Thursday 26 July 2012

As Cities Burn // Interview & Live Review

As Cities Burn is back on the road, and it may be for the very last time. After breaking up back in 2009 fans were pleased to hear that the Louisiana band were re-forming and making it to UK shores. 

Est.1987 took the opportunity to catch up with the four-piece at The Well in Leeds. To see what they had to say about reforming, hating the hardcore scene and the candle burning out click below...

You guys broke up in 2009 and had a 2 year break; how was that first rehearsal coming back to As Cities Burn? Did you fall naturally back in to it?
AARON [Lunsford, drums]- No, it was really bad!
CODY [Bonnette, lead vocals]- When we came back we started to play the first CD that we ever wrote on 2005 so it had been six years since we had played those songs and it kinda sucked at first but y’know if you practice anything you get better at it.

Why did you decide that it was the right time to get back together?
CODY- Well, someone came up and asked us if we would do it for this amount of money and we are kind of scattered all about, so it takes a lot to get us to fly to meet together and then fly out.

As Cities Burn
Do any of the past experiences or things that happened in the band previously change how you do things now?
CODY- Well one difference now is that we don’t have a van and trailer. We either borrow gear or just take a truck and put stuff in the back and drive. We don’t do it full time like we used to.
CHRIS [Lott, guitar]- So, it’s like the way you operate when you’ve been a band for a month and a half, that’s kind of how we’re doing it now [laughing].

And when you first reformed you went back to playing old school As Cities Burn songs and played your first album in its entirety; why did you decide to do that and was it fun?
CODY- It was very cool. I guess the guy who said “hey will you get back together and do this show” specifically asked for that line-up because it was a different singer; my older brother was the screamer/hollerer. So, we got back with him just to do the whole first CD.
AARON- Then it just kind of snowballed and we were getting more show offers and we liked doing them and were happy to oblige. 

“Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest” your first album came out in 2005 and now we’re in 2012. How have you seen music and the scene change since that release?
CODY- I haven’t really seen it change that much with the hardcore scene; I’m still tired of it as I was then.
AARON- It seems like it hasn’t progressed that much, right?
COLIN [Kimble, bass]- I think it’s changed in the sense that I don’t like it anymore [laughing]
CHRIS- The old bands have been replaced with new bands that sound the same.
CODY- They sound like a generic, processed version of what it was ten years ago.
AARON- I think there was golden age, 2001-2006 where everything was kind of awesome; Norma Jean, Beloved, all those bands. And the second wave, whatever those bands produced, just seemed to be weird,
CHRIS- I don’t really keep up with the hardcore scene that much, I’m more into rock and roll indie music, which is where As Cities Burn progressed to later on.
CODY- It seems like we were never in that scene as fully as we wanted to be, we were always caught in limbo

So what can we expect from this UK tour?
CODY- It’s the second line-up, not the first CD, so it’s a mixture of “Come Now Sleep” and “Hell or High Water” our second and third CDs.

And are you enjoying being over in the UK? I read your blog; sounds like you’re having fun.
CODY- Oh yeah, we’re loving the sights and everything. The shows, I would say are okay; they’re not bad, they’re not great, they’re small and we’re having fun playing them.

As Cities Burn on stage at The Well

In terms of who’s at the shows; are you seeing old As Cities Burns fans?
CODY- Yeah, but there’s also a handful of people every night that have never seen us play and have always wanted to; that’s very cool to me.

Looking towards the future; will you make a new record?
CODY- The candle burns out in London! Well, that’s what we’ve, well I’ve been saying [laughing]

The others will just go on without you [laughing]
CHRIS- Yeah we don’t need Cody; the singer or the main songwriter! [laughing]
CODY- We really don’t know; it’s up in the air. The whole time we were a band we had maybe two opportunities to come to the UK/Europe and it just fell through and that always bummed us out and then we broke up. So now we are re-igniting the flame. This opportunity came up and we didn’t want to pass it up. It’s not like we are trying to re-start the engine and get rolling full time again because it’s not possible, we all live in different places. I think the people that like us here never got a chance to see us so now we’re giving them that chance.

And finally who have you been listening to that you recommend we check out?
CHRIS- Twin Killers that’s the band I was in before I joined back up with ACB. They’re unreal; It sounds like you’re brain if you were sleeping but right before you went to sleep you drank three cups of coffee and took two painkillers.
AARON- I’ve been talking about “Tall Hart”
CODY- “Behold The Brave” too!

And here’s what happened when As Cities Burn took to the stage…

“Multiplying since we started, better than bacteria” laughs As Cities Burn front-man Cody Bonnette” as he describes the crowd here tonight. After a modest opening, with the band merely walking out on to the stage, the audience soon gathers, pulled in by the chords of “This Is It, This Is It” which typifies the bands sound. Now, with a suitable crowd in front of them the Louisiana four-piece elegantly work their way through the set, alternating songs between their second and third offerings. The darker and pained “Petty” with its intricate guitar riffs and progressive finale is pitted alongside the smoother, mellower, but no less engaging “Contact”. 

As Cities Burn front-man Cody Bonnette
As Cities Burn display a spectrum of emotions throughout their songs; melodic tones often distorted and played in a captivating way. Musically schizophrenic, the bands ‘sound’ is hard to pin the band down to genre and style. Rock and roll at heart, it is catchy with an experimental touch. The band compliment heavier thrashing breakdowns with deliciously infectious tones. “’84 Sheepdog” is raw and gritty with complex sounds leading to a guitar breakdown which sees all members moving in- sync. The band admits that even though they were eager to tour over in the UK, once the tour has wrapped so will As Cities Burn. Tonight is an opportunity for fans of the band, some of whom may have never seen them live, to make final memories.

“This one’s for Tuna” announces guitarist Chris (who’s dog, Tuna, an albino Labrador, had to be put to sleep just days earlier) before bursting into “Capo”. As Cities Burn close out with “Pirate Blues” and with most of the audience singing along the bold song, with its pounding drums is an epic end to the show. A simple raw and charming performance; if you can, check As Cities Burns out live for what may be your first and last time.

JULY 26 – STOKE-ON-TRENT, The Sugarmill

JULY 27 – BRIGHTON, The Hydrant

JULY 28 – LONDON, The Fighting Cocks