Interviews: Abyssius

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Atmospheric Death Metal/Technical Death Metal band Abyssius from Taiwan. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you plan it or come out just like that? 

The idea mainly came from wanting something reflective of a void or an abyss, feeling oceanic in some way. We liked the Insomnium style of naming taking some existing words and tagging on some ‘alternative’ ending. We went back and forth a fair bit, but what we liked about ‘Abyssius’ was that it had abyss in the name, but sounded something like Odysseus, with the mental image being some Odysseus-type character on some crazy journey through the abyss. We found out not long after that it’s the name of some weird golem-type of a pet in World of Warcraft, and we’re not that bothered, it looks cute.

2. Why did you want to play this genre? 

A lot of us connect with the ability for us to express emotions through music. Death metal and other similar styles can be an exhalation of pain. There’s nothing more cathartic than being in the pit out and letting out a decade of hatred with a bunch of strangers doing the same. By creating the music, we become the soundtrack to that experience, while simultaneously allowing us to appropriate vent our dissatisfaction with our realities and show more of our true selves and emotions. We also love the balance of melodic songwriting with heavy music and feel it’s the best of both worlds in terms of songwriting. It’s also just fun to play anything technical or intricate!

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed? 

Haitao was the unifying force here. They had met most of the others through their own band Laang. Jake was the guitarist of a band touring with Laang in 2022 and ended up playing live lead guitars for Laang during the tour. R.J. was the bassist of a Taiwanese blackened death metal band called Efflore Laang had connections to and collaboration. Zack was a vocal instructor at a music school where Haitao taught guitar lessons and they ended up working on several music production jobs together. Haitao wanted to make a new band, called up all the cool people they’d worked with in the past couple of years, and basically just hoped they’d all get along!

4. Each band member's favorite band? 

Zack (Vocals): Cattle Decapitation

Haitao (Guitar, production): Alcest

R.J. (Bass): Motionless in White

Jake (Guitar): Freak Kitchen

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs? 

A lot of the inspiration comes from the urge for emotional expression of our thoughts and frustrations. Our vocalist Zack had always wanted to tell a story about nihilism and persisting through meaninglessness and futility with no real answer as to why. It’s a sentiment that the world seems to increasingly share but with no good answer as to a solution. But we think the best way is staring into the void with a shit-eating grin. If life is meaningless, why would you take it so seriously? While the genre tends to be obsessed with negatives, many of our thoughts come from positive nihilism, existentialism, and absurdism. Sonically, a large drive to create the type of music we do comes from a desire for more atmosphere in the death metal genre. Death metal is a time-worn genre that is full of cliches and tropes that have honestly become very stale. Something that draws us more towards progressive death metal bands is their emphasis on atmospheres and intricate layering of melodic and dissonant components to strike an interesting contrast. Our goal is to push that sound forward rather than being monochromatic.

6. Where was your last gig? 

We haven’t yet performed as a band! Our first album is coming out in January, and we only officially formed and started writing in April. We’re all quite scattered around the world but are hoping to have some performances as soon as we can! 

7. Where would you like to act? 

Long story short, anywhere that will have us. Our largest listener base is currently in the USA, closely followed by Europe. European tours tend to be a bit more well-organized, USA tours would be more affordable since most members are there, and Asian tours would be the most interesting cultural experience for our members who haven’t performed there before. South and Central America are also apparently some of the most fun places to play. I think there are benefits anywhere we go!

8. Whom would you like to feature with? 

I think we’d all choose different bands, but I think the closest we would all agree on would be either Cattle Decapitation or Ne Obliviscaris. We really love these bands, and I think there’s enough stylistic overlap and distinction that it would be a complementary pairing without becoming monotonous. We’re really inspired by their music and they’re incredible people, so that would be a wonderful experience.

9. Whom not?

Drake? Haha. We don’t like talking smack about bands, we’re not interested in being involved in drama. That said, we would be very opposed to touring with any bands with any kind of nazi, racist, homophobic, or sexist beliefs. That would be very opposed to our own personal viewpoints and the identities and backgrounds of many members of Abyssius. We’re not a political band, but we are people after all, and think that rejecting systemic oppression is punk. Bootlicking and supporting harmful established institutional structures is not. We support LGBT, BIPOC, and disabled communities, and are vocal supporters of Taiwan independence.

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that? 

All our thoughts and experiences vary:

Zack: As someone with anxiety there’s not much to be done about stage fright. Just gotta rip off the band-aid and lose yourself in the song. The dry mouth and sweat suck, but once you’re up there you don’t have a choice but to play. It’s the pre-show butterflies that I dread more than anything.

Haitao: I honestly pay very little attention to the crowd and spend more time lost in my own world while on stage. If I’m having fun, hopefully, the crowd is too. Crowds seem to follow the energy on stage, so the more energetic I am, the more amped the crowd seems to become.

R.J.: I often feel anxious on stage, but I transform these emotions into a stimulant-like feeling and release the emotions as if on the edge of losing control. Jake: I’ve been doing this so long I get more stressed about the logistics of the show than being in front of people. But if I’m feeling anxious, I’ll have a single drink to take the edge off.

11. What bands have inspired you the most? 

We each pull inspiration from all sorts of places. Our main writer is Haitao who has largely been inspired by bands like Ne Obliviscaris, Fallujah, and Allegaeon while having a large background in black metal, shoegaze, and soundtrack. Zack is more inspired by progressive metal bands like Cattle Decapitation, Gojira, and Coheed and Cambria. R.J. pulls from bass-heavy bands like Motionless in White and Slipknot, while Jake is inspired by bands like Cynic, Nevermore, and Nekrogoblikon.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for? 

We’ve all had some strange experiences, and the things that fans have asked us are actually some of the tamer parts. Zack was once asked to shoot fake cum on someone from a stage prop being used at the time. Haitao was asked to fly to Poland to play at a fan’s wedding. R.J. was asked whether he had joined a Satanic cult. Jake hasn’t necessarily been asked something weird so much as being told the atmospheric black metal band he was playing in at the time sounded like Thin Lizzy by a Florida Man.

13. What do you think of your fans? 

We’ve only recently met them, but they’ve been great so far! Genuinely, we’re very surprised and happy to see the great and warm reception we’ve received so far. It’s wonderful seeing the support from everyone of our new, noisy band, and we’re really excited to get to meet them on the road someday!

14. What do you think of our site?

I like that you guys seem to feature all kinds of bands without any kind of ego about it. Every time bands contact Breathing the Core it seems like you guys are always happy to host some kind of feature, which I think is really cool for bands, especially bands in their early stages. Thanks for doing cool things for the scene! 

15. Something to add?

Thanks so much for taking the time to interview us!! Our debut album will be released on January 26th, and we can’t wait for you all to hear it!!

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