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THE AGONIST – They Endeavour
Anthony Morgan
February 2015

The Agonist (l-r): Simon McKay, Chris Kells, Vicky Psarakis, Danny Marino and Pascal “Paco” Jobin

On March 17th, 2014, it was revealed that vocalist Alissa White-Gluz had parted ways with Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based melodic death metal outfit The Agonist, joining Swedish melodic death metallers Arch Enemy. Following a 14-year tenure, previous singer Angela Gossow wished to focus on family commitments, remaining Arch Enemy’s business manager nevertheless. At the time of the announcement, June 2014 Arch Enemy full-length War Eternal had already been committed to tape.

“We found out about it after she had already recorded their entire album,” reveals Danny Marino, guitarist and co-founder of The Agonist. “It wasn’t like ‘Hey guys. What do you think of this idea?’ It was just like ‘I went, I did this, and this is happening now. So, you’re just gonna have to be okay with that.’ We said… Because even though we were pretty shocked – like ‘What the hell?’ about the whole situation – we knew that to change singers was a huge deal. We considered ‘Okay. How can we make this work?,’ so we asked her for her Arch Enemy schedule, of what the coming year or years were gonna work like. As you can tell by now, basically her schedule has been non-stop and still going throughout 2015 even. Basically, we were looking at taking a two-year break as a band not just for this album, but for every album.

“Arch Enemy’s gonna wanna keep making albums and so are we, so we would always need to just take a long break every time and wait for the Arch Enemy touring cycle, which – as we know – is one of the heaviest touring cycles of metal bands out there. For us, we can’t do that. We’re not a part-time band, we’re not a side project. We’re still a young band; we’re trying to grow, we’re trying to establish ourselves, and so there was no bending on their end. They have their plans, and so we said ‘Well, we can’t work with this. We wanna continue playing music as The Agonist.’ We had a bunch of songs already written ready to go for the new album. Yeah, that’s how that happened (laughs).”

Such comments suggest The Agonist were merely informed of developments at the 11th hour, without being consulted. “There was no discussion, like asking us or anything like that,” the axeman confirms. “She made the decision. It’s her own life decision. She got an offer. That’s fine if she wants to do that, but all I can say is that there were four other lives at stake in the band, and we can’t be expected to just completely turn our lives upside down because one person makes a career decision. We said ‘No. We wanna continue being a full-time band.’ Already we had written the music anyway, so what’s the problem?”

Alissa could’ve better handled the situation, it could be argued. “Possibly,” Danny considers. “It probably would’ve been better had we been told all of the details upfront, but at the end of the day, it was a really rough whole time that happened and a very difficult time for everybody. Everyone’s way more happier now as a result though, so I’m really glad that everything happened the way it did. The band is doing better than it has ever done in terms of releasing music and just on a personal level as well, the vibe between the whole band is much better. Even Alissa’s off being super successful, so she’s happy. In the end, the whole thing was a blessing in disguise.”

That very same day on March 17th, 2014 when Alissa’s departure came to light, The Agonist announced the addition of vocalist Vicky Psarakis. “Once we found out that Alissa was joining Arch Enemy and that she had no time for us, we knew that we needed to start looking for a new singer if we wanted to continue with the band,” the composer explains. “I first asked around a bit among close friends, maybe looking into some of the existing names that are out there that possibly could fill the spot, but no-one could really fit. Either they were of a too different style or just weren’t good enough perhaps, so then I started to look online for maybe an undiscovered talent or a talent that I had never heard of before.

“I came across Vicky’s YouTube channel; she had a lot of different covers and things up there that showed a lot of different types of singing, all of which I thought were really great. Either it was something that was perfect for our band or something new that I had never thought of doing in our group, so I started messaging her – learning a bit more about her, about her personality and what she wants to do with her life, and all this. Everything matched up perfectly. She’s super passionate about music; she just wants to play music for the rest of her life, and make that her career. That’s always a good attitude to have. That’s pretty much the gist of it, of how it happened.”

