Ken Brzezinski de Static Multimedia realizó recientemente una entrevista con Marc McKnight.
MARC MCKNIGHT TALKS..
Marc McKnight is the bassist for the Metlacore juggernaut Atreyu. They are just finishing up a tour with Hollywood Undead and are fresh off the release of their most dynamic and colorful album, Congregation Of The Damned. He took a little time to talk to me about his new album, their current mini tour, and what it's like to play on the punk rock summer camp known as the Warped Tour. He also talks very frankly about his opinion of critics of his music as well as his musical influences as a young child and the "beef" between Atreyu and fellow Metalcore act Avenged Sevenfold.
What kind of music were you exposed to at a very young age?
A lot of Willie Nelson, a lot of Paul Simon, and mainly what my sister listened to. So I just kind of mimicked whatever she was into.
Were you a fan of country music growing up?
Well, being from the south didn’t mean I listened to a lot of country music. I’m not like a country dude and I don’t listen to a lot of country music outside of stuff like Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson. I’m sure growing up when I was in high school or whatever I was like “fuck country music, I don’t want to listen to Garth Brooks.” But I think anyone who listens to Johnny Cash is a fan of country music because it’s a different type of country, you know what I mean?
When did your first start playing music?
Uh, I picked up a guitar in like 6th grade. Wanted an electric, parents wouldn’t give it to me. Played that for a couple years and then started playing bass in like 8th grade. All I saw was Tom Morello and Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day and that’s what I wanted to play, I didn’t want to play on an acoustic. But it pushed me to playing bass so I guess it worked out well in the end.
What was the first song you learned to play from beginning to end?
On bass it was Bush “Little Things” and on guitar…uh, that’d be like, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or something pathetically easy.
What is currently on your I-Pod or in your CD player?
I really like the new Thrice and He Is Legend CDs. Um, the new Muse is amazing. Um, like I’m always listening to a lot of instrumental music like Explosions In the Sky and stuff like that when I’m working. Something in the heavier vein that I have been listening to lately..Slayer, the new Slayer is pretty good. And my record, I listen to our record a lot man I LOVE that fuckin record!
How did you hook up with the guys in Atreyu?
It was, I met them when I was playing with a band called Nightfall in Orange County. Us and a bunch of other bands went to Esperanza and played a bunch of shows and I met the dudes in Atreyu. I played a few shows with them, played three shows with Atreyu before I joined them. I just became friends with you know? And then I left Nightfall and they asked me to join them a couple days later.
How’s the tour with Hollywood Undead going?
Awesome man, we’re almost at the end of it though. We only have like ten more shows left. We have just been home wiring and recording so it’s just good to get out and tour consistently again. And the shows have been phenomenal. Like our bands have been meshing really well together, which I really wasn’t expecting. No offense to them (Hollywood Undead), I just didn’t know what I’d be getting myself into. But it’s turning out really well, the shows are good every night, they are really cool dudes, and, you know, it’s been fun.
Talk a little bit about being on the Warped Tour…
It’s pretty fun. I mean it’s like the punk rock summer camp that everyone says it is you know? Just a bunch of bands hanging out. I used to go watch Thrice a bunch. Some of the Smartpunk bands I liked was Yesterday’s Rising and Avery, I saw them a bunch of times. Underoath was amazing, Rufio was there for like three days, I watched them. There are just so many good fucking bands…
Are there any bands you’d like to get back on tour with again? I’d say Thrice, I’d really love to do another tour with those dudes. Um, Avenged Sevenfold, they’re fun to tour with.
Is there REALLY any heat between you guys and Avenged Sevenfold?
Well, I don’t really have the same sentiment towards that band because I wasn’t born and raised in the same area. I didn’t see the scene grow from the ground up. I think we’re all friends and any “grudges” or weirdness is just made up in the media, you know what I mean? Like, I mean we grew up in the same area and played similar kinds of music and grew up listening to the same shit and you know, they’re just a band like us.
How did you like playing in front of 35,000 people opening up for Iron Maiden?
