Quickly making a name for themselves and inspiring mosh pits across the US and Canada is deathcore band ABACABB, named after the infamous Mortal Kombat blood code. I recently had the chance to sit down with vocalist Tyler Greene – along with the occasional anecdote from drummer, Navid Naghdi – to discuss touring, the illiteracy of their fans, their latest album, covering songs, video games, beards and what the future holds for their group.
So by now you guys must be tired of being asked what ABACABB means. What’s the average number of times you have to explain its meaning, its origin?
Tyler: Oh Jesus! Between people coming up to our merch table, people asking us at a gas station when they ask “Are you guys in a band?”, and MySpace messages it’s ridiculous. Like we get maybe two, three, four, like 2–10 MySpace messages everyday. We get asked at shows like 10, 15 times everyday. A lot of kids nowadays like it seems when we first started, when we first came out, like nobody knew what it meant. Now it’s like instead of people saying “What does your name mean?” now more people will be like, “Oh, did you get blood code on Mortal Kombat?” So a lot of kids are knowing now but it used to be really bad but it’s still like decently bad and especially when it’s on like our front page on our MySpace and we still get 10 messages like everyday, its like, it’s ridiculous. We have this huge thing on our MySpace that says “Yes, our name is from the blood code on Mortal Kombat, do not message us about this.” And kids don’t read it, its ridiculous.
[laughing] Alright well are you guys video game enthusiasts?
Tyler: Uh, you could say that. Yeah we definitely like ourselves some Mortal Kombat, especially when we were younger obviously. It’s just funny cause like the two kids that thought of the name with me aren’t in the band anymore but it is what it is, you know? But yeah, we like ourselves some Mortal Kombat.
So how often do you guys play that then?
Tyler: Anymore? Not really, not at all, just ‘cause we don’t have a Sega in the van and when we’re at home we can play it sometimes, we definitely do. I know our guitarist has it on his Game Boy so he’s grinding that a lot so.
Nice, nice. Ok, well it’s been almost 3 months since you guys released Survivalist. I know you guys have been making some serious headway in the heavy music scene, what do you feel you can contribute to your already booming popularity?
Tyler: What do we contribute to it? Uh, I guess our live show we contribute to it, to like how we’re getting big. I at least hope so, that’s what we focus on as far as like our music or anything like that. Definitely we’re hoping that we wrote a good record, I’m hoping that has to do with it. Our label has a lot to do with, so much promotion and our agent. Between our label and our agent again, like our manager and stuff, like they’re just really helping us out, they’re doing as much as they can so, it’s definitely helping us out, getting us popular I guess.
Tyler: Yeah, if that’s what you meant by that question.
Yeah. [laughs] Do you guys think you can make your songs any heavier without going overboard?
Tyler: I don’t know, we’ll see. We’ll see on the next record. This record was meant to be like heavier and stuff like that just to help really like gain fans, really like just, you know get out to as many people as we can, next record we, I can’t really say where we’re going to go with it ‘cause I don’t know yet. It might be less heavy, it might be more heavy, it might be heavier in a different way. So I guess we’ll see, we’ll see. I think some bands can definitely take the word “heavy” overboard. We don’t really want to do that too much, I mean, there’s some breakdowns and some parts of our album that I think are too heavy and are already overboard, so we’ll see where the next record goes though.
Awesome! Speaking of, well referring to your last record, is there a specific reason for almost all of your tracks aside from “Survivalist” ending in I-O-N a shun sound.
Tyler: Shun? Uh, it was just, actually…
Was it ironic?
Tyler: No, it was, it’s kinda weird, we wrote “Devastation” and “Articulation” a long time ago and that was coincidence it actually used to be called “Devastation and Demise” and then “Articulation”. We wrote those like a long time ago and it just happen to be that, that was just coincidence. Then we wrote another new song, I forget what, [looks to Navid] which one?
Tyler: “Infection”, no it’s “Destruction”, “Destruction” and the end is just where it’s like [imitates song] “Destruction! Oh!” and like there’s no better word for that then the name Destruction. Then I looked at it and was like, “Wait a minute Devastation, Articulation, Destruction.” I was like, “Fuck at this point we have three out of ten so it’s going to be like kinda weird if we don’t name them all like that.” You know?
