Next year, Allegaeon will have been waving the flag for death metal for ten years. The sci-fi influenced death metal band have been making a name for themselves playing face-shredding death metal across the globe with a take no prisoners approach. Greg Burgess talks band’s origins, their latest album, Proponent for Sentience, working with Björn from Soilwork, their controversial Patreon campaign, Metal Blade Records and the future of the band.
Jack: Good evening, thanks for taking the time to speak to me. How are you doing?
Greg Burgess (Guitar): Doing alright man, thanks.
Jack: You released your fourth album Proponent for Sentience last year, are you happy with the response?
Greg: Very happy with the response, it’s been very surprising.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Greg: Well, we have done four other records with Dave, so it’s to the point where it’s a very friendly work environment. It makes things go really smoothly. Always awesome when you’re laughing from day one.
Jack: What was it like working with Björn from Soilwork?
Greg: Working with Björn was great. It was all done by email, and we were very surprised at how well he did. I guess we were kinda under the impression that since this wasn’t his band he wouldn’t give 100% but he destroyed it. I remember getting his tracks and I teared up. It was so amazing to have his talent on something we worked so hard on.
Jack: The album’s lyrical content has been described as an “arc rooted in science-fiction yet uncomfortably encroaching upon the reality of the present”, what makes writing Sci-Fi so appealing?
Greg: Well at one point all science fact was science fiction, so in a way it’s like a foretelling of the future.
Jack: Why do Sci-Fi and metal go hand in hand so easily?
Greg: The stories and the soundscapes lend themselves very easily to one another.
Jack: Do you think the album is more relevant in the Trump era?
Greg: Well the title Proponent For Sentience is two fold. One you’re a proponent for technology to help humanity, and on the opposite side you’re a proponent for sentience because you think humanity is wicked and deserves to be wiped off the planet. If you’re anti Trump it may hit harder on the latter point. However, I’m not so sure that given our choices here in the US, many people’s opinion would shift.
Jack: Allegaeon is a band that uses the crowdfunding platform Patreon. Why did you decide to use it?
Greg: We were in a lot of trouble financially and it was a last resort. No one likes these “crowdfunding” things, however, if we can give back to the fans while they help us out it seems like a win-win.
Jack: How amazed are you by the support given by fans with this service?
Greg: It’s always amazing to see how much your fans rally around you. It gives you more of an appreciation for the fan/artist relationship.
Jack: You have received some criticism for using Patreon with commentators stating you were greedy and touring beyond your means. Do you think these comments are unfair and made by people who don’t understand the platform?
Greg: People will never really understand unless they’re in your shoes. A lot of the criticism came from our video and how we came off. Which if you knew us as a band and knew our sense of humour it was very accurate as just us being real. If you didn’t know us it came off as begging and entitlement. For the record we started this at the request of our fans to help, and if you boil down what the service actually is, its a fan club. They pay a monthly subscription fee and get exclusive content.
Jack: Ne Obliviscaris are another band championing the service, do you think Patreon will be much bigger and accepted in the future?
Greg: I’d like to think so. The Patreon platform puts the success of a band in the hands of people who want the band to succeed.
Jack: You will join label mates Whitechapel, Cattle Decapitation, and Goatwhore for a special USA tour that celebrates Metal Blade Records’ 35th anniversary. What are you looking forward to the most about this tour?
Greg: Forging relationships with these bands that we really look up to. These bands are very successful, and to learn something from their experiences is one of the most important things we hope to get out of it. Also playing in front of new audiences every night will be amazing.
Jack: What’s it been like working with Metal Blade Records?
Greg: It’s been awesome, and continues to be awesome. It’s been like every relationship you have in life, the longer it goes the more comfortable you get with them. Just like your question regarding recording, the more comfortable you are the easier it is to work.
Jack: What are your plans after this tour, any plans to come to Europe?
Greg: We are trying to make it over later this year, we’re in talks right now actually.
Jack: Finally, what films have influenced the band?
Greg: That’s a hard one since I don’t write a lot of the lyrics. We watch a lot of documentaries for concepts to help flesh out stories, or songs.