Just before ALLEGAEON released their new record Elements of the Infinite, vocalist Ezra Haynes was kind enough to speak with me by phone on my dinner break at work. This was our second time chatting, and we covered a whole bunch of things, from the record, to his unrequited love for LANA DEL RAY, to his serial killer cat bent on World Domination, MEGATRON. So come on and join us in the madness, won’t you?
Amps: First things first:”Genocide for Praise – Vals for the Vitruvian Man” is 12 minutes of AWESOMENESS, man!
Ezra: That’s my favorite ALLEGAEON song of all time! Since all of the band members are a cohesive unit now I don’t think we’ve ever been more stoked about a record than we are right now. We recorded it with Dave Otero and that was a great experience again. This one is definitely gonna be our flagship record.
Amps: A lot of people have said over the years that ALLEGAEON is one of the best bands that not a lot of people know about. I think that’s about to change, my friend.
Ezra: I hope so, man. I feel like the last four years we’ve always been kind of under the radar, and people are finally starting to take notice.
Amps: Tell me about the writing and recording sessions.
Ezra: Everything was pretty much the same with Greg (Burgess, guitar) or whoever writing tunes at home, then recording them and then e-mailing over an mp3, and I’ll get ’em and I’ll start writing lyrics to it. And we pretty much get together in the studio and put it all together. Whereas before, everybody wrote their songs and I just put lyrics to them, and nobody had any idea what it was gonna sound like until we recorded in San Diego. The e-mail thing still happens but this has been totally different because we had a pretty good idea of what things were gonna sound like more so than on previous records. It was just a super-comfortable vibe compared to past records. We knew it was just gonna be one long joke (laughs).
Amps: Correct me if I’m wrong but it sounds like there’s a revitalization in the sound. How much of a factor was the new blood in that?
Ezra: I think it’s a huge factor. We’d been without a drummer for years and then we picked up Brandon Park on that last tour which definitely made things more cohesive. Michael Stancel (guitar) came in a little late so he was only able to get about two songs in there on this record, one of which was “Genocide”. It’s nice to have a drummer who really kicks ass. And it’s nice to have fresh minds. Michael is only 19, turning 20, so he brings a modern age vibe to us, where Greg is definitely the thrash guy. I think it’s refreshing having members that actually give a shit.
Ezra: We typically do about two years between records, so we’re going out in August with CHIMAIRA, and then from there we’re out with ARSIS and EXMORTUS. After that is a full Canadian tour and then we just got word that we’re going down to South America and hopefully Europe. We’ll see how it all goes. In this business everything is literally subject to change at a moment’s notice.
Amps: The intangibles on this album, the interplay between Greg and Mike, and overall pep in your step just seem to make this record go. It really feels like something is different in the air over at ALLEGAEON HQ.
Ezra: I completely agree with that. In my opinion this is a slightly more aggressive and up-paced album. And then we had the opportunity to finally get some string and brass instruments in there, something we’ve always wanted to do, and that orchestration fills up a lot of frequencies, and it’s very pleasing to the ear. The album feels like one good story to me.
Amps: OK. Now I HAVE to get into this. You guys have to be some of the funniest fuckers I’ve ever seen on social media, especially late at night. What is up with you crazy people?
Ezra: (Laughs) the only thing that should be taken serious with us is music. Other than that everything is just a joke. Whether we’re on tour, or not even around each other we’re all a bunch of idiots who like to poke fun. Sense of humor goes a long way, and late at night, I’m a night guy, is when I get clever I guess!
Amps: Which brings me to my second part…what is up with your cat, MEGATRON??
Ezra: Dude, that cat is gonna become more famous than any of us put together! He falls off of things and I’m like, “You’re a cat. You’re supposed to have great balance!” It’s getting ridiculous. I had the guys from WRETCHED staying at my house, and here my cat is bringing dead bunny after bunny, mouse after mouse. It’s a warzone, he’s a serial killer and it’s getting annoying! He is just so bad at being a cat. He’s very good at talking to people, though.
Amps: I feel like I know him! And you’re the ONLY one who makes cat pics cool. Actually, it’s MEGATRON. He’s just too cool. And with a name like that he’s destined for World Domination.
Ezra: (Laughing) oh cool, I’m the exception! I love my cat so much that when I’m bored I post pics of him or something about him.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this interview, MEGATRON has been increasingly stalking and killing many bunnies and mice near Ezra’s house, with no signs of stopping any time soon.)
Amps: I almost forgot to ask…you went to go see your girl LANA DEL RAY recently. How was that?
Ezra: Oh man, I had a blast! What we did is Miles our merch guy, Michael, and myself went to Red Rocks, and what happened was he had left me this crazy voicemail freaking out like a little fangirl because he’s the one that introduced me to her music. We pregamed with I don’t know how many people and it was the coolest experience in the world, mainly because we were the only guys there! Surrounded by babes in flower crowns, it was a shit show and we had a great time!
Ezra: That would be the best day of my life. Even if we had to get divorced one minute after, just to have that under my belt would be a game-changer, right there (both of us laughing).
Amps: Who is your dream tour?
Ezra: If I could go out with anybody…that’s a really great question. I wanna go back out with WRETCHED. Those dudes are the funnest guys in the world! It’s great to have five guys come over your house for three days and the cat is literally making more of a mess than they are. REVOCATION would be a great tour, or maybe BEHEMOTH. They put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, so I’d love that.
Amps: What do you wish to say to all your adoring ALLEGAEON fans?
Ezra: If you’re really digging what we’re doing, the best you can do is just pick up the album. Ultimately at the end of the day it DOES matter. The numbers are gonna be what keep us on the road and keep us functioning. I have a lot of people ask me, “Hey do you get the money if I buy from Metal Blade?” We don’t even care about that. If the people in charge see numbers, they’ll keep us on the road. And we appreciate all of you.
The best thing about ALLEGAEON is that they don’t take themselves seriously, except when it’s time to plug in and play. Then they’re all business. But in getting to know Ezra and the rest of the guys, they are the most down to earth people you will ever meet. Make sure you catch them live, and in the name of the Gods, buy Elements of the Infinite, willya??
LIVE PHOTO: BRIAN KNOP PHOTOGRAPHY