Melo-death young ’uns Aphyxion gave hundreds of students an education in metal when they toured schools in their native Denmark last month. The quartet, whose Hammer-approved Earth Entangled album came out in 2014, replied to an ad placed by Danish cultural organisation Levende Musik I Skolen (Living Music In The School) asking for volunteers to perform for kids and broaden their musical horizons.
“They probably didn’t expect a metal band to sign up!” laughs guitarist Jonas Haagensen. “But as soon as I saw the ad, I was certain that this was something for us. I phoned the guys from the band and they were all game. Suddenly it was all getting arranged and an educational consultant was hired by LMS to co-operate with the band in creating some educational material for the students. There was everything from analysis of our lyrics to a focus on the band as a business. It was all very professional, and we were so happy that LMS were so passionate about it.”
These were crazier than our normal shows.. everyone went nuts!
Aside from introducing teenagers to the wonders of crushing melodic death metal, Aphyxion have also relished the opportunity to promote the positive message that metal generally conveys, and to explain the strength of its worldwide community.
“In between the songs we talked with the students about the metal culture and they all listened intensely!” says Jonas. “All of the students were introduced to our band before the show, stuff about our lyrics, which aren’t exactly all about blood and vomit. Our songs are about environmental problems the world is facing, so hopefully the students learned that playing metal doesn’t automatically make you one of those guys that fries babies in microwaves!”
We suspect, however, that once the serious, educational stuff was dealt with, the thing the kids enjoyed most was the opportunity to go completely batshit to a deafening metal band performing in their school hall.
“I’m not shitting you… Some of these shows were crazier than our normal shows,” Jonas states. “You have to remember that normally when these guys go to a school concert, they are told to sit down and listen to two old women playing the flute or some boring shit like that. We told them to throw away the chairs, gave them a quick how-to- guide in headbanging and throwing the horns and played a full live show with lights and smoke cannons. Everyone went completely nuts. At one of the first shows I completely forgot the lyrics for a couple of seconds. I was so distracted by just how big a party all of the kids were having!”
With extensive touring plans and a new album on the way in 2016, Aphyxion are perfectly positioned to capitalise on their new fanbase. More importantly, they seem emboldened by the whole school tour experience and inspired by the universally enthusiastic response they have received along the way. In fact, Aphyxion have already been booked for another school tour next year.
“After the shows we’ve had an enormous amount of inquiries from both students and teachers telling us just how happy they were that they booked us,” Jonas grins. “At the very least we expected a few emails from angry parents or something, but there’s been nothing but big smiles from everyone. It’s actually been one of the greatest experiences for us as a band.”
Aphyxion’s new album will be released later in 2016