I Talked To Black Fast About What It’s Like To Be A Middle School Metalhead In St Louis

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Black Fast are one of the most exciting bands in the game these days. Aaron Aakin, the band’s charming, fresh-faced frontman was nice enough to sit down with me for a few minutes in St. Vitus before he took the stage to devastate a nearly sold out crowd. Coming right from a guest spot at Sirius XM, the dudes were excited and ready to rip. Chatting with Aakin about his band, youth, and of course Death was a true pleasure.

How the hell are you?

I’m well, how are you doing?

I’m wonderful.

Excellent.

You’ve been on the road for a minute, how are you feeling?

It’s been four days, and I’m feeling pretty good. We’ve been touring off and on since August since the record came out, and we went right up until about Christmas. Then we took a break for a couple of months, and now we are getting shit going again.

Europe?

Not yet. Hopefully. We have nothing in the works. If not this album then the next.

Are you already planning for the next album?

Not in the business sense, but us as dudes and players we have stuff. Trevor and I live together, and Ross just lives a few blocks away, so we are always tinkering and getting song ideas.

If you’re living in such close proximity how do you not get sick of each other?

Exactly! I started living with Ross when I was 19, and he was not even 21. We worked together too and were together all the time. Then we toured together in bands, and we still haven’t killed each other. So far, so good.

Why do you think you’ve been able to do so much with these people an not kill them?

We want similar things. We are all pretty mellow dudes and pretty like-minded. None of us freak out or have meltdowns. We know what we expect of this and of each other, and we don’t need to talk about it at this point. We’ve been around each other for so long that I wouldn’t have to talk to Ross for ten years, and we would be fine. When you’re around the same dudes for so long that becomes the dynamic.

Well it’s like having a bunch of marriages.

Yeah, maintaining them and stuff. I definitely have to invest more into this than I would have to in a relationship. I can’t say that about marriage because I haven’t been married, but it’s lot of work. Not just being in a band but maintaining relationships. You don’t put effort into trying to stay friends, but getting it together and doing the practices and rehearsals everyone knows that’s the gig. It’s what we like to do. It is work and it isn’t, to some degree.

You’ve done a bunch of cool shit thus far, but what is the goal for the next couple of months?

In the next couple of months we just want to tour. It’s going to be summertime. The record has been out for six months or so, here comes spring and summer, we have to nail it.

One of the things that got me about Black Fast initially is the Death worship – let’s talk about that. What do you love about Death?

Just that they are perfect! There’s really not a lot of bands that are unfuckwithable. There isn’t any blemish on any part of Death’s catalog. Maybe it’s just because Chuck died while still in his prime – maybe he hadn’t peaked yet, who knows. Everything they have done is perfect. They are a pinnacle metal band, and there’s not a whole lot out there who can say that. They are a band who all of us grew up listening to it, we never said, “Let’s sound like Death.” I guess that influence was just kind of there. When we started this band we would just get together in our basement. Trevor would come over and that’s how we would sound. If you listen to our first EP’s that’s just the sound of us jamming for three years before we had music out. I was never a singer; I was just like, “Fuck it, I’ll go for it.” And people thought I sounded like Chuck which blew me away. If people want to say that we are a death worship band that’s fine. Who can complain? Why would I have a problem with that? I could be like, “Fuck no, man we’re original.” Everything has been done, who cares? Death is an awesome band.

Does the fact that everything has been done ever bother you?

Hell no! I’m super stoked about music! I don’t care about that. I think it’s a healthy thing to take note of; you can’t be naive but be yourself – who cares? If you’re yourself then you will be fundamentally different, but being yourself is one of the hardest parts.

I have a theory that you can tell a lot about a person based off of their favorite Death record. What is your favorite Death album?

I guess Symbolic because that was the first one I heard when I was a kid. “Lack Of Comprehension” was I think the first Death song I ever heard, then I heard “Pull the Plug,” and so I got into Leprosy. I heard that shit when I was like 12, and it was like, “Why don’t I know about this band?” It wasn’t like my friends were Death fans. I had older cousins into metal but that was kind of it. It was just like, “Well this band rules!” So I had to get into it on my own. I love it all though. I love Scream Bloody Gore.

What is it like being a middle school metalhead in St Louis?

