Day two of last weekend’s Orion Music + More Festival immediately proved itself the more metal of the two days, with simultaneous heavy bands playing. While Cauldron kicked things off by scratching the NWOBHM itch of those in the crowd, many were camped out at the Orion stage. On that stage, which Metallica would close out the festival on later that night, All Shall Perish played an hourlong set of deathcore to a sizable crowd. Later in the afternoon, we caught up with Hernan “Eddie” Hermida to reflect on the set, their place in heavy music, and their consistency with labels and producers.
What’s it like being the first metal band to play on day 2 of the Orion Fest?
It’s nerve wracking dude. We were getting ready to play know that we’re the first band on, knowing that we’re going to be the intro music to the whole festival, and we were expecting a dull reaction. You know, the typical opening band situation where you’re playing as the lineup is coming in, as people are getting patted down, and they’re trying to get in, and they’re just running when you’re playing. That’s not at all the case. We played for an hour, first off. That never happens as an opening band.
How long do you play when you headline?
About an hour. So it’s like we got a headlining set as an opening band on a huge festival. There’s that. Two, the crowd was already in. Doors opened two hours before we went on, so we had that working for us, and on top of it, Kirk Hammett walks up 15, 20 minutes before our set just to chill with us, take pictures with us, tell us how rad we are, and then went onstage and introduced us. I couldn’t find a pot to vomit in.
Did you get a sense that he knew who the band was?
Yeah, absolutely. The dude’s been repping All Shall Perish since 2008. He claimed that we were one of his top 25 bands of. I think it was 2008 or 2009. He went on Billboard Magazine and said so. The dude’s been repping us hard, he listens to our music, we’ve sent him music, and he’s always been very responsive. I’ve just never met him in person until today when he just decided to surprise us right before we got on stage.
You’ve been on the same label and had the same producer throughout your whole career. Is it just a case of being happy with what you’ve got?
You know, let me put it to you like this. That dude (Zack Ohren) gets us. We’ve worked with him. When you have a familiarity, it’s just really easy to give your best. The guy has done nothing but grow with us. His gear, his ability, his understanding, and his ear have just completely flourished throughout the years as we’ve written more records with him. You go back to him, yeah, because it’s easy, yeah, because it’s familiar, but mainly because you know that you’re going to put out the best that you can put out. All Shall Perish has always feared a producer because we’ve always been a gung-ho, do it yourself band. We want to portray that anybody can be in a band and do it. That is kind of the essentials of it. Zach has always stepped in as the producer and done a really good job.
And Nuclear Blast has been good?
Nuclear Blast has been the backbone of us. They have been many times when we’ve almost fallen apart, and got a phone call from Gerardo, who is the president and representative of Nuclear Blast USA. He has always stepped in and been like “Hey guys, you have something really powerful and positive to put out there. There’s no need to step away from this.” It’s not for any other reason other than the fact that he has always been a fan of the band. That’s all you can ask for.
So if you had to classify yourself as a band, would you say you’re a deathcore band?
Ben (former guitarist Orum) claimed it a couple of years back. He said “the godfathers of deathcore.” I’ll stand behind it dude. We’re one of the first bands that was putting that out around the same time as Despised Icon, Suicide Silence, and Job for a Cowboy came out around the same time. I feel like All Shall Perish was doing it a lot sooner. I was a fan of the band before I joined the band. You know, being a Bay Area kid, going to shows. You’ve got The Pound in San Francisco that doesn’t exist anymore. May it rest in peace. The fact is, those guys, All Shall Perish, were doing something completely different. When Dying Fetus and Suffocation were adding slam breakdowns into their repertoire, All Shall Perish was bringing this… I don’t know, it reminded me of Slayer, it reminded me of like… a Pantera vibe. It reminded me of Hatebreed almost. It was a metal-hardcore crossover that really makes you want to get into the pit. That’s where we’re at. I’m happy with deathcore because, in a way, I feel like I’m a part of something that really helped push that ball down the road.
What do you think of the genre now?
There’s good bands, there’s bad bands, and I feel like there are bands that have kind of come into their own over the years. There’s bands that have come and gone. Despised Icon, you know. That was really sad to see them go. They were one of my favorites. Acacia Strain might want to kill me after I say this but in my eyes, they are metalcore-deathcore. Those guys have really found their own niche, and really created a different movement. They’re a band I’ll always respect and always love. Bands like Whitechapel have come out and really just blown the scene out of proportion. I love it. I love it all. It’s great music, it’s heavy, and it makes you want to think about what you’re listening to. The singers are really talented, and the musicians go for balls out technical ability. I’m happy to be a part of it.
How do you feel about being arguably the heaviest band to play at the Orion Fest?
Arguably the heaviest band? Fuck. Fuck yeah we’re the heaviest band, and fuck yeah we shredded that place apart.
Any bands you saw today, or look forward to seeing today besides, obviously, Metallica?
Metallica is the obvious one. Obviously. Then there’s Dillinger. They just played my hometown, and they were sick. They were sick today. Deftones is a band that I’ve really been looking forward to seeing. I wanted to see Dropkick Murphys, I wanted to see Battlecross, but I didn’t get a chance to do so.