Posted by: Necci – Apr 18, 2012
Formed in 2002, All Shall Perish is a breakdown-heavy, sociopolitical deathcore band that hails from Oakland, CA. Ben Orum (rhythm guitar) and Mike Tiner (bass) were the original founding members, and have remained in the lineup throughout the past decade. In 2005 they released their debut album, Hate, Malice, Revenge, on Amputated Vein Records, catching the attention of their current label, Nuclear Blast.
Hernan "Eddie" Hermida (vocals) joined the team after that album, and in 2006 they released The Price Of Existence. When MTV2’s reincarnated Headbanger’s Ball, hosted by Jamey Jasta, presented their video for “Eradication,” ASP achieved global relevance. When the audio from “There Is No Business to Be Done On a Dead Planet” was synced to the visuals of “Bye, Bye, Bye” by *NSYNC, All Shall Perish went viral.
Their third album, Awaken The Dreamers, was released in September of 2008. It debuted at #126 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on The Top Heatseakers. That same month, ASP became the first American metal band to tour Siberia.
In 2010, All Shall Perish added Francesco Artusato (lead guitar) and Adam Pierce (drums). Their lineup has been settled since, leading to the 2011 release of their latest record, This Is Where It Ends, and their single “There Is Nothing Left.” To promote their fourth album, ASP hit the road, joining Megadeth, Disturbed, and Dethklok on the 2011 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Fest.
I caught up with Eddie, Ben, Mike, Francesco, and Adam last October at The Canal Club. They shared the stage with Black Dahlia Murder and Cannabis Corpse, and the show was great. This was not my first metal show, but it was the first time I’ve ever hung out with one of the bands I came to see. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Though our time together was brief and consisted mainly of the logistics pertaining to our photo shoot, I found them all to be genuine guys who shared a profound passion for what they do. Easily directed, they cracked jokes inbetween the photographers instructions. I could tell they were exhausted from what seemed to be a solid year of your dates, so I deferred the interview until I could catch them well rested, and spoke to Eddie at a later date.
You guys are from Oakland, California. How is All Shall Perish received in your hometown?
Lately it’s been really great, a lot of people have been coming out. We played about two years ago with Danzig, which really opened up the spectrum [of people] that knew about us in the area. About four years ago, we couldn't draw a picture, but nowadays we have people coming out. We just did a show that had about 700 people. It was just us playing. It was insane, we had people jumping off balconies. You can't ask for much more from the area.
So Oakland has been known for its Hell's Angels population; do you guys have much of a following from Hell's Angels?
Not too much of the Hell's Angels, per se. I know that a couple of the affiliate clubs do come out to our shows, and they are pretty rad dudes. I'm a motorcycle rider myself, so I can get down with those guys.
You guys killed it this summer on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, hitting the road with Megadeth, Godsmack, Disturbed, etc. Anything interesting happen that you can share with our readers?
Well I'll tell you--there's a lot of drinking going on, being at a Yuengling-sponsored event. There was one night where I started drinking a little early. I blacked out shortly after our set, and when I came to, I was in one of the back seats of the bus, hanging out with a couple members from Disturbed, Godsmack, Machine Head, and it was just kind of like… I was in a dream. I just came out from being blacked out and we were all just hanging out drinking some booze, smoking some weed. I don't exactly know who was partaking in all of that, but I know I was. But that was a cool story. Just blacking out and coming to and hanging out with a bunch of people I've seen growing up as a musician right in front of me. It was kind of unreal.
After Mayhem Fest wrapped up in August, you guys hit the road with Black Dahlia Murder, and Richmond's own Cannabis Corpse. How was that?
The one thing that I didn't know, with Cannabis Corpse, I didn't know that Phil Hall, the bass player, is the bass player in Municipal Waste. That was a cool thing to come to light, being that I'm from the Bay Area and thrash is such a monumental staple for us. That and the guys roll around with a bud costume. It’s a wide furry costume that literally looks like a big bud, and at every show they ask one fan to put it on and start a pit in the bud costume.
Richmond is very lucky to have them from here. So, I had the privilege of seeing All Shall Perish at the Canal Club recently. You guys destroyed it, and I really had a blast. What was your impression of the Richmond metal scene?
Anytime we come through there, it’s been really stellar. The kids come out and they get heavy and really crazy for us. I mean honestly, we haven't really played anywhere [else] in Virginia. Richmond seems to be a lot more rich in the subcultures, and that's something I can truly appreciate. All the tattoos, all the piercings, all the kids wearing metal shirts. I really appreciate people just willing to live in a state that has been perceived as conservative, and being able to say fuck it and be themselves. It takes a lot of balls to do that.
In 2008, All Shall Perish became the very first metal band from the US to tour Siberia. That must have been a pretty dark region. What was that experience like for you guys?
It’s almost like... destroyed Cuba. You know how Cuba really hasn't advanced it's infrastructure since the 50's? Buildings aren't maintained, roads are just kind of open, and people drive like maniacs. The funny part is I lost my passport in Ukraine. In that passport was my Russian visa, so when I got to Russia they put me in a holding cell and sent me back to Germany. So I was basically deported from Russia for trying to get in illegally. They were just like you don't have visa? See ya later. I went back to Germany and spent about two days trying to get my Russian visa back. I did that, made it to the last Siberian show, and played two Russian shows. I had a good time out there. The kids out there are very hungry for live music. They definitely show up.
