Interview with Asylum XIII by Kris Prudhomme
- Hello Daemon, how are you and the band doing these days? I heard you have a little one who made an arrival some time ago, congratulations! Mind introducing everyone?
Daemon: Hey Kris, I’m doing fine, as is the band. Thank you for asking. Yeah, Andras was born November 25th. It’s been an experience. Hahaha. Introductions for the band…Dave on guitar, Danny on bass, and Dekayed on drums.
- Ok you guys are from Virginia, which as of recent has received a fair bit of attention to bands such as yourself and others like Lost Tribe. What can you say about the east coast and the environment you’re playing music in? I know everyone is a little clustered because of the amount of small cities and scenes surrounding you but from what I understand it forces people to travel around a bit for nights and shows.
Daemon: What can I say about the East Coast? Hmmm…without getting in trouble? Haha. Nah, the east coast itself is great. There is a lot of traveling to find nights for the scene, but it’s very worth it. It’s not so much cluttered as there aren’t a whole lot of acts doing what we do, and the ones that do aren’t competing as much as working together. I’ve met some amazing people doing this and loved every minute of it.
Danny: People tend to stay home these days around this area and watch things on youtube or look at the pictures of what they might have missed for me personally ,it seems everyone is stuck to the digital age and prefer the easier ways to do things I guess, I would more than love to have a scene back here the way it was years ago, we love the travel and the time spend among the members i figure if we can go support other bands and other scenes it be respectful for more to come do the same…
Dekayed: (From what I know, the East Coast has a growing Goth/Deathrock following that we want to get to know. Ultimately, we want them to know us by our music, but we have to get it to them…by any means viable. The preference would be to play shows for these people, and getting to know them after a show. As far as the venues we play, they are all well established and have live bands regularly. I think one of the key things we are doing to promote not only our music, but the whole Goth/Deathrock scene is Daemon’s new venture at a local club to have a full on Goth/Deathrock night once a month that like-minded people can attend with freedom of dance expression, socialize, and hear new music from some very talented DJ’s.) I know everyone is a little clustered because of the amount of small cities and scenes surrounding you but from what I understand it forces people to travel around a bit for nights and shows. (Indeed it does. But the younger Goths tend to enjoy “Road Trips” and there has been some carpooling as of late..people ask for rides all the time on one of the social networks with great success!)
- You guys played the first ever Age of Decay festival a few years ago in Florida, considering it was a first time event and the even more rare situation of it being a straight goth rock/deathrock festival, what did you think of it? I’ve seen the press pics from it and you look like you enjoyed yourselves.
Daemon: Age of Decay was everything I could have ever wanted it to be. We got to play the show with some amazing acts and meet some of the greatest people. There are friends that I met that night that I will never forget and one person in particular who really touched me. After our set he came up to me and very humbly said “thank you, that was beautiful”, and that meant more to me than any other crowd reaction I could ever have had. I see people at shows head banging/moshing/stomping/whatever…and for him to say that to me…it was so much more than any of those superficial reactions. It was possibly one of the best nights of my life and I’m ecstatic that I got to share it with the people that I did.
Danny: Me personally I thoroughly enjoyed the festival very much. It was a chance for us to participate on the first one, the bands we played with all had a great time as well and many of us still stay in contact to this day, we are looking forward to it again if it is possible to do in the future. I personally would like to do like a reunion type of show maybe for a cause of some kind ad give back to the community somehow and let people know Goths are not as bad as they are portrayed in a lot of negative ways.
Dekayed: I personally thought it was a huge success as the bands that played were VERY Goth/Deathrock, to the core. The venue was perfect, the hosts were amazingly personable and friendly. We showed our gratitude to her by signing one of my drum heads and giving it to her. On behalf of Asylum XIII, when I gave it to her, I told her how grateful we were to play the first AOD festival, and that the memory of this event will be talked about for a long time. We hugged, and cried together as this whole event took us to a place we were looking for…A place we all need… We STILL, to this day talk about the friends we made, that we still talk to, the bands we shared the stage with that we fell in love with, and the people…the people that we connected with through common ground.
- Daemon, I know you have a side project that is great called Cottage 3 which echoes Shadow Project and some of Rozz William’s solo material, you also of course have a Reverb Nation page for it. Because it is a solo project, what things have you chosen to do with the music you’re creating on your own that you may not do with a full ensemble?
Daemon: First I’m humbled by the comparison. I love Rozz’s work and take any comparison to him as a massive compliment. Cottage 3 for me is very personal. Inspiration drawn from therapy sessions never attended. Things that I’ve used there that would never really fit with Asylum…obviously the piano work. My pride and joy with that project is that I get to play piano with no limits, something that doesn’t translate very well with a touring band. Otherwise, I just get extremely experimental with it. Never intending to take it live, I’ve got a lot more freedom to multi-track and just do whatever. It’s extremely liberating to have no boundaries. More than anything I’ve ever done aside from my outright poetry, I take inspiration from various sources and just get to project it however I want…and a lot of times I listen to it and just think “how the hell did I do that?”. Hahah.
