Arin Ilejay and M. Shadows sat down with the South China Morning Post to talk about being able to play Mainland China for the first time, the fans in Korea being some of the craziest they’ve played for, regulations they faced at venues on the Asian tour, the ‘first’ they encountered in Hong Kong and more.
Instead of heaving, feverish crowds hungry for heavy metal, the band were shocked to be met with Chinese audiences sitting on neat rows of plastic chairs, looking like they’d been asked to behave. “There were regulations,” says Matt Sanders, the frontman of Avenged Sevenfold (A7X) who arrived for a show in Hong Kong on Tuesday as part of their 2015 Asia Tour. “The organisers put a bunch of seats in and people had to be in the [designated] area. That’s not something we’re used to.” Organizers also banned the band from throwing their guitar picks into the audience for fans who poured into Beijing’s Huiyuan Space on last week, and asked told them not to play certain songs.
Sanders, who goes by the stage name M. Shadows, said the five-member band took the Beijing gig in stride. “That was more like a test for us, like, [let’s] just stay focused and play a very uncomfortable show.
“But the reality is we met a lot of the fans after, and did meet and greets and they’re all great people – they wanna enjoy it. I just think it’s a little too new there,” he said. “We think it’s not anyone’s fault … and we would rather go there and have them experience some American rock and roll. We’re cool with abiding by the rules – it’s their country.”
Connecting with fans in China is a slightly more challenging proposition, says Sanders, given the restrictions on what can be accessed online. The Deathbat video game, which has A7X on the soundtrack, is unavailable in the country.”[To crack the market] we have to think outside the box. First you have to get on their social media networks and you’ve got to have someone over there who’s continually translating stuff, letting them know that we care,” Sanders said. “We need to find a way to get into that market and let our music be heard by the Chinese fans. It’s definitely a challenge,” he added.