The possibility of hiring a frontman had been momentarily considered. “When this happened, we opened our minds to whatever made sense”, Danny reasons. “We never really auditioned a guy, but briefly thought ‘Should we maybe do that?’ We were automatically cutting out 50% of the possible people just by saying that we couldn’t have a guy, but in the end, it just didn’t make sense to me. That was especially because the band has melodic singing vocals as well, so when it came to singing the old songs and all that, it felt like a male voice singing these songs that were written for a female voice just wouldn’t work. As long as we could find the right girl, then there was no point in looking at that, and we did find the right girl (laughs).”

Vicky Psarakis

Writing sessions for February 2015 full-length Eye Of Providence – the band’s fourth overall – began at the start of 2013. “With the first demo tracks, we recorded three songs that are on the album now – the instruments,” the axe-slinger informs. “They didn’t have names yet, at that time. It was just instruments, but the tracks were ‘Danse Macabre’, ‘Follow The Crossed Line’ – they went through a bit of a metamorphosis in the instruments by the end of the recording – and ‘The Perfect Embodiment’. It was at the very beginning of 2013. Basically, it’s been two years now since those demos were recorded (laughs).”

Neither lyrics nor vocal melodies were authored prior to Vicky’s arrival. “It was just music, just the instruments,” Danny shares. “I’d say more than half of it was written and demo recorded. We’ve had a lot of these songs for quite a long time now, and that was perhaps another thing in the back of our minds when we heard about this whole Arch Enemy thing. As it stood, we didn’t even know if she was in the band. We felt like she didn’t have time to write this new album, because we had all of these songs written for a long time and still hadn’t heard any vocals yet. We were already worrying that our album wouldn’t be ready when we needed it to be and then we found out that, to which we were like ‘Oh, okay. Well, it’s definitely not getting done now.’

“So yeah, more than half was demoed already. Once Vicky came in, we started immediately working on the vocals and lyrics together. She’s a creative person – she’s not just a singer. That was another thing, another test that we needed to give her. We don’t want just some singer who doesn’t have any creative process, where we just tell her ‘This is what you sing.’ I sent her one of the demo tracks, and said ‘Give me something on this. I want you to write something, and I’m not gonna tell you what to write.’ She came back with a great song and other than some little changes here and there, that composition is what’s on the final album.”

The lyricist happens to be The Agonist’s primary songwriter with respect to the music itself, although he isn’t responsible for all of Eye Of Providence’s material. “There are two songs on this album that were written by Paco (Pascal Jobin, guitars) and Simon (McKay, drums); Simon wrote ‘Architects Hallucinate’, and Paco wrote ‘I Endeavor’,” he credits. “If you’re a fan and follow us closely, you can hear it too, because Simon also wrote ‘Anxious Darwinians’ on Prisoners (June 2012) and Paco wrote ‘Predator & Prayer’. If you hear those songs and then you hear these two that I mentioned, you can hear styles there, like the difference between my writing and theirs. The rest of the songs were composed by me, but there are little parts here and there as well that were contributed by the other guys. (Chris) Kells the bass player wrote a few verse sections and things like that that ended up becoming a part of songs. We kind of work together.

“I come in and say ‘Here’s my song idea.’ I’ll have the parts and put it into a structure; sometimes it’s a very put together and structured where I know exactly what I want, but sometimes it’s a little open and loose and then we jam it together. I send the song to them, and we start playing it together live in the room. That’s when we start making the decisions, like feeling it out. It’s a lot of live playing. We don’t really do so much… Like when I’m writing a song, I don’t just record it in ProTools and then put drum programming on it. It’s more just ‘Let’s get together in the room, and let’s play it,’ and once we start hearing it as we start playing it, we do what we feel works – like ‘Let’s maybe change this drum fill.’ We work it out like that.”

