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Interview with Toronto Metal band  AT DAWN'S EDGE

  Where did the band get its name? We’re always trying to cover new ground and experiment with different styles, instruments and genres, so we wanted a name that would represent that constant push forward. “At Dawn’s Edge” achieved that goal and we also like it because, at least to us, it doesn’t come off immediately as being the name of a metal band, which makes it a bit more accessible.

Describe the sound of At Dawn’s Edge? Haha, as succinctly as it can be put, we are a balanced brew of the symphonic and electronic with groove ,and “djent” influence. Most of our experimentation takes place within cultural themes. That being said, we’ve always had a hard time narrowing down our band into one genre. We look at it as a good thing though!

How did the band meet and form? The band lineup grew slowly over the years, with many members having come and gone as we tried to find the best working dynamic. Current original members: Matt and myself (Alex), used to meet up in the highschool jam room and play, or at least attempt to aha, Lamb of God, System Of A Down, Nirvana, Black Sabbath and whatever else rock and metal we could get our hands on at the time. Matt wanted to join a band, and was actually originally the drummer as we didn’t require a second guitarist at the time.  (fun fact: Matt didn’t have his own kit at his own house and so he practiced on the Guitar Hero drum kit, and was really tight at it! We have video proof!) We always wanted a female singer to contrast most of the metal music we listened to at the time. To complete the line up we scouted and found Jacob and Ashavari. We’re a happy bunch now.

Who were your musical personal influences? Alex: Iron Maiden was the band that got me to pick up the guitar. The wailing solos and awesome, catchy song writing was definitely inspiring to me. Nightwish however, was who made want to form a band. After that, lots of guitar playing styles from the likes of Protest the Hero, Monuments, and Periphery have inspired me to push my own musical boundaries. Ashavari: In the beginning of highschool, I basically worshipped Amy Lee of Evanescence. I would try to imitate her in style, in drama – just everything, really. In 2008, I discovered the band Epica. I was so enthralled with Simone Simons’ operatic vocals, as well as the epic choral music that accompanied their heavy sound. It was perfect! I think Simone has been my biggest vocal influence to date. Matt: When I first started playing the guitar I was equally influenced by Jimmy Page, Angus Young and Tony Iommi. I loved Jimmy Page’s songwriting and his unique lead playing. He was a blues player with outstanding melodic phrasing which I found very inspiring. Angus Young had an unreal sense of energy in his playing that I always tried to mimic and Tony Iommi was just plain brutal. As I became a more experienced player I moved into a heavy/progressive metal phase and spent a lot of time practicing Mark Morton (Lamb of God) and John Petrucci (Dream Theatre) riffs. I’m currently listening to a lot of Periphery, Monuments and Meshuggah and really trying to absorb the styles and techniques of those bands as wholes. Jacob: Dir En Grey is a great influence by the way they have progressively changed their music and their image from the beginning as a visual Kei band and easing their way into a heavier and more melodic sound. Gojira's amazing energy and tightness as a band is consistent throughout their records and their live shows, as well as their style and unique sound widely separates them from usual metal bands.

After the band was formed did the sound or style of your music come naturally or was it more of a plan, “let’s sound like this”? We always planned on having orchestra in our sound as well as a lead female vocalist. All the other nuances are results of our experimentation together. As of recent, we can’t deny that the djent genre has creeped into our sound.

Since your band is led vocally by Ashavari, you might be classified by many as a Female Fronted Band. How does the band feel about that label? We’ve noticed that “female-fronted” has become a bit of a political issue within the metal community as of recent. For us it’s not about who’s fronting it, or having a female for the sake of it, we simply like the contrast clean female vocals create against aggressive metal music. On the one hand, the title stands true, but we like to think about female vocals as a characteristic of our sound, rather than the identity of our band.

Your band just released a 3 song EP. Why did you decide to release an EP at this time instead of writing and recording a full-length release? We’ve been preparing our full length album, which is set to be recorded in the fall, but since we are currently gigging regularly we wanted something to share online and as well as physical copies at shows to expand our fan base early and get people excited for what’s to come.

