An Interview With: AFTERMYFALL

AFTERMYFALL is a rising star of hardcore and metal whose latest single, the earth-shaking “JustSurviveSomehow” is out now. I chatted to him about his inspirations, musical process and ambitions.

What are your first memories of music?

Growing up my dad was actually a pro audio engineer back in the 80s, he worked with the entirety of the punk scene out in California. I grew up hearing stories about all the bands he’s worked with, it was really inspiring to me.  I think around age ten I picked up a bass guitar and started noodling around with it. Shortly after that I joined a band and I was in that band for quite some time. We played a bunch of shows. That was like a learning experience because I had never written music before or played anything original, so being in that band was kinda my first introduction to music, I would say.

How did your current style, a fusion of hardcore, metal and electronic, come about?

I’m really inspired by a lot of different genres of music and I’ve dabbled in pretty much all of them producing. I’ve worked in hip-hop, EDM, electronic music and I’ve worked in metal. So going into this when I was like “I wanna make metal,” I’m like “okay, what’s gonna separate me from just a band,” y’know? That’s when I started to dive in and go “well I know how to do electronic production and I know how to do hip-hop production, and I’m learning metal production, so why don’t I just mix everything together? Make something different.” When it comes to my music I try to be as authentic as possible and try to be unique sounding while maintaining the core elements of metal and hardcore.

Something that stood out from your latest single “JustSurviveSomehow” is how well produced it was. Did you do that yourself?

Everything is done by me. I started [AFTERMYFALL] because I have a love for this style of music but at this age it’s kinda hard to find other people that are willing to essentially drop their lives to dive into music, start a band, stuff like that. So, I was kinda left with the idea to just do everything myself. Because, in this day and age there’s just so much software, you can just emulate drum sets and it just sounds perfectly real, you can record guitars straight into an interface and use amp simulators and stuff like that so I pretty much learned how to produce everything on my own.

The song has an unsettling energy with those opening and closing passages and I thought it was impressive how you managed to capture that vibe. Is capturing certain energies like that something you strive for as an artist?

Yeah, for sure, I’m really inspired by film scores and I love to incorporate any type of scoring I can into my music. That’s kinda why [“JustSurviveSomehow”] is a little unorthodox in terms of structure, because I wanted that song to be almost like a score. That’s why the intro flows in and then you get the metal bits and then the outro. It’s very cinematic. I wanted the whole song to tell a story because that’s a big part of my brand. It’s kinda like ambiguous storytelling where it’s left up to the listener to decide the message.

What are some of your favourite film scores?

I really like Interstellar. I’m also into video game scoring, I really love the Silent Hill soundtrack. It’s one of my top soundtracks of all time.

I cant talk about the song without talking about the music video. If you want to talk about being D.I.Y and being a one-man band that video embodies it. Was that the idea behind it?

Yeah, essentially. My roommate [Connor Campbell] shot, directed and edited it. I wrote the song and I really wanted to do something cool for a music video and he said, “Let’s just go do it.” We went over to a friend’s house and they had speakers, a microphone and a cool backyard like you saw and we just kinda went with it, D.I.Y style. At the end I thought “this needs some kinda art to it, not just me yelling into a camera”, so I came up with the bag over the head and then drug into the back of the car thing. I thought that kinda resembled the message of the song pretty well. The song is about dealing with anxiety and the constant feeling that anxiety gives you where it feels like something’s out to get you.

You’ve talked about AFTERMYFALL as a “credo of personal growth” and the song “JustSurviveSomehow” has a strong emotional message. Is that part of a concerted effort on your part to convey your own personal journey?

Yeah, the whole brand essentially is just me getting stuff off my chest after going through hard times in the past. When I started this [AFTERMYFALL] it was one of the lowest points of my life. I started to write this style of music again and it just felt good, it felt natural and it felt cathartic. I felt better every time I wrote a song. The whole brand felt like redemption in a sense. As I progressed and did more it felt like growth, to the point where I am now. I am still not where I want to be but I definitely feel like this brand has helped me tremendously mentally.

Are you hoping that then resonates with other people who can maybe empathise with the experiences?

Yeah, 100%. I like relatability in my music. Some of my favorite songs are ones where you can almost think “Wow, that was written for me.” If I can get one person to listen to my music and feel that way, that’s mission complete for me.

So do you want to be the kind of artist that can be a sort of emotional reference point for people?

Yeah, whether they feel a sense of community through the music or just feel better at all from listening to the song. Maybe someone having a bad day can listen to the song and maybe vent some emotions through it and by the end of it they’re like, “I feel a bit better now.” That’s kinda the goal with it, besides just me getting stuff off my chest and feeling better for my own sake. At the end of the day I write music for myself, I just have to do this.

With that, do you see AFTERMYFALL as an intensely personal endeavour then?

Yeah, I’d say. A lot of the music comes naturally. Sometimes I write a song and I’ll be like “I don’t even know how I wrote this” like, this just came to be, so I guess every song I write is a piece of me. Leaving my stamp on the world, so to speak.

Do you have a specific song writing process?

It’s pretty sporadic. Most of the time I’ll kind of just be sitting around and then like an idea will spark in my head and I’ll try to go execute it but a lot of the time I’ll just pick up the guitar and just start riffing stuff out and go from there. I don’t have a set way of writing music, I just do what feels natural.

What are some artists who you take inspiration from?

It’s constantly changing because I’m always finding new artists. Stuff like Deftones, Slipknot, The Soft Moon, Loathe, Static Dress. I’m always finding new people and it’s blowing me away. I can find so many new bands and I’m like “Wow, this is amazing,” and it just really inspires me to write something different.

Since I can’t really not talk about it, how has the pandemic and subsequent lockdown affected you?

I would say it’s helped me creatively. Obviously we’ve been through a lot in the last year and it’s been very tough mentally, but at the same time there’s been a lot of free time to write music and do anything creatively and that makes me feel good. It’s helped me just to sit down and write a lot of music, because I have. I feel like I’ve written the most music I ever have, in the last year. With that being said, I do miss shows, I miss shows a lot. I can’t wait for them to come back, when it’s safe and ready.

Outside of the restrictions and outside of music, what other interests do you have?

I like to game a lot. Most of the time when I’m not writing music I’m just playing games with friends. Skateboarding, even though I don’t do it as much anymore. I used to be really into skiing, that was my life for a while, I was even sponsored and everything. It’s been quite some time since that though. I’m pretty lame when it comes to outside of music. I just like to hang out.

For everyone that wants to get to know you, what’s one game they should play?

Dark Souls is one of my favourite games of all time, I love the whole series. I’ve been playing a lot of Apex Legends recently, been having a lot of fun with that. Also Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

What do you listen to in your daily life?

I’ve kinda been going back lately and listening to a lot of Slipknot’s earlier stuff because it’s been so long. I’ve kinda been refreshing myself on that. I’m listening to their debut album in this day and age and it still stacks up, it’s so forward thinking. Other than that I’ve been running Loathe’s album that they did last year, I Let It in and It Took Everything. It’s some of the most forward thinking metal I’ve heard in a minute. They mix deathcore and metalcore with shoegaze, they also just dropped a full ambient album that’s just amazing. Out of the world of metal I’ve been listening to The Soft Moon a lot which is just like some cool darkwave, post-punk stuff.

Lastly, what’s coming next for AFTERMYFALL?

Lots of music. Lots of music. I’m planning a lot of releases, including two new singles and a forthcoming EP. Shows, when things are good again. And yeah, pretty much just tons of new music.

Follow AFTERMYFALL on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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