After nine years as a band, the fire can easily burn out if there's not fun to be had. This isn't the case for Arsonists Get All The Girls, by any means -- like most bands of their ilk, they keep that fire burning by staying out on the road, touring incessantly, and staying connected with their fans. The Santa Cruz, California-based deathcore act has seen various member departures, the death of their founding bassist and eschewed major label support as recently as last year. Going the DIY route for their fourth record, Listen to the Color, may have not been the easiest path for the band to take, but its success was a testament to their fans' support.
"It definitely was challenging to release the record by ourselves, but all of us got together and we basically put our heads together and thought of the best plan and the way to do it," says Sean Richmond, AGATG's vocalist and keyboardist. "Basically, we just saved up our money and recorded it with Zach [Ohren], he's done all of our other records, and we worked over the summer, saved up some money, recorded it, put together the Indiegogo account for the new van [and] that really helped."
The Indiegogo campaign, which raised $10,000 for a new tour vehicle for the band, was the ultimate show of fan base love. There's bound to be some wild fan-driven moments over an almost decade-long existence -- there's a kid who ate a jar of mayonnaise to show his dedication to AGATG, a fan on this current tour cycle who housed and fed the band on their Wyoming stop -- yet it was not one, but two, Indiegogo supporters who each donated $1,000 to the band's campaign that truly shocked Richmond.
"[That got] us back at the point where we really want to be," he says, before joking about the moment the donations rolled in. "At that moment all of us kind of really freaked out -- we fucked each other, we were freaking out while we were fucking each other, " he laughs, "but seriously, those kids rule."
That support has been hard-won, however. Metal bands tend to adhere to trends and dissipate with their demise, but AGATG's specific approach to deathcore, while at times more dissonant and left-field than their peers, has rarely ever wavered. The road life is more unfair to smaller acts such as AGATG, but the rabid nature of their fans more than makes up for the tribulations they face in the field.
"Times get hard, you sleep in a Wal-Mart parking lot, you eat Little Caesar's pizza, [drink] King Cobra 40s, [and] we love it," Richmond explains. "Just coming out here and traveling, meeting our fans and people, people who are just learning about the band, it's probably the best thing I've ever experienced. I wouldn't give it up for a stable home life, a 9-to-5 job."
Grinding it out is all that Richmond and his crew have ever known, and while they may be abandoning their independent approach in favor of label support on their next record, they're just doing what they have to to keep their dream alive -- even if that means more strip mall pizza and nights spent sleeping on strangers' floors.
"Obviously, we're getting older and older, but I don't think any of us will stop playing music," Richmond says. "We're going to try to keep Arsonists going until everyone fuckin' dies."
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