-Interview- Cause Of Affliction (4/18/14)

Cause Of Affliction
From: Wilkes Barre, PA
Sounds like: Hard rock/metal

1. How did the band come together and form? Who thought of the name “Cause Of Affliction” and is there any meaning behind it?

Cause of Affliction was formed in September of 2011 by Bassist Matt Van Fleet and Guitarist Bill Tobin. After several failed attempts in auditioning drummers, Matt decided to ask his close friend Mandy Touch even though she was practically a beginner. Although she didn’t have the most impressive chops, she made up for it in determination and reliability which gained her an official spot in the band. After only a few short months, Matt, Mandy, and Billy wrote 12 songs, but still could not find the right person to fill the vocal position and compliment their unique sound. In February of 2012, CoA was asked to play their first gig. Despite the small setback of still not having a good set of vox, they accepted the gig and played their first show as an instrumental 3-piece. Following their first gig, the trio continued to play out instrumentally in hopes of finding the last piece to their rockin’ puzzle. Finally after over 20 gigs and a dozen auditions, in June of 2012 they found the lungs they were looking for. With the addition of Gary Edrington as their frontman, the beast known as Cause of Affliction was finally in its final and most powerful form. Gary quickly wrote lyrics to the instrumental songs Matt, Mandy and Billy had laid out and they have continued to play out on a regular basis and have been writing new material as a whole since then.
The name Cause of Affliction was thought of by drummer Mandy Touch and is biblical based. Without going into too much detail, it basically means we are all afflicted in some way, shape or form. Whether it is emotional, physical or mental, all of our afflictions have specific causes and we all have our own ways of dealing with and overcoming them.

2. What do you want listeners to take away from the "Freedom Is A Lie" album? How has reception to it been thus far?

As musicians/songwriters, we know our limits. Instead of trying to be the fastest, or the most technical band out there, we stay true to ourselves and don’t follow any trends. As a result of this, we write solid, high-quality material that blends heavy metal, thrash, nu-metal, hard rock, funk, and hardcore. Lyrically, Gary writes a lot about good and bad experiences endured throughout life. Although our lyrics are written on a personal level, our songs can still be interpreted by each individual listener in their own way.
We have gotten great feedback on our album so far. Most fans have told us that they have not taken it out or their CD player yet.

3. How would you describe your music to the average listener?

Our debut album “Freedom is a Lie” is more on the hard rock side, but with the newer material we are writing, we are leaning more towards the heavier, more metal side of the genre spectrum. The most common feedback that we receive is that our sound is very unique and it is hard to think of other bands to compare us to. The few comparasions that we have gotten are Metallica, Pantera, Biohazard, Machine Head, Godsmack, and Korn.

4. What can people expect from your live show? What are your favorite songs to play live?

Energy, and lots of it! We all have a great amount of passion for what we are doing, and our live show really proves that. We are known for our super energetic live shows which include, but are not limited to, lights, fog, mosh pits, band members jumping in the crowd and walking on the bar, sing-a-longs, and of course, a crowd favorite…”The Keg”. The keg is a metal keg that Gary and fans hit with a baseball bat at certain points in our songs. We've always believed that a live show should be just that; a show. People come out to be entertained, not to watch a band rehearse. We make sure to give the crowd 100% of what we have to offer. Of course things happen live, drummers drop sticks, guitarists hit wrong notes; but if you want perfection, listen to the album. Favorite songs to play live? Our new songs Time To Rise and Halo are awesome, in your face songs. Salami gets great reception and the crowd always gives us something back on that one. We do have so many songs now, so it is difficult for us to decide what songs to put in our set-list.

5. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Only three? (laughs) I guess we will say Alice In Chains, Metallica, and Machine Head.

6. Any crazy show stories?

Unfortunately we do not have any crazy stories so far. We have had a few train wrecks and gear issues during live shows, but every band goes through that.

7. What’s your take on the current state of hard rock/metal?

The musicianship and talent out there is unreal. We do not criticize other bands and genres, but try to learn from them as far as stage shows, musicianship and what elements are used to make a band succesful in their respective genre. Every musician/band is different in their own way. We wish that people in America were as supportive of Metal as they are in say Europe, but we do believe hard rock/metal is on the rise again here. Hopefully the “overly sampled and electronic sounding” music phase everyone seems to be going through will start to dwindle down and people will want to go back to good old fashioned raw sounding music that hard rock/metal is known to provide.

8. What’s the current music scene like there in Pennsylvania both locally and state wide?

Our scene locally is starting to pick-up. It was awesome back around 2000-2001 when bands like Breaking Benjamin, Lifer, Strength For A Reason, Cyphilis (Spitcan) had broke through. People were all about original music then. For about 10 years, it went pretty pretty stale and venues/bars were only having cover bands and playing club music. Now there are a good number of great, solid bands in our area such as The Curse of Sorrow, Behind The Grey, Threatpoint, 3 to Breath, Beyond Fallen, Graces Downfall, A Fire With Friends, Sucker, and that’s just to name a few! The big problem our area has is not the lack of talent, but the lack of actual live music venues. If you want to see a show around here with local acts, you have to go to a bar, which limits our fan base to the 21 and over crowd. Although we don’t mind playing in bars, all ages shows are where its at! We want to play to people that are hungry for music and are going out with the main intention of seeing a show. The majority of the bar crowd wants to hear covers and top 40 songs on the jukebox with the main intention of getting their drink on. That’s why we love playing to the under 21 crowd especially. They are there for the music and they give us back the same amount of energy we give them. We believe our scene is starting to slowly come back, but we need venues that are there for the music, not for the bar sales alone. As far as state wide, it is tough everywhere.

9. What’s your take on legal/illegal music downloading?

We feel that legal downloading sites such as iTunes and Amazon are great ideas not only for the artist, but also the listener. A lot of people may only like a handful of songs by a band, so purchasing a particular song works best for that listener. Also, with the advancements in technology with iPods, iPhones, and Smart Phones, legally downloading songs to your device is more convenient for the listener, while still allowing the artist to benefit from song sales and helping them continue to do what they love. We personally believe that illegal downloading has ruined the music industry. Today, bands make very little profit on CD sales as it is and they have to rely solely on merchandising while on tour. There is so much undiscovered talent because most bands cannot continue to self-fund their business. People complain about ticket and merch prices being too high; however, when you aren't making any money off your songs, you need to make a living somehow. Although serious musicians play because they have a passion for what they do, they also need to be able to handle all the hefty expenses it takes to keep the band a float, just like you would in any other business. A lot of people fail to realize that a band is in fact a business and although we play because we love what we do, we also need to make profit to advance to the next level as an artist, and to be successful. Musicians have bills to pay just like any other working class citizen out there. When you steal off the artist, you are not only taking off the artist, but their families as well. How would you feel if 50-75% of your wages were garnished because someone feels it is their right to take what you've earned. It may sound greedy and selfish, but who is going to work for nothing?

10. What’s next for Cause Of Affliction?

Hopefully get out on a tour soon. We continue to play out not only locally in our area, but regionally as well. We are always writing new material, so we will be in the process of recording our 2nd album within a few short months.

11. Any shoutouts?

We would like to thank all our friends, families, the bands we share the stage with and most importantly, the Afflicted Family, for all they have done and continue to do for us! We would not be able to do what we are doing if it was not for all of you. The amount of faith you have in what we are doing and the support you have given us is really just amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!