The Agony Scene - Talking to Mike Williams
How are you doing?
I’m alright, I’ve been wondering around this city till 6 this morning so I’m a little tired.
Can you tell us something more about the history of The Agony Scene?
We’ve been a band for about six years, formed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, right above Texas. We went through a few line-up changes and signed to Solid State Records in 2001. We released our self-titled debut. We did a tour for about 4 months, completely broke up after that, got back together again, signed to Roadrunner Records and now we’ve been on tour since January.
What are, musically speaking, the main influences for the band?
Well, it’s tough to speak for the whole band because we’re all such different people when it comes to listening music. Personally speaking I can say that my favourite band of all time is The Misfits. Pantera is also one of those bands.
So, that goes for the lyrics as well?
Well, a little bit. I read a lot you know. Just random books basically but they’re kinda like on the darker side. Like exorcism and stuff, so…that’s the biggest influence for my lyrics.
What’s it like to share the stage with such great bands as DevilDriver and Lamb Of God?
It’s been a total honour to play with those bands. I’ve been a fan of Lamb Of God for a long time. DevilDriver is very, very cool to hang out with as well and we’re actually sharing a bus with them so we get to spend a whole lot of time with them. Everybody has been great to us and so far the tour has been really great!
You just finished the UK part of this tour, most of the times bands are really excited about the UK, how about your own experiences?
We’ve never been over there before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I was really surprised of how many people actually knew who we were. They were actually aware of our songs and the kids seem to have a much better time than they seem to have in the States. They seem to appreciate it a lot and it was a good time over there. Tonight we get to play Amsterdam, we’ve never been over here either so I’m not sure what to expect but I’ve heard nothing but good things.
But why didn’t you play the European Roadrage tour anyway? I mean, you did the US Roadrage tour as well right?!
Yeah, we did the US part of it but now we had our management kind of put us on something else. Personally I wanted to come over here because the other tour wasn’t that great . But I honestly can’t give you a good reason. I really wish we had done the European Roadrage tour because I think it would have been a lot better than what we did. We really regret it!
What’s the weirdest thing that ever happened to you on tour?
Ehm…that’s a tough one! It’s hard to say, I mean, nothing really goes too crazy. Last night probably something weird happened but I actually don’t remember. We went to a hash-bar last night and that’s definitely a cool experience. But in general, I don’t have that much really crazy stories you know. I think the guys from Lamb Of God and DevilDriver have much greater stories than I do.
You just told me that you’re touring since January, don’t you ever feel like getting home and get some rest? I mean, don’t you get sick of touring sometimes?
Yeah! Right now, I’m kinda at my limit but we have like a month a half off after this so…but yeah, it’s hard. I have a one year old son and it definitely sucks not being around so I’m ready to go home right now.
Ok, some questions about the album now. It has been quite a while since the release of ‘The Darkest Red’ but I do remember the press being very positive about the album. What was it like for you guys to receive such great reactions?
Well, we put a lot of work into the record. We had almost a solid year to write it, which is definitely a luxury that a lot of bands don’t have. We just got as much time as we felt we needed to have. So it was definitely rewarding to hear all these good things. We worked incredibly hard on our record and that shows.
How did you come up with the title ‘The Darkest Red’ and what’s the meaning behind it?
Well, our producer was talking a lot about the fact how much references there were on the album to blood and death and stuff. So calling the album ‘The Darkest Red’ was kinda like a sum up of all these things. It’s more of joke though, nothing really serious. I do think that it fits the songs though, it stands for what most songs are about.
And how about the raven in the cover artwork?
Well, our friends at Asterik Studios, who did the artwork for our last album and designed a lot of our T-shirts just really enjoyed doing the business. I don’t think there’s a real meaning behind it. I said: just put a bird in it and make it look cool! So, this is what they came up with.
If you had to pick one song of the album to play live, which song would that be and why this song?
I think my favourite of this record is ‘Scars Of Your Disease’. It’s definitely one of the heavier songs on the record and the kids really get into it live. It’s probably the most fun song to play live. I think it moves well and it has a great live feeling in it.
Ok, imagine Roadrunner Records comes up to you to tell you that The Agony Scene has to cover a song for the next album, in addition, they’re telling you that it has to be a non-metal song you gotta cover, which song would you cover and why this song?
Well we’ve actually done that twice. On the first record we did ‘Paint it Black’ by The Rolling Stones and on the Japanese version of this album we did Devilock by The Misfits. But one of my favourite songs of all time that I always wanted to do is ‘The Sound Of Sounds’ by Simon & Garfunkel. I don’t know how we’re going to do it but I guess we’re giving it a bit of a different ambience and give it a bit more of heavier feeling. But I think that’s the song I would pick, I know it sounds really bizarre.
Something about the 25th Anniversary of Roadrunner Records then, what do you think about the Roadrunner United album?
I think it’s good! I mean, it’s something I definitely wish we could have been a part of but the scheduling and timing was really bad. But yeah, I enjoyed the album you know. I think the track with Rob Flynn and Howard (from Killswitch Engage) is just killer! And the stuff that Matt from Trivium did is great. It’s just a cool concept you know. I wish we could have done something on it, not that I’m bitter jealous that I’m not on it but yeah, it’s a cool thing. I haven’t really dealt with the whole album but the songs I’ve been shown by people are great!
If you had to pick one of the four captains of RR United, which captain would you pick and why him?
Hehe, that’s a tough one! Ehm…probably Matt. We’ve toured with him before and he’s a great songwriter so I think it would be cool to sing for his team.
Nowadays, there are lots of bands releasing a DVD, how about The Agony Scene?
Well, we haven’t really talked about anything like that yet so that’s probably something we save for later on. I think we gotta put out a third record first but it’s obviously something I’d like to do! I know DevilDriver is shooting a DVD right now and hopefully we’ll do it in the future as well but for now, no plans have been set.
But have you got any ideas of what you definitely want to be on it?
Well, I think I’d like to film it over here. Just in Europe and the UK. It’s definitely been a fun experience here, hanging out with fans and stuff. We have a lot of camcorder footage already and I think there’s definitely some things that will make it on there from the past but that’s nothing I wanna talk about right now, haha!
Did you write any new material yet and if so, are we gonna hear something of that tonight?
Well, we didn’t write any real songs yet. I’ve been writing a lot of lyrics and we have ideas going on but we don’t have anything really solid yet. We’ll probably start writing around January. Then we will really focus on trying to write some stuff and hopefully by fall next year we’ll have some demo stuff recorded.
Ok, that was about it. Anything left to say to our readers?
No! Haha! No seriously, I hope you guys make it to our shows, or by the time you read this, would have made it to one of our shows. We’re definitely excited to be here and we hope to get back here really soon!
Thank you very much for your time and good luck with tonight’s show!
Thank you man!