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Jen chats with Chris Hanssen from Avastera about their Australian tour kicking off this weekend!

AVASTERA are a unique and diverse band from Australia who have quickly landed distinct accomplishments & success very early on in their career, due to their well-crafted sound and consistent drive to take things to the next level. Following the release of their debut-single ‘December Sun’ in March 2012, it wasn’t long until the band found themselves flying out of their hometown of Perth, Australia and performing an arena show overseas together with MTV star; Taylor Momsen & The Pretty Reckless, Mayday Parade, Marianas Trench, A Skylit Drive and Forever The Sickest Kids – all on their first tour.

Perth’s AVASTERA are about to bring their interesting yet catchy blend of Alternative Rock, Pop-Punk, Melodic Prog Metal, Contemporary Pop out on the road for their Australian tour hitting: Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Wollongong, Sydney. You buy tickets at the door. Check out their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/avasteramusic for details.

Chris said “We are really excited to see what and Australian crowd can bring, this will be the first time we will be experiencing crowds outside our home town, it is going to be great. So definitely come down and we have a few surprises for you and we have some big plans so. We really want this tour to go out with a bang and the best thing about touring is meeting all the fans, for anyone that comes out for the shows we will hang out and have a chat. It is one of the coolest things that a band can do.”

Read the rest of the interview here.

I caught up with Chris to talk about their Background, their EP and tour. This band has seemed to do things in an unusual order! Read on and find out what I mean. 

Hi Chris, how are you going?
Good thanks, how are you?
Not too bad! Some background questions for you first.

You guys formed in 2011, are you the cliché band, meeting at high school and starting out from here?
No, actually most of us were in our early 20s when we met up. We never knew each other before this band happened. We did things a bit differently as per usual.

Yes I was about to say that! I am really amused that you toured South East Asia before the rest of your own country, not the way tours usually go! How did the tour come about?
That really surprised us as well. The fact that we have not already our home country yet. The tour that we are doing now is the first time we have toured our country since we became public in 2012. That tour came about by, at the start of 2012 we released a sample of our current EP that is going to be released in March, and then we released a single called called December Sun as well, accompanied by a music video. That single did quite well for us straight off the bat were endorsed by ESP guitars, we got some main support within Perth so we ended up supporting Silverstein and The Getaway Plan. After that somehow we did really well in the Philippines.We ended up getting in touch with one of the promoters there and he had a really big show coming up which had the likes of Mayday Parade, The Pretty Reckless and Marianas Trench and they asked us if we want to play and we weren’t going to turn that down. We did that show and a massive show in Manila and then we had some sideshows in Singapore and Malaysia as well. As a first tour are as well that was absolutely mind blowing and that helped us kickstart our career as well.
That’s funny as a few weeks ago I was interviewing a band called Echosmith and they said that they become really big in the Philippines as well.
Actually I think they just did that same festival there that we did. I think there is an annual thing.
Ah okay that would make sense.

You guys got a lot of press coverage very early one, not just Australian but internationally, how did that feel to have the spot light on you so quickly?
Yeah 2012 was a really exciting year and happened super fast. definitely as soon as we came back from that tour we got a lot of press coverage. Particularly in the UK and Europe we got a lot of coverage over there. We ended up getting featured in a couple of magazines over there. I mean it’s definitely a humbling experience, it is super exciting as well you know just to know that other people in the world know our music. I mean I write the songs in my bedroom and the fact that people all over the world are hearing it is amazing and definitely humbling.It is very exciting to know their name is getting out there to far away places.

You have played with some awesome bands, starting locally with Silverstein, Cartel and The Getaway Plan, can you think about when you were starting out back then….. can you share any funny stories from these shows?
They were all pretty straightforward shows The Getaway Plan was great in 2012 we open for them and then the following year we ended up opening from them for their tour of WA. It was all pretty straightforward stuff. They are all really chilled out guys, really nice guys and pretty quiet as well. Doing their tour with them was great as it really helped us get known in Australia and that was such a big thing that we needed at the time. I can really thank them for that and you know working with them and with their management as well, I have stayed in contact with them and maintained a working relationship and just the networking from there is crazy how it works but it was great.

