The Agony Scene - 23/01/2008

THE AGONY SCENE is a Metalcore band from Tulsa, Oklahoma USA, whose musical style is a combination of thrash metal and hardcore. The band has released three albums, one on Solid State Records, one on Roadrunner Records, and one on Century Media Records. Delving ever deeper into the loathsome and hellish world of singer Mike Williams’ mind, The Agony Scene is firing on all cylinders on its inspired and lovingly titled Century Media debut, ‘Get Damned’ , produced by Andreas Magnusson (Black Dahlia Murder, Scarlet) and set for a January 21 release date. If you missed out on the first two albums, you’ll want to hear this third, most mature and diverse offering from Tulsa, Oklahoma’s finest purveyors of corrosive hardcore.

In late 2006 the band parted ways with drummer Brent Masters, and invited the newest member Ryan Folden. Featuring a new drummer, a new label home and a renewed perspective, ‘Get Damned’  is as highly charged and personal a recording as you will hear from The Agony Scene. From opener “Barnburner" to the closing seconds of “Old Scratch", ‘Get Damned’ is easily one of The Agony Scene’s more inspired recordings. While Williams has never shied from the most dark and depraved corners buried beneath the well-kept soil of society, he tackles the most ominous of subjects on tracks like “Dance With Devils", “Rapture" and “Deliverance." Fellow band mates Chris Emmons and Brian Hodges give Williams a heavy musical palette with which to work, injecting the release with an onslaught of venomous riffs while retaining a strong sense of melody.



With a revitalized sound and spanking new record in their arsenal, expect the unexpected when The Agony Scene hits a town near you in support of its best record to date, ‘Get Damned’. Therefore we had a little chat with Mike Williams, so here we go.


Your album ‘Get Damned’ will be released in Europe in a couple of weeks, so of course we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it!

Go for it!


First of all, I’m not familiar with your band so could you tell me something about The Agony Scene? How did this band get together, where does the name “The Agony Scene” come from, what does it mean and could you tell me something about your musical background?  

We formed on 2002. just a bunch of friends of friends who decided to form a metal band. received a lot of attention at home (Tulsa Ok) and signed to Solid State records. We went from there to Roadrunner for our second record ‘The Darkest Red’, then Century Media Records for our third album ‘ Get Damned’! The Agony Scene is in reference to a painting of Jesus weeping on the rock before he is taken off to be crucified.


How did you launch into writing the material for this album? Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?

We wrote a lot of these songs with a drum machine so that was a challenge. material came fairly easily though. Lucky for us. We wanted to give it a more of a punk rock vibe attitude wise. We wanted to make something we wanted to listen to, so therefore it was very much a conscious decision.



The Agony Scene had several line-up changes and each one has added its own kind of sound, so how difficult was it to continue your original sound on ‘Get Damned’ with only two original members left?

It wasn’t bad because we were trying new things and the two members who left also wrote the first two records so we were fine.


What do you think are the main differences between your previous albums and ‘Get Damned’?

No singing really, much more aggressive musically and vocally on this one.


In song writing, what is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to The Agony Scene? And is there any typical way that an Agony Scene song comes into being?

Structure, we have a really traditional approach to songwriting in that we need it to make sense when you listen to it.


Who’s responsible for the songs, is the music written independently of the lyrics or do you try to reflect lyrical ideas through the music?

I (Michael) write all the lyrics, Chris Emmons and Brian Hodges write all the music. We did try to fuse the music and lyrics on this new record more so than on the last two. It sounds more deliberate I think than on the Darkest Red or self titled.


About the song writing – how can we imagine you work on new songs? What comes first, lyrics or melodies? Is it like you sit down and write a new song because you need more material now or do you wait until you get an idea?

Basically there’s a riff and we build off of it until we have a song. We basically jam until something works. Lyrics are a completely separate thing. Written by myself to the melody of the riffs. “Barnburner”  for sure, or “ Rattle Me Bones” are my favorite songs on this record.


How did the recording process proceed, how much time did you spend on it and in which studio did you record your latest album? And what made producer Andreas Magnusson the perfect producer for ‘Get Damned’? We recorded for a month and a half. We recorded at red Planet studios in Richmond VA. Andreas is a good friend of us and that made the process fun, furthermore he’s way laid back and easy to work with and a fucking genius. He's all over it. We really fed off of each other for ideas.


‘Get Damned’  is your third album and Century Media Records is your third record company, so you switched more labels, more times than some bands do in their entire career.. What’s the reason you switched so many times?

Not going to discuss it, I just know that we are trouble.


How did you get a deal with Century Media Records? How is your relationship with them? And do you have free reign as a band to do what you want creatively or otherwise, or do they impose any rules on what you do?

We wouldn’t have it any other way. We will always make the record that we want or do the tours we want and don’t do the ones we don’t want haha. We are happy now with Century media Records. I hope they are happy too, like I said we're trouble.



Have you received any feedback on your album yet?

It’ s all been good. People seem to be into it.


Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that matter?

We pretty much do this for us, but we are glad people seem to get into it. It makes me proud to do it for sure.


Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective?

On this record I have no complaints, for the others there’s a list a mile long.


As your album has already been released some months ago in the US, have you already launched into writing song for a new album?

Not yet, but we're always throwing stuff around creatively.


What songs and bands do you listen to?

Bad Religion, Descendents, Black Flag,


The metalcore scene or as we say ‘The New Wave Of American Heavy Metal’ in general exploded in the last four or five years in the United States, hundreds of bands seem to be popping up. So what is the difference between The Agony Scene and other bands in this scene?

Post metal core would be what we describe ourselves as punk hardcore and metal.

We make better records than the others hahaha, just joking. We don’t really try to be a metalcore band, it just happens.


What is your opinion on the ‘metalcore’ scene these days, what do you think about the overload off this kind of bands at the moment and is there anything missing in the scene?

Well in the United States it’s on the way out and this faux grind bullshit is taking over. It sucks, relevance is missing.


Which album has been your biggest musical influence, one that made you think “this is what I want to do!”?

Dead Kennedys ‘Plastic Surgery Disasters’ is my favorite record ever.


Are there any particular bands that have been a big influence for your song writing, metal or otherwise?

Too many to mention. haha I listen to so much different shit, it's hard to keep up.


Okay, if you could choose three bands to get on stage with, who would they be?

Misfits/Danzig (already did it), The Stooges, Bad Religion.


You will be touring Europe in a couple of months, what can we expect from The Agony Scene this tour?

A good mixture of material from our three records, and us to be pretty drunk most of the time.


How do you see the future for The Agony Scene? what can we expect after your European tour and do you think, for instance, that the band will still exist ten years from now?

As Joe Strummer said "The future is unwritten".

Is there anything left unmentioned, any last statement?

Buy ’Get Damned’ please.


Thanks for your time!

Eugene Straver



Current Members :  

Michael Williams - Vocals

Chris Emmons - Guitar

Brian Hodges - Guitar

Chris Rye - Bass

Ryan Folden - Drums


Former members :

Rod Burguiere - Vocals

Matt Shannon - Bass

Brian Stewart - Bass

Brent Masters - Drums

Matt Horwitz - Drums

Johnny Lloyd - Guitar

Steven Kay - Guitar

Garrett Grover - Bass

Pete Webb - Drums


Albums :

The Agony Scene (2003) Solid State Records

The Darkest Red (2005) Roadrunner Records

Get Damned (2007) Century Media Records