Interviewed By: George Archibald
Photos By: Andrew Bastion
Death metal act, Allegaeon has been on the road supporting Ne Obliviscaris since November 1st. The band's set list consisted of songs off of their latest release is Sentience of Science, which they released last year. As the tour begins to wind down, the band is looking to finishing writing their new record, and to hit the studio by early 2018. I was honored to get a chance to speak with vocalist Riley McShane , and guitarists Greg Burgess, and Michael Stancel.
GA: How about we start off with telling me what would you classify your sound as?
RS: We are a melodic death metal band with some technical elements thrown in.
GB: You could call us modern melodic death metal.
GA: Allegaeon released Proponent for Sentience in 2016, which has been getting a ton of praise in the metal community. In your own words how has the success been received, and where do you take your sound from here? Are you guys working on new material yet to follow up this album?
RS: It has been awesome seeing the positive response to the last album. People have been very supportive of it. The band is stoked with the way it came out. I feel like before I joined Allegaeon, since Proponent of Sentience is my first album, it was cool to see the natural progression of the band through albums. You could see the band growing as musicians, I feel that happened on Proponent of Sentience as well. As far as the direction of the next album goes, we plan on hitting the studio early next year. The album is mostly written, and I feel like it is a step in the right direction. I think everyone will hear the growth in the music and from us as musicians, and I give credit to this guy (pointing to Greg).
GB: Mostly Mikey. My songs are sucky, but his songs are really good.
GA: One of the stand out things the band did on this album was a cover of Rush’s Subdivisions, who’s idea was it to cover the song, and how did that all come about?
RS: It was kind of a mutual conglomerate, it was a group decision. I guess there was a cover that was planned with the old vocalist, I think a Deicide cover.
GB: We were going to do When Satan Rules His World, because it was the only cover we played, because Mike and I are huge Deicide fans. Then Riley joins the band, and we are both huge prog heads, we came up with the idea to do a prog cover.
RS: There was a few ideas thrown around, we talked about possibly doing some Genesis.
GB: We all started up throwing up prog band names, and someone said Rush, and it was like, ‘yes I want to play Neil Peart.’
GA: So, you had an I Love You Man moment (everyone laughs). The band has built a reputation for being technical, and somewhat science based with its themes; when writing how do these concepts come into play when putting a song together for the band?
RS: A lot of research. We take a lot of time into making sure what we are talking/ writing about isn’t complete bullshit. We like to have a base and some scientific backing behind the lyrics, not just pulling from Wikipedia articles; but fact checking the source material and reading scientific journals. We want to make sure what we are putting out there is what is going on.
GA: So, you want to bring some authenticity to your material?
GB: A lot of our past inspiration came from shit you would see come across your Facebook. We would go, ‘oh that looks interesting’ and dive right into it, then realize that’s bullshit. You want to look into it more. The cool thing about science is that, science is a constantly evolving thing. We’ve put out songs that after the record has come out, science has disproven what we are writing about. I think before Formshifter came out, they disproved secret of the sequence. We were like oh, but you don’t get upset at that. That’s just science, its cool.
RS: That’s the cool thing about it. It’s like we believe this one thing very strongly, but as new information comes along, its like, ‘oh well umm never mind.’ Its not always about it being right or wrong, its about the betterment of our understanding.
GA: What got you into playing heavier music, and how did you start off, formal training/ self-taught?
GB: I have a bachelors degree in classical guitar performance. I studied jazz when I was in school, learning arrangements. I went to school at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
GA: What got you into playing heavy metal?
GB: It’s way fun.
GA: Since we are all joking around, I read the band has or had a mascot, can you tell me how that came to be?
RS: We boiled him in a hot tub. Then, Metal Blade wouldn’t allow us to put the video up.
GB: We killed him off, Mike threw a toaster in the hot tub. We killed the crab but, he was in the hot tub with a stripper. He died happy.
RS: Sacrifices must be made sometimes.
GA: What gear is the band currently using on this tour?
MS: For both guitars, we are using Fractal Ax Fx 2s. They allow us to do what ever we need. They are great when running in ear monitors, it makes our life really simple. For bass, we are using a Sansamp DI pedal that is going to the front of the house in the mix. Also, a Carvin power amp for stage sound.
GA: What other gear are you running, if you have any endorsements feel free to put them out there?
MS: I use Legator Guitars, they are a good company that has been with me for a few years. I also use D’Addario strings.
GB: I left Jackson in December and signed with Carillion Guitars out of the UK. I couldn’t be more stoked, they are an, all custom, everything in one build shop. I also use D’Adario, Planet Waves, and EMG.
GA: What is next for the band after this tour?
RS: New record.
GA: What is next for the band after this tour?
RS: New record.
GB: Go home, and get away from each other for a bit, for as much as we love touring with one and other.
RS: I live in a van with these people for like a month at a time, and I never get any sleep, so it will be nice to be home. We are going to finish up the new record, and hit up the studio. We might also do another tour, before or after the studio, but that’s still up in the air.
GA: Anything you would like to add?
GB: You are catching us at a weird time since it is the end of the touring cycle. We do however have a Patreon like Ne Obliviscaris. It is basically like a fan club, it helps us out a lot. We try to give the members extra content, gives them some extra exclusive material to check out. It is completely optional of course, but it does help the band.
For updates on Allegaeon check out their Facebook page, and if you want to support the band check out their personal Patreon. Also make sure to check out Sentience of Science available at your local music store and streaming online. It was an honor speaking with you all, I wish you guys well, and can't wait to hear the new material.