I Talked To Black Fast About What It’s Like To Be A Middle School Metalhead In St Louis
Black Fast are one of the most exciting bands in the game these days. Aaron Aakin, the band’s charming, fresh-faced frontman was nice enough to sit down with me for a few minutes in St. Vitus before he took the stage to devastate a nearly sold out crowd. Coming right from a guest spot at Sirius XM, the dudes were excited and ready to rip. Chatting with Aakin about his band, youth, and of course Death was a true pleasure.
How the hell are you?
I’m well, how are you doing?
You’ve been on the road for a minute, how are you feeling?
It’s been four days, and I’m feeling pretty good. We’ve been touring off and on since August since the record came out, and we went right up until about Christmas. Then we took a break for a couple of months, and now we are getting shit going again.
Not yet. Hopefully. We have nothing in the works. If not this album then the next.
Are you already planning for the next album?
Not in the business sense, but us as dudes and players we have stuff. Trevor and I live together, and Ross just lives a few blocks away, so we are always tinkering and getting song ideas.
If you’re living in such close proximity how do you not get sick of each other?
Exactly! I started living with Ross when I was 19, and he was not even 21. We worked together too and were together all the time. Then we toured together in bands, and we still haven’t killed each other. So far, so good.
Why do you think you’ve been able to do so much with these people an not kill them?
We want similar things. We are all pretty mellow dudes and pretty like-minded. None of us freak out or have meltdowns. We know what we expect of this and of each other, and we don’t need to talk about it at this point. We’ve been around each other for so long that I wouldn’t have to talk to Ross for ten years, and we would be fine. When you’re around the same dudes for so long that becomes the dynamic.
Well it’s like having a bunch of marriages.
Yeah, maintaining them and stuff. I definitely have to invest more into this than I would have to in a relationship. I can’t say that about marriage because I haven’t been married, but it’s lot of work. Not just being in a band but maintaining relationships. You don’t put effort into trying to stay friends, but getting it together and doing the practices and rehearsals everyone knows that’s the gig. It’s what we like to do. It is work and it isn’t, to some degree.
You’ve done a bunch of cool shit thus far, but what is the goal for the next couple of months?
In the next couple of months we just want to tour. It’s going to be summertime. The record has been out for six months or so, here comes spring and summer, we have to nail it.
One of the things that got me about Black Fast initially is the Death worship – let’s talk about that. What do you love about Death?
Just that they are perfect! There’s really not a lot of bands that are unfuckwithable. There isn’t any blemish on any part of Death’s catalog. Maybe it’s just because Chuck died while still in his prime – maybe he hadn’t peaked yet, who knows. Everything they have done is perfect. They are a pinnacle metal band, and there’s not a whole lot out there who can say that. They are a band who all of us grew up listening to it, we never said, “Let’s sound like Death.” I guess that influence was just kind of there. When we started this band we would just get together in our basement. Trevor would come over and that’s how we would sound. If you listen to our first EP’s that’s just the sound of us jamming for three years before we had music out. I was never a singer; I was just like, “Fuck it, I’ll go for it.” And people thought I sounded like Chuck which blew me away. If people want to say that we are a death worship band that’s fine. Who can complain? Why would I have a problem with that? I could be like, “Fuck no, man we’re original.” Everything has been done, who cares? Death is an awesome band.
Does the fact that everything has been done ever bother you?
Hell no! I’m super stoked about music! I don’t care about that. I think it’s a healthy thing to take note of; you can’t be naive but be yourself – who cares? If you’re yourself then you will be fundamentally different, but being yourself is one of the hardest parts.
I have a theory that you can tell a lot about a person based off of their favorite Death record. What is your favorite Death album?
I guess Symbolic because that was the first one I heard when I was a kid. “Lack Of Comprehension” was I think the first Death song I ever heard, then I heard “Pull the Plug,” and so I got into Leprosy. I heard that shit when I was like 12, and it was like, “Why don’t I know about this band?” It wasn’t like my friends were Death fans. I had older cousins into metal but that was kind of it. It was just like, “Well this band rules!” So I had to get into it on my own. I love it all though. I love Scream Bloody Gore.
What is it like being a middle school metalhead in St Louis?
Well I was in middle school in 2000! Still though, I remember the fist time I heard Master of Puppets. I had an older cousin trying to show me Korn and System of a Down and then he played “The Thing That Should Not Be” and I was like, “Oh yeah! Whatever that is!” Then he played more off Puppets and I was like, “That.” Then I got older and he showed me Slayer, and I thought it was the scariest thing ever. I wondered if those guys were actually evil. He showed me a VHS tape of one of their shows and it was terrifying. It was this intriguing thing that I was drawn to. It was kind of tantalizing because it was a little scary. Then I got older and it became something I kept to myself. I would maybe wear a metal shirt outside of school but I was a quiet guitar player worshiping Sepultura until I got to high school. I kind of kept it to myself. I might have been the only metalhead in my middle school, so by the time I was 17 I was like, “Fuck this I want to start a metal band!” And I eventually got there. I always jut wanted to be in a band and make music and cruise around with a CD and be like, “I made this.” Being able to do that in the early stages was the goal. It was never really more ambitious than that.
Now that you’ve gotten there, how does it feel to live the dream?
I just want to stay on the ride and not think about it to much. I feel like to be doing what we are doing, to do the tours we have done, to have done a record with Erik Rutan, to play shows in Brooklyn. I just want to keep my head down and keep working and not freak myself out. I’m trying not to forget to have a good time doing it and being in the moment?
How do you maintain being in the moment?
Talking to people who come to the shows. Forcing yourself to meet awesome people and to talk to the people who come out. It’s a grind being on the road and mos of the time when you’re loaded in and set up you’re whipped and then you have to play and breakdown and all that shit. It’s part of the grind. I think the biggest thing is to be present and to meet as many people as you can. It’s communicating your art through music.
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