Certain motifs denote the respective writing styles of Paco and Simon. “Paco usually writes high energy, really tough guy kind of riffs,” Danny scrutinises. “He’s got that bad ass vibe to his writing – you can almost hear that he has a big beard when he plays guitar (laughs). It’s high energy, pulsing, head-banging kind of riffing and with lots of guitar work as well, because he’s a very technical guitarist. Simon plays guitar, but he’s not a technical guitar player at all. He very much songwriting wise likes interesting chords and moodiness. A lot of his writing comes out like ambient black metal; he’s very influenced by Enslaved and bands like that, so you’ll hear this kind of moodiness but mixed with very Norwegian black metal vibes in there too.”

In addition, differing influences inform their respective writing styles. “With Paco, I can hear Lamb Of God and Pantera in there, but then there’s a very melodic side too just because he’s a big fan of prog like Dream Theater – things like this,” the Agonist mainman cites. “It’s very involved, guitar-driven music that often has a really head-banging kind of pulsing beat to it, whereas Simon’s is very open-ended and kind of dreamy – it’s a little bit of a trip kind of thing. You have to really get into it, and listen closely. It’s not something that you can just mosh to.”

Critiqued against past The Agonist outings, Eye Of Providence happens to be “the most thought-out,” Danny contends. “I feel like there’s a maturity in the songwriting that I’ve been striving for for some time. It’s all about thinking for the song; everyone looks at the song as the art piece, and so we all worked together to create a song that makes you just feel something. That’s what we wanted. We don’t want people to just hear the songs and then hear the individual parts, like ‘Oh, that’s the guitar line… And that’s the drum fill… And that’s the vocal.’ Ideally, we just want the song to evoke an emotion on its own. I’ve heard that back from people that have heard it as well and it’s a really good compliment to hear, that the songs stand up on their own just as a whole, and it sounds like the band is playing together, and we’re all working together when we play. It’s not as much like we’re battling for space in the music.”

The musician is inspired by ‘artists with the courage to take a listener to many different places in one album,’ taking that lesson into Eye Of Providence. “It starts out right away with American thrash riffing just to get it started, with ‘Gates Of Horn And Ivory’,” he references. “It’s also an area of metal that we didn’t explore that much before; most of our metal I think was either European / Swedish death metal or black metal, or was even American hardcore. We really embraced that San Franciscan thrash sound. We do that a bit on this album, so that was kind of fun, but then it goes from that to the Swedish death metal sort of area to this dreamy metal – like I said, with Simon – to a fully acoustic song. It’s a very dark, acoustic, moody piece.

The Agonist (l-r): Chris Kells, Simon McKay, Vicky Psarakis, Danny Marino and
Pascal “Paco” Jobin

“There’s two songs on there that I would classify as rock, because there’s very little metal in them – ‘The Perfect Embodiment’ and ‘As Above, So Below’. It’s influenced by bands like Muse and The Foo Fighters, or even Tool and A Perfect Circle. We try to go a lot of different places, whether it’s somewhere where people can just mosh and have a good time in the crowd, or really go introspectively and think about perhaps life and what they feel matters to them.”

A rock orientation is especially apparent on ‘As Above, So Below’. “I’ve had some of those parts of that song for many years now,” Danny admits. “It’s something that I’ve been playing with. I always thought ‘Well, this is just not gonna suit The Agonist. It’s too out there,’ but once Vicky joined it started to make more sense, and everything was like ‘Well, why not? I write a majority of the music already and this is something that I really like, so why not? Since we’re a band that kind of likes to go to different places, let’s do it.’ It comes from the influence of some of the progressive rock bands, like I named Tool before, The Mars Volta, Circa Survive – things like that. In the end, some people have said that it’s their favourite song from the album. It turned out really cool.”

