Duck of Becoming The Archetype
Singing dreams may start in the shower, but once you’ve stepped out of the security of home and suited up for the stage, how do you keep your dreams from washing down the drain? All over the world there are bands who are emerging from behind the roll up door, to light up stages upon their local scenes, possibly even touring through their home states and if fortunate enough to embark upon national or international ventures. For love of music, for conviction of a cause or simply to chase the Benjamins, whether these artists are mega stars, start ups or somewhere in the middle, they share in the same challenge to keep the fire burning internally and bridge a connection with potential fans. The music landscape has become a hyrid of evolution utilizing the best of both traditional music powers in combination with user friendly technologies such as social networking and variations of pro tools. How does a band who stands in both worlds, a band who is neither an internet phenom nor a corporate chemistry experiment, continue to push itself to harvest the best of its internal creativity and build upon the foundation of support from a seasoned label? The members of Georgia based metal band Becoming The Archetype continue to helm a battleship of brutality that combines conviction with talent, grassroots craze with an international following as well as an epic metal sound with melodic progressions. With sticks ready for battle, BTA drummer Duck took some time to share his perspective on life, music and chasing the dream. Whether you are a fan or an artist in the grind, words from a veteran of the scene can encourage and challenge, especially from a man who wants to, “help you unfold your dang arms.”
As you look back on your discography, do you enjoy each release as its own monster or do you hear more of a progression towards what you’d like Becoming The Archetype to be?
Duck I would have to say yes to both. I like each album for what it is, but I love to hear how we have developed as song writers as well as entertainers.
To my ears, Becoming The Archetype has been on a steady ascent towards more of an epic sounding metal, there is a depth to your music that boasts both maturity that honors your roots and a perpetual growth that is challenges your genre. Who have been some of your influences that have shaped your approach to music?
Duck Individually we all listen to all kinds of things. This means we bring every kind of sound and colour to the table. We enjoy country, hip-hop, jazz, classical, and metal. As far as the epic metal, we are influenced by: Extol, Opeth, Dream Theater, Living Sacrifice.
Do you remember the first metal album you ever listened to?
Duck I think it was Embodyment: “Embrace the Eternal”, I just couldn’t get it out of my head. Either that or Living Sacrifice: “Reborn”.
Do you remember the moment when you decided you had to get the metal out of your system and the only solution was performing?
Duck I always knew I needed to perform, but metal came in around 2000.
Without a doubt in my mind your song “Ransom” was my favorite song from 2009 – from the haunting opening keys to the climactic chorus, “My hands have taught me terrible things, His hands have set me free!” I’m always enthralled with the depth of conviction that comes across in your lyrics especially when paired with your creative brutality.
Have you reached a place as a band where you can get the instruments to transfer all of the components you are attempting to express –where do you feel Becoming The Archetype is at in terms of mastering the communication process through music?
Duck I think that for the most part we have. Music has a way of expressing what we cannot say with words. If anything we have said many things already with our music that we do not have the vocabulary to express.
Last time we spoke, Count Seth was rather prolific in stating,
“Music is a portal to something deep within yourself. Other things can take you to those places, but for many people, music is the strongest connection to that place in their heart where the mind can’t enter. When you hear a certain riff, your heart feel like it gets pushed over two inches in your chest and there is no explaining it. That is what you try to do with a song. If your music doesn’t have that effect on a substantial amount of people, you’re doing something wrong.” (see hurdcore.com interview w/ Count Seth of BTA)
How have you seen your music connect with fans – are you at a point where you carry enough swag with you that connection is almost automatic or do you still have to work to get the crowd moving?
Duck That is a good question. The answer is a “yes” and “no”. At our shows there are always those who would not care how well we played and they would be blown away, in a manner of speaking of course. And there are those fans who are always positioned to go either way. I feel like I am that way too. I like the challenge of having to win people over. But, that assumes that they can be won. The world is fast becoming a place of cynicism. It is our language and currency. It is almost the norm for people to pay to go to shows only to go and fold their arms. I also admit to being that way. I hope that with our material, especially our new stuff where we can help people get back to when they thought things were cool. Or maybe they will just have fun. I am not sure how well that covered all of that question but it was certainly on my heart. We want to help you unfold your dang arms.
In the vein of observing the connection between artist and fan through music, I have a question that is perhaps pseudo-psychological…I recently finished Warren Wiersbe’s “50 People Every Christian Should Know” where he observes that Great Awakening preacher Jonathan Edwards, “Would first aim for the heart and move the affections before trying to instruct the mind.” I don’t believe Edwards nor Wiersbe argue for the power of formula over the Spirit, yet a principle is observed. Whether you group heart/affections or you treat this as heart, affections and mind distinctly, there is a perceived formula for connection with people:
In observing artists connecting to/with fans through music, would you say the channel is as simply normative as something like:
Duck That is a very intricately worded question! Simply put, people are drawn to authenticity. So, if our spirit and heart are obvious and authentic; people are more willing to see and hear our words and thoughts. We have been captivated by grace and His kindness leads us to repentance. The fans for the most part are like a mob sometimes and when a fraud is spotted they quickly expel them. This taken to mind and heart; we should aim to be the best at all things that we do and do them with all of our hearts. They will see our good works and give Glory to whom it is due.
From what I understand, you have all taken more of a hands-on approach to editing and production, what is the writing and recording process like for Becoming The Archetype? Which comes first the music or the lyrics?
