By Robyn Morrison
New Zealand’s Antagonist A.D. are gearing up to release their fourth album, Haunt Me As I Roam. Not only is the album one of their strongest to date, it’s littered with guest appearances. It’s a positive indication that the band not only has the support of their fans but their peers as well.
Vocalist Sam Crocker gave us the lowdown on Haunt Me As I Roam, how those guest appearances became part of the album and what 2015 has in store for the band.
“We’ve spent the last year writing,” explains Crocker. “We did one tour with Buried in Verona last year and in January, we were away with The Amity Affliction and we also did Unify [A Heavy Music Gathering]. We did a world tour the year before last and as we finished that, we started getting into the new album.”
Turning the focus to that new album, Crocker agrees that their intensive touring has played a major factor into the end result of Haunt Me As I Roam. “We did a world tour and that totally changed our minds on the whole deal of heavy music. Because we toured with such a range of bands, playing the same set for four months. All through that we were playing to hardcore kids everywhere and we really played with every aspect of our genre. It changed our whole deal of songwriting. We expanded that and started picking apart our songs. It gave us a really good view.”
If you’re familiar with the past works of Antagonist A.D., you’ll be familiar with their lyrics and the emotion that drives their music. “The new album is more personal than the albums of the past.” “When we’re playing this live I’m going to have to live through a bunch of things every night,” he says, anticipating the live shows for the new album. “The music is empowering and it motivates me. It’s like a new set every night. It takes me to this other place, and you become addicted to this other place. I never have to fake any emotion. As soon as you get to the point where you’re trying to impress, you’re trying to perform and pretend that you’re having a good time, it’s time to call it a day.”
Haunt Me As I Roam began for Crocker when he was out on the road. “A bunch of stuff really hit me. A friend of mine committed suicide a few years ago now, but for some reason it really hit me when I was away. All I could think about was how horrible it was that for that person, that was the only way out. He had all these people around him that cared but that was the only way out. For me to try and deal with that because it was crippling, I kept on writing.”
This lead to some of the most revealing lyrics that Crocker has written, and as he explained, it wasn’t an easy project for him to be involved with. However, he does see it as a cathartic experience and a way to face his demons. “I tried to write it out of my system, at least the negative thoughts; that weight of how he would have been feeling. It was a rough personal year,” Crocker continues to explain. “I cam out of a relationship of about seven years as well and that influenced things a lot. I guess this is an album of love lost and trying to carry this weight as you live your life. It’s about trying to look on the bright side and being positive to those around you because you don’t realise how your actions can affect people. It’s a very heavy album for me, lyrically.”
The guests featured on Haunt Me As I Roam include Ahren Stringer (The Amity Affliction), Andrew Neufeld (Comeback Kid), JJ Peters (Deez Nuts) and Sam Carter (Architects). Crocker explains how they came to be involved. “When we were going through the songs, like Dogs Blood, we thought someone like JJ [Peters] would really suit the song. It wasn’t like it was written for him from the start but as soon as it clicked into place when we were putting the song together, it was like: ‘JJ needs to be on that verse’. He wrote his own lyrics, saw what I had written and it suited it perfectly.
“With Ahren (Stringer), we had some lyrics written but he changed the placement a little bit,” continues Crocker. “He added and took it to a new level. Again, it wasn’t really written for him in mind but he took it and made it his own. With Sam Carter, I’d done a similar part on the record and thought: ‘Sam’s going to smoke this’. So he came in and stole the show,” he laughs. “Andrew Neufeld took his part and we let him run with it. You could almost say Wanderlust was half written with him in mind.”
Haunt Me As I Roam is released on 27 March 2015 via UNFD.
Antagonist A.D. will join Deez Nuts on their Word Is Bond tour this June with Relentless and Earth Caller.
THURSDAY 4 JUNE – The Brightside, Brisbane 18+ – http://bit.ly/1Gs9k3t
FRIDAY 5 JUNE – The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney 18+ –
SATUDAY 6 JUNE – Red Rattler, Sydney AA – http://bit.ly/1Gs9k3t
SUNDAY 7 JUNE – Magpies, Canberra Lic/AA – http://bit.ly/1Gs9k3t
TUESDAY 9 JUNE – HQ, Perth AA – http://bit.ly/1Gs9k3t
WEDNESDA 10 JUNE – Amplifier Bar, Perth 18+ – http://bit.ly/1Gs9k3t
THURSDAY 11 JUNE – Fowlers Live, Adelaide LIC/AA – http://bit.ly/1Gs9k3t and http://bit.ly/1H4qCXE
FRIDAY 12 JUNE – Arrows, Melbourne AA – http://bit.ly/1Gs9k3t
SATURDAY 13 JUNE – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne 18+ – http://bit.ly/1xA9oZL