Detlyn Raven Of Advocates And His Crippling Fear Of Sharks

Last week, we ran an interview with Detlyn Raven, the vocalist for Melbourne heavy outfit, Advocates. That phone call went for about thirty minutes, with twenty of it being solely dedicated to the band, their music, their solid new EP, ‘The Complex Truth‘, touring, and so forth.

However, the final third of that interview was anything but band related, as we somehow got to talking about Raven’s mortal fear of sharks (actual sharks, not the kickass UK punk rock band), and I figured that this would make for some alternate content than the usual posts that we produce here. Because I write for, goddamnit, and we bring the hard-hitting articles and features that you all need to read to help satiate the vapid existence that you call your lives.

Now, apparently, a phobia of sharks is often referred to as galeophobia (or selachophobia in some circles), with “Galeos” being Greek for small sharks or dogfish and “phobos”, of course, meaning a deep-seated fear. Although, I am sure to Raven he would simply label those terms and those fears as the thought process of a perfectly rational human being. So without further ado, as the first ever piece for our new ‘Weird Shit’ series, enjoy this odd discussion about the kings of the ocean’s food chain – sharks.

Advocates 2015

Advocates promo shots, shark free since forever.

Tell me, at what age did the fear of sharks become a thing for you, Detlyn?

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. Funnily enough, I have always had such a fascination with sharks to the point that I’d do heaps of research. I’d watch all the documentaries and I suppose just over time, the more I learnt about them the more fear I had for them. Like, Shark Week is so awesome as you learn so much. I know enough that if a shark came, I’d know where to put my hands to make it go away.

Okay, but even so, would you support the shark culls that Western Australia do? Or do you see that as unethical and cruel?

I highly disagree with any culling of sharks; it is extremely cruel and unnecessary. As I said previously I have done heaps of research on them and am actually quite fascinated with the animal. I just so happen to also be terrified of them at the same time!

Do you ever freak out when in swimming pools because your body is in the water and your mind subconsciously starts to fuck with you?

When I was younger, every time I’d jump into the deep end and swim to the shallow end I always found myself swimming faster because of that feeling of something coming up behind you. I have definitely gotten better as I’ve gotten older but you always get that eerie feeling that something is still swimming up behind you. You know, I’ve never been on a boat in the ocean before, to be honest. I am just too terrified to go to the beach as well. I can guarantee you that the second I step in there, I’ll be eaten. So I just do not go in! I had a really bad experience at the beach, not that there was actually a shark there, though. But it was still the scariest moment of my life.

Were you out swimming or surfing or…?

Not quite. I was going to the beach with my girlfriend at the time. I am 21 and I’ve only been to the beach maybe… five times in my whole life. I got into the water up to as far as my chest, and I usually start hyperventilating at that point. Now, have you ever seen a kite being tossed around in the wind?

Yeah, I have.

Well, one of the shadows of this kite was moving towards me really slowly. My girlfriend at that point in time saw it, and her first instinct was to yell ‘SHARK!’. I wasn’t facing where it was coming from, so just picture Usain Bolt, except on water. From where I was at chest height, I reckon I jumped up and ran across the water to the beach. When I got to shore, I burst into tears, and I vomited everywhere, I was just so freaked out. When I looked back at the beach to see if she was being eaten, she was just staring at me with this blank stare of ‘What the hell just happened?’. I just grabbed my stuff and went home, I was so fucking done. I have never been back to the beach since.

[Laughs] wow dude… 

[Laughs] I don’t know if you saw that video going around on Facebook of the shark jumping in the cage with the diver and it came right out of the top of the cage?

Yeah! I have seen that, actually, that video is whack!

It is! And he basically just crawled out of the cage like it was nothing!

Likewise, did you see the video of this one guy on his little boat and he just fends it off with a goddamn broom?  

NO!? I need to see this now!

It’s amazing, man. For some reason, he had a broom on his boat and he just fends off the shark with this little broom. It’s fucking great.

Oh god. I can watch shark videos, but I do think that if I saw a shark in real life, I would just loose my mind.

[Laughs] well, if you’re touring, and the guys are talking about what they’re going to do before the show or on an off day, and they mention the beach or the aquarium, I take it it’s a no go for Detlyn?

Yep, I just cannot do it, man. We were in Perth at the start of the year when it was really hot all of the boys wanted to go to the beach and I just stayed back. There was ten or twelve of us and I was the only one who just stayed out of the water, there was just no way. Everyone’s jumping around having fun and I’m sitting back thinking, ‘Man, you’re all gonna die. There’s a shark in there somewhere’.

Apparently, Perth has heaps of sharks. When we got there, we were with the boys in Havoc and they asked ‘Do you guys like the beach? Cause there’s a lot of sharks in there!’ I said to them ‘Yeah… and that’s definitely why I am not going in!’