- You guys are a very active band which although I know must be hard due to your individual schedules and families but what’s your practice frequency despite all of these things?
Daemon: We practice weekly, which is trying at times working around work and family schedules, but again, it’s very worth it. We all love playing music and being onstage, so the minor stresses involved with arranging practices are sort of passe. We’re pretty active as far as shows go, but I’m working on trying to arrange more dates out of state. Regretfully, said responsibilities makes it rather difficult to string dates together, so it’s usually more traveling for one off shows.
Danny: I actually try and practice on a regular basis actually on my own to see maybe I can add some variations to some of the music. Maybe add some bass solos or something that will catch the crowed and add to the music.
Dekayed: We tend to practice a couple times a week for a couple hours. When Daemon can’t make it due to his work schedule, the 3 of us have a jam session where we tweak current material, and play for the pure enjoyment of the music, and write…If we could only remember what we write….Ha Ha!
Dave: We try to get at least 2 practices a week but due to life this can be changeling from all of the members of the band, but such is life.
- Moving on, there’s a lot of talk lately about what musicians should or shouldn’t do in terms of business, dealing with venues, fans and promoters. Between the lists posted on sites like Facebook about do’s and don’ts to magazine articles on it, it seems like everyone has something to say ranging from sage advice to outright rage about the current situation in which no one seems to be able to sell cds, venue owners aren’t being fair to their acts and people who may not actually have any experience in the industry are now trying to do events with mixed results. What does everyone here have to say on this? It seems to be a bit of a proverbial minefield.
Daemon: I read a lot of the lists and laugh because I’ve been on both sides of the fence. As a performer I understand the frustration of driving four hours to play a show to a minimal turnout and, in turn, pay out…but as a promoter I’ve dealt with the band that posts an event page on face book once that can’t get three people in the door but wants a 300$ minimum guarantee. I think that it’s a situation where there needs to be a lot more willingness to compromise on both sides. The promoters need to keep in mind that most of the bands aren’t doing this just for the hell of it, especially the ones doing legit tours. I’ve got friends who sold all of their belongings and lost their jobs because they went on tour trying to “make it”, and the venues need to keep in mind that most of the bands that they book are doing something similar. On the other hand, bands need to keep in mind that if they’ve got a draw of three people in an area they need to arrange the show to be with a local act that has a draw and not ask that the three people that they can draw be put on a guest list. Hahaha. Ultimately, it’s a mutual respect thing. We don’t really live in the era of “live music” and the “record deal” with a label supporting a tour no longer really exists, so it tends to be a double edged sword that we’ve got to work together on.
Danny: Good question…hmm it seems this is a digital age where just about anything can happen or be distributed online. Some of the venues we play are fairly new and just starting so we play for not only for fans but to help the venues get noticed more and perhaps draw more business. Here, where we are, you kind of know who you are dealing with and how much the owner will offer. I really like to get to the owners on a more personal level actually since trust is what we all want at the end of the night with many happy fans and a happy business owner as well.
Dekayed: Since Daemon books our shows, he’s the one that takes the brunt of the hits from the venues, for the most part. And since I am not a drinker, I have been hammered by bartenders as I drink water, lots of it. Some has been light and harmless, but others have downright ignored me. Funny…as I ALWAYS tip them well at the end of the night. I think the biggest obstacle that prevents us from playing at certain venues are the “Pay to Play” deals. Presale of tickets just seems like a financial disaster waiting for a sucker to nibble the bait. That’s why Asylum won’t play a presale show.
Dave: Proverbial minefield is an understatement. First I would like to say that I love playing for a crowd. “Speaking in General” But the crowd stand point would you buy a CD when you had to pay 10 to just get in the door? Probably not because this is removing funds from drinking and if you like the band and want to purchase a CD now you are forced with the decision of getting another drink or two or getting a CD.
- To elaborate even further upon the previous question, you guys are an underground band, in a scene that’s notoriously difficult to succeed in period. You see a lot of bands distancing themselves from the genre tags not necessarily as a rejection of the label in itself but the stigma surrounding it. It would appear that particular action only works for certain acts and at times it can be understood if an area is not friendly to the bands that play a darker style then it’s survival but do you think that you shouldn’t be embarrassed by what you play as long as you don’t let a particular sound control you and what direction the band takes as a whole?
