Interview with Aria Yava of For All I Am

Photo by Leonel Salcedo of Crossheart Industry.
Photo by Leonel Salcedo of CrossHeart Industry.

For All I Am  stand front and center on the stage of the famous dingy basement known as The Studio @ Webster Hall in New York City. The post-hardcore group has fans lined up against the base of the stage waiting for the first pinch harmonic-filled riffs to come in. Vocalist Aria Yava breaks into a guttural growl and immediately there is newfound community, as kids who have seen the band a hundred times and kids who’ve never even heard of them head bang to the beat. Before long Yava is handing off the mic to various guest vocalists who are coming up on stage and roaring out each lyric with as much gusto as they can muster and admiration in their eyes as they look over at Yava. Together they share the stage, bouncing energy off one another for a few bars before the cameo-vocalists step aside. But they are not walking off stage back with the rest of the tour crew.  These kids are walking back into the crowd as fans who just got the chance to sing alongside their favorite band and convince the crowd it was all meant to happen instead of being a spur of the moment occurrence. This happens several times throughout For All I Am’s set; Yava even brings local scene star Christopher Tito of  Zoúme on stage with him for a verse. At this point even the club’s bartenders and bouncers are watching.  Suddenly, the entire venue becomes the stage.

After the incredible live performance these Illinois natives brought to Manhattan, we needed to know more about For All I Am.  So we hit up Aria Yava to chat about the band’s latest album, their experiences playing live, and of course, their incredible fans.

HXC: Congrats on your latest release, No Home. What was the inspiration behind such a bold album title?

Aria Yava: It’s not like a literal title, it’s a kind of an analogy for your mind. Your home is known as a comfort place.  So “no home” actually means you don’t have comfort in your own skin.

Is that idea of “no home” where your mindset was when you went into that album?

It wasn’t just me, actually. It’s the whole band. We went through a couple things together personally where we did feel like that and that’s why we wrote that album together and for anyone who kind of feels that way.  I know people go through rough times and have different phases through their lives. A lot of people I’ve talked to at shows actually feel like they don’t have a comfort of their own skin or even in their own homes, literally, because of their family or because of insecurities. So we wanted to write an album that relates to those kinds of people.

Do you think people can kind of find that “home” then at local shows?

I don’t know if shows are a home, but they’re definitely more of an escape from whatever they’re dealing with.  When I go see my favorite bands I feel like I don’t have any problems. I just kind of forget about it for a little bit and just enjoy some good music. Sometimes that’s what people need just to keep moving forward.

for all i am

Who would you say is your favorite band?

As of now it’s kind of hard to tell. I haven’t been going to a lot of shows since I’ve been on the road lately, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Define the Great Line by Underoath. My favorite artists, my whole life, have been Underoath, Paramore, Architects, those kind of bands, just like the raw bands that don’t use too much production with sounds that really rock.

Are these the kind of the bands that initially inspired you to pursue music?

Going to see Underoath for my first time really changed  my perspective on music. That’s when I really wanted to play music and do the help-people-that-are-helping-me type thing.  I kind of discovered the power of music and how it moves through people. It’s like a universal language; no matter what language you speak, you can still understand what music is.

We caught your New York show on the Mind Games Release Tour.  You had fans getting up on stage with you to do guest vocals with you. It was crazy.

Yeah, I know. It’s like a regular thing. We don’t hold ourselves to any entitlement, to having the stage to ourselves.  The show is for everyone there, for everyone to have a good time, us as artists, listeners and even the staff and the promoters. Everyone just wants to have a good experience, so we make sure that’s easily achievable.

Do you have any favorite venues?

I definitely like the Ground Floor in [Williamsport], Pennsylvania. Their hospitality is unreal and they have a built-in fan base which is really cool because all the fans check out all the bands that go through. They all give them a chance, which is awesome and that’s what every scene should kind of do. Everyone should be open minded and just enjoy the music.

Photo by Leonel Salcedo of Crossheart Industry.
Photo by Leonel Salcedo of CrossHeart Industry.

“We don’t hold ourselves to any entitlement, to having the stage to ourselves.”

Do you prefer playing shows with barriers or ones without?

You know, unpopular statement: definitely both. They both have their own vibe and both have their own experience.  Sometimes I do like stage diving and I do like when people grab the mic, but I also like when I can have the stage and I can lose myself in the music and in the performance aspect.

Do you have a favorite track to play live off of No Home?

I definitely like “Six Souls.” It’s really heavy and hard hitting, but the other song I like is “Out of Line” because it kind of relates to what I always go through all the time and it helps me cope with it. It’s also a really good, energetic song for the crowd to have a good time to. So, I think those two are my favorites for sure.

You said you really liked to play “Six Souls.” Is that why you wanted to do the video for that song?

Well actually management and the label chose the songs that we shot for, so it was up to them, but we were stoked on their decision and we fully agreed with them, too. There’s also more [videos] coming, so I’m going to be working on those soon.

