The Acacia Strain guitarist Devin Shidaker was our guest on last week’s episode of The MetalSucks Podcast to discuss releasing two albums in one year, the choice to surprise-release It Comes In Waves and to slow-trickle release Slow Decay, why they need to take chances to keep their sound fresh instead of repeating past formats that worked, dealing with ignorant people on social media, System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan’s recent political antics and more.
On the decision to surprise release It Comes in Waves back in December:
We were doing the record with our buddy Justin [Louden] who owns Closed Casket Activities and we knew we weren’t going to get the same record push with our label, Rise. And we were like, ‘What would be a cool way to do this?’
I think when you surprise-release something like that, as you know with the metal world, when you know something’s coming out, you build it up in your head and have an expectation of what it’s supposed to sound like. And with that record being so different for us we didn’t want people thinking, ‘I’m ready for the new Acacia Strain record, I’m ready for the mosh parts’ and all this and then you hear it and you’re like, ‘well this wasn’t what I was looking forward to.’ So when it comes out and surprises you, you don’t have time to build that expectation, you just hear it and get the raw feeling of what it is, there’s no preconceived notion of what you’re supposed to hear.
“I think it worked pretty well for us. People really liked it, and for the people that weren’t huge fans of it, I saw so many people who on first listen were like ‘I’m not feeling this’ and then a week later the same people were like, ‘I’ve listened to it a few times now and I get it.’
“We split it up specifically [the songs] ’cause some people, they can only listen in parts, or they only have so much time. Or you know, we want [radio] play on Liquid Metal and stuff like that, and it’s easier to play a couple minutes than 30 minutes straight. So we split it up, but its one song that’s kinda written in different pieces.”
And on the motivation behind releasing two songs per month leading into the eventual release of the Slow Decay EP this spring:
“With [‘Slow Decay’] it was a similar idea to ‘It Comes In Waves.’ We didn’t want to do the same thing with it being a surprise release, but we thought about how everything has changed over the past few years with how we consume music. When you put out a record, you have this huge hype train of everyone going ‘the new record is out on this day’ and ‘check it out on this day.’ Everyone’s worried about their first week sales, there’s all this build up, everyone’s talking about your record for a week when it comes out. And then you do some tours on it but you’re not keeping it in everyone’s mind.
“So we figured it we break this up and release it slowly like we have been, basically two songs a month in EP form, it gives people something to look forward to and it keeps it fresh in everyone’s mind. Like if I listen to the first two songs that came out and then two more songs come out, I’m gonna listen to the first two again as well to see how they relate to each other. And I think it’s been working pretty well for us. They’re staying fresh in everyone’s mind as opposed to just being like, ‘oh yeah, forgot about that.’
Listen to the full episode right here or in the player below.