Daemon: I’ve joked many times that we’re involved in a scene that was underground 20 years ago when it was popular, however I fully embrace the label of “goth“. To me the culture itself has a beautiful mystique to it. I try not to book us in situations that would be non-productive, either for us or for the event. We like to not have to “survive”…but that’s not to say that we WON’T play those shows. Our area is much more of the “stomp” scene than anything else, however I tend to revel in the fact that our sound is very down-tempo, especially in comparison. To me, it makes it sort of makes us stand out more.
Danny: I’m never really embarrassed honestly, if people have an opinion on or an aversion to certain styles or genres it doesn’t bother me at all really. We all love what we do and really wouldn’t change anything really except more exposure, besides if we didn’t love what we’re doing then we wouldn’t be doing it.
Dekayed: We are certainly not embarrassed in any way to let people hear us, regardless of the Label, or type of show we are on. We have encouraged “cross genre” shows and will continue to push them to get our music out there. We’ve joked with each other that if someone says to their friends after a show…”Did you hear that one band?? They sucked!” they are STILL talking about us! What I find disheartening is that we regularly try to support other bands in totally opposite genres by going to their shows, with the return being empty promises of their support for our shows. However, there are members of other bands that have regularly supported us, and we extend our thanks every time. And for the record…we are NOT “Gawfs”…we are Goths…get it right people!
Dave: Letting labels, genre’s lag’s control the way or what you play is a way to loose the passion, fealing, and meaning of your music. At the same time you have to play something that is in the moment or is you whenever the given situation arises. Songs that we record may be play 2 times faster to soot the mood or the atmosphere of the night, the crowd which we feed upon. I guess what is the difference between a crowd vampire versus a sellout?
- Do you guys want to travel outside the east coast soon? Texas seems to be becoming a nice hot bed for alternative scenes and there’s also the potential to get people to come out of the woodwork in small towns across the south.
Daemon: I would love to be able to take the show on the road. The last thing I’ve ever wanted was to be a “local artist”. While not necessarily leaving the East Coast…but to encompass everything beyond that as well. We’ve got international distribution (thanks to this amazing creation called the internet) and there seems to be demand for us in other areas. Honestly, the worst reaction we’ve ever gotten is in our hometown. I’d love to get out to Texas and New Orleans as well as Los Angeles but at the same time I’m dying to get up to Philly and New York . Pretty much any/everywhere. Every area has a scene, you’ve just got to be willing to find it.
Danny: I’d love to take some road trips and do further shows actually, it’s always been a dream to travel and play and see new faces and places, but of course who wouldn’t? But it’s difficult with our families and money to pull off those kind of trips at the moment, for me at least anyways. If I can swing the costs of travel and stay somewhere would be worth the wild to me..
Dekayed: We regularly discuss playing out of state venues and that is one of our obtainable goals. We played a show in Baltimore New Years Eve and were WELL received. Baltimore has a great Goth/Deathrock scene we want to cater to. Along with New York, Pennsylvainia and Ohio…
Dave: I would love to spread my bat wings and flutter. Lets face it the bat is not the most majestic of flying creatures. But it does so with the lack of eye sight and catches its unsuspecting prey. But I’m not sure how good bats are at uprooting trees. I have a wife and 2 kids, Daemon has 1 new baby bat and wife. “Dekayed” is a single father with a teenage bat. The desire is definitely their but harder to uproot the tree of responsibility. In short, yes I would love too.
- Ok, what releases are currently available for people who want to pick up on the bands music and where can we find the cd’s?
Daemon: Asylum’s debut album (Surrendered Tears) is available on CD Baby, ITunes, Amazon, Spotify. Dave and I are working on a follow up EP and the entire band is collaborating on the next LP which should hopefully be available soon. We also have a new song “Will of God” on the “Benefit for Bat Sanctuary” compilation, “Assault and BATtery” plus a live version of “Excommunication” (circa 2008) on Shinto Records “Lunar Sea” compilation.
- To finish up, any parting words?
Daemon: Yeah, to me the biggest problem is social networking. As useful of a tool as it can be for “spreading the word” about different bands, nights, etc…it’s also single handedly killing our scene (in my opinion). Between FB and you tube, people no longer feel like they need to go out to support a band, and that’s a very sad thought to me. With some of the amazing bands that will be touring this year (The Spiritual Bat, Strap On Halo, Red This Ever, Christian Death, Lestat, etc.), it’s depressing to me to think of how many of the fans will be content to watch some clips on youtube, look at the photos on FB/Instagram and say that they supported the tours. Regretfully, the further it shifts in that direction, the less of said tours we will have to go out and support.
Danny: Support your friends and the bands you all listen to, take time like we do to go to shows and have a great time, you never know what you will miss at a show. Get out of the cave and come have a great night with some really good music and some great times you will not be disappointed…
Dekayed: ? I and a former bandmate came up with a mantra that others have used that I would love to see catch fire… I use it in my texts to my friends, and on my FB post….GOTH ON!!!