Do you have any concepts for them yet?

Yeah, we’re running a lot of storyboards and coming up with more specific ideas. We want to go in more with the concept of the songs and the messages in them are going to be more symbolic with our band and kind of go a different route.

Would you say that’s something you prefer to do, something more theatrical than just the minimalistic club show vibe?

I believe so. There’s a lot of bands that are all kind of talking about the same thing lyrically, so we want to do what we do as a band and kind of go in specifically. I feel like more people relate when you kind of relate to them more closely because they’re dealing with something more specific. We kind of like make lyrics so people can take it with them and progress and move forward with what they’re doing rather than just say ‘Hey, we’re here for you.’ Realistically, we can’t be there for everyone all the time; it’s impossible. No one can do that, so we want to really lay it down with the music and help them take away something from it.

You can tell you really care about your fans.

Oh yeah, it’s definitely important. If you don’t pay attention to that you’re kind of leading a pointless career in my opinion.

So if you could sum up For All I Am in one word, what would it be?

Real. That would be the best way to put it. Nothing is fake. We don’t do anything for image. We don’t sell ourselves, we just kind of put everything out there genuinely and hope people take it as genuinely.

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VIDEO PREMIERE: Eskimo Callboy “Crystals”

As if to redefine the word “mindfuck,” Eskimo Callboy explode onto 2015 with the video for the title track of their upcoming album, Crystals. Their previous record, We Are The Mess, established the German electrocore outfit as a confusing entanglement of ravaging hardcore, precise instrumentation, and scandalous lyricism. While the band seem to still be clinging to a similar type of danceable heaviness for “Crystals,” the music video delivers some unexpectedly stunning moments uncharacteristically meaningful for Eskimo. This music video is defined by the brilliant and heavily stylized melding of camp and near high art. Between the outrageously glamorous costuming, the kitschy dangling hearts, and the monochromatic religious symbolism and iconography, the “Crystals” video could almost pass more for a modern art installation than anything. Not to mention, the song itself is devastatingly catchy.

Crystals is due to be released March 6th on Redfield Records / Earache Records (UK/US).

eskimo crystals

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Keep Warm This Winter

Keep Warm This Winter

Cold got you down? Temperatures far below 32 degrees keeping you holed up on the couch? Fear not!  We’ve got 10 great tracks for you right here that will help you trek through the harsh winter outside and remind you of the warmer weather right on the horizon.  Take a look at our ten tracks to keep you warm this winter:

Continue reading Keep Warm This Winter

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Christopher Tito of Zoúme

Photo by Brenda Céspedes.

Webster Hall is a New York City music venue needing no introduction; a fact well-represented by the black-lettered “Most Tweeted Venue of 2014” printed above the entrance. Yet while many know of the neon-clothed ravers that attend the EDM shows held there, The Studio in the basement remains a haven for the hardcore. It is there in that dark cove of headbangers that we at HXC Magazine became aware of a person who occupies the venue as if he himself holds up the walls. Without fail, every time we attended a show at The Studio @ Webster Hall this person, to whom we affectionately referred as the “Kellin Quinn look-alike,” (so dubbed because the resemblance has affirmed my belief in doppelgängers) would be front and center. He became a fixture for us, a kind of skinny-jean’ed Where’s Waldo. Upon attending the Palisades album release show on January 6th and witnessing him hop on stage for a fierce vocal guest spot during For All I Am’s set, we learned his name is Christopher Tito, he is the vocalist for the NYC metalcore/post-hardcore band Zoúme, and he is an HXC Diehard.

Continue reading Christopher Tito of Zoúme

Music Video of the Week: The Ghost Inside “Dear Youth (Day 52)”

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Review: Palisades – ‘Mind Games’

Mind Games

‘Mind Games’ Album Stream

As a hardcore kid, turning up with friends who aren’t into heavy music can ignite a bit of an identity crisis. Parties can be hard to navigate if you aren’t the biggest fan of Top 40, and some people won’t be enthused when you try to blast Bring Me The Horizon instead. The answer to the riddle of how to get by as a hardcore kid who also likes to go hard is Palisades’ new album, Mind Games.

Continue reading Review: Palisades – ‘Mind Games’

Top 10 HXC Approved Albums of 2014

10 Best Albums of 2014

2014 was a huge year for music.  We saw the first time a band from the post-hardcore scene put on a music festival that was entirely in, of and for the scene with A Day To Remember’s Self Help Fest.  We watched the aftermath of My Chemical Romance’s breakup dissolve into glorified solo projects. The Bury The Hatchet Tour finally happened, marking a long awaited resolution between Escape the Fate and Falling in Reverse. And hell, even Taylor Swift gets a shout out since more hardcore-influenced bands covered her songs than ever before.   So the real question is: what were the best musical moments of the year?  Check out our editors’ picks for the Top Albums of 2014 in no particular order and let us know what some of your favorites were!

Continue reading Top 10 HXC Approved Albums of 2014

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In and of the scene.

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