• JP

The Early Days of AATXE (PART 1 - demos and groundwork)

Better late than never! Just looking at the date stamp on the previous blog post detailing the origins of our band, and more specifically, our name, I realized it has been well over a year since it was published. In an effort to keep our website, blog and social media accounts more active, I will try to follow up a little sooner. Maybe six months?

If I can be serious for a minute (let's see who gets that reference), this year has been absolutely terrible in many aspects, especially for musicians and music fans. All tree of us (not a typo), fall in to both categories, so the lack of opportunities to both perform and consume live music has been a bit of a bummer to say the least. There were a few bright spots thanks mostly to GADzine, and our friends Salina and Matt over at DIY Live Huntsville for allowing us to come out of our cave (inside joke) and perform a couple of times during this shit show of a year. We also shared the stage with some great bands. EMBR, Kamikaze Zombie, The Frankenfucks and COVID just to name a few. We released, what we believe is our best collective work to date, Piros back in February. We made some new fans and friends online, many of them through the absolutely killer online radio station GimmeMetal. So while there was an overwhelming amount of bad shit in 2020, I can't say that it was 100% bad for us.

With that in mind, let's take a break from current events and focus on the journey of three wiseass musicians, from the concrete and metal cave in the depths of Huntsville, AL. Let's go all the way back to three years ago. Ok, it wasn't really that long ago, but work with me here.

Alright, so we pick up in the spring of 2017, late March to be specific. After deciding on the name, the three of us broke out the metaphorical chisels to start chipping away at what would eventually become our first album. There were a few riffs and skeletons in the atmosphere, and I had been daydreaming about how to re-purpose most of these ideas into a new and different format, as every songwriter (from half-ass to exceptional) has a habit of doing. But first thing's first, I needed to invest in some gear! At this point I was no longer playing guitar in my previous band, and wanted to get a somewhat respectable set-up ready for writing, recording, live shows, etc.

I found a Red w/gold hardware version of my favorite, and most dependable guitar, the Dean V, and in an effort to fully embrace the Red aesthetic of the AATXE, I also found a somewhat beat up Marshall MG, solid state head.

With some new/used gear added to the mix, I started writing what would become the first AATXE song "Human Filth Menagerie". I wanted to write something simple, heavy and with more of a Black Flag type of energy. One of the first things we all agreed on before starting this project is that we will never limit our potential for any reason. So if there's some asshole complaining that this song is too punk for a metal band to play, then they are really just validating our decision. Elitism in music is one of the lamest trends of the past century, and nothing more than a punchline in the AATXE practice space. We listen to as much Bad Brains as we do Gorguts, and to be honest, we never claimed allegiance to anything.

Fast forward a week or two and the first AATXE tune had grown to include a nice drum fill/solo and a riff that's somewhere between 60's surf rock and old school black metal. The best part about this period of our existence, is the fact that we never knew what would come of our practice sessions. Some days we would write damn near an entire song or two, and other days we would sit around and bullshit, hammer a few riffs and call it a day. We spent the majority of 2017 and early 2018 writing, recording and really figuring out just exactly who we are as a band. In the next few months we solidified a collections of songs that would later become our debut album.

With a modest setup and limited recording knowledge, we set out to record demos, which would prove to be as DIY as possible. I found a few pieces of inexpensive home recording equipment, and decided to see exactly what a little bit of research and a lot of piss and vinegar could accomplish when it came to capturing this new and chaotic mix of Metal, Hardcore, Punk, Disco, Polka, and whatever the fuck else you would classify us as. Equipped with a less than perfect Behringer interface, a very underrated Zoom pedal, an old laptop and a handful of mics, myself, Eric and Jerry set out to turn a hypothetical vision into a reality.

Next up, we will dive in to the recording of Cardinal, and why we ditched the cargo shorts and linguine logo metal shirts and started dressing more like Frank, Dean and Sammy.

- JP

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