Influenced mostly by the hate, poverty, spite, corruption, and indifference of society, Avoid Humanity, as they said, is a representation of 5 introverts that want to play their music to the masses. Ironic, isn’t it? We talked to them about two of their most unconventional live performances and many more in a challenging interview.
CVLT: Hi there! When did you first start to ‘avoid humanity’? Tell us a bit about your project!
Andrei: I’ve always avoided humanity before covid made it cool. This project was born from Deadeye Dick and Spinecrusher.
Tomi: It all started in the winter of 2017 because after we released Deadeye Dick’s second album, “Crestfallen”, we decided to move in a different direction. When Dorin, Deadeye Dick’s drummer, passed away in 2016, we were all in various states of grief, sadness, denial, and soul searching. So, from my perspective, the first chapter of Avoid Humanity was dealing with the loss of a dear friend, but that changed gradually with the passing of time, especially when the rhythm and bass section from Spinecrusher joined the band.
With that said, I think the watershed moment for Avoid Humanity was when we released the video for “Worldeaters” back in 2019. The reaction to it was awesome, and it got featured on Metal Injection. The song is kinda the blueprint for our first album, “Apex of Impurity”. And then COVID hit…..
Radu: For my part, I was bored one weekend and just joined a rehearsal after hearing they are looking for a bassist. Liked the music, they liked me and here we are.
What is the hardest step a band your kind has to overcome when starting to play? Can one think of success when we refer to such a niche? Or do you get used to the idea that it is just a hobby?
Andrei: Starting to play is the hardest thing especially when starting a band from scratch. Success was never a goal, it’s more of a hobby than anything else, whatever comes with it is just a bonus.
Tomi: I think the hardest step at the beginning is to find the right people and to be able to write good songs.
In terms of success with a metal band, you have many factors at play, such as the quality of your music, the ability to keep people engaged, financial management skills, establishing and maintaining professional relationships, and the list can go on forever.
It is true that the internet has made it easier for bands to break out on their own, but the attention span of music fans has decreased dramatically. I mean back when I was a teenager in the early 2000s, I used to buy a CD every 3-6 months, and I would study it for weeks. With streaming, I think it’s harder to establish that deep connection with an artist from listening to their album for weeks on end.
Radu: The hardest part is reaching enough people, starting to actually play is the easy part, everything is new and amazing and exciting, and hanging out with awesome people.
Exactly how hard is it for an extreme metal band to get out of the boundaries? How well-received was your live session at the ‘Museum of Recent Art’?
Andrei: Most likely our friends said “look at these guys, playing this non-related music in a Museum” and some of their friends said “Cool”. It was well-received as far as our band’s reach goes. Shout out to Bloody News and Beheading the Traitor for helping out.
Tomi: It’s a complicated answer because we tend to perceive bands that blend multiple genres as experimental like they came from a lab or something. Nowadays, metal bands are walking on eggshells with the fear of irking their fanbase. Fortunately, for underground bands, it’s a lot easier, because nobody cares…
I think we got some good reactions to our show at the Museum of Recent Art, at least that was my impression from the 3 messages I got. It was a novel experience for us, and it felt great to change the scenery a bit.
Radu: It was genuinely well-received, people like harsh contrast, and few things are as contrasting as an extreme metal band in a polite environment like a museum.
You recently released a new awesome live concert, this time at Bran Castle. How was it there? Have you encountered any unusual happenings?
Andrei: I personally enjoyed walking up and down the slope to the castle endlessly carrying heavy equipment while wearing a mask. What a time to be alive! By the time we were done with the whole thing we were so tired Dracula probably passed on the opportunity to bleed us dry because there was no more life inside of us.
Tomi: It was awesome to play at, probably, the most (in)famous castle in Romania. I’m still pinching myself to be sure if it’s real. Everything fell into place for this video. I mean back in January I didn’t expect to play at Bran Castle and to be featured on Audiotree!
One thing was unusual though. In a dramatic turn of events, Radu’s bass nut broke midway through our second song. We had to mend it gopnik style, so he played a 3 string bass, just like the dude in Manowar. Maybe Dracula didn’t appreciate our music that much, so he decided to pull one last trick.
Radu: I can’t remember much of the playing itself, but for the rest of my life I will remember carrying all our gear up that steep slope. I also busted my only bass two songs in, shoutout to Oase for saving my ass and the show.
What would Dracula prefer: an Avoid Humanity concert or the thousands of people that visit his castle?
Andrei: If the old dude was around I think he would prefer the modern distractions provided by our times instead of…you know…blood bags.
Tomi: Dracula needs the blood of humans, so he can’t Avoid them!
Radu: Definitely us, misanthropy runs deep in all of us, we could have bloody marys and talk shit.
What is the difference for you as artists, between such a unique location and a club concert?
Andrei: The rush and the pressure are different. They are still there but different from the ones where an audience would be present. I had the same vibe as any other live show.
Tomi: As an artist, you feed off the crowd’s energy, which in COVID you can’t do. A unique location can supplant the energy of a crowd you’re in sync with because you let your imagination run wild. Nonetheless, a good club show, with a great crowd, is always going to feel like home for us.
Radu: The lack of people in front of you makes keeping up the energy a bit weird, but that’s offset by the amazing place. Also on an actual stage, I almost broke a leg.
I’m going to make music that pisses off your grandma without the need for a job to pay for my dog’s food.
I remember Satyricon once played at a fashion show, somewhere in Norway, with models walking on stage. For many of the band lovers, the concert was a bit uncalled for. How would you see such a situation/opportunity?