It was cool man. It was weird cuz like, there were some people there that they didn’t want to see anyone BUT Iron Maiden. So out of like 35,000 people there were like 5,000 people that were like “Get off the stage you pu**ies!” and they were just pissed and throwing sh*t at us, but it was pretty fun. And I still get to say, at the end of the night that I played with Iron Maiden so it was pretty cool.
Do you have any tour stories?
Well there was this one girl in Miami that was just hammered out of her mind. And you know, semi-attractive, and she’s just HAMMERED, like sloppy drunk right? And she somehow makes her way on our bus. She wasn’t like at the show with us. She just wanted to see the bands, you know what I mean? So she got on our bus and we kept trying to pass her off to one of our friends or one of the crew members but she was like “NO, I WANT ONE OF THE BAND!” And she was just like riding people and stuff. So she goes in the back with someone…who shall remain nameless, and they were, you know, enjoying themselves in the back, but she had left her phone up front. So one of our friends took a picture of his balls and sent it to everyone on her contact list and said “Sorry, I’m busy being a nut!!” So yeah, that’s a pretty good story! What was the writing and recording process like for your latest album, Congregation Of The Damned?
Um, well we started writing for this album in like November of last year, so it’s been about a year ago now. So we started writing and we had like 13 or 14 songs and we were like, “shit”, like on A Death Grip On Yesterday we wanted 10 songs on the record so we wrote 10 songs. So it was like “What are we gonna do? Should we just keep going or what?” And it was like “Nah let’s just keep going and see what happens.” So we ended up with like 30 songs that were all amazing. I mean the well really never ran dry, but we just had to stop because we were like “This is getting ridiculous”. Widdled that down to 18 songs, met up with Bob Marlett, our producer, and did like pre-production stuff with him, widdled those down to 16 and uh, recorded 16 songs.
We did the drums in Henson Studios out in LA, which is like Jim Henson, like Muppets, which was amazing. And then we did the rest at Bob’s house in Woodland Hills. It was amazing, like as far as my bass, I did all the songs in 2 days I think. I just muscled through them, 10 songs one day and 6 the second. Then the guitars went and did all their things. There were some guitars done before I did all my stuff. Because I had to like, go back home for some family stuff and then two weeks later, they had some more guitars done. And it just really started like, I mean because in pre-production you have an idea of what it’s going to sound like, but you don’t really hear what it sounds like till everything is starting to get laid out.
So once I started to hear all the guitar parts being put down and the solos starting to be put in and like all of the vocal starting to get laid down, it was awesome. But we had just focused on the music in pre pro so then it’d be like Alex and Bandon sitting in the studio just shredding out the vocals. And they’re both like, their performances are absurd. Like Alex hasn’t written better lyrics and his performance is just amazing and he’s so genuine and “there”.
It seems like this album is the accumulation of your life’s work…
Well yeah, I mean it’s just because we HAVE been a band for 10 years and this IS our 5th record, and we like experimented a lot on the last record. There were a lot of things we learned about ourselves as a band and there were a lot of things we added to our arsenal and there were a lot of things that we were like “Ok let’s not do that again.” But we did it, you know? And I don’t regret doing it, any of it. Because it allowed our band to write THIS RECORD and anything up to writing this was worth it.
How do you allow yourself to change when you have so many fans on, especially the web that can be so critical of the music you make?
Yeah, I’ve been on Lambgoat, I’ve been on Blabbermouth, I’ve been on Absolute Punk, I’ve been on PRP. I’ve seen all that sh*t and I stay away from it because I’m not doing this. No offense to them because our fans got us to where we are, and without our fans, we’re f*cked, so I’m not saying we’re not doing it for them. But when we write music, we write music that we want to hear and that we love because we do it because we love it. You know what I mean? So if I started to write it for kids who only listen to The Curse and Suicide Notes, that want us to write that album again, who are we being fair to, you know what I mean? I’m not going to be 18 years old again; I’m not going to write that record again. I want to allow the band to expand and allow the band to grow.
Well Marc, I just wanted to say thanks again for your time and talking to us.