Tyler: Yeah, so it’s just one of those little gimmicks. It’s like another thing for people to be like, “Oh, that’s kinda cool” or whatever. And “Survivalist” used to be called “Confession” but our label or our other guy who was helping us out with our album and stuff like that he was just like, “You know, let’s do one song, you know, a title track, let’s just change this one up a little bit.” So we did, so that one used to be “Confession” so. But yeah, it’s just one of those little gimmick things, you know?
So the next one all “isms” or “ology”? [both laugh]
Tyler: We get asked that a lot, actually I don’t know, we’ll see; we’ll see when I start writing them out and we’ll see what happens. But we have thought about something like that where they all end in something, you know, whatever they’re called.
Suffixes? The same suffixes.
Tyler: Yeah, suffixes.
Yeah, well have you guys been writing at all since the release of Survivalist?
Tyler: Uh, our guitarist will diddle-daddle with some riffs when we’re like warming or checking our gear and stuff like that so we’re definitely starting to get ideas together. I helped write some of the last album, I don’t play guitar but I can, you know, think of shit and our guitarist can kinda lay it down for me, um, so I think everyone, pretty much, as a band helped write the album, like we have one guitarist who primarily wrote all the riffs and then we all kinda like, produce it. So we’re all definitely starting to get together to like, not get together and write anything official but we’re all like playing around with riffs in our head and like we don’t really plan to sit down writing until we get some time off, which at this point is non-existent so no. We’re trying to tour pretty much for the rest of the year then late, late 2009, early 2010 is when we’re going to start sitting down, it’s when we’re going to start putting some song structure together, you know?
Cool, cool. Actually last time you guys past through with Veil of Maya you and I had a conversation after the show and you guys mentioned that you were going to cover “Eyeless” by Slipknot…
Tyler: Oh god! We would love too!
Are you guys doing that on this tour?
Tyler: We’re not doing that on this tour, um, once we actually started talking about it for real, it turns out some other bands already did it so we’re still thinking about it, I still want to do it, I’m still really down. It was one of those things we were joking slash kinda serious, we’ll see what happens. Maybe a tour in the future we’ll be covering some Slipknot songs.
[laughs] Maybe you guys should cover “Abacab” by Genesis.
Tyler: [laughs] We’ve heard that! A lot of people think that’s where we got our name. But it’s just funny ‘cause like that song came out and that’s where like, and then Sega Genesis, you know, and that’s where the blood code came from, you know? I’ve never actually heard that song to be honest.
Navid: I have!
Tyler: I listen to Genesis, I listen to Phil Collins or whatever but uh, I never heard that song. So we’ll see, maybe we will do a cover just as a joke, gimmick, whatever.
Well apparently it was one of their like, top songs, but Phil Collins doesn’t even know what it means so not even you guys have to. You can make up a meaning! [everyone laughs]
Tyler: There you go! Maybe we will.
So you guys are engaged in some seriously extensive touring right now, what do you guys have planned for the rest of the year, more touring?
Tyler: Yeah, just touring our asses off until we can’t tour anymore. After the Crush’em All Tour. We had about a week off then we came out on this, then we have about a week off after this then we’ve got Sworn Enemy, For The Fallen Dreams, Suffokate. Then after that we’re talking about jumping into a Canadian tour like a 2-week tour with some Canadian bands um, then I don’t know what we’re working on then. That pretty much covers up to early July. I’m not sure what we’re working on after that, I guess only time will tell, I know our agent’s starting to get some things together now, seeing what bands are available, seeing what bands are interested, stuff like that so we’ll see what happens. But if it was up to me we’d be on tour until the end of the year. I think pretty much everyone else in the band feels that way so we’re all down to grind the road until we can’t grind anymore, you know?
For sure! One last thing, that is a bad-ass beard. Does it grow in naturally like that?
Tyler: I just trimmed it today actually, just you know, make a little line down here, a little line up here and go for it.
Yeah, I should do that; I can’t grow a full mustache so.
Tyler: Yeah, that’s me I don’t grow…
Navid: I’m working on mine [everyone laughs]
Oh yeah? Nice! [ END ]