I had the chance to catch Aaron Matts of Betraying The Martyrs on their current run with From Sorrow To Serenity and Modern Day Babylon. We talked about the most stressful day of his career, the band’s work on a new record, and his love for Germany!
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It Djents: Hey Aaron, your tour is almost in middle. How does it feel this time, do you wanna go home or are you already afraid that it happens too fast??
Aaron Matts: A bit of both, but I got my girlfriend to be with us for five shows, so it’s ok. The first part was in the UK, and UK sucks for shows, now that we got to Germany we were like ‘Yes, finally!‘
ID: What’s so special about it? And how is it compared to the US, for example?
AM: The fans! They are so loyal and I they don’t forget about the bands they watched. In America they forget the bands so quickly. It’s a big time, just in the way the bands are treated. In Europe you have food, beer and everything you need. In America they give you like five dollars for food a day and that’s it, the fans and the shows are great, but the treatment for musicians is bad.
ID: Most US tours are packed with bands, how stressful is this for you?
AM: Yeah, a little bit. You know, the big bands have a lot more privileges than smaller bands, that’s hard for us sometimes. And it depends on the tour. We are so over it, when you’re not having this higher prestige. Basically you play a one-hour show and the rest is 23 hours of whatever you do. If the other bands are cool it’s a lot of fun, if not it definitely sucks!
ID: You just played your hometown Paris as well. How different is this from a ‘normal’ day on tour?
AM: It’s stressful actually, because French people can be judgemental and they always expect the best from you. It was a crazy day, the bus broke down and we were supposed to arrive at 9am. Well, we arrived there at 8:10 and had to play at 8:30pm. We ran from the van, put our gear out by ourselves, drove by ourselves and it was chaotic. Even two minutes later and we wouldn’t have made it in time, it was like in a movie, very crazy. But it was a good show, but so stressful to have not had the needed preparation.
ID: That indeed sounds stressful! Did you ever miss a show?
AM: Fuck me, yeah I missed a sold out show in St. Petersburg in Russia. Everyone got there perfectly, but my visa made problems because I am English and I had to go back to England. I got the train back to England, went to the embassy and paid a lot of money for getting it. Mark (our drummer back then) also forgot his cymbals, so he asked me if I could get them with me. I got it and opened the pocket in the front, put my passport in there. I missed the train and was very close to missing my flight. When I finally arrived at the airport everything was fine and in time. I opened the cymbal bag to put out my passport and I put my hand inside, while it came out through a hole on the other side. I lost my passport! It was like a movie, my legs went down and I was screaming ‘Nooooo‘. Somebody called the police and they found my passport like two mins away from my house…on the following day I had to take three flights to get to Belarus. Unfortunately the Russian fans posted stuff on VK.com ‘BTM never come here again‘ and ‘Fuck Aaron Matts‘, but the guys did the show without me, just Victor doing the vocals. That was probably the most stressful moment of my whole entire life ever.
ID: Holy shit! Besides your passport, do you take any essentials with you on tour?
AM: Xbox has been on this tour! We are playing a lot of Mario Kart on the Switch and I like having drinks. But for what I take with me, it’s warm clothes, a nice pillow and earplugs, that’s it.
ID: Do you try to get around if you have the time?
AM: It really depends how much time we have in the day. Like now it’s nothing really to see, if there’s a chance we are trying, sure.
ID: Beside the shows in Germany, are there any special places for you?
AM: Yeah, but not as much as Germany, haha! Germany is always good. Going back to America is always fun as well, but it gets a bit boring after one week.
ID: Do you think that the German fans are so passionate and loyal because of Impericon?
AM: Yeah, I do! Do you think so too? They play a huge part. If the people see that a band is on Impericon they start listening to them. It’s like a quality trademark.
ID: It definitely is, and has a lot of power in the German scene! Tell me about how you picked your supports for this tour!
AM: I’ve already done a song with From Sorrow To Serenity and we needed a band from the UK for the shows over there. And Modern Day Babylon because they are pretty diverse, and it was our drummers choice I think.
ID: Does it feel strange to have an instrumental band playing before you? Do you even see it as a profitable situation for your show?
AM: Yeah, maybe a little bit, because it gets more calm. A profit? Mhm, I get it so: it always takes a moment to get crazy again, maybe we benefit from the change of atmosphere.
ID: Just imagine you could pick two bands to tour with. Which would they be?
AM: Just mine and metal bands? Traitors! I love that band. We played with them in Dresden, it was so heavy. And maybe AngelMaker, we toured with them in the States and it was so nice having them. Good guys to be with it!
ID: Besides metal, what music are you into?
AM: I like hip hop music. The cliché stuff: I like Suicide Boys and Pouyah, also that kind of underground stuff. I listen to hip hop before I go to stage.
ID: Does it relax you?
AM: *laughs* It makes me feel so swaggy when I go on stage, haha.
ID Tell me: how does it feel when getting on stage? Is there a switch in your mind that changes?
AM: It really depends. If it’s a quieter show and you’re not feeling in the mood, it’s like a robot mode, automatic. I like to go and watch the bands a little bit to be involved in the vibe of the room and people. But it really depends, every show is different. I like to look in everyone’s eyes to see how they are feeling, and if I have to tell a joke or not. It depends on the people!
ID: Do you have a favourite song on your current setlist? And is there a song you don’t enjoy playing?
AM: “Unregistered“, because it’s heavy as fuck and it’s got that one breakdown. On the opposite, maybe “Man Made Disaster“. I enjoy it, but we played it from my day one, like maybe a thousand times. I still enjoy playing it, but not as much as the new songs.
ID: It was also the very first song I heard of you guys! Your new record The Resilient has been out for a bit more than a year now. How are your plans on new material?
AM: We are going to a farm in France where there’s a studio inside right after this tour. We already spent one week over there working on some ideas, and we will get two more weeks there for writing the record.
ID: So what is it going to be? Heavier?
AM: Yes, I would say heavier. We tried to think about what to do, and we just started to see what is coming out and it got pretty heavy!
ID: So do you already have a date in mind for your new record?
AM: I don’t know! Before the end of the year, hopefully. It would be nice to release it two years after the other one, no later. If we finish it by winter that would be cool!
ID: Is there anything you like most about the music of Betraying The Martyrs?
AM: It’s unique in the way that it’s going, with all the piano and electronic stuff. But it’s not immature; beside that “Let It Go“ cover, we take it very serious.
ID: Tell me about the cover. Who had the idea?
AM: It was our record label! They suggested it, but we said no. We tried it out then, and it indeed sounded good. We did the music video and it really worked.
ID: Would you do something like this again? If you could choose one song to interpretate in the style of Betraying The Martyrs, which one would this be?
AM: We would do a cover again, but nothing like a funny or fairytale-y thing as this one. Thats’ a hard question, I don’t know. Maybe “Déjà-Vu“ by Eminem. I love that, every Eminem song!
ID: So would you even rap on it, or stick to screaming?
AM: Maybe a bit of both man, I try anything!
ID: Thank you for your time Aaron! Is there anything you would like to add?
AM: I’m not kissing your guys asses, but we fucking love Germany. We love the German people, the shows are great and my girlfriend is German. We love it here!
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