Track By Tracks: AVOID - Cult Mentality (2022)

1. My World:

This (obviously haha) is the first track on the record, and I really don’t think it could go anywhere else. The riff in the first verse came from a demo we had kicking around for like a year and a half called “The Joke That’s Always Funny” cause we would just beat that riff into the ground in the demo, but we were able to find a way to repurpose it and use it in a way that I think is a lot more tasteful and really gives awesome life to the part. When we sat down with our producer Hiram Hernandez and started working on what would become this track, we came up with that initial intro beat, and I put a vocal part I had for another song over it and it was perfect. It was so perfect I even suggested right there “should we just move on and have this be an intro track??” but thankfully we didn’t and it blossomed into this chaotic masterpiece we have today.

Lyrically this song is sort of a “fuck off kick rocks” kind of mentality haha. It’s supposed to be written from the perspective of finally cutting off someone or something that you’ve been needing to for a long time and going and finding yourself, and I think the lyrics in the chorus “distance can’t keep you far enough away. I’m over excuses forever be my enemy” really reflect that the best and bring it all home.

2. Blast Off!:

Over time this has really become one of my favorite songs on the record. I think out of all of the unreleased tracks I find myself going back and listening to this one the most. This song is so fun and just puts a smile on my face and I hope it does the same to you! This song initially came from a demo we made with our friend KJ Strock (who’s produced songs for MGK, Pop Evil, Crown The Empire, Motionless and White, and many more). It was one of those songs that had SO many bones, but we couldn’t quite get it right the first time around. The vocal melody we used in the verses was initially a chorus I had written for the song, and there were a few bits and pieces that I honestly think could still be other songs in the future, but just didn’t end up fitting for this one. When we took that demo to Hiram we were able to find all of the missing pieces and just bring this whole thing together.

Lyrically this song is super fun and light. It’s really just a weed song! But I think more than that, it’s a feel-good song. A song to listen to with your friends and drive with the windows down. There are lots of fun easter eggs in these lyrics, as well as a Metallica reference, and my personal favorite from the breakdown “I fucking love it when your mom buys me shots at the bar” LOL.


Ahh COWABUNGA. I love this song for many reasons, but the #1 thing I’d say is this song really hits home for me as a whole. This is another song that initially came together with our buddy KJ. The first demo, which I actually still have on my phone, came when we were feeling pretty down on ourselves. We had been writing for like a year and a half on this album and weren’t coming up with the things we knew we wanted and had the potential to make. KJ and I went and got dinner to clear our heads and we decided there when we get back “lets just write for fun, no reason, no purpose, let’s just riff and see what happens.” We got back home and sat down and I remembered this little acoustic thing KJ was playing earlier that day and it stuck with me so I had him start strumming that, and BOOM right there the verses and the chorus melody for COWABUNGA just came out. It felt so good, even right there just the melody and the acoustic guitar I knew we FINALLY had something that we’d been aiming for. That night we put together the very very first demo stages of what would become this little ditty.

Lyrically this one means a lot to me. It’s really about feeling those lowest lows, and sometimes maybe you just wanna disappear and escape from everything and everyone. The main line of the chorus “All alone. You can’t find me anywhere like I want you to” really lays that all out there to me, but the verses and everything in this song mean a lot to me, I definitely poured my heart into this one.

4. Split (Kill It):

This song is big, and aggressive, and just in your face. We wrote this one in the studio with Hiram. I remember hearing that production that ended up being the beginning of the song for the time and it put me back like “woah that’s sick”. We wanted to try and see if we could make a song more in the active rock/radio hard rock vein, but still make it heavy and punch you in the face, and I really think we did a cool job with this one. One of the funnier stories I remember from making this one was how the chorus came together. We had that big 4 on the floor anthemic part, the part with like the “OH! My bodies going numb”, but didn’t know where to go with it after. Who do you call when in a pinch?? No other than our pal KJ of course! So KJ comes over, we play him the song where it’s at at the moment, and then boom he just starts playing that post-chorus part. All of us look at each other and it’s like “oh yup, that’s it!” and next thing ya know we had a song.

Lyrically this is another song that brushes on the mental health side of things that I go through and watches other people go through. Whether it’s anxiety, stress, insecurities, the list goes on, at the moment when you’re feeling those feelings it can be completely overwhelming. I like the first verse in the song where the lyrics say “I feel it starting to take over my body now. The panic feels like a drug I think I’m blacking out”. I think anyone who’s had these feelings before can relate to that.