How did the band maintain without your vocals?
Mike actually stepped up and did the best he could. He's a really good vocalist. I wouldn't say he has the best vocals for our death metal, but the guy can scream and put it out there, so he took over. The kids ate it up and he got to be a frontman, instead of a bass player that no one remembers.
The Price of Existence is largely considered to be your best album. How do you feel it compares to your newest record, This Is Where It Ends?
I appreciate the fans that say Price of Existence was one of our best records. I mean, I've heard it all. I've heard kids come up to me and say, “All Shall Perish died when you joined the band and Hate, Malice, Revenge was the only record that means anything to me.” I'm like okay, cool. To me every record has been a step in the right direction, every record has encased who we are as musicians at that time. To me, Awaken the Dreamers has the elements of Price of Existence that people love. The Price of Existence was the first step in the direction where the band was headed. Anytime you do something different, kids are going to latch on to that and say that's the end all be all. People are fickle, and people make up their minds on nothing.
Eddie, you're of Latin descent. You guys released a special on itunes, Spanish-language version of “Royalty in Exile.” (“Nobleza En Exilio”) How difficult was it to translate into Spanish?
It was a hellacious experience. I almost didn't do the song, but luckily the people at Nuclear Blast were very very persistent. They said, “hey, if you need help, we can get someone to help out.” I speak Spanish very well, I'm fluent. But when it comes to reading and writing, I wasn't taught in Spanish, I was taught in English. So a lot of the grammatical translation issues started to come up when I was looking at the song. When you are translating music and lyrics you still need the cadence somewhat similar, and to find a word that fit the English word while keeping the meaning was a difficult task. Nuclear Blast helped me out, they sent me every single translation in every version of translation that they possibly could, and from there I picked out the phrases I felt that fit the best.
We received some very positive feedback from the Spanish world and South America and Mexico. Even Spain. A lot of people were saying there's not a lot of musicians that speak about government that speak so freely about the toils that's going on in South America. They felt that the song spoke directly to them. That to me is more than I could ever ask for as a musician, as a lyricist. Growing up, [I was] really inspired to make my own decisions and make forward progress in my life through the lyrics that I love. To hear [from] fans that I'm inspiring to them in the same way, to me, is unreal.
Are you planning to do more Spanish versions on future albums, or possibly even a whole album of Spanish lyrics?
What I'd like to do is translate an EP of a few of my favorite songs, a few of the fans’ favorite songs, and make an EP of a Spanish version of them. Or maybe release a straight vinyl [LP]. If you are asking if you should be expecting more of that? Absolutely. I hope to actually start writing in Spanish instead of translating, and start making some original songs.
You guys are considered to be a deathcore band, which is a sub genre of metal and hardcore, which also have their own subgenres and are part of other subgenres. Is society's need to classify and then re-classify metal, punk, and hardcore becoming a burden?
Music is music, it’s all a mutt, it’s all a bastard version of itself. There's no reason for us to classify deathcore and be like, “Oh, I'm a deathcore kid.” No dude, you're a metal kid. You're a punk rocker, metal kid. That's what you are. You're not some specific subgenre thats like some other subgenre. It's like, “Get over it.” You need to realize that all these musical classifications make up a huge world that is still not even close to [being] respected as much as rock or hip hop. Or even pop music, which is all some corporate bigwig sitting in a studio with a musician, saying, “Look, you need to sell my product with your ass, or six pack, then people are going to make this music and people are going to eat it up.” Ultimately, making subgenres of all this music is killing hard style music, and it always has been. When Pantera came out, they were touring with bands like Aerosmith, Skid Row. It wasn't like, “Hey, Pantera is this heavy brutalized core thing and it can't tour with other bands.” The selectivity of the metal world is what’s going to kill our music. I'm calling it right now.
I've heard metalheads complain that hardcore dancing is ruining mosh pits. What are your thoughts on this?
[laughs] You know, I think it's a form of expression. People can be how they want to be. I think when people go in and have a completely negative attitude towards metal, they are completely missing the point that we are a society of bastards. We are the people that are shunned, are made fun of, and are kicked around. And when you go and kick someone else around, all it does is fuel the fire. You're making those kids wanna dance harder, you're making those kids wanna express themselves the way they really need to. Ultimately, I say, and I always say, “Hey, the hardcore kids want to dance, let them dance over there. You start your mosh pit over there, and its one big happy family.” You don't want to sit next to your smelly grandma at the dinner table? Then sit across from her so you don't smell her. It doesn't take away the fact that we're a big family.
What’s the acceptable amount of blood that will be spilled in the pit at an All Shall Perish show?
I would say, if essentially we could turn the place into a bathory, then we'll be fine.
Your tour van must smell like rotten lunch meat right now.
My girlfriend just came out for her birthday to visit and she went in there and said it smelled like a fat lady's asshole mixed with a 40 year old man's foot fungus, or toe jam, if you will.
Dude, that's terrible.
Words by Dan Anderson
Images by Joey Opyt