You played your first international shows performing alongside Mayday Parade, Marianas Trench, A Skylit Drive and Forever The Sickest KidsWas there a particular highlight from this tour you can tell us?
I still think that this show was one of the funnest shows that we played. I think the whole thing itself was just super overwhelming and unreal for us. At that point in time the bands that we will playing with some of our favorite bands. Mayday Parade was our drummer’s favorite band,his all-time favorite band and I was really into Marianas Trench at the time and I was really into their album and listen to it every single day. You kinda get excited about the fact that you are going to play on the same stage as those guys and then it happens and that was unreal. I think for me the highlight was seeing the bands as well. After we played our shows we would watch them sitting on the side of the stage watching the whole set and singing as well just like the guys on the other side of the barrier were and as an artist that is a really cool thing. That was the highlight for me hanging out with those dudes, that after party was awesome. We had the hotel to ourselves, the hospitality over there is absolutely unreal in the Philippines. It was a really good night. We became friends with the guys from Skylit Drive and kept in touch with them.

You then headed to Singapore with Hands Like Houses that you said was one of the most fun shows,(other than the one you already said!) what was it like working with the boys from Hands Like Houses?
Those guys are supercool, it is weird how we ended up working beside them as we first met them in Baltimore when we were recording this EP. We got all access passes to Warped tour and met them there backstage and then we got the Perth show here as part of their tour and we hung out with them. They are really friendly guys to everyone, their fans, their promoters and even the crews working at the show.It was great watching those guys that will just super friendly and so polite and you don’t normally see that from bands, some bands always want their demands and whatnot but this band were the nicest band that web worked with. It was more relaxing for everyone involved. Hopefully we can do something more with them in the future.
You were lucky enough to be decked out in some new threads over there from Dropout Cloth, was that a surprise or just part of the package of going over there?
Yeah that was a surprise we did not know about that. That was really cool, that was super nice, we really appreciated it, like a clothing company from Southeast Asia does that because their economy is not as strong as that Australia economy and all of the times these guys don’t make a lot of money and then they give us clothes for free. It’s a massive thing for a band to get clean clothes on a tour! It’s like getting gold, (laughing) it is most refreshing thing being clean clothes on the whole day. We really appreciated that.They are so welcoming in Southeast Asia they had so much respect for us and made us feel special.

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I love your design of your EP cover. Who designed that?

The guy is called Alex Sheldon who runs a design company called Match & Kerosene I did not know this at the time but I contacted him because he did some art work for The Dangerous Summer that I liked, but I actually found out that he is a guitarist for a band called Search the City from the States,a band that I really liked. Alex does all of our designs, he designed our logo, he designed the cover for our first EP and he has done all of our merch designs.We also have stage banners that he has designed, he is really cool at what he does. we are stoked to be able to keep working with him.

Is your writing process a band effort or more of an individual process?You said before that you write songs in your bedroom.

Yeah I predominately write everything so I always write 90% of the time I write the music first, the only song I have not wrote the music for is for the song ‘December Sun’ , I wrote the lyrics first but apart from that I write all the music first. Which is why people say the music is kinda dizzy and behind the vocals which makes sense. I mean even for our singer, I have the vocal melodies in mind, I would write lyrics that would accommodate the general vibe and feel of the song. like when I get on a tangent or something I get really caught in it and have all these ideas and ways that I have envisioned it to be. I will take that to the band then we will rehearse it and someone might say this section is not working and we could change this, it could be a small change or a big change so we will put some more work into. So I write the skeleton part of it but what you hear on the record is a collaborative effort. There are some songs that we say yep that is cool and we don’t change a thing but there are other songs are quite a number of things change. I think the last song called Vicious Circle on this EP that got changed so many times so that one was a really big collaborative effort.

