These metal nerds may enjoy long discussions about science and philosophy over making it rain or smashing hotel rooms, but when it comes to deep, dark and cerebral metal there is none fresher than Becoming The Archetype. Clifton, BTA’s bearded skull mascot, and the boys have once again rallied together to hammer out 11 tracks of face melting metal mayhem that will leave your body bruised, your mind sweating and your appetite for something epic awakened, if not exhausted. With the release of Celestial Completion on Solidstate Records, Becoming The Archetype has once again raised the bar for authentic, brutal and invigoratingly heavy music. BTA’s signature sound weaves a beauty into the brutality accompanied by a complexity of tonal components that few bands of the dark genres are willing to attempt.
There’s picking up a guitar, there’s jamming as a band then there are the dynamics of layers within music, harmonies, subtleties and various tweaks that take something from good to epic. As a student of music and a band that has made a mark in pushing your sound, what are some of the intricacies of the writing process that the casual fan may not be aware of?
Seth Hecox – Guitar/Keys: We put a ton of thought into each song and really work to refine it. Songwriting is a bit lost in the heavy music scene and we’re focusing on that a lot lately. It’s not as easy as it seemed at first. But it helps that we have so many instruments at our disposal. And as if we didn’t have enough already, we brought in horns, violin, sitar and female operatic vocals!
When do you know if you’ve gone too far and the band has ventured into the territory of too processed, too produced, too epic or too technical?
SH: That’s a difficult one. The best defense against any error is to be aware of it and constantly judge yourself to see where you stand so you know when you’re approaching an overkill. I will also say that being extreme in almost any way is usually acceptable in small doses. The problem is when you get too extreme in one facet for an entire album. Then you really risk being one-dimensional.
You’ve had some success with instigating social trends (ie beard-core) and the scene is primed for a shift in creative expression that it can again beat to death a thousand different ways – do you think BTA will be the instigator of a new trend of Metal-nerds?
SH: Haha, I sure hope so! You know, I think a lot of our fans and general metal fans were secretly nerds already, just like we were. We figured we’d come out of the nerd closet and reveal ourselves and people are quickly identifying with that. Being the Kings of Nerd Metal is a nice title and we’ll wear the crown as kindly as we can.
With the release of Celestial Celebration, what are some of the messages or themes you hope listeners will grasp?
SH: Well you’ve already picked up on one. Some favorite band hobbies are reading, playing card-based Role Playing Games and watching Big Bang Theory and sci fi movies. Those activities made their way into the album musically and lyrically. We’re also all about having fun and not dwelling on the negative. Those themes are also evident in both the music and lyrics of Celestial Completion. Who needs more drama and worry and negativity in their lives? Isn’t life already full of enough regret and sadness and frustration? We think so. That’s why we’re giving our listeners a release from that both with the CD and our live shows.
Seagrave and Invisible Creature put a killer package together for the album, what is meaning behind the cover?
SH: Yeah, Dan really did a great job didn’t he? Basically, the painting on the cover is a picture of the overall concept of the album. Celestial Completion is about the great things that happen at the end of the world. When this world dissolves or even when your personal world crumbles, there is a moment of promise. There is a revealing of yourself that doesn’t happen otherwise. That transcendence and completion is what we’re longing for and it may look terrible in the physical world, but it can be beautiful spiritually and mentally and emotionally.
You all are still working a variety of jobs while continuing to push forward with the music, have you learned any new secrets to monetizing the music or are you still in the developmental stages of becoming profitable musicians?
SH: We have secrets but you’ll never get them from us! Never! If every band knew how to make literally dozens of dollars like we do, everybody would be scrambling to be in a band, wouldn’t they? And that just wouldn’t do. No, not at all.
Some of the treats that are accompanying this album include an RPG based music video, metal-ska cameo by Five Iron Frenzy, Nerds of Metal promos, and a whole host of tricks–how have you been able to keep a fresh approach to faith and music?
SH: Faith is always relevant. Because it’s bigger than us, it never grows dull to those that jump in and submerge themselves. Most things in this world grow stale rather quickly because they’re so small! So meaningless, really. Yet we love to worship them. Amazing, isn’t it? But spirituality and faith are larger and more eternal than we can understand and for that reason, they continue to be vibrant in your life after countless experiences and discussions. And music is a powerful doorway to spiritual truths. I think about those things and marvel that I get to participate!
“How Great Thou Art” was an inspiration to many who believe the worship songs in the heavenly realms are more BTA than Gaither, how seriously are you considering a hardcore/metal worship album?
SH: Haha, we’ve considered it quite a lot, actually. But it’s just something that has to happen naturally. If we force it, it’s gonna come out all wrong. We’d love to do an EP of hymns, but we only wanna do it if it’s gonna be hi quality juju, ya know?
Have any other bands mentioned they would collaborate with you on this effort?
SH: Not yet, but I bet we’d find some willing partners. Suggestions?
You mention this last trip to South Africa as having left a particular impression on you as a band, what were some of the most meaningful experiences you had while on tour there?
SH: Well, standing on African soil is pretty powerful in itself. Aside from that, the tour was handled in such a way that we were able to join in with a community of ministry that already existed there. It’s something special to be able to join in and work side by side with others that have the same goal, especially when they’re on the other side of the globe.
Jason seems to have been blessed with the natural metal voice, has the voice developed over the years of was it truly a gift that just bellowed from day 1 at the mic?
SH: Reports at the hospital indicate that Jason was born fully bearded and screaming like a banshee. It’s certainly a marvel of modern birthology, to be sure.
There is a lot up in the air right now as far as the NFL negotiations go between players and owners, what is the BTA and Solidstate Records relationship like right now – have you recently renewed your contract with them or is that coming up soon?
SH: We don’t anticipate a lockout for the 2011-2012 season of BTA. The player’s union has found some common ground with the front office of T&N and a long-lasting and fruitful relationship is anticipated. Unless they extend the season to 18 games…
Becoming The Archetype is (Metal – Georgia): Seth – guitar, keys; Duck – drums; Jason – bass, lead vocals; Alex – guitar, vocals. Latest full length release Celestial Completion on Solidstate Records dropped March 2011. Keep up to date with band at the BTA Website (www.celestialcompletion.com)
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