Interview with Greg Burges / guitarist of Allegaeon.
Allegaeon is young american band connecting undaunting technique and melodies with no strings attached. They have alot of classical influences, virtuoso soloing and colorful tech death metal. I’ve been listening alot to their last year’s debut “Fragments of Form and Function” and it’s hard to let go. There’s no single second of boredom – those are very ambitious sounds who may interest simply everybody. Without further hesitation, I invite You to lecture…
You’re not playing strictly technical death metal. Why is that?
Well our influences don’t consist of strictly tech death bands would be my best answer. We’re really diverse in what we listen to, we love being proficient on our instruments but the songs always has to come first.
Describe the feelings that compares to Your music.
I’m not really sure the translation did your question justice but I’ll try my best. I think we try to span the gamut of emotional expression in our composition. There are some parts that we feel are heavy/evil parts, that might lend more to an aggressive emotion, there are parts that I feel have truly a freeing feeling like in Accelerated Evolution, where the listener feels exhilarated. And then we have beautiful parts as in Vals No. 666.
How do You get into Metal Blade Records?
Luck and perseverance.
What’s Your favourite technical death metal album?
This question will vary from member to member for sure, I love Arsis’s We Are The Nightmare, I know probably Necrophagist’s Epitaph would be on someones list, some Obscura, and definitely The Faceless’s Planetary Duality.
What’s Your relations with metal scene? Do You know and well known bands?
Yeah we’ve hung out with a few. I wouldn’t say we’re best friends with any of them, but we try to let bands that are on tour have a place to sleep and shower when they came through. My favorite band that I hung out with would have to be Scar Symmetry, those guys crack me up, always a great time, and their new record is amazing too.
I found some neoclassical influences and even themes In Your music. What do You say about that?
I went to a conservatory for a classical guitar performance degree, I love classical music! It’s a passion of mine, to blend the two styles frequently. Vals was a blatant classical piece, but there are instances where I was able to sneak some classical writing in under the radar. In the Cleansing there is a waltz smack in the middle of it, and in Biomech the chorus, which Vals is based on harmonically, is full of some really awesome voice leading that was done in a classical frame of mind.
„Accelerated Evolution” is simply masterpiece. Tell me the genesis of creating this amazing track.
Accelerated was the very first piece I wrote when I joined Allegaeon. It was in response to a piece Ryan wrote called Certain Death that we no longer play. It was a performance piece that would act as a bookend, 2 long epics that would open and conclude our sets, both that the crowd loved, and were fun to play. The influences on that track range from Slayer to Dream Theater to Symphony X. It was really effortless in writing, I had a book full of riffs, and then just plucked them out and arranged them into what you hear. We were going through some drummer changes at the time, and this was the first piece the band played that had blast beats in it.
Maybe it’s crazy question but what do You think about solos on „Fragments Of Form And Function”? For me, every one of them, tells unique story.
I can’t answer for Ryan, but my solos are written to really blend melody and shred playing. Marty Friedman is my biggest influence in solo writing, and the way he blends the two elements have long been a point of study for me. I can truly say the only solo that I can’t stand of mine on the record is the first solo in From Seed To Throne. It was such a short section that I couldn’t develop anything, so I just shredded. It says nothing to me, I guess thats why I hate it (laughs).
What’s the best You like and worst You hate about „Fragments Of Form And Function”?
The best thing I like about the record is probably how well it’s been received and how in retrospect our subject matter lyric wise really seemed to be unique and connect with people. I never really thought that people would react the way they have from a lyrical standpoint. These were topics that fascinated us, and they struck a chord with a lot of people. I’m not really a negative person, so I can’t come up with a strong “I hate this” about the record. I guess always in hind sight we feel we could have made the record sound a little bit more natural. Dave Otero our producer is awesome, so this is not a slight against him, however we have said that we aren’t 100% happy with drum, and guitar tones, as well as bass levels. However thats all hindsight, easy for us too look back and judge.
Do You know any polish metal bands (tell the truth hehe)?
Behemoth!! We love that band! We tried hard to help with advertisement for Nergal’s bone marrow search. We’re definitely not a house hold name at this point in our career, so I’m not sure our efforts went noticed by many, but we certainly tried to spread the word through channels available to us. And we’re incredibly stoked that he’s recovered and back kickin ass!
Your fave music albums of all time (not necessary metal)?
Yes’s Drama is one of my favorite albums ever, the arrangements of the instruments blow my mind! I also have this record by Murray Perahia, playing Bach keyboard concertos with the orchestra of St. Martin of the fields, I listen to that a lot. In truth there are so many among all of us. I know Ezra would prob say the new Lady Gaga record (laughs) we all love her, she’s one of the most talented pop artists that have come out of the states in a long time, and she loves metal, so she definitely gaters some respect.
What’s the best gig You’ve ever seen?
OH man thats tough. I think when I saw Overkill that show blew my mind, also Devin Townsend’s show is so entertaining, he’s one of the best front men in history! The L.A. Guitar Quartet was a highlight for me, as well as seeing Megadeth and Slayer play together, all of Rust In Piece and all of Season’s in the Abyss was surreal.
Tell me 3 other bands which Allegaeon would like to share a stage?
Wow another tough one. How about The Black Dahlia Murder, Megadeth, and Behemoth.
If Allegaeon would record a cover – what it would be?
We’ve discussed a few, but I’m not sure we’ll ever do one. We’ve arranged Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, I’ve wanted to play Carcass for a long time, Ezra has said Deicide which would rule. I know Ryan just arranged The Smashing Pumpkins song Zero for us too. Who knows what we’ll do. The only song we’ve ever played live has been the Office theme song from T.V. (laughs).
Some difficulties during recording “Fragments…”?
Not really, I guess the hardest part was when Ezra wrecked his truck in the snow one night on the way to track vocals. That sucked.
Is it hard to play concerts in USA? I mean – the interest of people and finances.
It’s not hard to play concerts, but it is hard to make money. With the Economy being the way it is, it’s very hard for us to be a profitable entity. Gas prices are kind of retarded so getting to each gig can be a feat. The people have been awesome though. Like all business’s it takes money to make it. It’ll just be awhile before we can be a self sufficient business entity.
At the end – what’s Your favourite American band and why?
This is a really hard one, Ryan would probably say Nevermore, I would say Megadeth, Ezra might say Black Dahlia, Corey might say Mastodon. It’s really an impossible question to answer.