Taking listeners to many different places in one album is something the guitarist has attempted to achieve since February 2009 sophomore effort Lullabies For The Dormant Mind, something which wasn’t the case with August 2007 debut Once Only Imagined. “First of all, when we wrote and recorded the first album, we were just kids,” he reflects. “We were 18-years-old when we were writing those songs, and we hadn’t really found our identity yet. I don’t think we started to really find our identity until Prisoners, because before then we were just recreating based on the influence of what we heard. What happened was when we got signed off of that first album, we began actually touring – we had never toured before.

“We started touring the world opening for all of these other bands and hearing them every night, and just opening our eyes and our ears to new things. Whether it was just hearing those bands each night onstage, or even just travelling the world and learning about a lot of different new things and new music, I think the influence started to grow from there. You heard on Lullabies For The Dormant Mind a very European influence, I think, which came in on that record. You can hear a lot of Swedish death, and symphonic metal, and all this kind of classical music came in.

“It was cool. I used to like it a lot, but I don’t think it’s a 100% representative of The Agonist as a whole. Then we moved into Prisoners, where you heard a lot of progressive metal elements come out from all sorts of areas. It was a lot of ideas, a lot of ideas all mashing together. At times it wasn’t very focused because everyone was just thinking perhaps a little bit too selfishly as a musician, and not thinking about how it fits in the music and the song. I think on this latest record is where we’ve found that balance.”

Vicky employs a “really diverse” vocal range, Danny submits. “If you’ve heard the whole album, you can hear various voices she uses throughout the record; whether there’s a very sweet, soft, jazzy timbre to her voice to belting power metal or belting rock music singing. Then with her growls, I find her growls are a lot more… It’s funny, because she’s European in descent, but I find her growl to be a lot more American sounding than what we had previously in the sense that it’s really pushed screaming deep from the gut. Very guttural, kind of reminiscent of a Corey Taylor (Slipknot) or even thrash metal screamers and things like that – Exodus or what not.

“It’s really pushed, and I like that personally. I like when you hear someone screaming that you know that they’re actually screaming, that they’re not creating a cookie monster voice and then holding the microphone really close so that it’s loud, which is a normal screaming technique used by many singers in metal. I’m not hating on it, because guys like Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God do amazing things with their voice, but Vicky’s method I think is a lot more from deep down sort of.”

Penning general tracks as well as guitar riffs, the Agonist co-founder tries not to devote too much thought towards the process itself. “I find if you get too cerebral about it, you lose the emotion and what’s important to the song as a whole,” he figures. “I often just pick up a guitar and start playing; I start jamming with myself. Improvisation, just playing, playing until something comes about. There are some parts on the album that are very difficult to play and some that are quite simple, but I find that the ones that are simple to play still are awesome riffs or awesome songs. That’s the most impressive thing to me – it always has been. The ability to write a piece of music that’s not too difficult to play, but is an amazing song.

“The actual playing… If you listen, there are a number of guitar solos throughout the record. For the most part, if you hear any kind of shredding, fast playing, that’s Paco. That’s his area; he’s an amazing technical guitarist. We’ve somewhat found that balance within us where if there’s kind of a more feel, slow, melodic solo that’s more similar to a singing line, that’s probably me what you’re hearing. If there’s one that really sounds like an actual guitar solo that’s just awesome, fitting riffing with melodic passages on the other hand, that’s him. We’ve got this balance, and there are a few times where a solo is half me and half him – we split it. That was fun, because we never did that before.”

Eye Of Providence

Eye Of Providence’s album title, meanwhile, is a concept Danny devised based on two keen interests. “One is ancient mythology and ancient civilisations, and the other is technology,” he lists. “Basically, if you were to research the Eye Of Providence, you would see that it’s a concept from many different religions and ancient mythologies. It’s the all-seeing eye, the idea that there’s an all-seeing eye that can see everything that is going on in the universe at all times – it’s always watching you. I found that concept interesting, but really, where I took it is with the technology aspect; today in 2015. Because of the rapid advancements in our technology, everyone has the devices. They’re constantly interfacing with technology at all times. We’re living in the age of the Eye Of Providence.