Andrei: Not sure how many people that go to fashion shows listen to metal. If we were to play in front of people unrelated to metal it would be beside the point. It’s ok for a one-time crazy gig but I bet Romanians outside the scene would make the cross sign if he saw us play.
Tomi: I don’t think it would work for us, because fashion shows tend to be a vapid procession of aliens, and the industry doesn’t hold a great human rights record. But I wouldn’t say no to Vans Warped tour or Impericon Festival.
Radu: We already played in a museum and a medieval fortress, playing a fashion show or something similar would just be a test of how we handle boos and how good we are at dodging beer bottles.
Vlad: Not sure about myself but Radu would fit in the scene perfectly. You can obviously see at Bran Castle that he’s the most fashionable of us.
When and where does metal music suit the best?
Tomi: In season 5 of Suits or wherever and whenever there’s an oppressed part of society. Metal is so apt at calling out the BS in societies all over the world, opening a lot of minds along the way. I think the best example is how rock/metal stood against the totalitarian regimes of the Communist bloc.
Andrei: All the time if you’re not a pussy.
Radu: Weddings, funerals, the opening of a new mall, old folks home.
Vlad: On the toilet after a night of heavy drinking and chipotle.
Considering that we as a nation can’t get rid of our typical habits and ignorance, what is a good way to progress in the underground metal scene?
Andrei: RAM THROUGH IT.
Tomi: I’ve been a plant of the underground metal scene for years, so I don’t think I should be offering any advice. All jokes aside, the underground metal scene in the west is more akin to the actual entertainment industry, so bands have a firm and clear infrastructure for progress. Unfortunately, it’s not the same in Romania, so bands tend to hit a brick wall at one point and call it a day.
Radu: Just enjoy it, you don’t even have to be good at it, channel that well enough and people will enjoy it with you.
Explain to me this: it is known/assumed that metalheads are against religion, but everywhere you look at the local scene, there are only ‘churches’?
Andrei: Everybody has a place and all are welcome, basically. We as people can’t really function that well in big societies so I guess churches are ok to some degree. If the churches are not worthy they will burn themselves.
Tomi: I would say every musical genre has this, because of humanity’s tendency to form groups. The sad part is that the metal scene is less appealing to youngsters than it was 30 years ago because the genre’s gatekeepers tend to develop a hypersensitive immune reaction to newcomers. I mean look at classic examples of “metal nerds” vs “scene kids” or “old school metal fans” vs “deathcore kids”. If you scare off new fans, your favorite genre will die.
Radu: In a group-out group, preference is a bitch. In a genre as internally diverse as metal, there’s bound to be division.
If Avoid Humanity becomes a mega success, what would you say to your boss when you’ll resign from your positions? (if you’re not bosses yourselves now)
Tomi: Hey, boss man, I lied when you asked me where I’ll see myself in 5 years!
Andrei: I’m going to make music that pisses off your grandma without the need for a job to pay for my dog’s food.
Radu: I would try and make it work with the band and the job.
Vlad: I’d probably work remotely and send emails between songs. I love music but financial stability is just lovely!
If you have to convince someone to listen to metal, and specifically, Avoid Humanity for the first time, what would you say to him/her?
Tomi: You feel confused? You don’t know if chemtrails are real? Have you been staying up all night on 4chan? Come and listen to the gospel of Avoid Humanity and be rid of that crap! Ok, that sounded a bit like a “Join our Cult” advert.
Andrei: Have you heard of our lord and savior Apex Of Impurity? Let me show you!
Radu: Do you want to hear a cat, a bear and some nuns go through a wood chipper?
Vlad: WHAT? You haven’t listened to MY band? Sheesh, you’re a really bad friend and it’s very insulting to me as an artist!
Somehow it is believed that our society is going the way is going due to the low level of culture of the masses. Do you think there would be any difference if this majority were made up of metalheads?
Andrei: No, we need diversity especially when it comes to music tastes. Metalheads are ok, it’s just that there’s not enough of them that listen to this part of the underground.
Radu: That would be a no, you need diversity on a societal level. We can argue about how much diversity, sure, but a rigid metalhead monoculture would devolve into infighting and nihilistic self-sufficiency in about 3 hours.
Tomi: I do think metalheads tend to go against the flow, but as long as you are able to think for yourself and call out the BS, you should be fine.
Guilty pleasure time. What would you say are some of your current most guilty pleasures? All is fair game- food, books, video games, or even cock n’ ball torture, whatever floats your boat. Let us have it.
Andrei: I just want to watch everything burn but that’s illegal therefore DAYDREAMING is my guilty pleasure.
Tomi: Hmmm… Andrei’s answer scares me……… ‘WAP’ by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion is just a freakin’ amazing song. Also, ‘Relación’ (Remix) by Rosalía and J Blavin is a banger. Just don’t mention it to my boyz in Avoid.
Vlad: I recently fell in love with ’90 days to wed’, on TLC. The show brings much joy. Search for Big Ed to see what I’m talking about.
Radu: Lots of high-tempo electronic music and bright colored clothes. It also annoys the rest of the band and that’s a BIG plus.
Do you have any crazy schemes or goals shortly? More live concerts or a new album?
Andrei: We have a lot of crazy schemes on the way, but if I told you I would have to kill you and all the other bands that will copy them.
Tomi: We do have a few Ponzi schemes lined up. Stay tuned for some off-the-books financial advice from Sali Berisha.
Radu: We’re always scheming…
Vlad: only get rich quick schemes and MLMs. Which reminds me, how would you like to be your own boss and earn a lot of money? If you do, I have a great opportunity to talk to you about …
All photos: (c) Adrian Chiliban [Mapping Emotions]
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