Jesse Cash of Erra, Trent Hafdahl/Anthony Notarmaso of After the Burial, and Lukas Magyar of Veil of Maya: The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview

LUKAS MAGYAR OF VEIL OF MAYA

Thanks for taking the time to do this, man!

Lukas: Of course!

The last time I saw you guys was last year in Raleigh with Revocation. How’s your past year been, and how’s the tour been so far?

Oh yeah, that was a fun time! Tour’s been pretty packed and really fun. As far as the past year, it was a really fast year to say the least. A lot of touring doing album support, and luckily the album did do well.

It was your best-selling one yet, right?

Yeah, it was the highest selling album, and it actually was #1 on iTunes in metal for like a week. So that was totally sick. It held the #1 rock spot for like a day, too! Now we’re just trying to continue the hype from the record going.

Plus you guys put out a new video not too long ago, too.

Yeah, we did just make a second video for “Aeris.” The fans seem pretty stoked on that, and the crowd response live after the video came out has been pretty great.

What songs would you say have been working the best live so far?

“Mikasa” usually pops off. “Three Fifty,” a lot of kids are stoked for. I think they get rowdy for “Leeloo,” and some people get pretty into the intro of Matriarch as sample. So when that starts, the crowd seems pretty excited about it. Honestly, I think the new stuff in general has hit this new sweet spot. I don’t think many songs really get a bad reaction. I mean, maybe if I were to say one it might be “Phoenix,” I suppose. But we’ve been playing that one for a long time.

So a lot of the titles of songs on Matriarch reference various characters like how “Aeris” is from Final Fantasy and “Mikasa” is from Attack on Titan, etc. Whose idea was that? Was that put into place before you came into the band?

All of the songs had names before I was involved. But lyrically, they aren’t necessarily about any of the characters. However, the role of the characters and the story of the lyrics do kind of mesh well and tell a really powerful story of someone trying to carry on through something. It really leaves it open at the end as to whether this person did or did not succeed, but he or she went for it but now it’s time to transcend and become better.

Does having song titles like this ahead of time help frame your mindset a little bit? Is that a way to help inspire you, or does it feel like more of a placeholder than anything?

It depends on who names them, I guess. In this case, no. They were what they were and I wrote what I wrote. Things went together in a way, but as I said, they definitely don’t relate to each character individually. I paid little attention to it, and I honestly don’t know or follow any of the shows. I do believe that “Daenarys” is from Game of Thrones, but I only know that because someone told me!

Do you write your lyrics to prearranged songs? Does the band give you stuff to throw on top?

Well, in this case it was definitely a record that was already done. I was just listening, catching the vibe of the record, and relating it to my life at the time and what was going on, because that was really all I had to write on. It was very on the spot and it needed to be done. So I tried to write about my life experiences and my current scenario through each and every day and put those parts in to where they fit with the song. I was trying to fabricate a story that’s not necessarily true, but it helps it have more weight. But there’s a lot ways to go about writing. Some people come up with lyrics and vocal melodies first and others get inspiration from music that’s given to them.

So I guess it’s been a little less than year now since the last album came out, but have there been any demos floating around? Are you guys thinking about new stuff right now, or is that not on your mind?

We’ve just been touring a lot. That’s pretty much where most of the time goes. Plus momentum seems to continue to build at this point, so a lot of people have been bringing up doing a new record soon. But a lot more people are continuing to be stoked on coming out to support us live. I don’t think there’s a lot of pressure on us to write at the moment, though we do need to get started as soon as possible and get an idea of what we are going to move on to and sound like. There really isn’t anything to go off of right now. There’s just been discussion on how we want to evolve at this point.

I feel like you guys, After the Burial and Born of Osiris have been somewhat synonymous and have grown up alongside the Sumerian label. I know you’re a relatively new to the picture, but what can you say about how the label has grown, and what place do you think it has in metal? It’s a pretty name in the genre now.

I am surprised that they’ve made the mark that they have in just ten years. Honestly, when I heard about this tour and that it was a ten year thing; it really caught me as a surprise! You know what I mean? I think they’re doing a great, and this tour’s been very successful. Hopefully the next ten years will be as successful.

I know you have played a lot of other shows besides this tour with the other bands. Do you have any sort of goofy tour memories that stick out to you?

Anthony [After the Burial] I know likes to mess around on stage and say weird stuff about the other bands on the package. And he’ll get personal sometimes. I won’t get into some of them because I can’t believe some of the things he says, it was just so weird. He came off one stage to me and said “just so you know I told the crowd that I taught you everything you know.” So I totally played along with it and in-between one of the songs I was like “I’d like to give a shoutout to Anthony from ATB, because if it wasn’t for him, shit…”

What’s the rest of your year looking like now? You guys doing festival stuff during the summer?

We’ve got a big summer ahead of us, and we’re all pretty stoked. There’s a big summer tour and I really can’t name it. But it’s a nice, girthy summer tour. We are hitting the Philippines in either April or May, and I think we just confirmed China.

Has the band ever played at either of those places before?

I don’t actually know. I do know that they’ve played Japan and we’re going back to Japan for like two weeks after the summer tour. I’ve never been to Japan, so I’m really excited for that, and very excited for the Philippines. I’m also really excited about the one I can’t remember anymore.

Is the set tonight going to be an even spread of the albums, or is it mostly new shit?

Only three old songs, “Unbreakable,” “Punisher,” and “It’s Not Safe to Swim Today.”

Damn, so now “Crawl Back?”

We actually just stopped playing that after the last tour. I don’t know if we’ll play that one ever again, actually. It’s one of those things like where if we bring one back it’s either “Subject Zero” or “Crawl Back,” but now there’s even more new songs in the set. We kind of have to now, because the contrast in our sound is just so apparent. You really just have to commit to it. From here on out we can still do whatever we want, but we’ll always keep that heavy side. The last album was still very heavy, and anyone who disagrees is lying! It’s just not the same thing all the way through.

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