“It’s a real thing – it’s not some god or mythical idea. It’s just that technology has reached a point where we can basically see everything at all times in real time, and it’s only going faster. Artificial intelligence is advancing rapidly, and I think within our lifetime, we’re gonna be seeing some things that only ten years ago seemed like total science fiction because of the exponential growth of technology. It just doubles constantly. I just find it really fascinating. As much as it’s scary perhaps and presented in a way that it’s a negative thing, obviously it’s a huge positive too because of the advancements of our planet and everything. Science is for the good, but it also can be used obviously for a lot of evil. If it’s put in the hands of people who are… A lot of people are just inherently selfish (laughs). Science is this amazing, powerful thing that can be used against humanity, but we’re being told that it’s for us when it’s really against us.”

Much of the aforementioned ties in with the platter’s lyrical content. “We basically named the album that, because it is the most recurring theme in the lyrics,” the axeman divulges. “It’s not a concept album. Not every song is about that; there are a couple of songs on there that Vicky wrote the lyrics for that are personal to her and about her personal life experiences, so that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about. A good four to five songs go in that topic though, so Eye Of Providence was fitting for the name of the album.”

Eye Of Providence’s artwork was designed by Aaron Marsh at Sons Of Nero. “That was based on the Eye Of Providence concept that I came up with,” Danny tells. “I thought it would be a pretty interesting image to have, an eye looking upwards towards some omnipotent light or something. We did real photography for it rather than CGI or drawn images, which we’ve done on the previous three albums. Once we had the photo done – the close-up of the eye – we passed that onto Aaron Marsh at Sons Of Nero, and he turned that into the artwork that you can see with the colouring and the cabling. If you open up the inside of the jacket, he did all of that layout and all of that imagery.”

Recording sessions for Eye Of Providence commenced at Montreal’s The Grid in roughly February to March 2014. Concluding in August, Christian Donaldson sat in the production chair once more. “It was the first time recording in his new studio, which is The Grid,” the Agonist songwriter elaborates. “The last three albums were recorded in his home. He’s been growing a lot as a music producer, growing his equipment and his range of recording. He’s actually got his own full studio now, which we went to record this one at. It was a great time; it was the most positive recording experience we’ve ever had. It was a lot of work, but somehow, it was really enjoyable for the most part – the whole process. Me and Vicky, it’s our favourite place to be is recording. Creating music, that’s what we got into this for. We love playing live, but really, the creation of the music from start to finish is the main reason that I do what I do.”

Through the years, Christian’s approach towards producing The Agonist has evolved. “He’s evolving as a producer,” Danny concurs. “He’s getting more and more organic in how he does his production, and that’s another reason why we stayed with him. When we first started with him, he was much more digital in his processes. It’s still digital because everything is digital, but I just mean in using samples, sounds, and re-amping, or even using actual digital guitar sounds and all these kinds of things, and moving more and more away from that. With this latest album, the drums are the drums – straight from the room. It’s not re-sampling and all this stuff, and triggering, and it’s the same with the guitar. Everyone’s re-amping pretty much now, but we didn’t even re-amp. The amp was on while I was playing. We never re-sent it through other…

“We found our sound. It took some time, but once we did, the amp and microphones stayed there for days and days until it was done (laughs). Everything was a lot more real, which is really good. We wanted to get away from some of our previous productions, which were a little too cold sounding for our tastes.”

Danny Marino

Lead single ‘Disconnect Me’ was issued on April 29th, 2014, and marked the first publicly available Agonist track to feature Vicky. “It was one of the more straightforward songs on the record, I think,” the longtime songwriter judges, responsible for its authorship. “We just wanted to… We released that one just because at that point we only had two songs that had vocals on them, so it was between that and ‘Perpetual Notion’. We thought that ‘Disconnect Me’ was a better introduction to show people. Yeah, it was just a good song; a good live song, high energy, and a lot of fun to play.”

