What is an AATXE?
Updated: Aug 12, 2019
I figured that a good topic for our first official blog post might be explaining exactly what the hell our name means, how it is pronounced, why it was chosen, etc. Over the past couple of years, I can't tell you how many different pronunciations we've heard. From "Axe" to "Addicts" to "A-A-T-X-E" as if it were an acronym. My absolute favorite was from our friends over at Gad!Cast, when they said something along the lines of "Their name looks like a stock symbol." All of this is understandable, and comes with the territory when you choose such an obscure band name. Believe me, none of us get the slightest bit annoyed with the mispronunciations, and it has become one of our favorite topics of conversation when shooting the shit before practices, recording sessions, shows, etc.
It all started in late 2016/early 2017. At the time the three of us were all in another band together, which at that point was hanging on by a thread, and we all knew it was only a matter of time before it ended. Eventually, after daydreaming and contemplating what could be next, I began searching for not only a band name, but a concept, an identity and something that we could truly call our own.
When it came to choosing a name, I wanted to avoid the typical "metal" band names and illegible spaghetti logos that are all so common in extreme music lately (not that there's anything wrong with that, unless you're trying to read a show flyer). I also didn't feel the need to pigeonhole us into any genre in particular, and wanted to explore what could happen when musicians embrace every musical influence, rather than curtailing them to fit a specific sound. I come from more of a thrash metal and hardcore influenced background, LMJ comes from the world of punk rock and E-Gor is a well respected veteran of the black metal and death metal scenes in our area. What would happen if we, for lack of a better term, threw all of these influences and pedigrees in a Vitamix and just see what happens? I know I'm rambling a bit, but trust me, it will all make sense soon!
Alright, so back to the name. Growing up, I always heard my Grandfather talk about his Basque ancestry, but never knew much more than the names were really hard to pronounce, and there was some kind of conflict between the Basques and the Spaniards. This all came back to me when I started trying to come up with a name for the currently unnamed and nonexistent project. Having lost my Grandfather a year earlier, I thought that this might be a perfect opportunity to not only pay tribute to him, but to find out more about a part of my heritage that had previously only been glossed over. I started to research Basque culture, and eventually stumbled upon the incredibly fascinating world of Basque mythology and folklore. I figured, "Hey, I've always loved Greek and Roman mythology, so this is something I can definitely get into".
Fast forward past tales of the "Basque Bigfoot" and a demonic goat (which would have been perfect if this were a pure black metal project), I found the tale of AATXE (pronounced AHH-CHEY), a shape-shifting spirit, that takes the form of a young red bull, enveloped in fire. What drew me to the AATXE as opposed to the other myths was the fact that he is not just a one dimensional malevolent spirit hell bent on destruction. This was a character that has more in common with a superhero than a demon, and more depth than your average demonic spirit or unnamed entity. The AATXE comes alive during stormy weather to attack the evil and malevolent and warn/protect the innocent and upstanding when danger is near. I was instantly sold. The chances of there being another band using this as their name were slim to none (and thankfully it wasn't taken other than a now defunct restaurant in San Francisco and a character in a video game), and the story behind it is so different than anything else. After deciding on the name we began to lay the groundwork for what will eventually become the AATXE you see today, which we will break down in our next blog.
To be continued...