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Avastera: Bigger and better things

Perth band Avastera have been around only ten months but the young band have a lot to show for the short time they’ve spent in the spotlight, having found scores of fans across the world with their unique, “melodic-metal” sound. After rolling out their debut EP The Clocks Have Ticked Too Long, the boys found themselves opening for some pretty massive bands like Silverstein, Cartel, and The Getaway Plan. And it won’t be long before we see them headlining their own shows.

The band were in Singapore on their last leg of a south-east Asian tour which saw them playing alongside their heroes Mayday Parade at Manila’s Bazooka Rocks festival, and a show at the Laundry Bar in KL. We have a chat to guitarist Chris Hanssen before the band step on stage at Home Club.

Tell us about your time at Bazooka Rocks! Did you have fun?
Yes definitely! I think Bazooka Rocks was the biggest fun. We’d performed with a few international bands before, but Bazooka Rocks was amazing. Our drummer Jamie is a bit of a fangirl of Mayday Parade, so that was probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened to him. It’s crazy to see how they’re exactly like us. I remember we stayed up until 1am once, talking about the American tax system with them! We got along with all the bands at Bazooka and you can have the most awesome conversations with them. And that’s cool because it shows that they’re just really down to earth people.

Do you have any new favourite bands from your time touring the region?
I really liked the support acts, Penguin in particular were really good, really tight. And committed too!

How does the reception you get overseas differ from Perth?
It’s a huge difference.  Those kids in Manila especially, I can’t even describe it. They were singing along to all the songs, waving. Unless you’re a really big band and lots of people come down to the show, that doesn’t happen in Australia. These kids, they’d never seen us before and they’d only ever heard us online. There is a real genuine passion there and it really effects us because it makes us feel like we’re not wasting our time.

Do you have any funny fan stories then?
We get lots of notes from fans. And a coffee mug once! That was cool. We also had a fan staying in the hotel opposite from us, and apparently they were spying on us in our hotel rooms. Oh, and the meet and greet at Bazooka Rocks was crazy. We were doing a signing just after our set and these kids were all screaming and the next thing you know, the merch desk is all the way up to our stomachs. The tent we were in actually started bending inwards!

There have been a few incidents, but nothing really weird at all. It’s mind-blowing really. It’s just so nice that these kids are so keen on meeting you and getting a photo, because we don’t think we’re anything that special, really.

Was Asia what you expected it to be?
I don’t know what we expected coming over, the only insight we had was what was going on with the social network pages and what the promoters were feeding through to us. We didn’t really have an exact idea of what it was going to be like but I think whatever expectations we did have were blown away. Manila was just incredible, and the other legs of the tour were amazing as well. Touring Asia in general is cool in itself because there’s so many things in South East Asian countries that you see that you can’t get anywhere else. To be able to tour and see these places is really amazing.

You’ve done so much for such a young band, tell us more about how it all started?
We’ve only been active in public for ten months, but we’ve been together for just over a year. So before we started playing gigs, we kept quiet about who we were and worked hard on the EP. I guess most bands would play shows first then gain a hometown following, but we didn’t want to do that. We recorded a full-blown EP and sent it out to our producer in the States, the whole lot, and that’s how we started off. It’s working so far, I think!

I think so too! Was all of this a conscious decision, recording an EP before getting out there and playing shows?
Yeah it was basically how we planned to launch the band. We’d all been in bands before so we’d all seen what works and what doesn’t work from our past bands’ experiences, and basically when we were discussing how we wanted to launch the band, we all agreed that this was the way to go. It has worked well for us. We don’t have a manager or anything so everything we do has been the five of us doing it. We actually tend to over-think a lot, more than probably what we should, but it’s because we’re conscious of the little things.

What are the plans for the future?
I think we need to see what happens. There are a few things in the works at the moment, one of which is touring again, which we didn’t think would happen so soon. Because the EP did so well for us, we thought we’d release something else. But since we got booked for this tour, we saw how far we can be pushed from doing one city and thought well, maybe we should hold on to this for a while.

Again, we over-think everything and when we get back to Perth, we’ll have to work out what we want to do and how we’re going to achieve that. We don’t want to just be sitting around waiting for something to come our way, we need to keep moving and that’s kind of what we do. We’re definitely not staying put in Perth though, that’s for sure!

By Melissa Yong