THE AGONIST – The whole ‘Female Fronted Metal’ thing is just cheap marketing

Hi, we are Giada and Federico and welcome on MetalPit. How are you?

Great. Very great. Well… The first couple of days in a tour is always a little rough, you know. But everyone knows its job and everything is now settled, people have got some sleep, so now we’re good.

Could you please introduce your band, The Agonist?

Sure! I’m Danny Marino and I play guitar in The Agonist. We are a metal band that likes to play around with different genres from an extreme death metal style to a very melodic kind of rock music.

“Five” is your latest album and it was released a year ago. What do you think about it? Did it work well?

I feel very proud about it as we tried something different. For the first time we went to a new studio in Los Angeles with total strangers: we lived there, in the studio, while we were tracking instead of going back home every night. So it was a full experience, we lived the album all the time and yeah, I’m really happy. I think it stands out in our catalogue and i don’t really know where we’ll go from here.

“Five” is the second album featuring Vicky. Has there been an evolution in the compositional process or any other change?

Well… It’s just something that happens. It’s not necessary something like “oh, Vicky came” and there are compositions or style changes. For example: in “Eye of Providence” all the music, the instrument part I mean, was written before Vicky joined. So the change already happened in terms of structuring and composition, but yeah, obviously she added her own style which is different from Alissa. I guess it was a mix: the band wanted to try and move in a certain direction and then she came and added differences so we together made a change.

When there’s a change in the vocals of a band, does it bring more stimuli or problems?

If any band changes their lead singer there’s gonna be a mix of emotions. You know… some people automatically doesn’t want to hear it, no matter what, other people instead will be interested. Maybe there’s some die hard fan that listens to a band only if it keeps the original members and you may lose some of those, but maybe you also gain some new audience that before didn’t like the sound.
So you lose and you gain, it’s kind of what happened to us. We saw it, as with social medias you can see the shift, like going up in certain areas.

Do you have any plans for the future? I mean, after your tour?

We’re gonna start writing a new record. I’m actually in the backstage right now, I have my laptop set up and I’m just putting stuff down, just for fun. I mean, we are at very early stages, we’re far to be ready to record but that’s kind of the plan for the winter: we’re gonna start focusing on writing, the tour cycle is over for now.

Do you think that in your next album the growl vocals will be predominant or will you use more clean vocals?

I think they will always be a part of The Agonist. I can’t see us just to completely taking them out, but I don’t know as the vocals are not written yet, we’ll see what comes out. It might be more singing or it might be more screaming, it depends what the song means.

How did you choose Vicky?

We actually found her online. I didn’t know her. When we lost our singer I immediately started to ask and look around in the industry, but the thing was that there was no singer really available that would fit our band: someone didn’t have the singing ability, others didn’t have the screaming ability or they were just in another big band and unavailable.
We also searched for a woman, we didn’t want to change that much and a male vocals would change a lot our sound.
So I just started looking online, all the covers, a lot of people posts stuff like that, even Paco did that with guitar before joining the band.
So we came across her and well… she was really good doing Arch Enemy and The Agonist covers and I just approached her online. I actually didn’t tell her, because it wasn’t public yet. Both Centruy Media and us were quiet because it would have ruined both Arch Enemy’s and our releases, so I just told her “would you be interested in a collaboration? I’m looking for another artist to do other stuff with us” and she said “yes, sure”.
But when we talked more and heard some demo works, everyone in the band liked her, so I finally admitted it was for The Agonist, but I couldn’t tell her before, and she decided to join us.

What’s you favourite song to perform on stage?

On this tour I really like “A Neccesary Evil”, it’s super high energy, but has got a lot of melody too. It gets the crowd moving and gets us moving. It’s not pure thrash, it has a lot of cool open melodies and stuff, so it’s probably my favourite.

What do you think about the “female fronted band” topic? Is it sexist, offensive or you just don’t care?

I think it’s just a cheap marketing thing. I think it’s good, obviously: I’m in a band with a female singer too. It’s good that female are getting involved, I just don’t like the label, because it constitutes a very specific genre, something like Nigthwish kind of sound and I know we’re very different from that. But we get labelled in that category so people thinks we sound like one of those “operatic symphonic” groups and they don’t even check us out, even if they might really like our music.
I hope there will be more females in bands, not only as vocalists, that they’ll be common and become just another musician.

What kind of music do you listen in your everyday life?

I listen to all kinds of stuff. I love Muse, Leprous and there are some other bands I’m listening to right now, like Puscifer, which is Maynard from Tool. On the tour bus we listen to a lot of classic rock, especially from the ’70s, as it’s fun for us after the show.
I’m also trying to keep up with what is out there, like the new Black Dahlia Murder album which is pretty cool.

How do you see yourself in 10 years?

I don’t even want to think about it! I just turned 33 and I already feel old, so… 43, I have no idea.
I mean… I live in the moment so, yeah, I don’t think about it.

Would you like to leave a message for your fans on MetalPit?

I just say go out and support bands, it’s not even just for The Agonist. Go on and check for The Agonist, I’d love that. Download it, I don’t care, just listen to it. It’s fine.
But just think about the importance to support music in general: buy tickets for the shows, buy t-shirts. It’s not that expensive and you’ll get a memory out of it, versus an iPad application that is just empty.

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