Musicscan: People who got introduced to your band often are impressed by your “different” and open-minded approach to heavy music. What do you think about statements like these, and what is your approach towards music and being ATTILA?
Attila: I love it! If people go into Attila knowing that we are different, then they end up loving us. Its the people that have a strict vision of what heavy music should be that end up disliking us. I never wanted to be like anyone else, I started this band to be different. We paved our own path and ultimately, this is why we’re successful. It took us a REALLY LONG TIME to gain notoriety, but thats how it works when you’re different. I wouldn’t change a thing. I love the music we make.
Musicscan: From the outside perspective you keep on following your DIY roots and ethics while the circumstances have become professional and commercial: is it hard to stay true to what you come from and to find an arrangement with the industry? What lessons have you learned from being involved with heavy music for more than ten years now?
Attila: It isn’t hard for me to stay true to my roots because we’ve pretty much stuck with the same formula for our entire career! Sure our new music sounds different from our first album but when you really think about it, its the same formula- Really diverse vocal styles, care-free attitude, and super heavy breakdowns. Ofcourse we’ve grown tremendously and I am extremely thankful for our success, but we never had to sacrifice anything or “sell out” along the way. We’ve always had FULL artistic freedom to make whatever music we like. If someone ever told us what to write we would tell them to fuck off. We do what we want and we do what we love. What lessons have I learned? Just be persistent and be yourself. We’ve been making music for 12 years now which is amazing. I’ve seen bands form, become massive, and break up on several occasions while we’ve just kept on pushing. We stayed persistent and guess what? We’re still here!
Musicscan: Growing up, was there anyone that you would look up to and say “Oh I wish I could be like so and so…I wish I was as cool as him?” If not on a famous level, do you remember seeing any local bands when you were younger that you looked up to and that made you start your own band career? And do you feel any responsibility nowadays, knowing that there are a lot of fans looking up to you as – let’s say – their rock heroes?
Attila: I never looked up to any specific individuals growing up, I mainly just looked at fame as a whole and said "wow, that's what I want. I want to be famous for doing something I love." There was this one band from Atlanta though called "Fight Paris" that helped to sort of push me in the direction we went in. They were a super fucking crazy rock and roll band that just sang about sex and drugs and partying and it was the coolest shit I've ever seen. They had an extremely short career but I felt like we had to continue that legacy.
I know there are thousands of people out there that look up to me as their hero and I think that's awesome. I'm very smart and I've always taken chances and done whatever I wanted to do. If more kids could adopt my mindset that would be amazing!
Musicscan: In general: how do you feel about your place within the heavy scene at all as well as in between tradition and gaining new ground to bring forth what the heavy heroes you grew up with did before ATTILA were around? Times and sounds changed a lot since you once started, but you kept on playing your own sound…
Attila: I feel like we occupy a very unique place within the heavy scene. We are still very much heavy and "underground" but we are also very marketable to the masses in our own weird way. We're the band that your parents tell you you're not allowed to listen to and that makes you love us 1000X more!
I think there is definitely a nu-metal revival happening right now so the fact that we play rap-metal music is beneficial to us right now. We've always had the same style so it's not like we planned for this to happen, we just happen to be playing the right music at the right time.
Musicscan: You are around for a longer career already, and built up your career constantly. But nowadays it seems anyone can find a gross picture on the internet and make “20 minutes of noise” and be an underground sensation. Do you consider it cheating or lazy? What do you think of this recent phenomenon and about possibilities for musicians - even in the underground - in general?
Attila: I think the internet has made being a "musician" both harder and easier. Things are harder now because ANYONE can be "in a band" and grow a fanbase on the internet- even if it's just garbage music with a photo slapped on it. The over saturation of bands is very real. It's also made things easier though because real musicians and real bands can gain fans worldwide through the internet and get the recognition they deserve. That sort of thing just wasn't possible 20 years ago.
Musicscan: How do you deal with expectations? Is it easier or harder to come up with new songs nowadays knowing that there are fans worldwide waiting for new tracks, and many people showing interest in what you are doing?