5. Whatever:

“Robot Voice” ya know? Whatever to me is one of the funniest songs on the album and also one of the biggest ass-beaters. This was another song that we had the initial demo hanging around for a minute but didn’t quite know what to do with it. Our buddy Ethan Schmidt actually helped us write that initial structure and from day 1 it punched you in the face if anything I was the one that had trouble writing vocals for it cause it was such an ass beater I didn’t want to take anything away from the instrumentation of it all haha. When we sat down to do this one for real with Hiram though we were quickly able to widdle it down to exactly what it needed to be. While we were arranging it all together is where the “robot voice” idea came up. If you haven’t noticed, the robot voice thing is very popular in alternative / active rock right now, and we knew we wanted to poke fun at it, but actually saying “robot voice” I think makes it so much funnier than we expected. Lyrically though I think that’s what sparked the entire theme. This song is just poking fun at pretty much everything it takes to make it in a band, following trends, the little unspoken competition a lot of bands play with each other, while also doing all of those said things in the song. This song is a gold mine for lyrics in my opinion but my favorite lines that I think really describe this theme are in the first verse with “can’t you see this ain’t what you need. You’re swimming in the same recycled shit all over your feed” and in the chorus “go reign supreme, we’re just doing the same damn thing. In a room of empty faces don’t go changing”. If you can’t laugh at yourself a little bit sometimes, then what are you doing?

6. Can’t Take This Away:

Speaking of poking fun at yourself, this song also does that quite a bit too. This song actually came together from being stuck at a fork in the road. We had a handful of songs done that we knew we loved and we were trying to figure out what to do next. We threw out the idea of re-doing one of our old songs “Thoughts of You” and maybe try and give it a whole new life or something. When we sat down to do that we noticed ourselves picking a lot of stuff apart, and it was hard to be productive knit-picking a song you wrote when you were 17/18, so we shifted focus. We just started riffing around in the same key as “Thoughts of You”, and next thing you know the main riff for “Can’t Take This Away” was born. On the subject of poking fun, I love that we were able to add little things like the “Can’t Stop” riff for a second, or lyrics like “you know it’s El Co to Go-Go singing that Song About James” which is a call back to the venue we grew up playing in Seattle called El Corazon and touring down to Whisky A Go- Go in Hollywood, and also our song from The Burner EP “Song About James”. Lyrically this is another one I hope just makes you feel good. As you’ve probably been able to tell from some of the other songs there can definitely be a very serious undertone to some of these tracks, but this one is supposed to be “I’m just gonna let my hair down, cut loose, and live life MY way” and just like the serious stuff is important to talk about, I think having tracks like this that just make you feel good are equally as important.

7. Gator Fest:

Hello and welcome to the really heavy part of the album LOL. Gator Fest is a song we wrote literally running on fumes in the early hours of the morning. We had a deadline in mind that we wanted to get this batch of songs done in, and we only had a few songs left to go, so we pulled a double shift that day and worked through all the hours of the night on this one. It’s very real, we were very very burnt at that point. You can DEFINITELY tell that in these lyrics. The beginning of the song hits you with “Burnt out. Bloodshot. Wasted. Drunk on the pen.” which I think is such an interesting way to describe being burnt out, and specifically being burnt on writing music. Outside of the lyrics that were definitely a bit tougher to write for this one, we had way too much fun with the musical arrangement. When we do heavy, we want to really do heavy and have absolutely no rules and no apologies, and boy does the breakdown of this song really show that off.

8. B0RED:

Ahh good ol’ B0RED. One of the more controversial ones during the album making haha. Out of all of the songs we wrote that made this record, this was definitely the one I was most skeptical on in the studio. Maybe it’s because I was starting to get burnt out (see Gator Fest for more details haha), but it didn’t hit right for me initially. However, from the get go the process of writing this song was really cool. We wrote this one when we were in the studio with Hiram, and we brought Joey Bradford from The Used on a virtual session for this. The Used is one of my favorite bands ever so what a treat getting to write with him. For me everything changed when I watched Paul record drums for this song. It all made sense to me then. The groove was unstoppable, it felt so good and so fun to listen to, the lyrics hit, I was instantly converted to team B0RED. Lyrically this song is describing exactly that, how you feel when you’re fucking bored haha. It was a really fun and collaborative process vocally on this one. Joey, Hiram, Nick from the band, and myself all had parts that made it in there and when you can make something like that work and be cool it’s the best.

9. Finish Line 3: Live on DVD:

- Yep, we’re still doing Finish Line haha. I say again, welcome to the HEAVY part of the album. There’s not a single guitar recorded on this song, it’s just a bunch of fucking layers of bass LOL. Stuff like that we find hilarious. I wish there was some cool meaningful story with this one, but when we write a Finish Line, there’s 1 goal and 1 goal only, make the heaviest fucking thing that’s ever existed.

Lyrically with this one I feel like you can see that, it’s just mean and heavy, and has one of my favorite easter eggs on the whole record *queue Mr. Brightside*

10. Midnight Six:

- Hey congrats! You made it through the record! Now here’s the song we wrote on Christmas day haha. This song is really fun to me. I think we clearly experimented and had fun with a lot of different genres and mashing of genres on this album, but I love that we got a song like Midnight Six in there. This is another one that hits nice and personal. It’s written from the perspective of sending it into pursuing music for us. It’s scary and unknown, and you miss things at home being on the road, but you can’t let go. I think the bridge describes that well with the lyrics “there’s no turning back now, into the unknown. Looking for an answer. Why can’t I let go.”

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