British tabloid The Sun visited M. Shadows in California to talk with the frontman about what Avenged Sevenfold is in 2016, their Capitol Records rooftop performance and the ability to see it in 3D 360, “The Stage,” how the end of the “Hail to the King” era could have been better for the band, their first British tour, headlining Download Festival 2014, British bands that have influenced them, their biggest influences and how they change, current politics, “The Stage” being such a big departure from “Hail to the King,” the most personal tracks on the album, “The Stage” single, changing their production and more. The Sun also gives “The Stage” 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Q: Is The Stage your first concept album?
Matt: Yeah, it’s very conceptual – a lot of the songs touch on science and artificial intelligence, whether that be nanobots or creating a creature of exponential growth that can outlast human evolution to become our God.
And then it goes into space exploration. That’s why we had astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson talk about human beings and where this is all going at the end of the record.
Q: What is the most personal track on the album?
Matt: Fermi Paradox. It says, OK, if there are all these planets then mathematically there has to be life out there. But why hasn’t it come to us?
It doesn’t get into the answers as there are things you could answer it with but it takes it from a human perspective, looking at the stars and wondering what our ancestors did before all this technology.
Before we were looking into our phones all day we were looking up, looking at the stars to figure things out.
So it’s more introspective for me – a little arty on the lyrical side too.
And then there’s Exist. Something I’ve always wanted to do is write music symbolising the Big Bang. So that’s it for the first five minutes – the Big Bang.
Then it moves on to the radiation period. And when the vocals come in, it’s the earth stage with all the acoustic guitars and the woody, organic feel to it. And then there’s Neil at the end wrapping it up.
So those songs are cool and innovative – I love them. And if you can get through 16 minutes, it’s cool!
Q: Having created your own video game, made cameos in Call Of Duty and performed the world’s first virtual reality gig, what’s next?
Matt: We want to change the way people see live shows. We’re working on a production now where you go into a situation where a band doesn’t necessarily have to just stand on a stage and do what they’re doing.
I think Kanye West has been really innovative at his shows doing everything above the audience – it’s thinking outside the box.
We’re trying to do whatever’s best for the fans and the experience.
We don’t want to sit there and say, “Well, we’re a heavy metal band, we’re not Beyonce, we don’t have 85million Twitter followers so we can’t do this”. It’s like no! We can do this. We can innovate just as well as those pop artists.