Paco recorded his parts for the composition with an injured hand. “He accidentally hurt his hand – broke his knuckle actually,” Danny informs. “I wasn’t there. He was at home. It wasn’t like we were together. I think he was just joking around with his friends, play wrestling, laughing and whatever (laughs). Accidents happen. He might’ve had a couple of beers. I don’t know (laughs). This was right at the time when he still needed to track a solo for that song, so he kind of screwed himself over. He had to think of something fast, because we needed it done and he really wanted to have it there.

“The whole guitar tapping section that you hear, it’s because he couldn’t use his picking hand. He had to use his middle finger to do the tapping parts, and that came out. There’s the first half of the solo, and then it switches. Like I said, you can hear sometimes going from maybe fast, technical playing to a slow, melodic line. That’s halfway through the solo, and then I come in – you’ll hear a pick actually being used at that point. That’s kind of how that came about.”

‘Disconnect Me’ is one of Eye Of Providence’s tunes which touch “on the whole technology aspect, about just disconnecting from people living their device 24/7. You probably look at your phone about 200 times a day, always looking at a screen. You forget about how it is to just interact face-to-face with people, or even just a voice. First level would be actual face-to-face interaction, and then the second would be what we’re on now – on the phone. I can hear your voice, and you can hear the emotion and the intonations in my voice. That changes the way you perceive what I am saying versus typing, and also seeing someone’s face in front of you changes the way you act.

“Now you feel an empathy for this person that’s right there, rather than typing. I think that’s why you see a lot of hateful comments online about various things – all kinds of trolling and all of this – because they feel safe in their computer world where they’re disconnected from the other person. They can say the most hateful things you can imagine and not worry about it, whereas if that person was standing face-to-face in front of them, they never would’ve said that because they have a certain level of human empathy for that person.

“That whole song is literally – like I said – pretty straightforward in its delivery. It’s literally about disconnecting yourself from technology, at least for a little while – you can try. I think with the younger generation, it’s something that’s lost. Myself, I’m in that crossover generation – I’m 30-years-old. I lived in a world when none of this existed, but it basically has grown throughout my life, and so I can see the difference. I feel bad for someone that’s born today that have no idea what it was like when the only way you could speak to someone was if you called them, or if you went and met them face-to-face. It changes the way our society interacts, I think.”

Music videos were filmed for the tracks ‘Gates Of Horn And Ivory’ and ‘My Witness, Your Victim’. “‘Gates Of Horn And Ivory’ was done with David Brodsky,” the axe-slinger discloses. “He did a couple of our other videos – like ‘Thank You, Pain.’ and ‘… And Their Eulogies Sang Me To Sleep’ (both from Lullabies For The Dormant Mind). It was basically a take on the lyrics – the concept kind of came about from my lyrics. I wanted a way to show the dichotomy between what is real and what is fake, and what is truth and what is deception. I was thinking about what you can do with a band performing that shows that, and so we came up with the idea that we had.

“The idea kind of pokes fun at the music industry, and how it tries to portray grandiose images of artists that are mainly not at all the truth of what they are, because they’re just trying to make money off of it, and ourselves included have been in that position before. We just felt like it was time also for bit of a fun video, because our music videos and our music has always been serious – and it is. To a certain point though, we’re actually really jokey kind of people. We like to laugh a lot, so we figured ‘Why not show a bit of that side of us?’ That came out like that.

“The ‘My Witness, Your Victim’ was directed by Chris Kells our bass player, who shoots and edits music videos when he’s not touring with us. That’s what he does for a living, so it was really fun to finally do one with him. We went for the whole whore aspect – it’s one of his specialities. I think he’s really good at shooting gritty, that kind of violent imagery or just very aggressive kind of imagery. That’s about it for those two.”

