Having started with humble roots, in a small city in the middle of nowhere Arrival of Autumn always knew it was never about where they came from, but where they had the drive and willingness to go. Arrival of Autumn started as a band with a mission to play music without compromise and carve their way through the music scene on their own terms. Coming from a small city in Northern Canada, this was a necessary strategy, since the band didn’t come up in a big city scene with regular promoters, venues and attendees. The band released their first major label release last spring called Harbinger on Nuclear Blast. We recently caught bass player Kevin Student just before sound check to fill us out about the new album, tour and what to look forward to from the band.
You guys are from the “Great North”. Is there much of a metal scene there and what led you to pursuing playing that style of music?
There never really was a metal scene. There was kind of a music scene here and there that would pop up and die away in the same year. We kind of had to make our own scene because being a band in a big city there’s a lot of show being put on, but we really had to do that all ourselves. We were our own promoters, our own bookers, if we wanted to play a show we rented the place out and put on a show. That was just what we like to do. We like to do it, we’ll find a way to do it and that’s kind of what this band’s always been about. We have a drive and passion and find ways to do it.
You guys released your first major label effort, Harbinger. What was it like working in a big studio like that with Jason Suecof producing the album, who has quite the resume?
Leading up to the recording of the actual full length, we actually recorded with him two times before. There’s a little bit of history there. The first time we recorded we sent some stuff off and said it would be cool to record an EP with Jason Suecof. And so we did that and he was like, “You guys are pretty good. Come down and we’ll make an EP”. And so we did and he was so impressed by it that he took it upon himself to kind of market it out to labels and things like that. We had no idea. We had this EP and we were planning a tour around this EP and then he called back and goes, “Nuclear Blast is interested and you guys should get down here right away”. And they wanted to hear more of our material. So we went down and recorded more material with him, doing another EP with him. After that whole process Nuclear Blast was interested and wanted a full album. To answer the question how it was like to record with Jason Suecof – it was both very comfortable and mind blowing. Working with the guy, he’s like a mad genius of sorts. He gets what we’re really trying to go for in our own way, so it was very comfortable. There were times it would hit me and I would go for a recording break and look at all the plaques on the wall for some of my favorite albums – Black Dahlia Murder, Trivium, and the list goes on. It’s like, cool I’m here, I’m there and go down and sit in the room with him and it’s like so alive because we’re working out and recording on the album. It’s more daunting in retrospect than it actually was when we were there in the studio recording.
When you got the call did you feel put on the spot or did you have material ready to go?
We were kind of put on the spot. So when that happened we had booked some western Canadian dates and were going to go out for a couple of weeks and just promote the thing and tour. And then he was like, “Monte Connor wants to hear more. I’ve got an opening in a month.” Which was basically when we were supposed to go on tour. “You guys come down. I’ll free up some time and space and get another album through.” We pretty much recorded our best stuff for that first EP and we had the band sit down and we’re like, “How do you guys feel about this?” We got this opportunity. We’re going to have to cancel the tour and this sucks. We hate to cancel, but the worst-case scenario was we were going to go down there, record an EP with Jason Suecof and not get signed. And even going off that we were like let’s do this. We love doing this, love the band so we have to swing for the fences. What else are we doing here? We could be sitting at home for the rest of our lives. So we did do the thing and fortunately here I am with our album on Nuclear Blast doing the biggest tour we’ve ever done – with massive crowds. It turned out to be the right decision.
I’ve watched your music videos and even some live clips. You guys are pretty intense on stage. How physically exhausted are you after a show?
Extremely. (both laugh) It’s never been a thing where we’ve talked to each other and you need to go as hard as possible. Everyone just kind of does their own thing. Doing our own thing, our energy level just comes out. We’ll plan around that. We don’t put the most absolute shredding, difficult song at the end of the set, not that any of our songs are super easy anyway. When it comes to this tour for our last song, it’s kind of like this is it – this is the one. If I’ve got any energy left, let it all out now. Part of it is just having a good time on stage. It’s fun to do that and get the feedback from the crowd.
Putting the album together did you have a bunch of material already written? How did you figure out what songs fit best on the album and was there a theme that tied them all together?
We have written close to 20 songs and some of those were in further stages of completion. This is one of the cool things about Nuclear Blast. Before going in we were going to write, write, write everything we possibly can, have a bunch of different styles and variations of songs. We went through our A&R, Monte and said, “What kind of album to you want to hear first? We’ve got all these different songs.” And he’s like, his direction was he didn’t care, just make it heavy. The label completely stepped back from micromanaging any bit of our sound. From there it was up to us to decide. We picked songs – they all came from the same writers so the all carry similar elements. They’re all very different songs. We actually wanted to pick songs that were coming from different places and different things. Our opener, “Hurricane on the Horizon” leans more metalcore – whatever that word means. It’s got some open note stuff but also very thrashy. The next song on the album, “End of Existence” is pretty much a love song to death. I’ve got pretty well ripping bass lead solo part in that. It’s shredding complete – no clean vocals. And then we have songs like “Better Off Without” – I don’t know if you’d call it experimental. There’s some synth stuff. We wanted to run the gamut. We’re all influenced by a lot of different styles. I really wouldn’t call us a progressive band. We’re influenced by a lot of bands. We didn’t want to write the same song ten times. We wanted to write a bunch of different songs and due to the nature of having the same bunch of guys. It becomes this cohesive whole.
You guys are on a pretty big tour. What’s it like being on tour now?
It’s absolutely incredible. It’s been far and away the best tour this band has ever done. Not to slight the other band; there are other bands touring with us. The crowd’s been crazy. A lot of things just seem to be clicking right now. Our name is getting out there more and more, so we’re getting people coming to the shows who know who we are. But even then we’re getting a lot of people that have no idea – never listened to us before and they’re going nuts for it. In Flames – from the band to the crew have been so helpful for us. I think that’s like one of the things for them too. A band looks better if their opener is killing it every night. You get a better show that’s being put on. We’re definitely firing up the crowds for In Flames. They’ve been enabling us to do that. We really can’t say enough good things on how we’ve been treated and the other groups on it. The fans have been going absolutely apeshit for us. It’s been a dream, really.
You guys put out the album earlier this year in March and are on tour now. Are you resting on your laurels with the album or are you thinking ahead of new material?
We’re definitely resting on our laurels. Going into the studio we had a bunch of songs in states of completion. It kind of came to figuring out in the studio – okay, let’s do this group of songs. And then it was like, what about this one? If we record that one we have to get rid of one of these that we don’t have the time or budget for. At that time we had a lot of material and we’ve been writing since. I think we could wrap up this tour and go into the studio, but at the same time we still have a lot more roadwork on this album to do. People are still discovering us and we’re having a blast with this album. Of course there’s that itch and pending studio time we can work it out whenever that might be and we’ll be ready for it.
– Dave Weinthal
Arrival of Autumn along with In Flames and Red will be performing at The Signal on December 11.