Welcome to week two of The Local Lowdown! Our featured band this week is Phoenix 5 piece epic rock and metal band Absolute Threshold. Although they did not originally hail from the Phoenix area they all now call it their home. The band actually formed in 2009 in the Clifton, Morenci and Safford area but after a few years of playing a local gigs, including the Arizona State Fair in 2012 they realized that if they wanted to get their music heard by the masses they needed to be where the masses were, so they packed their bags that year and moved to Phoenix. With influences that include Breaking Benjamin, Coheed and Cambria, Slipknot and many more, the goal of the band is to ensure that rock and metal music continues to thrive as an art form both locally and nationally. I will confess that prior to their interest in this blog, I had heard very little of AT other than through mutual friends in the scene. But after doing some researching and listening, along with reading their answers I think you will enjoy getting to know more about Gavin (drums), Mat (vocals), Ramon (bass), Chris (guitar), and Jimmy (guitar), so let us get down to learning more about Absolute Threshold!
How did you come together as a band?
It all started with three friends that decided music was more than a hobby, but rather a way of life. We later connected with two great musicians and moved from our hometown of Clifton to Phoenix to pursue our vision. Upon moving we lost our drummer but we met Gavin who solidified our current lineup. We all have the same drive and passion to make this a success.
Everyone name up to 3 influences of yours, and a short “Why”
J: Claudio Sanchez is a big influence from a vocalist/guitarist standpoint. The crazy riffs he can play all whilst singing is pretty unbelievable. I also sing in a higher register like he does so I can relate. Synyster Gates is my biggest inspiration, If it wasn’t for that dude I would not have been so adamant at getting good at guitar. The first time I heard his solo on “Beast and the Harlot” I knew immediately that playing guitar is what I wanted to do with my life. Lastly, Misha Mansoor who is a more recent inspiration. He writes guitar riffs that I cant even fathom creating myself. Hell, even with tablature in front of me I just stare in awe of his work and don’t know where to begin. Not to mention he is highly inspired by video game music.
G: Lars Ulrich, Dave Lombardo, and Igor Cavalera. I grew up on thrash metal and grunge. Sepultura’s Chaos AD album really inspired my groove based drumming. I could go on all day long about influences and even add people like Bill Ward and Dave Grohl but to keep it short those are my top three.
C: Misha Mansoor, his originality when it comes to guitar pushes me to make better music. Matt Heafy, who’s vocals inspire me to be a vocalist/screamer without hesitating just because I play guitar. Lastly, Synyster Gates because of all the memorable solos I grew up listening to have inspired me to be a better player.
R: Mark Klepaski, Robert Trujillo, and Johnny Christ. These guys have all influenced me by having solid riffs and delivering that punch in your face beat you can only get from bass. They all have a flowing dynamic that creates the foundation to the music. (Editors Note: I confess that the punch in your face beat you can only get from bass is my favorite line in the interview, but I am bass-biased)-MM
M: Well, Maynard of course, right? The guy has become an enigma and it is not because his vocals are extremely difficult but because he can convey emotion no matter if he is singing in low tones or insanely high ones.
Tell me something about the band that no one knows…until now of course.
Well, over half the band is family and we are all business entrepreneurs with the hopes of one day opening our own metal themed restaurant. Come on, who wouldn’t want hot wings and a mosh pit all in the same place?
Tell me the worst or most embarrassing on stage occurrence for the band or one of you personally
A few years ago we were playing a gig where our guitarist Chris would normally thank the venue during the outro to our song “As One”. Instead of thanking the venue we were playing he thanked the venue we played the week before.
Lets pretend none of you have ever met and you can start a band with ANY musician, who is it?
J: Corey Taylor, I don’t know what to put here except for “Um…duh?”
G: Jerry Cantrell. I’m a huge Alice in Chains fan and they have had a profound impact on my songwriting.
C: Christopher Smalls
R: Benjamin Burnley, because his lyrics music and passion for the music is inspiring to me.
M: Brendan Small, um..Hello!? Singer, writer, composer, actor and creator of Metalacolypse! The dude is one of my heroes. To be part of that group is a freaking dream!
On to songs..Each of you tell me your favorite song of all time. (If you can…)
J: Vermillion by Slipknot G: War Pigs by Sabbath. I always thought this was a drum song with guitars. C: Afterlife by Avenged Sevenfold R: Running Away by Hoobastank M: Three Libras by by A Perfect Circle.
What song do you wish you had written?
J: Hotel California, I know I am totally ripping of Mat on this one. Regardless of whether the song actually has a definite story or message from the band about something specific anyone can take the lyrics and apply it to something in their life. Not to mention the amazing musicianship of the song in general. This is always the first 5 songs of my road trip playlist.
G: Honestly I can’t really answer this one because I admire a song as written and couldn’t see myself writing a song that inspired me. It wouldn’t be the same. It’s paradoxical..I know Buzzkill..
C: Laid to Rest by Lamb of God
R: Two Weeks by All that Remains
M: Hotel California by The Eagles. It just fits what I would write. With the everlasting guess of what is actually going on in that song.
Now tell me your favorite song by a LOCAL band.
The Machine by 3 Seconds More. Feed my Psychosis by Sicmonic
On to more local questions; what is your favorite place to play live..and why?
The Rockbar in Scottsdale. The sound is great and the shows are run by Jeremy from Howitzer who not only is an awesome drummer but a true professional in putting shows together.
Some bands are considered “live” bands, do you feel you are better live or on your recorded works?
Listening to our music is one thing but experiencing Absolute Threshold live is on a whole different level, so come check us out!
Name 3 local bands that our readers need to see
3 Seconds more, The Spider Hole, and The Resurgence Girls. These are all 3 bands that have a very original sound of their own and are great contributors to the music scene.
Give me one word to describe the local music scene.
If you could change anything about the local scene, what would it be?
One thing that this scene needs more of is participation. Put down the remote control and get to a show! Live music is always better and there are so many talented bands in the Valley!
It’s your time to shamelessly promote. What is coming up for you, list everything you can think of.
Final thoughts guys, anything goes here!
You don’t have much time to create something significant in this world that will outlive you that isn’t your own flesh and blood. Get on it people!
Thanks again to all of the guys in Absolute Threshold for taking the time to answer these questions to help us learn a little more than we all knew about them before we started. And as always, thanks for reading The Local Lowdown. We will see you all next week. Make sure you like and share these stories with your friends.
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