Goodness, gracious. It’s like Q&A Week here at Frederick Playlist. Today, we have a quick chat with Zach Gunther, the lead singer of Thurmont metal band The Averist. Long story short, they recently won a Headbang For The Highway contest to appear at the Jiffy Lube Live installment of this year’s Mayhem Fest. A few quirks in the system later, however, and they were moved to Scranton’s date of the traveling Rockstar Energy Drink-sponsored event, which is set to go down this Saturday with headliners Korn, Avenged Sevenfold, Cannibal Corpse, Mushroomhead, Body Count, Trivium and a gaggle of other big-name superstar, heavy-duty nationally known acts. The Averist, though? We’re fairly certain that they’re going to be the coolest band on the bill. Why? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out:
How and when did you guys form? Did you have any specific goals when you first got together and if so, what were they?
The Averist formed about a year and a half ago. When we first started, the only goals we really had were to get together the best and tightest set we could. We took the material that Tyler (guitar), Tony (bass), and myself (vocals and lyrics) had been working on and brought our current drummer Mike up to speed. Pretty simple starting off.
What’s your opinion on the music scene in Frederick? What are some of the best aspects of it and what could use some work?
The music scene in Frederick for metal is starting to see some new bands move in on the territory. Within the past few months, a bunch of new metal bands have started playing locally and it’s nice to see some fresh faces. The best aspect about the music around Frederick is definitely the camaraderie among the bands who have been playing the area for a while now. Everyone is willing to help load and unload equipment or share something if a piece of gear breaks during or before the shows. I’d say the parts that could really use improvement are some of the prices for the shows. $15 dollars at the door to hear some bands you’ve never even heard of can really discourage someone walking in from the street just trying to see what’s going on from entering. Hopefully, we can start collaborating with some of the bands around the area and throw some cheaper events. It’s all about getting everyone out to have a good time, so a lower price point is a good idea.
Where are some of the best local places to see live music and why?
The best local place to see music, at least for us recently, has been at Cafe 611 and Guido’s. They both have monthly metal events and it’s nice to have them open their venues for us to come out and have a little fun. Metal music isn’t exactly a main stream genre, and anyone who is willing to let us play the music we love is the place to be for me.
Take us through the process of getting involved with this contest for Mayhem Fest. When and how did you find out you won?
The process to sign up for the Headbang For The Highway contests was relatively easy. We contacted the gentleman booking the show and selected which venue we wanted to play at. We chose Cafe 611 over the Ottobar because it is far easier to get fans to come out to a local show than (it is) to get them to all drive down to Baltimore. We originally were going to play at the Jiffy Lube Live show, but due to some confusion between the organizers of the events we were moved to Scranton. We found out the next day that we had won our competition though. I was over at Tony’s house (bass) when we got the update over the Facebook page. The elation we felt was immense. At the last Mayhem Fest in 2013, we said we could play on the Headbang stage; it was mission accomplished.
Are there any bands you’re looking forward to seeing in Scranton? Why?
We absolutely can’t wait to see Veil Of Maya. We are all huge fans and to open for them is going to be another dream come true. We can’t wait to set the energy of the crowd in a good spot before they take the stage. Their music is brutal and technical and all of us in The Averist enjoy it.
What are some local bands should we check out that we might not already know about? Any favorites?
One of my personal favorite bands here locally is Dead Yeti. Their music is so unique and original. We love playing shows with those guys, too. All great dudes and phenomenal musicians. Make sure to check them out!
Do you guys have plans to release an album any time soon? Is studio work on the horizon? What can you tells us about that?
We do have plans to release an EP as soon as possible. We’ve been in the studio and have two songs out currently that are available for download. Studio time is expensive though, and with a lot of other responsibilities and bills, it’s hard to find the money to fund it all right now. We will hopefully be able to finish it within a few months of Mayhem. It’d be great to make some new fans and get new music to them as soon as possible! That’s our current goal.
In five years from now, where do you see The Averist and why?
In five years, I really think I see myself still on stage with all the guys. The Averist is filled with guys committed to the music we play. With as much passion and music experience as we have between all of us now, I don’t see why we wouldn’t still be playing shows. If something comes of this little passion of ours, then so be it. But we just want to bring the best show we can to our fans. That’s what it’s about in the end is the fan.
Overall, I just want to give a few shout outs: Massive shout out to David Dickens who is one of the head guys at Headbang for the Highway. Without him we would have lost our slot to play Mayhem due to some confusion and he really went out of his way to help us. Of course a shout out to Sumerian Records and the Headbang crew and alumin touring bands. It was awesome interacting with all of them and we hope to see them all again. It’s awesome what they’re doing for local underground bands and it’s nice to see that in the industry. Shout out to all of our loyal and dedicated friends and family. We couldn’t do what we do without you and I cherish you all! Scranton, PA, here we come!