Art Of Dying hails from Vancouver, British Columbia. They've been around since 2005 but don't let that fool you; their live performances are tight and this band boasts tours with Seether and Disturbed. They've shared the stage with the likes of Tool, Deftones, My Chemical Romance, Our Lady Peace and more. This year they will be releasing an acoustic album that we here at UpVenue are eager to hear.
Frontman Jonny Hetherington took the time out of his busy schedule to chat about touring, the new album, and catching crabs.
UV: I love the name of this band; Art of Dying. But it's not about dying, it's about how you choose to live your life, isn't it?
AOD: Totally. It comes from a longer statement: The art of dying is your life to live. It's kind of a creed that we try and live by that recognizes that life is precious.
UV: Your debut album was released on your own label. Why was this important to you?
AOD:We worked really hard to get our music out there...doing it on our own simply presented itself as the best way. It allows us to stay close to all aspects of our music. Plus I'm a control freak!
UV: You were known to have a cast of "revolving players" in Art of Dying but since 2008, Tavis Stanley (guitar), Cale Gontier (bass) from the band Thornley, and Jeff Brown (drums) have joined with you. How has this changed your sound? What has been the effect on the evolution of Art of Dying?
AOD: Art of Dying has always been myself and G-Redge, but after hooking up with Jeff, Cale and Tavis we have become a family. I'm so excited about the music the 5 of us are making! It's hard to put it into words... I guess it's like puzzle pieces falling into place. The music has become a reflection of our lives... Dirty, hopeful and full of harmony.
UV: You've been described as post-grunge. Do you agree with that label?
AOD: What the hell is post grunge? We're a rock band.
UV: Word is, you're releasing an acoustic album this year. I, for one, cannot wait to hear it. What was the motivation to make an acoustic record?
AOD: We always have acoustic guitars in our hands... we write with them and show each other ideas with them. It just seemed really natural. We love breaking our songs down to the basic acoustic elements and letting them breathe.
UV: You did a great song with Shaun Morgan - Die Trying. How did that come about?
AOD: Got to know Shaun and the guys on tour in the UK. They invited me out on stage at a few shows to sing an Alice in Chains song with them, and it went really well. A year later, we were in the studio recording Die Trying and Seether happened to be in Vancouver on tour. I asked Shaun to come in and sing on the track, and he did. He has such an amazing voice and it sounds killer in the track!
UV: People may not realize this but your songs have been used as theme songs and have been featured on a number of television shows, podcast series and video games. How did that happen?
AOD: It's always different. Sometimes I reach out to them, sometimes people reach out to me. I run a record label here in Vancouver, (Thorny Bleeder Records) which licensing and music publishing is a big part of, so I've gained a lot of experience in that field.
UV: You released your debut album in 2007 and now you've just finished touring with Disturbed, who are actual fans of your music. Did you ever imagine that Art of Dying would take off so quickly?
AOD: Touring with Disturbed has been an amazing experience. Dan and David have really taken us under their wing. They are an amazing team to learn from, and their fans have really welcomed us into their lives. We feel really blessed to have been given this opportunity.
UV: I had the privilege of watching you perform last month in Montreal and I have to admit that by the end of the first song, I was hooked; I imagine you steal a lot of fans from your live show. What do you think makes a great live performance?
AOD: Honesty. If the band is having fun and really present in the moment, it's hard for every person in the room to not catch on. We hit the stage with a bottle of Jack and a fist full of beers and have the time of our lives every night, and we hope it spreads.
UV: You’ve performed at Download in 2006. What is your fondest memory from that festival?
AOD: All I have to say about Download, is GO! Get a plane ticket and a 3 day pass for next June and rock your face off! When we hit the stage at Download, it was like a car accident... everything slowed down and will stick in my mind forever. Watching Tool and Metallica and Alice in Chains was pretty amazing too. Meeting some of heros was a chance of a lifetime.
UV: Have you ever had a star struck moment? If so, who was it with? If not, who would it be with?
AOD: It was awesome to meet Maynard and Jerry Cantrell. I was talking to Maynard for 5 minutes before I realized who he was. Duh!
UV: Keeping fans in the loop is more important than it’s ever been. How do you do it (street team, newsletters, Twitter, other)?
AOD: There is nothing more important to us than the relationship that we have with our friends and fans, and we do our best to stay in touch. We have a newsletter that people can sign up for at https://www.artofdyingmusic.com/mailinglist.php which I personally write every month with news on our music, shows and special offers, etc. I also update our Myspace and Facebook every day and try and answer as much mail as possible each week. I've been using Twitter as a daily photo journal lately, which has been really fun to post.
And we now have an iPhone application which I'm really excited about!! You can get it here:
UV: I’ve been following you guys on Twitter and I have to ask…how does one catch crabs?
AOD: The secret is raw chicken! If anyone has any questions... feel free to send me an email. artofdying AT shaw DOT ca
UV: What’s next for Art of Dying?
AOD: We're taking the summer to finish writing the next record. The plan right now is to start recording in September. After that, we hope to be back on the road and rocking hard in a town near you!
Get Through This
Die Trying feat. Shaun Morgan
All we have to do now is wait (im)patiently for the new record.
Art of Dying is: Jonny Hetherington (Vocals), Greg Bradley (Guitar), Jeff Brown (Drums), Cale Gontier (Bass), Tavis Stanley (Guitar).