You were invited by Paul Leavitt to go to Baltimore last year to record this EP, how stocked were you that he did that? His work with ATL is amazing.
The whole experience of going over for the first time was fantastic, and we tried to make the most of our time there. Things were a little bumpy, when we got there we get a call from Paul and he informed us that his son had passed away the day before. oh no!That would have happened while we were flying. So that was obviously a rocky start, what happened was we ended up pushing our recording schedule a week back and up having two weeks not three weeks and a guy called Brian McTannen helped us out as well. So we had the first week off there just doing whatever and the first night we woke up to find that we got robbed, all our laptops and phones and they had stolen our guitars and passports so that was a real bumpy start for us. um yeah!
It was not the best start but eventually after the first week everything picked up like the recording went super smooth, Paul, given the situation that he was in we can’t thank him enough as he just pushed through. I don’t have kids of my own so I don’t know how it feels but I would imagine that that would be the worst thing in the world so the fact that he still picked it up and do the record with us, that is something that is huge in our eyes and something that we are really thankful for. Wow what a trip!

Then Jacob Hansen in Denmark mixed and mastered the EP, how was that experience? Did he just work on it on his own or were you emailing back and forth with the sounds?
Yes it was all done by email, we that they have the record come back to Australia here for a bit to do some touchups guitar leads and solos and stuff, we do that with a guy called Mark McEwen for Underground Studios in Perth and that was all sweet so it was ready to be sent off to Denmark and yeah it was all done by email but with Jacob there was very little that we had to change, also it’s really hard to do when you’re not there because you have to describe everything in an email. Jacob was really cool to work with, he went out of his way to do more than what was required, I was blown away with his work.

Is there one track that is of more of significance to you? I think ‘Breathing Hope’ is the one I can relate to the most, followed closely by ‘Reflections’.

I think Breathing Hope was, that was like the signatory track of the record, that song I’m really proud of the structure and the way came out with the lyrics and everything. feels good when everything comes out right. Everything I write about lyrics wise is all real, they are all things that has happened to me or is happening at the time. For to me at a lot easier to write about, I think that if something that means something directly to you, you generally write something better. Even though I write something that has happened to me obviously these situations can happen to everybody, so other people can connect and give them an important insight. It happens to me if I hear something that I really connect to I can see an insight into music and to other people’s lives, that’s when you can really develop as strong connection to someone’s music.

Was ‘Breathing Hope’ always going to be the title track? Or was that decided after it was recorded?
No we did all the songs first but we didn’t have a title for the record and I think the reason we did call it Breathing Hope is because of all the things that have happened during the recording process and before that as well, like we had to get rid of our old singer and our original drummer Jamie but we still keep in touch with him, that was really hard because he was like a brother to us. There were so many things happening and we just had to push through that. there were so many things that could stopped that record from happening, so I breathed hope into everything but we did and that is why the record happened because we all remain positive when we pushed through and that’s how everything came together. I guess that is why we call it that and I was also and name of a song on the record. Your Australian ‘Breathing Hope’ tour has After The Curfew, Atlantis Awaits, Portraits Of August and The Heroines supporting you, is this for the whole tour? No that is just Melbourne, Atlantis Awaits are doing three shows with us but predominantly there’s not one band that is doing the whole tour with us. We at having local bands at each lineup in each city which is cool.
I will try and come down on Sunday to see you at Wrangler Studios, I love seeing bands there. I am a After the Curfew fan. You would not of seen that Venue but it is a great one, a small one but a great one.
We have not seen any of the venues, our friends in bands are often raving about these venues and we have not seen them! So keen to check them out. Super keen for that! What can fans expect from your shows? Any messages for them that I can pass on? We are really excited to see what and Australian crowd can bring, this will be the first time we will be experiencing crowds outside our home town, it is going to be great. So definitely come down and we have a few surprises for you and we have some big plans so. We really want this tour to go out with a bang and the best thing about touring is meeting all the fans, for anyone that comes out for the shows we will hang out and have a chat. It is one of the coolest things that a band can do.
So I shall meet you on Sunday!
That would be fantastic.Thanks for your time Chris and I wish you well for your tour!
Thanks Jen.

tourposter

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