Duck The music certainly comes first. Sometimes the lyrics are not even all of the way complete before we are most of the way done recording the album. I think it is the setting of the studio that really lets us open up. The writing process is different for almost every song. For the most part however, one of us will come up with some riffs or a song skeleton. That person will bring it to practice or record it. We will all listen together and try whatever they envisioned and then elaborate from there. Sometimes it goes differently.
I know you have been playing at least one new riff at shows, where are you at in terms of preparing to head to the studio with new material?
Duck As of right now we have the skeletons of approx. 11 songs. A skeleton consists of a few riffs with some variation and some suggested transitions. We typically run through all of the ideas in pairs and then add one member at a time. It is a lot of fun but admittedly very exhausting.
Dudes! South African Tour in September 2010 sounds incredibly exciting. This will not be your first trip overseas but will be your first tour in that continent, what do you know about the state of metal in South Africa?
Duck As far as I know thy have a scene down there. Our message boards and sales reports tell us that they want us soon. We want them back. I really do not have much information on their scene but I know there are some pretty good bands coming out of there.
Metal can be pretty cut throat in America, have you found that fans are more or less receptive to Becoming The Archetype in places like Europe?
Duck Everyone in Europe has been amazing. I think they jump at the opportunity to come see us there because they don’t take us for granted. We are not just over there all the time.
What have been some of your favorite spots to play overseas?
Duck I love playing in Norway, Germany, Denmark, I really love them all.
Who have been your favorite mates overseas?
Duck We have so many friends over there it is so hard to think of who to name. Tobe our European tour manager, all of the guys from Sub-scene Norway. So many good memories flooding my brain right now.
Coming from local band to blazing trails with the Solid State crew and storming across the globe, how has the music scene changed over the last few years?
Duck It has changed through the sway of the internet. When we started it was a big thing but you still had to play whenever you could. Now, some of these bands are coming out of the woodwork it seems by virtue of Facebook and Myspace and other social networking sites.
How do you stay fresh in your approach to music?
Duck We stay fresh in our approach by branching out. We love to dive into other genres. We also try to lear other music and play with other people. It keeps us from getting musical cramps.
Do you remember your first show, your first tour, your first studio session?
Duck I remember our first and last everything. Our first show was a battle of the bands in which we were booed and mooned. Our first “tour” was mostly Virginia. That is a long story. And, our first real studio was with a guy named “Steve”. He was awesome and I realized then that I loved recording.
You are based out of Georgia, what were the early days for BTA like?
Duck The early days of the band consisted of collecting ourselves every Sunday at my house to practice and write. We practiced whether we needed it or not. I think that was god for our work ethic. We also played any show we could get onto, including some really awkward moments with Youth groups and New Years parties.
How has being a part of Solid State benefited what you want to accomplish as a band?
Duck Being on Solid State was what I wanted to do since I figured out what it was. That is the honest truth. It was a dream come true. They have let us do anything we wanted with the songs that we wrote and albums we have prepared. They have paid for us to record with some of the best in the business and bailed us out numerous times from the side of the road. They also give us killer distribution and promotion. What more could you want?
What were some of the highlights in 2009 for Becoming The Archetype?
Duck Playing the festival circuit is the highlight of almost every year for myself and the band collective. But, I would say that since we got to go to Europe that had to top it. That tour flat wore us out but, I would do it again in a second.
What are you looking forward to most in 2010?
Duck We look forward to this super busy summer. We are touring with some upstanding fellas. We are also heading to South Africa which has blown my mind a few times to think about.
You’ve been very straight forward in your lyrics and clear about your faith as a band. What do you do personally to keep your faith fresh, especially when on the road?
Duck Well, I read the scriptures daily and keep accountable with someone at home. I use the “Little Book of Hours” and the Lectionary to guide my studies. I also listen to podcasts and teachings from my favorite thinkers, as well as try to spend adequate time in silence.
Do you do anything corporately as a band to keep each other on point?
Duck To keep on point we like to play sports with each other and other bands. We also like to attend movies pretty regularly. Sometimes if a member is making bad decisions we lock them in the trailer with another member in the dark and they fight it out. You know the usual stuff.
As it relates to faith, who have been some of your greatest times of fellowship with other Christian bands?
Duck Some bands that have effected us are Showbread, the Overseer, Extol, Mortal Treason. There are also so many others. We have been blessed to have some really amazing tour mates over the years and sometimes even the bad stuff teaches us allot if we are in the right posture.
Is it ever a struggle to get tunnel vision and only grow as musicians? How important is it to develop as an individual, and what do you do to ensure you aren’t just defined by your music?
Duck I don’t think so. Honestly, it is easy to put your instrument down for a bit when you get home from a trip. But, your life is not something you can step out of in a realistic sense. Being an individual is what makes a band good. We each have a totally different approach to almost everything. Those differences file everything that we do down into the unit known as BTA. We each live our own lives and have interests and social circles that the others don’t fit into. I believe that is extremely healthy
Becoming The Archetype > Metal/Hardcore > Georgia > Solidstate Records
BTA’s third full length album with Solidstate, Dichotomy is available now wherever most records are sold – see BTA on Solidstate or BTA Myspace for more info and tour dates.
Becoming The Archetype is: Jason – Vocals/Bass; Count Seth – Guitar/Keys; Duck – Drums; Alex – Guitar.
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