Affront The Abyss – The Highwire Daze Legacy Interviews
Breaking Out with Affront The Abyss
Originally Published: May 14, 2013
From their press release: Up-and-coming metalcore outfit Affront the Abyss is excited to release their first full-length album, entitled What They Call Home, today on Periscope Records. The band – Josh Dalton (screams), David Espinoza (singing), Nick Utley (guitar), Josh Kent (guitar), Dylan Smith (bass), and Jonathan Hardman (drums) – formed in 2010 in Wichita Falls, TX and quickly became one of the dominant metalcore bands in the area. They added David, a gifted singer reminiscent of Broadway’s Misha Camacho, and began recording What They Call Home at Intellect Studios in September 2012. Shortly after, they signed with Periscope Records.
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Affront The Abyss, and how long the band has been together.
Hey, I’m Nick and I play lead guitar for Affront the Abyss.
I’m David. I’m the singer.
My name is Josh Kent and I play the rhythm geetar.
We’ve been a band approximately 3 years now, starting our sophomore year in high school.
Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We’re from Wichita Falls, Texas. Our scene kind of died down after an altercation with Chelsea Grin when they played a show here. So, yeah, the music scene here is basically gone, except for a few bands, including ourselves. We’re trying to bring it back. Some of the locals we would recommend are, Seize the Captain (who are dropping an EP soon), A Threat to the Enemy (who we are playing a show with on May 25th), Raze the Idols, and The Last Supper. But very seldom are there shows in town.
How did you wind up signing with Periscope Records?
Mr. Shaun Ladymon at Intellect Studios has helped us from the beginning with our Progression EP, and he’s always been a pretty big part of the band. So when he told us he was starting a label and wanted us on it, it was just the natural thing to do.
Where did you get the name of your band and what made you decide to use that moniker?
The phrase “Affront the Abyss” basically means to stand out or face against what’s expected of you. To challenge one’s identity and one’s fears.
Is there any story or concept behind the What They Call Home title?
“What They Call Home” as an album encompasses chasing your dreams, getting away from home and out into the world. The lyrics to the title track and the basic idea behind the album represent the way we picture the place we grew up and the idea of being rooted or bound by a fear of expanding our horizons and influence.
Select two songs from What They Call Home and what inspired the lyrics?
Nick: Two songs who’s lyrics I wrote include “Breathe,” which is basically a call out to challenge those who live in fear of living to the fullest. So many people just coast by in life doing what they think or are told leads to the widely accepted end. They sleepwalk, practically. My point in that song is to challenge someone to take a leap, to explore new things, to be spontaneous or fulfilling for themselves.
Another song I wrote the lyrics to (which I am picking simply because I’m the one answering. It’s not like I wrote all of the lyrics) includes the title track, “What They Call Home.” I wrote this as a response to the ever present but unspoken law that seems to convince people in bands that, based on statistics, they can’t make it. It’s about, kind of as an extension of “Breathe,” not accepting the math. Not believing the statistics or the thought that the odds are against you. We write and play music for ourselves, more than anything. And a fear of not becoming rich and famous has never and will never factor into that. Where the band is, where the music is would be what we, personally, would call our home. And we’ll always have one.
Who did the album cover art and how much input did you have on it?
David: Back to Shaun! Haha. He put together our artwork and showed it to us and we couldn’t have been more happy with it. It really matched the idea behind the album and was pretty much the perfect cover.
Nick: It really worked out well and didn’t take a whole lot of strife to get it how we wanted it.
Josh: It was a perfect picture for what we were looking for and hoping to get across. Plus, it looks nice.
What could one expect from an Affront The Abyss live show?
One, especially one who hasn’t heard our music before, could expect to be caught off guard a few times. We like to change tempos, feel, and style throughout a song. You’ll experience an ephemeral and melodic guitar style which has no problem going clean, and an aggressive vocal style which add a contrast, especially when paired with the clean singing. Namely, we’re versatile. If you want to hear screaming, singing, riffing on a guitar, melodic choruses, upbeat parts or if you just want a heavy breakdown, there’s something for everybody and we try to integrate all of our elements in a tasteful and energetic way.
What bigger bands have you opened for in the past and what was the experience like?
We’ve played with many bands from the North Texas and South Oklahoma area, but bigger bands we’ve played for would include Close Your Eyes, who at a live show are just incomparable to anything else when you live in the Bible Belt. Being from where we are, a show with a larger Christian band like that brings a hell of a crowd, and we still remember that as our favorite show to have played. Another band we opened for was The Plot in You, which was a different experience. People go to a show like that to mosh, and to dance. The showcase called for the more intense and heavy songs we had to offer at the time.
Any strange or unusual happenings while at a live show?
At the first show we ever played, actually, in Vernon TX, Josh’s (our heavy vocalist) mic went out halfway through our set, on the song “Trials.” We were having technical difficulties the entire time we played, so he eventually just threw the mic down and screamed without it. That really spoke to the people in the crowd and a lot of them claimed to hear him just fine anyways.
Has Affront The Abyss ever played Warped Tour and if so, what was the experience like?
We have not played Warped Tour, but we really hope one day we can.
How much touring have you been able to do so far and/or do you expect to be doing any in the near future?
Well, considering we’re all fresh out of high school, we haven’t been able to accomplish any touring so far. However, we will be on the road starting in late July, hitting mid/south Texas and jogging as far east as Memphis, TN and up to Missouri.
While at a show, some drunk guy offers you $100 cash to play What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction in your set. He is obviously serious and wants to hear the song. What do you do?
David: We do it for free.
Nick: Take the money and rock it. Not even a question.
Josh: Play the song. Duh.
If the music of Affront The Abyss was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Nick: A cherry eclair with chocolate sauce and sprinkles. Don’t ask why.
David: An eaten one, because our heavy vocalist is kind of fat.
What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
Josh: Our message, our passion, and the feeling they get when they’re like, “That was a damn good song”.
Nick: The unique rhythms and melodic surprises.
David: Just to remember us would be awesome, hopefully they’d like it enough to spread it around and help us reach more people.
Any final words of wisdom?
After the album release, things seem to be coming together. ATA hasn’t “made it” by any means, but we’ve made it a lot farther than some people expected us to, and we don’t plan on stopping here. So, no matter how many people tell you you can’t do it. We promise they don’t have a clue how far you can go.
Josh: More than two shakes is considered playing with yourself. Have a nice day ya’ll!
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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