Well I was in middle school in 2000! Still though, I remember the fist time I heard Master of Puppets. I had an older cousin trying to show me Korn and System of a Down and then he played “The Thing That Should Not Be” and I was like, “Oh yeah! Whatever that is!” Then he played more off Puppets and I was like, “That.” Then I got older and he showed me Slayer, and I thought it was the scariest thing ever. I wondered if those guys were actually evil. He showed me a VHS tape of one of their shows and it was terrifying. It was this intriguing thing that I was drawn to. It was kind of tantalizing because it was a little scary. Then I got older and it became something I kept to myself. I would maybe wear a metal shirt outside of school but I was a quiet guitar player worshiping Sepultura until I got to high school. I kind of kept it to myself. I might have been the only metalhead in my middle school, so by the time I was 17 I was like, “Fuck this I want to start a metal band!” And I eventually got there. I always jut wanted to be in a band and make music and cruise around with a CD and be like, “I made this.” Being able to do that in the early stages was the goal. It was never really more ambitious than that.

Now that you’ve gotten there, how does it feel to live the dream?

I just want to stay on the ride and not think about it to much. I feel like to be doing what we are doing, to do the tours we have done, to have done a record with Erik Rutan, to play shows in Brooklyn. I just want to keep my head down and keep working and not freak myself out. I’m trying not to forget to have a good time doing it and being in the moment?

How do you maintain being in the moment?

Talking to people who come to the shows. Forcing yourself to meet awesome people and to talk to the people who come out. It’s a grind being on the road and mos of the time when you’re loaded in and set up you’re whipped and then you have to play and breakdown and all that shit. It’s part of the grind. I think the biggest thing is to be present and to meet as many people as you can. It’s communicating your art through music.

Stay up to date with Black Fast on Facebook and check them out at a venue near you. 

Black Fast Tour

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  • Dubs

    This was a fun interview. Stoked to see these dudes moving on up.

    • COAL ROLL

      I learned a lot about living with people and not getting sick of them, and how not to kill them. Also how to live the dream and be in the moment.

      • Dubs

        Eh, I think the interpersonal relationship aspect is pretty important. I also learned Aaron understands the importance of building rapport with his fan base.

        • COAL ROLL

          me too, but these weak-ass, uninspired, and boiler-plate interview questions are easy targets for mocking.

          • I’ll refund the money you spent to read this.

          • COAL ROLL

            I understand that Mr Bacon is an up and coming metal journalist, and that early stage alignment with his work is favorable for authoritative influence among metal blog peers, but this one just seems like there was minimal preparation.

          • Vault Dweller

            As someone who has conducted interviews in multiple formats, both in covering bands and talking to people about other shit (like crime or abortion statistics or whatever else): What should he have asked that wasn’t listed here?

            Also, consider that we were likely only given the questions that had interesting, publish-worthy answers. Sometimes you ask a damn good question and whoever you’re interviewing either:
            A. Doesn’t answer it.
            or

            B. Gives a shitty answer that doesn’t merit publishing. Answers can be shitty for many different reasons.

            I see this criticism of yours fairly often when it comes to interviews. It’s a stupid, lazy criticism that doesn’t take into account any of the difficulties of interviewing human beings, who are sometimes bad quotes or non-personable or difficult or who introduce any number of other problems that can limit the quality or effectiveness of even the best reporters.

          • COAL ROLL

            see above reply with BobLobLaw for examples

          • Vault Dweller

            Sorry, what I see up there are questions that either
            A: Get asked all the time (gear, favorite place to play, shitty place to play, who picks the van music?!) in nearly every interview of a musician ever
            or
            B: Are the kinds of questions that an over-eager try-hard might ask and end up pissing off the band and looking like an unprofessional tool. (piss jug)

            Your interesting question that doesn’t get asked much? ‘Who makes the most live mistakes’… and the interest in that is whether you kick some drama off. Still probably not a good rep to get as a reporter long-term, though, being the guy who starts band drama by asking questions designed to get them to talk shit about their band mates. But at least that one’s worthwhile and might get you an answer worth publishing that doesn’t fit the mold.

          • COAL ROLL

            the only interviews I read are the ones on this site, and I don’t recall those, but I’d welcome a re-fresher if they have been asked.

          • I feel this side of the debate.

            Journalism sucks. Such a misunderstood and complex profession. Everyone thinks it’s an easy job, but in the end is one of the weirdest and complicated ones.

            When you go to gather data for an article or a news report, you don’t really know what will happen and you have to be in different places at the same time to get the real data of a bunch of useless ones.

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            People need to care more about ethics in journalism, especially in videogame journalism.
            #gaymergate
            #womenareevil

          • Exactly.

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            I’m not sure if you’re playing along with the joke or you have become an MRA

          • I’m an individual with multiple facets and connections around the world.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Actually it’s about ethics in metal journalism

          • Dagon

            Even more so when it’s done electronically or via telephone, not face to face.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Looks like your mood from Friday has plateaued. This pleases me.

