Andy Atkins of A Plea For Purging
With so many bands already in the scene and hundreds being added daily it becomes increasingly difficult for fans to keep track of all the changes to the hardcore landscape and for bands to distinguish themselves. A Plea For Purging has consistently found a way to keep their sound as fresh and sincere as their personalities. As though the 2009 release “Malevolence” wasn’t epic enough, Plea accompanied their hit single with perhaps the video that tops all videos via “Make Me Metal” which includes a hilariously adept parody of the carousel of trends within the hardcore scene. Fans who are fortunate enough to have been enraptured by A Plea for Purging’s lightning fast brutality have also discovered a refreshing layer of sincerity beneath the humorous surface of the member’s laid back natures. With the anticipation growing for their latest release The Marriage of Heaven and Hell on Facedown Records (7/6/10), we were able to steal a few minutes with lead singer Andy Atkins for a behind the mic session to discuss life and music.
A Plea For Purging as a name is poetic, dark and resonantly spiritual as it rolls off the tongue, what is the story behind your name?
Andy Atkins (vocals): Well, I wasn’t in the band originally so the name was around before I was. Its basically a snazzy way to say a prayer for cleansing. Funny thing is, the guys didn’t know there was a band already called A Prayer for Cleansing. I remember our 1st conversation about it when I joined the band. They had already been a band long enough to not deal with a name change though.
This year you all are working with “Scream The Prayer Tour” – for those who aren’t familiar with STP what is this and how did you get involved?
AA: Scream the Prayer is a 10 band, festival style tour that hits venues, much like Thrash and Burn or Summer Slaughter. The only difference is the line up is made of mainly “Christian bands.” We played the tour last year. It was a good time and we made a lot of friends so we decided we’d jam on it again this year.
Your Wikipedia says you have been a band since 2005, what has 5 years in the game taught you about yourselves, music and life?
AA: Man, that is a huge question. My answer could take up 10 times the bandwidth this website has, haha. I’ll keep it short. You can really trust no one, only yourself and God. And sometimes its hard to trust yourself. You wanna trust your friends but they will let you down too. Wash the naivety from your eyes. The music biz is hard and life is harder. You have to take the bitter with the sweet and keep your head up. And no matter what you are doing, at some point, the grass is gonna look greener on the other side. I always hated that saying but I truly understand it now.
Is APFP music that is fun, brutal and just happens to be Christian too or do you intend for your music to be a vehicle for something specific?
AA: These days the term Christian is thrown around real loosely in our music scene. I have realized I don’t really know what the term “Christian band” means. Here’s what I can tell you about the five of us. Personally we are followers of Christ. That will make itself evident in our music. We are just trying to be honest with ourselves and our listeners in our music. Honesty for us is whats most important.
The “Make Me Metal” video for your song “Malevolence” and your t-shirt (notably the Air Jordan and B.A. Barakus) designs are some of the funniest things currently in metal, what sort of feedback have received to your combination of humor, brutality and conviction?
AA: I think most people get it. We aren’t trying to be something we’re not. We’re just trying to jam and have a good time. We like to laugh a lot so we make humor a big part of our band. I mean look at us, we are a funny looking group of guys. I think if anything, we’ve only received negative feedback from the Christian side of the fence. We’ve played some festivals where some of the officials or just older show goers have had a problem with some of our merch. I guess they just don’t get it.
This will be your third full length release with the Facedown Records family, with the metal landscape changing almost daily, how do you stay on top and expand your sound without burning out?
AA: If you haven’t caught my carefree vibe yet then I’ll try to lay it on thick here. We seriously want to write jams that we like and that we think will be fun to play. Yeah, you want the kids to like it too but that doesn’t mean follow every music trend out these days. We try to grow with every record. I think our song writing has improved over the last three records. We are proud of this new record. I think its the record we’ve been trying to make for years.
Last year APFP covered T.I.’s song “Live Your Life,” did you get any feedback from T.I.’s camp? When is the T.I. and A Plea For Purging Tour set to launch?
AA: HAHAH no way man! I wish. We are a small blimp in the music industry. I would be highly surprised if anyone in relation to T.I had heard of the cover.
You’ve mentioned that with “Depravity” you were more honest with your lyrics and are expanding on that with your new album, what do you feel you were holding back that you have decided to communicate with greater clarity this time around?
AA: This time around we are talking about a lot heavier of a subject. The last record was really introspective, dealing with personal trials. This record is focused on the things we see around us. It has its introspective moments. We always have that mindset of – when you point at someone, you got four fingers pointed back at yourself.
With this upcoming release, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” you continue your signature rapid fire brutality while early offerings such as “Eternal Female” showcase electronic elements and other variations to your sound. Is there a base theme behind the imagery, sounds and lyrics of this album?
AA: Musically this record is faster at times, heavier at times, and we have added some new tasty treats we haven’t really ever touched in previous releases, such as clean singing and a wider scale of production. Lyrically the record is a calling out of wolves in sheep’s clothing so the art work with the record really show the listener a good depiction of what we are going for lyrically.
There seem to be a lot of bands of bands that are self producing, whether to save money or keep creative control, how valuable has it been to the maturation of the band’s sound to work with good producers?
AA: I guess its all in opinion. The five of us are pretty headstrong and know what we want. We demo everything out in pre-production before we ever go into a studio with a producer. This allows us to really shape the songs into what we want them to be. The only producer we have worked with is Joey Sturgis. He just would throw ideas in here and there and we could take it or leave it. Its definitely a plus to have a 6th opinion and someone that has fresh ears listening to your tunes but I wouldn’t say its a must.
A Plea For Purging recently was picked up by El Shaddai Records to distribute in Australia, what has been your favorite tour stop outside of the USA and how has APFP been received overseas?
AA: Well, we haven’t been to Australia yet. I hope that works out soon. Out of the 14 other countries that PLEA has been to outside of the U.S. I’d say Germany is one of my favorites to play. All of our Germany shows were pretty fun. Holland totally rules too. Surprisingly we did pretty well in Europe on our first tour. We didn’t know how it’d go but kids were singing along and wearing our shirts! It was awesome. Holland had some killer stage dives too! haha.
A Plea For Purging’s latest album “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” on Facedown Records available in stores and online July 6th, 2010. Singles “Eternal Female” and “Shiver” available now through the APFP Myspace and iTunes.
A Plea For Purging (Metal/Hardcore) from Nashville, Tennesse is: Andy Atkins – Vocals; Blake Martin – Guitar; Tyler Wilson – Guitar; John Wand – Bass; Aaron Eckermann – Drums.
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