Saturday, January 6, 2018

catching up with A Flourishing Scourge

The Seattle progressive extreme metal band A Flourishing Scourge in 2017 released its self-titled critically-acclaimed debut album. Recently the band has made some interesting announcements online and this publication wanted the band to elaborate on these latest developments. Thankfully, the band was gracious in its responses explaining where the band is headed in the future. Thanks, AFS, for taking the time to answer. Kevin (bass) and Tye (guitars, vocals) responded. Let’s get to it!
A Flourishing Scourge announced a partnership with Distilled Entertainment. What exactly does “artist management and booking agent” mean? What does your band need help with, in terms of functioning as a band in the music business, in your opinion?
(Tye) It connects us to a bigger pool of show and tour possibilities since Distilled works with a number of bands and tour promoters all over the world. Distilled also has good connections and advice on things like merch and online album circulation, avenues that most indy bands aren’t dialed into yet. Probably the biggest thing we wanted help with was getting involved in some tours or festivals. Planning and executing everything for a DIY tour is painful, ask Kevin, he had to plan most of it.
(Kevin) Yes, tour planning sucks. We’ve gotten a fairly broad set of contacts for venues at this point, so booking the show isn’t much of an issue, but bringing on local support and the general synching of schedules and resources is a galactic pain in the ass.
Do you find that you do not have the time to write music and take care of the business side of being a band? How difficult is it to be a musician and a businessperson at the same time?
(Tye) We all have pretty busy lives on top of the normal band duties of writing, practicing, and playing, so all the additional band stuff does become difficult. And when you have to do it all yourselves, it can start to eat into the time and energy needed to focus on solely the music.
(Kevin) We’ve really released music and toured on the strength of an original set of 12 songs that were mostly completed by 2015. We took those songs and released them via our first demo EP and the 2017 full-length debut, the self-titled “A Flourishing Scourge”. The time it has taken to get the band established and bring those songs to the world has really taken all of the time we’d typically spend working on new material, so we’re hoping that bringing on a management/booking team will afford us the opportunity to get back to what we love, which is the creation of new material, and then performing it for our fans.
In 2017 AFS released an album and received great, positive press. How you would describe 2017 for the band? Was it an exhausting year?
(Tye) 2017 was a little mixed, we had just come off a pretty long year of recording, playing, and touring, so this year started off a little slower and we definitely took a breather this summer after releasing the album. We did a few shows and a short tour this fall but now we're trying to refocus efforts toward writing.
(Kevin) 2017 was great in that we finally got the album out and, as you mentioned, the response was wonderful. We have been included on multiple “Best of 2017” lists from all across the world and we’ve definitely noticed the impacts on our live shows. So, 2017 was more business than music, but the results have been very gratifying, and we’re really looking to ride that momentum into the New Year.
Did you say that you are working on a new album? So, how many songs do you have at this point for a new album?
(Tye) We're still in the early stages of writing new material. There are some ideas coming together and a conceptual theme for the album that is forming but there's not much concrete yet at this point. We definitely will be focusing a lot of our efforts in 2018 on writing and preparing for another release.
What is the main practical problem for AFS for putting out new music? Is it the question of paying for the recording?
(Tye) Well the recording process isn't cheap, that's for sure. We could definitely record an album cheaper than we did last time, but it was a pretty awesome experience flying to New York to do it. So, I guess money is one big practical problem depending on how we want to record next time. Also, just writing and learning that much new material takes time.
(Kevin) Yeah, the real limiting factor is simply available time. The album was released over the summer, and the fall was spent doing PR and some sporadic touring. Now that we’re past that, we can focus that energy on creating new stuff. We’ve never written collectively before, so that has taken a bit of planning to figure out but, rest assured, we’ve a solid plan already in motion.
AFS mentioned tour dates in Europe in 2018. What can you tell us at this point? What type of reception and requests for shows has AFS received from Europe?
(Kevin) I think playing in Europe has always been the long-term objective. In a small niche market like extreme metal, you’re simply not going to make enough money to sustain yourselves, so we’re just trying to find a balance between the creative process and playing shows. We all have day jobs, so the possibility of touring 300 days a year isn’t an option. We, essentially, have to plan our touring around vacation days, which are always in short supply. The best way to meet all of our goals would be to work our way into the European festival scene. First, the audience for metal in Europe is significantly larger, and we can play 2 or 3 festival shows in as many days and play for audiences that are orders of magnitude larger than we would see in weeks of touring in the U.S. The fact that we can parlay those shows with destinations where we want to travel, allows us to get the most out of those sparse vacation days.
The reach of social media and streaming services has really helped us take root overseas. I also had the opportunity to travel to Norway over the summer and met some great people who are intimately acquainted with the scene over there, and we’ve been developing that network to support future adventures.
Is the question of paying for the flights and hotel rooms and all those money issues something that AFS needs to figure out in order to get over to Europe?
(Kevin) It depends. Obviously, if we were to go over to Europe on a DIY tour, we’d have to consider airfare, lodging, transportation, equipment rental, etc. That adds up pretty quickly but, again, if we could turn it into a vacation/tour and offset some of the cost with door and merch sales, it’s less impactful and we’d write it off to opportunity cost.
However, should we get into the festival circuit, the festival actually pays for the airfare and equipment rental, so the numbers change dramatically in our favor, especially if you consider the differential in the size of audiences that you’re getting to perform in front of.
Does AFS have a permanent drummer at this point? The main people in the band have been Andrew, Kevin and Tye, but you did not have a permanent drummer for a while, right?
(Kevin) Andrew, Tye and I took the full-length material into the studio while the drummer situation was still in limbo, ultimately deciding to hire Decrepit Birth’s Samus Paulicelli as a session drummer, which worked out great. Since then, we’ve worked with Portland-based drummer Elijah Losch, who has served as our live drummer for the past two years.
As we’re taking a break from live shows to we write new material, and we typically program the drums as we demo new song ideas, we don’t really have a need for a drummer until it’s time to return to the studio or hit the road again. Those decisions are still months away, so we’ll address them as they come. The good news is that everyone’s always looking for work, with most players working with several projects to help make ends meet. We’ve also developed quite a list of friends and contacts across the globe, so we feel confident that we’ll be able to find the right person when the time comes, whether that’s a full-time member that contributes creatively, or a session/live drummer to work specific recording projects or live shows.
You recently played shows in the West Coast, right? How did that go? Did you sell a few shirts? I hope you did not lose too much money! Is AFS starting to have a little fan base in California?
(Kevin) Actually yes, it was great. We’d toured the West Coast in 2016, before the album came out, and were received well. Based on the success of those shows, and the demand created by the album, we were asked back, and played a handful of shows in November. The impact of the album was obvious, and most of our shows were at capacity. We’re not making any money, but we’ve been able to offset a lot of the cost of touring with ticket sales and merch, which makes the whole process a lot more pleasant. We’re not in this business to get rich or famous, but it is nice to finally approach breaking even.
Do you dare to put in writing that you expect to have a new album released in 2019?!
(Kevin) Hell, No! But only because we’re not sure if a full album is the way to go these days, so we’re also exploring some other options to include EPs and/or long-form singles. I definitely won’t commit to an album in 2019, but you’ll definitely see and hear some new AFS stuff (hopefully) before the end of the year.
What else would you like to tell us?
(Kevin) Our new website is up, check it out [see below].
As always, we appreciate your support of local metal. Happy New Year to you and your readers, and thanks for making 2017 a year to remember. Cheers!

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