          • BobLoblaw

            #favoriteband
            #tipsforatouringmusician
            #bestplacetoeatontheroad
            #crazieststorythathappenedontheroad
            #A/S/L?

          • COAL ROLL

            What tour stop are you looking forward to the most and why? What tour stop do you dread and why? What new gear are you taking with you on this tour and experimenting with? Who in the band makes the most mistakes playing live? How many piss jugs are in your tour van? How do you choose what to listen to in the van?

          • BobLoblaw

            If the van flips while youre all listening to ipods and lands in a crevass, who’s the last crippled body that has battery power?

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Damn, shit’s getting real.

          • BobLoblaw

            Best/worst STD caught on the road and why.

          • COAL ROLL

            we all know it’s from sharing the piss jug

          • BobLoblaw

            Sad part is that would be the better STD story.

          • Spear

            These all sound like weak-ass, uninspired, boilerplate interview questions to me.

          • COAL ROLL

            thank you for the constructive criticism, I will try harder next time

          • Spear

            I just find it funny that you’re offering the same level of criticism to an interview that’s actually organic and interesting, while at the same time proffering questions that every noob interviewer in the world asks every single band, regardless of how many times that band has been asked those same damn questions.

          • COAL ROLL

            I believe that ultimately, it is the consumer of the content who’s the most important person to satisfy in this.

          • Spear

            Well, let me put it from my perspective. I’m a decent guitarist. I have the gear I want, I’ve got my tone nailed down, I can play well, etc. What I lack, though, are those soft skills- being able to approach people and maintain a conversation, dealing with problems on the road, and just generally being chill in the face of hardship. These are the kinds of things I like hearing about from other musicians because it helps me out. Ya dig?

          • COAL ROLL

            Definitely. As a lowly hobbyist musician, I’m simply on the other side of the fence from you, so of course we are going to have different sets of values for this kinda stuff. Subjectivity is such a cunt.

          • Spear

            That it is, sweet roller of coal.

          • Did you upvote your own shitty comment?

          • COAL ROLL

            I noticed that I did that an un-upvoted it

          • BobLoblaw

            We’ve all done it on “accident”.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Metal Tour Cliff Notes.

  • COAL ROLL

    Sorry Matt Bacon, but this interview of a pretty fun band is boring AF.

  • JWEG

    None of those dates are near me, but that’s alright. I can be there in spirit, for the healing power of their Death worship.

    Spiritual Healing if you will…

    • Dagon

      Sexual healing

  • Boss the Ross

    I like how he is honest about his influences and doesn’t let it bother him.
    Also, what’s this Death theory like? Sounds like a good article idea.

    • Matt Bacon

      Basically someones entire taste in metal can be pretty clearly extrapolated from their favorite death album. Like doomsters tend to prefer Symbolic and Human, Techdeath freaks love Sound Of PErseverance but it goes further than that, you can find out weird stuff about people because of their relationship to death

      • Boss the Ross

        That’s awesome.

  • Middle school was weird. I started to get hair in naughty places.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Dude, and everyone smelled.

      • Dubs

        And boners.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          Hell yes, doc! Saving the day with dicks!

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Dude, that’s a cunting burly one!

          • BobLoblaw

            We all know that guy.

          • Boss the Ross

            Do you Play D&D Tyree? You’d make a good Dungeon Master.

        • Stockhausen

          There was the horrifying moment when the bell rang for the end of class and you’re full mast and not going anywhere.
          “Hey dude, why are you carrying your backpack in front of you?”
          “NO REASON SHUT UP.”

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Hard-ons were always hard…..

          • Goddamn that bumpy bus ride.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Hahaha.

          • COAL ROLL

            hence the invention of the waistband tuck

          • Stockhausen

            But there are always those select few times when it would have been way too obvious, and those times were tough.

          • BobLoblaw

            Been tucked since jump.

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            I never had that problem coz tiny dick.

      • Stockhausen

        I’ve got a couple 8th graders that really, really need the deodorant talk. Come on parents, that’s an easy one.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          I have no doubt. I remember being in 7th-8th grade and this one kid apparently didn’t have the talk yet. Brutal.

          • I was partnered up with some kid in metal shop who was the same way. Disgusting.

          • Stockhausen

            My son is getting deodorized the red hot second he starts to smell offensive. Ain’t nobody got time for nasty kids in metal shop.

          • #Brodorant talk.

          • Dubs

            Since he’s a baby, doesn’t he already smell offensive?

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Babies are weird.

          • FYI: poop from a baby being fed breast milk smells sweet, not pungent.

