With only a handful of singles released, Miami metalcore band Avat are already making waves.
Already racking up YouTube views in the millions, Avat are a treat for fans of Avenged Sevenfold, Killswitch Engage and Trivium.
We caught up with guitarist Dimitri Anchipolovsky to talk about his love of the Line 6 Helix, working with Phil Labonte, and how price doesn’t make a pedal good.
You guys have been teasing singles through the pandemic – is there a record at the end of the tunnel?
There’s an album or two at the end of the path but our main goal right now is releasing new music consistently as singles.
The Album cycle concept works really well for bands that are already established for a while. We know we are still working our way up and everything points to a steady stream of songs to keep that going so that’s been our goal and its been really satisfying seeing the growth we have achieved.
I understand the pandemic forced the band to focus more on writing and recording at home, can you tell me about that process?
To be honest, it really didn’t change that much about how we write, rather it gave us a lot more time to focus on writing.
We usually demo our own individual ideas at home, send them to each other to let the guys do their thing and spice it up, and then see how it flows in person.
During the lockdown we could not meet up in person as often as before so we got a lot more time of sending the demos around to each other. It gave us more material to mess around with when we could finally make the in person meet up’s happen again.
That extra demo time came as a blessing though because we got to work on a couple songs with the amazing Phil Labonte from All That Remains. That gave us a crazy new perspective not only on the potential of our writing but also how we can work remotely but so connected with video conference apps.
We were able to talk to each other thousands of miles away, record these ideas in real time, and listen back in almost perfect quality without any issues at all.
So guitars! What are you guys using in terms of guitars/amps/pedals?
I’m currently rocking a Les Paul standard with light baritone strings from D’Addario, and a set of 1989 Bill Lawrence pickups. This has been the go to for a while now and it’s the sound you hear on our songs.
For amps and cabs I go through a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier and single Mesa 4×12 recto slant with Celestion G12 Vintage 30’s.
That is fed by my main pedal setup which is a Line6 Helix Floor that has my effects laid out and mapped to midi run by our click tracks. Something we started to do recently though was going straight from our pedals to FOH. With the Helix we are able to match really closely our guitar tones, amp, and cab setups from the recording process while giving us a really clean stage.
We monitor with a wireless in-ear setup we have a really personalized clear mix since there is no mic bleed.
Did you have any reference records going into the studio in terms of how you wanted each of these songs to sound?
I take a little something from a lot of my biggest influences. Sometimes I want a song to be really dense from a compositional standpoint, and getting wild with it.
A band that I love and inspires me in that sense is Periphery, where they manage to balance a ton of instruments and sounds going on at once and somehow the mix still makes sense.
Other times however, I just want a song to be as simple as possible and let the mix speak for itself. A band that does this really well and I model my writing from is Rammstein.
Are you a gear head at all? Any pieces of gear you’ve played recently that were a pleasant surprise? Anything you got to play that was disappointing?
I used to be a huge gear head, and really spent whole paychecks making massive rack rigs. Until one day I decided that when it comes to a clean and usable guitar sound, less is more.
The last piece of gear that I was pleasantly surprised by has become an integral part of my current rig, which is the Line6 Helix Floor.
The last thing I played that was disappointing was some boutique pedal my friend had loaned me that was supposedly like over $1k. Goes to show that just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s good.
Is there any one piece of gear that you couldn’t do without? Anything that’s integral to your sound?
Kind of how I mentioned before, right now my whole entire rig consists of a Line 6 Helix combined with an Eden ENX260 so that I can run it through that Mesa 4×12 recto cab IF I want or need the sound on stage. That’s the whole shabang. So the helix for sure is a piece of equipment that is essential to my rig.
A lot of guitarists are embracing modeling and profiling amps these days, especially due to making fly in gigs much easier but the coolest part to me is the consistent repeatability to it. I can just trust it will be what I want it to sound like, regardless of where I set up.
What’s your take on digital amps and effects?
I say you should use whatever gets you the best repeatable sound possible within your means. For many people this means modeling and profiling amps, cabs, mics, etc. it means less equipment to move, less equipment to break, and less variables in your sound.
However…, if you got the resources to move gear that you absolutely love the sound of them go for it! At the end of the day if you don’t like how you sound or have a sound you just enjoy playing then the crowd will pick up on that and no ones having a good time at that point.
For someone who’s just discovering your band and wants to hear more music that sounds like you, what bands would you suggest they start with?
Just to keep it simple and in the core of our sound then definitely Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Rise to Remain, As I Lay Dying, and Woven War. As you branch out from there you can hear bands that influence us the same way the bands I mention influenced them so it’s a nice family tree!
If someone maybe wasn’t familiar with you guys but wanted to learn to play one of your songs, where would you suggest they start? Any riffs/licks/passages in particular that are fun to play, or maybe challenging but rewarding for more advanced players?
That’s kinda tough cause all of our songs are kind of in the intermediate to advanced skill range. I would maybe say Brenna cause the chorus is pretty straight forward, or maybe Together We Fall since the tempo is a little more manageable than say Faith In Flames or Wolves.
What’s up next for the band? Any new material in the works? Any post-rona plans?
We always have new material in the works! We have stuff locked and loaded in the vault ready to go, we just hope you guys are ready for what’s next!
Of course our post-rona plans include the same thing as everyone else: touring. We want to get out there and make up for lost time, but it’s important that we approach that strategically.
We’re going to make it happen though, don’t you worry!