Many in the metal community were caught by surprise when Avenged Sevenfold first shared that Kanye West was a big influence on them while they were working on their new album. That new album, Life Is But a Dream…, is set to release next month; at the time of this writing, the band has released the second single off that record, which is “We Love You.”
During a recent conversation with the Tuna on Toast Podcast with Stryker, band vocalist M. Shadows talked about a variety of topics, including some musical acts from outside the metal world that influenced Life Is But a Dream…. Alongside West, Avenged Sevenfold was also inspired by the legendary electronic group Daft Punk. Speaking to how Daft Punk impacted Life Is But a Dream…, Shadows says (as transcribed by MetalSucks):
“The record, obviously, is rooted in some sort of raw, earthy, metallic rock. Metal abrasiveness.
“When I listen to things like the [Kanye West] Yeezus record or Daft Punk or Rammstein or any of these bands that are just off the grid, there’s like this interpretation of what they’re doing but with this sort of heavy metal flag. And I think what you’re hearing is a lot of Daft Punk. A lot of this kind of, not being afraid to use technology in a really grounded way. Like vocoders and funk, and this sort of Nile Rodgers feel and groove. We’re not being afraid that just cause you’re a metal band it shouldn’t have groove. Groove is rad. And if you can be very back and forth with it and create something that is compelling, [do it].
“So yeah, Daft Punk was a huge influence.”
But Daft Punk and Kanye West aren’t the band’s only non-metal influences, for rapper Travis Scott also played a role in shaping Life Is But a Dream…. When you look at the tracklist for the record, you may notice how the first three letters for tracks seven, eight, and nine spell out “GOD” – according to Shadows, this is something inspired by Scott. Regarding these tracks and the spelling out of “GOD,” Shadows says:
“It was influenced by ‘SICKO MODE’ by Travis Scott, which we were listening to and it’s got that Drake verse at the beginning and it cuts off right when you’re about to get into it and it goes to another song and it cuts off again. We were like, ‘Man, three songs in one is kind of cool.’ In this ADHD society that we live in, I was noticing that I was enjoying shorter records more recently, and so we wanted to do something where we weren’t giving you an eight-minute Sinatra song or something. We’re giving you like Wizard of Oz-meets-Frank Sinatra for like two minutes, and then something that was Daft Punk-esque for two minutes.
“The concept, lyrically the G.O.D., you’ve got God who most people when they think of God they think he’s super bummed on all of us. Like, ah, I didn’t do very good with this one, I want to wipe ’em out. There are superfans and he deletes them, and then A.I. comes up in ‘O,’ which is very robotic and has the Daft Punk feel, and then that’s like the robot going ‘Am I human? Am I real? Am I really feeling things? Am I just programmed? What is this?’ and then it goes into ‘D,’ which is much more existential and sad, but it’s sort of this mundane life that someone can’t find freedom until they end their own life.”
What do you think of Avenged Sevenfold being inspired by and drawing influence from musical acts outside of metal? Do you wish more metal bands did something similar?