I love that. See, you were way ahead of them. They were just trying to freak you out, but you were already freaked. 

[Laughs] exactly! They said ‘Who likes the beach?’ and I went ‘Not me!’

Personally, I don’t have such a strong fear of sharks, but they do get to me a little bit.

Oh, dude, they are just fascinating creatures and they look cool as shit. But if you get me in a cage with one, and you will see so much piss and shit from me. Look, I would rather drown than get eaten by a shark. Which is apparently a really horrible way to die!

I almost drowned as a child and it was very unpleasant. While drowning is horrible, choosing that over getting eaten by a shark? I don’t know. Like, you hear about people who get limbs bitten off and they go into shock and with all of the adrenaline, they kind of… don’t feel it. I’m sure it’s still painful and terrifying, but bleeding out seems a better way to go than drowning, as fucked up as that sounds.

I suppose the adrenaline would really kick in, where if you’re drowning it wouldn’t as much right until the end. Look, Alex, you’ve given me a lot to think about here [laughs]. But I still bet that I would rather drown than being eaten by a shark. Nine times out of ten, when people have been attacked by a shark they’ve always been found and the bodies have never gone missing. Like some of these people have swum back to shore or others get dragged out by the tide because their leg or arm has been bitten off. At the same time, it’s not right out in the ocean that these attacks happen, it’s right near the beach and they can actually swim back because of that adrenaline.

But you know what? No! I just don’t get in the water. As once you get in a certain distance and oh god, it just freaks me out. Chuck a snake in a room with me, I’d probably just pick it up and throw it away. But sharks… no chance.

Okay, so what about baby sharks? Or is it just the fully-grown ones?

To be honest, I am the most afraid of great whites. That’s the pinnacle of my fear of sharks because they can see just like us. They have the peripheral vision, whereas other sharks can only see to their sides.

Good point; made to hunt those ones are. Do you freak out over shark movies like Jaws or Sharknado?

I have never seen Sharknado, but I’ve seen all of the Jaws movies and that new one, The Shallows. I saw that at the movies, and I probably did jump more than most people in that cinema.

The first Sharknado is utter shite, but the second one was good, as in being the good kind of bad – pure camp. The sharks in those films do tend to be great whites, so I don’t know how you would fair…

Well, that’s the thing, sometimes with shark movies, the CGI is really bad and you can tell it’s really fake.

True! So why did you go see The Shallows then? Did it seem like a generally good film to watch or because you wanted to test yourself, so to speak? 

My main reason would be because I love Blake Lively; I mean, what a babe! But also definitely to test myself in a way. I’m usually a big pussy when it comes to scary movies and I guess shark movies have come a long way in terms of their CGI and it’s always interesting to see how they differ from a 2016 shark movie to your classic 1975 shark movies like Jaws.

Right, and I guess that was the really scary thing about Jaws, was that they, you know, actually built mechanical sharks!

[Laughs] Yeah! Well, in The Shallows, it looked a lot more realistic than you’d think. Some of it was pretty spot-on. I guess that’s what happens with technology these days, but sometimes in movies when the shark jumps out of the water, it tends to look really fake. Maybe in the future, people will be able to train sharks for movies like they do with dogs.

Making it look really natural is key and yeah, maybe! That would be weird, though. Now, do you ever eat shark/flake and think to yourself ‘Yeah, that’s right, I won motherfucker! I won’. Or are you more amicable to dead sharks?

I do eat flake but I have never really thought too much of it when eating it.

Well, you will now! Can you play video games that feature sharks, like the licensed Jaws game on PS2 and enjoy it, sharks and all?

I haven’t actually played that game before, to be honest, but I have played many games that have involved sharks before. Although I do jump every time. I remember playing one of the Batman games – Arkham City I believe it was – which had a huge shark in it and when that jumped out I just about wet myself.

Ah yes, that’s a great moment! and that’s also the best Batman Arkham game too! Would you ever be down to put on a VR headset and play one of those VR shark games/experiences?

Dude…no, I can’t even think about it, it’s making me sick. Have you seen those videos of the people flailing around and falling over? I’d just be swinging and shit. But it would probably be the worst time of my life.

Well, it would make for a funny viral video, I think. Plus, you could drop an Advocates breakdown over it like you’re moshing or something equally silly.

[Laughs] yeah, it would 100% go viral, just seeing this grown man freaking out over a virtual shark.

Advocates hectic new EP, ‘The Complex Truth’ is out now. Check out the EP’s lead single/video ‘Destructive Tendencies’ below. Also, fuck sharks, right?

Advocates EP

PC: Bree Wallace. 

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