Attila: It definitely puts a lot of pressure on us. We could work our asses off to create an album that we love and if the world doesn't like it we're fucked.... it makes things very nerve wracking but at the end of the day we just have to say "look- People like us because they like us, let's just do what we do best and stick to our niche". We always have to remind ourselves not to overthink things. Our best material comes to us naturally without overthinking. The most rewarding feeling is putting out new music and receiving a good response.
Musicscan: Everyone is always speaking about the so-called difficult third album of a band. Looking back on Guilty Pleasure - was it this difficult to create your second third album? And how did you experience creating Chaos?
Attila: Guilty Pleasure was a difficult album to make and I felt rushed during that process. I also feel like the album didn't get marketed very well. Guilty Pleasure should have been 100x more popular. You live and you learn though. We really did things right with CHAOS. We took our time, we wrote the music in a live setting, we spent 6 straight weeks in the studio, we lived and slept in the studio, we really LIVED this album. It wasn't just something we made, we LIVED Chaos. I think the results will speak for themselves, Chaos will definitely be our biggest album yet.
Musicscan: What exactly does ATTILA sound like from your point of view? Is it any kind of departure to what people might expect from you if you think of reviews and fan reaction. Do you feel “understood” to say so?
Attila: I think Attila sounds like “fun heavy music”. Usually heavy music is extremely dark or extremely driven towards one specific purpose, and I don’t think there are very many heavy bands that are legitimately “fun”. Thats where we come in. I feel like 50% of people understand me and 50% of people don’t understand me AT ALL. Thats why we usually get about half love and half hate. I actually like that aura of mystery, I like the fact that some people don’t get it. We aren’t for everybody.
Musicscan: When you started the work for Chaos – did you know you would create something completely different than you did your previous work? Or was it your decision to just let creativity flow?
Attila: We really didn’t plan to sound like anything specific, we just wanted to let our creativity flow and we wanted a really diverse album. The result is the most diverse and interesting album we’ve ever created! I feel like most CDs nowadays are pretty boring because they all stick to a general theme and that theme gets old after a few tracks. With Chaos, the album is exactly that- CHAOS the entire time, so it really doesn’t give you a chance to doze off and forget about us. We capture your attention the entire time.
Musicscan: Regarding all the influences of ATTILA: how difficult is it to choose between all of them, and are there any styles that you would never consider to include into your songs?
Attila: We have a BROAD range of influences and we are very open minded. I don’t think theres anything we wouldn’t consider. In my eyes, if it sounds good it sounds good!
Musicscan: Where do you guys see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound?
Attila: I think we can expand to massive new heights without abandoning our style. I think the key is to make it a gradual approach rather than just completely diving into a new sound. I also think its possible to have songs on our album that are more radio friendly while also having extremely HEAVY songs on the opposite side of the spectrum. Thats pretty much what we did for Chaos. I wanted to push the limits on both sides of the spectrum.
Musicscan: Are there specific aspects on Chaos that stand out in your mind, or aspects that have an inner meaning to you you would like to share with us? Is there an underlying idea behind the album that can stand for the record as a whole?
Attila: Chaos as a whole is a representation of my life, of attila, of our career, of the current state of the world. Nothing in my life has ever been smooth, nothing has ever been planned. Everything has always been in a state of chaos for me. Thats why this album is called Chaos. The title fits the album lyrically and structurally. The lyrics on this album are a lot more well thought out and I cover a lot of ground and a lot of topics, but it will still be everything people have come to love about Attila.
Musicscan: From being on the road a lot, what is one of the things you've come to realize? I'm sure driving to and from a venue almost every night leaves you ample time to sit and think about things. Do you think it's made you a stronger person at all? It's difficult to maintain friendships with people back home, I'm sure… What's the toughest thing touring taught you?
Attila: Touring has taught me more than 12 years of school did. Theres just a lot of things that you can’t learn in a classroom. I think its definitely made me a stronger and SMARTER person. Touring teaches you who your real friends are, you don’t really have time for “half-friends” when you’re gone most of the year. Touring brought my close friends closer and cut out a ton of other people. I went from having a lot of friends to only a couple good friends. The toughest thing about tour is being away from my family. As I grow older I really start to value my time at home with my family so leaving gets more difficult every time. I would never change things though, the ability to tour the world and travel is something I am very thankful for!