Old rona may be hanging around like a party guest who’s overstayed their welcome, but …
Stomping straight out of Sydney, Avalon’s Peak are here to provide hope with their latest heavy-hitter, Levitate.
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It’s a relatable one, heavily inspired by their own mental health struggles, and it’ll undoubtedly pierce the hearts of heavy music fans all over the country. We caught up with Rodney Lewis (vocals), Sebastian John Weir (drums/backing vocals) and Steven Alexander Kyriakidis (guitar/backing vocals) to chat all about it.
Hysteria: How’d the band come together?
Sebastian: It all started at uni. We all went to the Australian Institute of Music (AIM). Steven, Ricky (Worland, guitar), and I got a bassist. And we were looking for a singer but just couldn’t find the right voice for us. Eventually, this keyboardist we had, he’s not in the band anymore, posted our demo on Facebook. He said we were looking for a vocalist, and that’s how we met Rodney.
Rodney: It was weird, but it worked (laughs).
You can really find anything on Facebook, hey?
Band: Yep (laughs).
Sebastian: We did go through uni first. We had auditions, and everyone could sing, but they were good at R&B, hip-hop, soul or smooth jazz. There weren’t many rock vocalists, and that’s what we needed.
Steve: We had a rapper audition. That’s how crazy it got.
Sebastian: We almost became Linkin Park (laughs). We could’ve easily gone down that route, but we’re glad we found Rodney. We knew he was the one from the first day we met. We recorded a demo immediately.
Your new single Levitate is a personal one. Tell us about what inspired it.
Rodney: We all draw inspiration from stories about overcoming adversity and your inner demons. One of our major influences is Killswitch Engage. Their messages are uplifting, whilst remaining heavy and dark. That’s something we all connect with. We moved in a new direction with Levitate. We were doing these pop-rock radio songs, but we wanted to bring our heavy side out whilst also being cinematic and uplifting.
Sebastian: Levitate is a song about overcoming your struggles and just getting through them. It was important for us to talk about that. Everyone goes through those times.
Steve: Our genre change just felt right. It fits well. We had tunnel vision on what we thought we had to do, but we were so wrong. We realised this sound is what we find fun, so we wanted to use this song as our transition.
Sebastian: We may have played it a little safe in the past. But we knew our influences were in metal, so we wanted to focus on that.
Levitate is a song about overcoming your struggles and just getting through them. It was important for us to talk about that. Everyone goes through those times.
[ Sebastian, Avalon’s Peak. ]
Rodney: We wanted to write what we love.
Sebastian: Exactly. This song is a homage to our new direction. It’s not radio rock or a three-minute get-in-and-get-out thing. It’s got soft parts, lots of heavy parts, fun parts and breakdowns. It’s a whole journey.
Rodney: Everyone’s having a tough time due to COVID, and with their mental health. No one in the band’s exempt from that. But we realised that we’re getting through the tough times. We’re writing music, and we’re still going. We’ve all had our demons. Some are tougher than others, but we just have to keep pushing through.
Sebastian: We also wanted to challenge ourselves and write harder stuff.
Rodney: We wanted to show we’re more than just radio rock.
It’s really such a strong message in these current times.
Rodney: Music is meant to be your message to the world. We could easily write about how terrible everything is, but there’s enough of that in the world (laughs).
Sebastian: We try to end on a positive note. Yes, there are shit moments in life, but things will get better. We won’t give up, and we’ll keep fighting. I do like heavy songs that are like: I don’t know if I’ll make it out alive. Those are heavy things to say, but we’re definitely trying to go in the uplifting direction instead.
Rodney: Lyrically, our goal was for our verses to dictate how bad things can get. The melodies and choruses move away from that, leaving that light on at the end of the tunnel.
How’d you feel putting this track together compared to some of your older releases?
Sebastian: We were more collaborative. In the past, one band member has come to the table with a song, and we’ll give it minor tweaks. We all had input this time. Pretty much all our conversations were about how we could make something heavier and more technical. It’s fair to say that the song started with Steve. He had the idea, but there was so much to layer on. We were just in a room, jamming and wondering how we could take things up a notch.
Rodney: When you only have a main songwriter, you’re not hearing all these new ideas and taking on different influences.
Sebastian: This new approach stopped things from being stale. If you’re one person writing every song, it’s easy for that to happen. Having everyone add something new made things feel fresh, difficult considering Levitate is a six-minute song (laughs).
You’ve touched on it, but we’d love to know a little more about who your biggest influences are.
Steve: Starset, Breaking Benjamin and Alter Bridge are big ones for me. The Raven Age too.
Sebastian: Polaris too. Since the start of COVID, I got a lot more into them.
Rodney: The latest Parkway Drive album too, even though the reviews were mixed. We love those cinematic and symphonic sounds.
Sebastian: Avenged Sevenfold too. They do a lot of five-six minute songs and cinematic elements. Oh, and Bring Me The Horizon, especially with their latest EP.
Rodney: Do I dare say Nickleback? (all laugh)
Steve: I won’t lie. They’ve inspired a few elements of our sound—even our older stuff.
What’s in store for the band?
Steve: More singles for sure. We have a bunch lined up. We’re getting heavier, more emotional, more melodic and more cinematic. We’re bringing out our new direction and want to show everyone who we are.
Rodney: We’re more confident with our writing now. That’s why we’re hyping things up, we love our new singles, and we’re keen to put them out.
FOR FANS OF: Killswitch Engage, Alter Bridge, Breaking Benjamin
Levitate is Out Now on all major distribution platforms via https://lnk.to/APLevitate