What album, whether its Metal or not, was the one that made you say to yourself. "I want to be in a band"? Alex: Dark Passion Play, by Nightwish. The massive orchestral sounds and song writing definitively kept 15-year old me in awe and gave me something to aspire towards. Matt: This is a tie between Black Sabbath’s album Paranoid and The Offspring’s album Americana. I jammed to many of the songs off these albums in my first band in elementary school as a hot-headed teenager. These albums really made me want to get up on stage and own it! Jacob: For me it wasn’t a band or their album the convinced me to play in a band. When I was about 13, I watched an animated series called “Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad” and at that time the life story of the protagonist was very relevant in my life, so it made me want to discover what I could create with other people. Ash: The Silent Force by Within Temptation is such a beautiful album, with so much drama incorporated in both their lyrics and symphonic sound. I always wanted to embrace similar theatrics and combine that drama with my love for metal whilst performing.

Outside of playing music and creating music what are your other hobbies or interests? Ash: I’ve been doing freelance modeling for about two years, specializing in alternative fashion and creative makeup looks. Alongside that, I like attending conventions and I love cosplaying every chance I get! I also enjoy reading about philosophy and I’m really passionate about my studies in sociology, which often carry into my non-work life. Alex: I enjoy most outdoor activities like camping, biking, hiking, and traveling in general. I’m a beer and cigar enthusiast, and when I’m not working on music I’m usually painting, reading or drawing. I actually went to art school so I’m always trying to balance my visual art endeavors with my musical ones. I enjoy a lot of how-to books, and recently I’ve been reading a lot on nutrition. Jacob: I like to spend my free time with a multitude of creative outlets, such as drawing, and watercolor painting. I am also learning 3-d modeling and game design in programs called Maya and Unity, so of course that means i also spend lots of time playing video games. Matt: When I’m not rocking out with At Dawn’s Edge and not at work, I always enjoy a nice bike ride. I have a pretty stellar road bike that I like to speed around in. Other than that I love driving (I’m a car guy) and spending time traveling and checking out new places around the city.

This goes along with the influences and album question but is there a live concert you each have seen that also made you know you had to be on stage performing?
Jacob: I remember when I was young I would roadie for my Father (Ron Bechard) and I would get to watch him play many with bands throughout my childhood, and the band I was particularly fond of was his metal band Sin Dealer. Out of any performances I had seen before, the raw energy and interconnectivity with metal was so much greater, so I like to share that experience with others at our shows. Matt: The performance that made me want to rock out on stage was the first time I saw The Cancer Bats play. Their stage presence and enthusiasm are absolutely unreal and their performance really blew my mind. Ash: Every Epica concert ever! Ha-ha. Seeing Simone headbang the way she does on stage and deliver stellar vocals just makes me want to perform all the time and own the stage as well! Honestly, performing is one of the most thrilling experiences! Alex: It’s a tie between Devin Townsend and Steel Panther. Devin Townsend’s show was one of the most epic I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing live, both sonically and visually. The amount of power portrayed at the show was truly inspiring. At the same time, Steel Panther puts on a damn hilarious show. They have that classic, cocky, rock-star attitude that just seems to make it super fun to be on stage. Plus, they’ve put on a stellar 1 hour and 30 min show with only 40 minutes of actual music. I think that’s a phenomenal feat in terms of maintaining an entertaining performance.

What was your first performance as a band? Our first show under the At Dawn’s Edge name, was way back in 2009 at DC Music in Etobicoke. We played two original songs that have since been heavily modified nearly beyond recognition to fit our current style, and two covers by Nightwish and Evanescene.

So far you only have 3 songs but are the songs a combined effort or what is the writing of lyrics and music done within the band? The instrumentals on the EP were primarily written by Alex, but the lyrics and vocal melodies have always been a joint effort.

If you could open for any band who would it be? Ash: Epica Alex: Nightwish Matt: Nightwish Jacob: Dir En Grey

Thank you for doing this interview and I wish you the best of luck moving forward.