Crushing death rock, self-immolation and … Hacky Sack circles? It’s all good fun for Arsonists Get All The Girls
hen you spend your life touring the world, boredom is your worst enemy. One way that the members of the local deathcore band Arsonists Get All The Girls fend off the dreaded ennui while they’re on the road is by starting Hacky Sack circles with the groups they gig with. “It’s kind of funny, ’cause you just see a bunch of metal dudes Hacky Sacking in the middle of a parking lot,” drummer Garin Rosen says with a laugh. “That just shows the sheer, ‘Whoa! What the f*** are we going to do?’”
It’s a funny image, to be sure, but not entirely out of place for a band that laces its hardcore music with poppy keyboards, resulting in what sounds like The Tasmanian Devil bad-tripping in a roller skating rink. As Rosen explains, Arsonists Get All the Girls’ “prog experimental grind” sound is a good example of what happens when musicians with diverse influences come together with the goal of creating something new. “We did it as a joke: ‘Dude, this would be kind of funny,’” he recalls. “We wanted to go with poppy dance keyboards over really grind music. And every song, we try to throw in a different genre of music over the metal and the grind.”
The band’s songs also abound with time signature changes, thus keeping the music challenging enough to keep it interesting for its creators. “I would probably lose my mind if I was in a pop band that played the same boring stuff,” Rosen notes.
Rock lovers of all nationalities and walks of life have embraced this music that began as a joke. “It’s really crazy to look out in the crowd, man, and just see all different kinds of faces,” Rosen states. “It’s really a humbling feeling.”
Mind you, some of these fans get a little out of hand. “Whenever there’s a fight at one of our shows, we always yell out, ‘We’re a f***ing keyboard band! How can you fight during a keyboard band? We’re not Hatebreed. We’re not Metallica,’” the drummer says.
Rosen enjoys the diverse reactions his band’s “weird-ass music” gets. “You just see the people’s faces: Either people are like, ‘What the f*** is this? This is like noise to me,’ or people really appreciate it as a piece of artwork.” He adds that extensive touring has taught him that every country’s inhabitants think of music in a different way. So far, Russian audiences have understood Arsonists Get All The Girls best. The drummer describes his band’s 2009 tour of that country as “the most incredible thing ever. People were literally lighting themselves on fire—no joke—in the crowd.” He calls the band’s Russian supporters “the most dedicated, hardcore fans ever. They can’t speak a word of English, but they’re singing every song.”
Arsonists Get All The Girls plays The Catalyst Atrium on Friday, Sept. 7, along with Hypnose and Exotic Animal Petting Zoo. The show is part of a string of concert dates that ends in Sparks, Nev. Touring is a way of life for the guys in this band, who, according to Rosen, see their homes just two weeks out of the year. It’s a lifestyle for diehards only, which helps explain the long list of musicians who can be counted as former AGATG members. “It’s harder and harder in this day and age, I feel like, to even maintain working full-time to have any money, let alone make no money at all, go on tour, then have bills to pay the second you get home,” the drummer says.
Nonetheless, Rosen is in this for the long haul. As he puts it, “I’m gonna do this as long as I can. I’m gonna finish what I started.”
Arsonists Get All The Girls plays at 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7 at The Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $8/adv, $10/door. For more information, call 423-1338.
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