Avatar's Feathers and Flesh has quickly become a favorite album of mine. The songs, production, mix, and artwork comprise a wonderfully unified whole. Congrats on a great piece of work!
Considering the impressive musical range (death metal/rock/surf-rock/baroque chamber, etc.) and the large sonic palette (church organ, harpsichord, etc.), the album is an amazing and complicated puzzle with many pieces, and I'd love to know more about how you went about choosing, organizing and assembling these pieces in the preproduction stage. Thanks!
When I first heard Avatar's song "Use Your Tongue", I knew I had to work with this band. The intensity of their music and image, the colorful and animated singer, and the band's dark sense of humor was very intriguing to me. Now, it happened that I was going to be in Washington D.C. on a date when Avatar would be playing a show in neighboring Baltimore, MD, and my manager thought it would be a good idea to go meet them at the venue after their show. The band is from Gothenburg, Sweden and this opportunity to talk with them was a delicious coincidence. So I got a rental car and made the trip.
Meeting any band after a show to talk production is often a difficult thing to do, especially with the more popular bands... and maybe more so because I am a girl and the burly guys guarding the backstage often look at females as meat to throw to the band members. Hah. Back in the nineties I was being considered to produce the second Limp Bizkit record, and drove up to Poughkeepsie, NY to see them play and meet Fred Durst after the show. But meeting the band after they got off stage was bewildering. There was a line-up of girls at the tour bus, all clamoring to meet the band, and I was just one of them. But I was there to discuss recording the next Limp Bizkit record!!! I don't know what all those other girls were there for (okay, maybe I have an idea...)
After 20 minutes of standing outside the Limp Bizkit tour bus with a line-up of over-ornamented girls, trying to convince the burly security guard that I actually was a producer and that Fred was expecting me, I got disgusted and left. "**** this!" I just got back in my rental and drove away. Later, when the second Limp Bizkit album hit multi-multi-muli-platinum, I really regretted not fighting my way in to see the band.
So fast forward about 20 years, September 2015 in Baltimore, I had just seen Avatar kill it on stage. Wow, what a great band. And I was ready to sit down and discuss producing their next record. But the girls started to line up to meet them at the merch table, and again, I was just another girl in line to meet the band. I waved down one of the burly security guys and said, "Hey, the band is expecting me." He looked me up and down, shook his head, pointed and said, "Get in line". Agh. I could feel my blood pressure rise. I turned my head to look at the front door of the venue and thought about my escape, but I wasn't going to make another million dollar mistake. No way. So I pushed everyone else out of my way. Pissing everyone off and not giving a damn. I pounded my fist down on the table, "I'm Sylvia Massy, and I'm here to talk about your next album!" The security goons rushed up and grabbed me, one on each arm, and began to drag me away... but Johannes, Avatar's singer suddenly stepped forward. "Wait! Hey, that's Sylvia! Oh, we are so glad to see you!!!"
So that is how it started with Avatar's "Feathers and Flesh". That first night, after the Baltimore show. Me almost getting kicked out of the venue. And finally sitting down with the band on their tour bus to discuss how we could make the heaviest, craziest, most extreme and creative metal album ever. How we could cross boundaries and tell a dark Nordic tale with guitars and drums and bass that rockers, goths and even art fags would love.
And there is more about the actual "production" of the album to talk about, so stay tuned!