influence?
Brandon: Oh man, that’s a hard one to pin down. I started playing drums very young to Kiss, Ozzy and Megadeth albums and those continue to be a big influence on me. Watching their home videos probably played a big part in me choosing to pursue a career in music. As far as influencing my playing, guys like Tim Yeung, George Kollias, Derek Roddy, Adam Jarvis and Mike Heller always fascinate me and I try to learn as much as I can buy watching them.
MJM. Riley McShane joined the band after Ezra’s departure. How has the addition of the new vocalist added to the creative process?
Brandon: It has definitely opened doors to several things. Riley is a talented dude and has an array of vocal techniques at his disposal. It will be interesting to hear what he does on the new album.
MJM. There was an announcement that you guys have hit the studios for your new album. How is it shaping up?
Brandon: Its going very well. I finished my drum tracks in about 5 days and guitars are being tracked now. I’m pretty happy with my performance on it.
MJM. How different is it going to be from the rest?
Brandon: It still sounds like Allegaeon but there are some new things that we haven’t done before. One example is a new song we played on our last tour. It has some cool flamenco guitar stuff going on that I’ve never heard in a metal song before.
I tried to think outside the box a little on some of my drum parts. I love double bass and blast beats, and there is plenty of that on the album, but it’s nice to throw in something a little more musical from time to time.
MJM. On a whole lot, how difficult is it for bands to record albums and sell them? A lot of factors go into place that affects the band’s growth through sales. Be it piracy; free streaming etc. due to which a lot of bands have opted for crowd funding their albums which becomes a safer bet targeting a genuine audience. How do you see this current inclination though it’s comparatively young?
Brandon: It’s definitely not easy, it’s not cheap to record an album and it’s not easy to get the music in to a person’s hand if they don’t know about it and its not readily available. Digital music makes it somewhat easier since almost everyone has smart phones now. new music is just a click and a download away.
The crowd funding thing I think definitely has its place and is great thing if it isn’t exploited. Fans can directly support the artists that they love. Allegaeon used a crowd fund before I was in the band to repair the tour vehicle. Without it the band may have been out of commission for a long period. Some new bands may not have the resources to even get started touring and recording without help from their followers. As long as bands use it for a legitimate cause and not just an ongoing source of income, I see no problem with it.
MJM. How do you think can people be aware of such a drastic situation?
Brandon: I think It’s hard for people to realize the amount of money and work it takes to be able to make music unless they are also doing it themselves.
MJM. You played a number of tours in 2014 on behalf of your last album, alongside Job For A Cowboy, Chimaira, Arsis etc,. which was quite a tight schedule. Will Indian fans ever see Allegaeon?
Brandon: We certainly hope so! We’d love to play for anyone who wants to hear it. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to play outside of North America yet. Hopefully, we can make it over there soon.
MJM. It was great talking to you Brandon. Thanks for spending time with us!
Brandon: Thank you! It was nice talking to you.
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