Doing things their own way and reaping the rewards- Portland, Oregon's Amerakin Overdose are firmly bringing the nu metal formula back with a sound that incorporates industrial, hard rock, metal and pop grooves, along with tasty layers of synth. Add some shock rock values with their over-the-top masks and hellraising facepaint and some might wonder how this band have become so popular, but listen to (especially) their second album 'The Great Amerakin Dream' and you'll see that Amerakin Overdose are the real deal, capable of writing infectiously heavy songs full of menace and melody.
We caught up with lead vocalist Cody Perez to talk about AOD's rise to rock and metal prominence.
HFTB: It's been awhile now since the release of 'The Great Amerakin Dream', but there is still a forward momentum behind the record- are you surprised how well-received it was, and how many opportunities have been afforded to the band thus far?
CP: "I am and I am not. I am surprised because it's been almost two years since the release and it seems every day we have people discovering us and sending us messages about how they just heard about us and love the sound. When we first started writing 'The Great Amerakin Dream', I was so nervous because I didn't know how we could top the self-titled album. I felt like we put everything we had into that album and the first songs we were writing for the follow-up just didn't feel as strong as the first album's material. After we kept writing I was very confident in the album and when it was done, I feel like it blows the self-titled out of the water and almost feels like it makes the first album feel like a demo. Now that we are writing for the third album I am nervous again and worried about how we are going to outdo 'The Great Amerakin Dream' (laughs)."
HFTB: In many ways, Amerakin Overdose are defying logic, like many bands back in the nu metal day, with your look, the variety of styles you incorporate into your sound, plus having song titles such as 'Cunt' and 'Face Down, Ass Up'- what do you think it is about AOD that has grasped people's ears and imaginations?
CP: "I think what grabs people is the familiar sound that they recognised and loved from the nu metal days but with a modern twist. It's no secret we have a major influence from the nu metal era but I don't think we are just that. Human is a great producer and engineer and has a great ear for music and puts that modern sound into our recordings. We also draw influence from the pop culture and we make things stick in people's heads. We make sure all of our songs are different in a way but flow together so it does not sound like a completely different band.
A lot of today's music you can't tell one song from the next and people get bored of that. I write lyrics with a purpose to make the audience listen and make it their own. I think people really take the lyrics and relate them to their life/experience and connect on a level that makes the band personal to them."
HFTB: When it came to starting the band, how did you decide on your look, with twisted mask designs and unconventional facepaint, sometimes looking more 'out there' than the likes of Mudvayne and Mushroomhead once did?
CP: "(At) The start of the band I had no idea what I wanted my image to be, I don't think any of the guys did. We started with finger facepaint if you can believe it. It burned the hell out of our eyes while we were on stage and it was melting off. It is funny to look back at videos and images and think how bad the make-up looked and how amateur it was. We slowly have just evolved.
Each member has their reasons behind their image and I don't speak for them, (but) I know for myself, I try to relate my look to how I feel or see the world, how the world makes me feel, almost like I am wearing the scars and sins of the world on my face.
You'll dig the new mask I have being custom made, it's actually in the mail on its way to me. I am excited to show the world, maybe on this upcoming tour."
HFTB: Nearly 120,000 followers on the band's official Facebook page yet you guys are still unsigned- are you happy to keep on doing things your own way or is there a record label out there that should be hitting up AOD?
CP: "I am happy where we are at being unsigned. Nowadays you don't need a record label to get things done. We are all very driven people in AOD and we have some awesome people behind the scenes that are helping us along the way to make good decisions and get in touch with the right people. If a label wants to profit off all of the hard work we have put it for almost ten years, they are going to pay some BIG money and the band is going to hold some major creative control and rights. I don't think any labels are ready for that yet so until then we will keep everything in house and continue growing and doing what we do."
HFTB: Who are some of your favourite bands from the original nu metal movement?
CP: "Some of my favourites are of course Korn, Deftones, Coal Chamber, Slipknot, Mudvayne, Limp Bizkit, Ill Nino, Spineshank, Static-X...I have too many to name man. I pretty much liked any band that fell into that genre, I can't think of any bands I didn't like, to be honest."
HFTB: And being one of the frontrunners for the resurgence of nu metal, who else do you consider to be bands working keeping an eye on?
CP: "DED, Cane Hill, Dead Horse Trauma, Dirty Machine, NoSelf,.. actually check out Zombie Shark Records- Noah "Shark" Robertson is doing a kick ass job putting together his own nu metal-style record label and he's got a great catalogue of bands."
HFTB: Last year, you created a bit of media frenzy when you called out Otep Shamaya after her comments on local bands and support bands- do you still stand by everything you said, especially after she got a little personal in her responses?
CP: "I stand firm in what I said. I didn't make any judgements against her. I stood for facts and not opinions. She of course made insults and accusations. I am done with the beef. People still bring it up but I have moved on."
HFTB: You released a great rendition of Katy Perry's 'E.T.' at the end of last year- why did you choose to cover this particular song?
CP: "We had been sitting on the song for awhile. I was unsure of how I felt about the song so we waited. We re-did some vocals on it and I was very pleased with the outcome. I liked the original version and I always felt like it had an AOD vibe already in it, so we played around and sure enough it felt like something that we could get away with covering.
It's funny because we have so many other pop songs we have semi-recorded to cover and made them AOD versions, we just haven't finished them because we are still unsure on how they will go over."
HFTB: When can we expect a follow-up to 'The Great Amerakin Dream'?
CP: "We are actually working on the follow-up. We have many songs in the pre-demo stages. I am hoping for either an EP release by the end of the year or early next year, we'll see. I am excited about some of the people who will be helping produce the new album- some very well-known names."
HFTB: Finally, what two songs would you say best shows what Amerakin Overdose are all about?
CP: "I would say 'I, Alone' and 'Cyber Superstar' would give listeners our sound."
Both the self-titled debut and 'The Great Amerakin Dream' album's can be streamed on Spotify and all good platforms. Available to purchase on iTunes, and visit www.amerakinoverdose.com to purchase merch and keep up-to-date on the band, as well as their upcoming tour dates in the US.
Current Band Line-Up (According to Official Facebook Page)
Cody - Vocals
Pito - Backing Vocals
The Human - Guitar/Keys/Synths
Cameron - Bass
Brick - Drums
Check out the band's music video for 'Cyber Superstar' below.