The Agonist (l-r): Chris Kells, Simon McKay, Pascal “Paco” Jobin, Vicky Psarakis
and Danny Marino

By comparison with ‘Gates Of Horn And Ivory’, the music video for ‘My Witness, Your Victim’ isn’t as direct. “That song is – again – about the Eye Of Providence,” Danny expounds. “Moreso the all-seeing eye in that everything we do is tracked, whether it’s governments or corporations using it against us and what not. We didn’t want to directly show that in the video, so Kells was trying to think of a way that he could symbolically show that. There’s a sort of loudspeaker there that is shown constantly in the shot with the torture, and the person being tortured. It’s playing out the messages through the torture, and you can see throughout the video the torturer. You find out later that it’s Vicky at the end, but you find out that they’re having a hard time with it. Even though they’re doing these acts to the person, they don’t necessarily want to – it’s a message that’s coming from the speaker. Finally she breaks from it and decides to smash the speaker at the end, rather than smash the guy.

“It’s just being conscious and aware of all that is around you. We’re all taking part in these amazing, new technological tools, like Facebook, Google and everything else. They do wondrous things for us, but you need to be aware that sometimes you’re being guided and you don’t even realise it – that you’re taking actions that are subliminally given to you. It’s much more so now than it was perhaps in previous generations, when it was TV that was doing that. Now it’s something that’s more direct, because it’s your own close friend that’s telling you this. You don’t realise it though, because they’re not really telling you that – it’s just because they like something, like Oreos.

“Now you’re seeing Oreo messaging and it’s making you hungry, but it’s coming from your buddy John – it’s not coming from Oreo (laughs). That’s just one way. There are many different ways, whether it’s media or government or whatever it is. There’s ways that we’re all kind of being led a little bit. It’s just being guided in certain directions, whether it’s politically or not. That song is about taking back control and trying to remain conscious of everything around you, because you don’t realise that you could be doing something horrible at all.”

Subliminal messages can arguably relate to certain groups’ use of a frontwoman, certain groups using their frontwoman’s image to garner sales and attention. “That’s just kind of it,” the wordsmith begins. “That’s one of the main things that we’ve changed on this album. We’re trying to show that The Agonist is a band – a group of people – and that we have a female singer. It’s not a female singer that has a band. It’s much more representative of our group to say that we’re a band because as I said, the band writes the music together and we function together. We have a fantastic singer, just like other bands have a fantastic singer. There’s a huge stigma with female-fronted groups – I actually don’t even like that term. When a band has a female singer though, they automatically get lumped into this group.

“I know there are bands out there that really do that a 100%; that’s all they are, and that’s all they rely on. They just sell the sexiness of the singer only, and the music is very mundane. There’s not much to it, and maybe that singer’s not even a good singer. I know that that exists, but there’s also a whole bunch of other bands that have amazing female singers, and are good bands. They get lumped in by people thinking that they’re just one of those bands who uses the hot girl, though. That’s blatant prejudice. I don’t think The Agonist is that band at all, and I think that there are a lot of other bands out there that get that sexism sort of put on them. It’s really just pure prejudice, and I hope it ends eventually. It’s been over 20 years that females have been singing in metal bands; I think it’s probably time for people to get over that.”

The blame for using sex appeal to further sales can be placed on several different quarters. “It’s the media that choose to push it that way, and then it’s also the fans of those that go along with it and buy into it, and then further that stereotype,” Danny reckons. “It’s a blend. It feeds itself. The media knows how to make the people do the work for them, and that’s really what they wanna do. They wanna get everyone else talking, so that everyone else promotes their thing that they want for them. It’s much better that way, because it’s way better when your friend tells you ‘Hey, check this out’ than when some commercial tells you that.”

Eye Of Providence was released on February 23rd, 2015 in Europe and subsequently on the 24th in North America, all via Century Media Records.

Interview published in February 2015.

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