            /realtalk
            /dadfacts

          • Dubs

            I didn’t actually know that. Have you determined if it also tastes sweet?

          • lolnopenopenopenopenope

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            I would have loved to have seen the look on your face when you found out metal shop wasn’t what you thought it was

          • Dubs

            I carpooled with our fifth grade teacher. She was a no-nonsense lady who routinely told the boys in our class to wear deodorant.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Sometimes you gotta be blunt.

          • Dubs

            Boys r dumb

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Humans are dumber.

        • the worst feeling is working alongside an adult that you know needs to brush or some gum. i don’t want to offend him/her, but REALLY???

          • Dubs

            Before I graduated, the other grad students and I had to go to a different city for a few days to observe traffic. The dude with whom I was sharing a room didn’t pack a toothbrush…

          • that dude gets a pass… at least until he covertly borrowed yours.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            And used it on his butt, naturally.

          • Dubs

            Could be worse, I suppose.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Always, doc. Always.

  • Owlswald

    Sepultura’s Arise was a game changer for me but no matter how hard I tried I could not get into Slayer. God Hates Us All was the closest to my tastes but even then Araya has to go and ruin it with all of his WAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      God Hates Us All is their worst album. And all of Arise’s intros can fuck off. Hell Awaits for Slayer and Morbid Visions for Sepultura.

      • Owlswald

        Worse than Diabolus in Musica?

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          Yes, I think so. But they’re both their worst albums in their whole catalog. Nu-metal bullshit.

  • Dagon

    Those types of friendships are really hard to come by. I’m glad I have a few.

    Also, this dude sounds like a really cool guy. As usual, Bacon makes it seem like he’s childhood friends with everyone he interviews.

    I’m waiting on the meta interview of Matt Bacon.

  • MATT BACON.

    -MATT DAMON

  • Wish I could’ve seen these guys instead of Eight Bells. Sounds like they’re a hungry young band which is a nice change of pace from the usual grumpy grumps.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Their name still sounds like breakfast. Just saying.

    • Bells Brewing, MI >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Ahhhh, they’re good, but not the best in the state.

        • Their brews are kinda expensive for my tastes. But their Lager of the Lakes is clutch… not very popular though.

          I imagine there are plenty of other good breweries in MI.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Most craftbrews are expensive which is bullshit, but oh well. Never checked out the Lager, though I’m not a fan of Lagers anyway. Bells’ best beer is their Two-Hearted.

          • Two-Hearted is great.

            Their Oberon beer is like 12 dollars a six pack, stupid expensive.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Wow, that’s a lot for a bland summer beer. It’s not that much here.

          • Agreed. I am sure the several hands worth of distribution that occurs likely drives it up.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Pretty much.

          • Lagers are Lagers.

          • Boss the Ross

            No, this beer is Clutch.

  • RustyShackleford

    Dude. Bacon slaying in the interview game! I never heard these guys before, but obviously it’s awesome since it’s Death worship. The toilet delivers again! Yup.

  • “I always jut wanted to be in a band and make music and cruise around with a CD and be like, “I made this.” Being able to do that in the early stages was the goal. It was never really more ambitious than that.”

    YES

  • I remember that Macñulti passed the word on this band and they’re cool fellas. Good job, Don Tocino.

    • Matt Bacon

      Don Tocino appreciates you love

  • Spear

    “Forcing yourself to meet awesome people and to talk to the people who come out.”

    Something I need to work on myself. I have a hard enough time approaching venue owners and other bands- the people I’m supposed to be working with- let alone the random folks who come out. Good interview as always, Bacon Man.

  • Celtic Frosty

    I really like how these guys display zero pretension about their music and what they’re about. Good times.

  • cool interview! these guys are nice as can be and make some killer metal. it’s time for them to really take off.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    This reads like a video interview, which I bet Mr Bacon be good at. Nice work.

    • Matt Bacon

      Yeah but getting vdeo guys is hard :C

  • Old Man Doom

    I haven’t checked these guys out until now. They rip super hard in the skeletonwitch tradition. Thanks for the interview, Matt!

  • Waynecro

    Great band, great interview! Thanks, man!

  • Paris Hilton

    Great interview! My experience in a middle school metal band was mostly skipping classes, eating poutine (via being Canadian idiots), drinking luke-warm Coors Lights, watching Seinfeld and going to parties. And maybe sometimes jamming.

    Either way, keep writing, this is great stuff!

  • Boogers Moshing In A Crouton

    Awesome interview, as usual!

  • Eliza

    It’s be great if they toured Europe, even though they most likely won’t stop in Romania.