Vincent Bennett, the vocalist and sole remaining member of The Acacia Strain, doesn’t want you to get hurt in the mosh pits when he and his bandmates touch down in December. After all, as he puts it, he’s a pretty passive guy! Touring with Kublai Khan later this year, The Acacia Strain will be dropping low-tuned riffs and breakdowns on our stages in support of this year’s LP, ‘Gravebloom’. As such, I had a quick little chat to the vocalist (he’s the happy looking chap with the glasses) about Australia, playing ‘Observer’, people saying dumb shit like “Oh man someone’s gonna die when they play X song”, and the band writing the same album over and over again. Take a look:
Hey there Vincent, what are you up to today?
Hey there man! I’m just watching Nightmare On Elm Street 4.
…Why number four?
Oh, I started with the first one earlier today and now I’m up to the fourth film. It’s the Halloween season, you gotta watch a horror movie or two!
Right on! Are you going to watch all of them, including that really subpar remake?
No, no remake. I’m going to skip it. I’ll watch up until Freddy Vs. Jason and then transfer over to the Friday The 13th movies.
Sounds like a plan! Now, you’ve been to Australia at least twice before, right?
This will be our fourth trip over to you guys, actually.
Rad. And with coming over in December, I love how fans romanticize the mosh pits, saying shit like “Oh man, people are gonna die when they play X song or Y breakdown”. With those comments, do you see much of a difference to the physicality of Aussie crowds compared to those over in the US?
[Laughs] Funnily enough, you’re both pretty similar. Also, dude, I love how you used the word ‘romanticise’. That’s a funny way to talk about “murdering” your friends at a show. It’s a good feeling, as the people who say that are often people who grew up listening to us and when they’re old enough to attend shows, they’re stoked to get in the pit and not be afraid of it. Then those who actually say things like “it’s gonna be nuts, people are gonna die” is so funny as we’re such passive people, it’d odd that others think that we want people to get severely hurt or even die at our shows. Like, what kind of person do you think I am that I’d want you and your friends to get injured at our show? [Laughs].
[Laughs] It is kinda odd but still funny.
The American mosh has been kinda tame of late. We haven’t been to Australia in a couple years but I imagine it’s still going strong. I think that American fans get what they want all the time. They can see most bands play three times a year, whereas other countries have to wait a while. As our friend’s bands and ourselves are all stationed here in America, it’s no big deal. So some American kids have it easy; picking and choosing whom they want to pit for. But you guys go hard as you don’t get as much, as often. It’s an appreciating thing, I think.
I think so too. Like, the last time Emmure was here in 2013 with The Ghost Inside, the pit was pretty full on… and Emmure hasn’t been back since!
Well, if you hand a rich kid a one hundred dollar bill, he won’t really care. Hand it to a poor person, he’s really going to appreciate it more and make it last. Not to call Americans or Aussies rich or poor. It’s just appreciating what you don’t have. Hell, even when we go to Canada – a country that American is physically connected to – those guys really appreciate us playing there.
I guess every local area has that issue of over-playing. But you guys and Kublai Khan is a sick double bill, and a lot of people will love it.
So, Vincent, I wanted to talk to you about ‘Gravebloom’. I’ve listened to you guys on and off since 2008 or 2009 and I cannot ask this question without sounding like a dick. Nonetheless, when you’re done writing and recording an album, do you ever just look at each other and go “Huh, we just wrote the same album as the last one”? Do you think Acacia is just not the kind of band to change things up?
[Laughs]. Well, we don’t want to change too much as people will be upset; we don’t want to single out our fanbase. I think if you listen hard enough, our records are all very different. We don’t want to do want some of our peer bands have done in the past – and I won’t name any names – where they’ve changed just for the sake of changing and alienating so much of their fanbase. You have fans for a reason, you know? You wrote a record they love, and if you can write similar records that sound like your band, great. We’re The Acacia Strain, we know who we are. We’re not trying to be Tesseract or Dream Theater; we’re just a heavy band.
The band and I feel we change it up enough each record. If people think that our sound is stale, that’s fine. But we give the fans what they want and they really appreciate. We’ve all grown up as people and the fans are growing up too, so the music will follow that growth I think. And we do a pretty good job… but that’s just me.
Nah well said, man. The biggest change that I’ve seen from you guys in the past couple years, was that 27-minute track you had on ‘Coma Witch’ – ‘Observer’. Actually… do you ever play that full track live?
God no. We play portions of it. We play a part in the beginning, apart from the middle, and a bit from the end.
…At their respective parts of your set?
Yeah, there’s a lot of clean parts and a lot of talking on the track that we’d skip and piece together the heavier parts to make it flow. Because we wanna make it an experience for the friends that are murdering one another at our shows.
[Laughs] sounds good! As I called you a little late, we’ll have to leave it there Vincent, cheers.
It’s no problem at all man! Thanks for you taking the time to chat with me.
No worries! Oh, whereabouts are you up to in the film?
Oh yeah! I’m up to the part where they’re stuck in the continuous loop by Freddy and that guy is about to get killed by his own motorcycle, so that’ll be cool!
Read our review of ‘Gravebloom’ here. All info regarding their tour with Kublai Khan this December can be found below:
Mon 4th Dec: The Brightside, Brisbane 18+
Tue 5th Dec: The Small Ballroom, Newcastle 18+
Wed 6th Dec: Factory Theatre, Sydney Lic/AA