June 22, 2024

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ROCKET Interviews Matt McChesney of THE AUTUMN OFFERING


Daytona Beach, Florida’s THE AUTUMN OFFERING specialize in melodic death metal and are set to unleash their new self-titled album on August 31st via Victory Records. Initially formed in 1999, they’ve already been on a handful of tours throughout the United States. Eventually HATEBREED front-man Jamey Jasta signed the band to Stillborn Records in 2004 and they released “Revelations Of The Unsung” the same year. Since then, they have shared the stage with the likes of SLAYER, SLIPKNOT, MASTODON and GOD FORBID, among many other big names, and continue their rise to the top of the heap in the metal world.

The Metal Den’s Randy “Rocket” Cody has conducted an exclusive interview with new THE AUTUMN OFFERING vocalist Matt McChesney for his loyal worldwide Den Headz.


Rocket: Where were you born and raised?

Matt: Boston MA. My family is from Naples, Italy. I grew up in Boston MA and Plymouth MA, which is a suburb of Boston about 40 minutes south. I was a punk kid. Drugs, fighting, finally ended up in jail at 19. I got out, put my self through college and cleaned up my act. I barely went to high school but I graduated college with a 3.8 GPA. I was always a big Red Sox fan. I started playing the guitar around 14 and went from there.

Rocket: Do you come from a big family, Matt?

Matt: No. My family is very small. I haven’t seen my father in 14 years. All my grandparents are dead and I don’t have any cousins that I know of. I’m close with my mother, older brother and sister. They have families of their own now. I’ve missed them very much, with all the touring and living on the west coast now. When this is all over with I’m going to pursue a career in journalism. I was offered a job when I was in college to write at a big Boston newspaper. I wonder if the job offer is still good. I don’t ever want any children of my own, but I really want to spend my life post-career in Mass.

Rocket: Do you recall your first rock concert?

Matt: Yeah. My brother took me to see Iron Maiden. I was just a little kid. I had just got into heavy music and man, I was addicted. Having an older brother with similar musical tastes was great. I got to see so many cool shows. Maiden, Slayer, Metallica. I was seeing this shit while other kids my age were going to Disney World. I never had any desire for that. I didn’t like video games and I didn’t play with toys. My young shoulders bore a very old head. It’s still like that to this day. I’m 30 and I feel like I’m 100, with all the shit I lived through. But yeah, my first show was Iron Maiden, Seventh Son Tour. With all the icebergs and shit onstage. It was fucking amazing. Later on that year I saw Slayer for the first time at The Living Room in Providence RI. Some kid threw a M 80 in the most pit and blew off another guy’s hand…my addiction grew fonder. HAHAHAHA


Rocket: What first drew you to being a vocalist?

Matt: At first I wanted to be a guitar player. I worshiped James Hetfield and Kirk Hammet. Later on, it was guys like Chuck Schuldiner and James Murphy, followed by guys like Steve Vai and Alex Lifeson. Then something happened that changed my life. Pantera. I had never heard anyone that ANGRY. It spoke to me, much in the way that I imagine the guitar speaks to a guitarist. I was a good guitar player, but something inside me just wasn’t being totally fulfilled by it. Singing, as fucking gay as it sounds, completed me as a musician. To this day, there is nothing that I enjoy more. Not sex, drugs, anything. Playing music. That’s it.

Rocket: Who are some of your biggest vocal influences of past or present?

Matt: Like I said, Phil Anselmo was a big one. Layne Staley, I just loved. Layne, to me, had the best rock voice ever. After I started to get pretty good, I started to explore the techniques that influenced the guys that influenced me. Rob Halford, Dio, Freddy Mercury. I learned how to sing traditionally as well as just in a raspy rock voice. I learned falsetto, using your head voice. I went through a real power metal phase at one point. I got really good. Unfortunately I was never really in a band where I could utilize it.
As far as screaming goes, I was heavily influenced by the death metal bands. Carcass, Death, Suffocation, etc. I got into the throaty growling, which I think that I now do as good as anyone. When I first started, I had kind of a Tomas Lindberg sound. Uncontrolled, but really, really violent. My former band, Hell Within, our first record is a good example of this. I started developing some nodes on tour because I think I was doing something mechanically wrong. I began talking to Melissa Cross about doing some maintenance exercises. I had taken vocal lessons in the past, but none of my teachers ever touched on screaming. They basically hated that I had to do it. Melissa helped me very much, she’s amazing. When I had some throat issues during the Requiem sessions, I called her on the phone and she told me a couple things to try and it worked like magic. I’m really proud of the tone I got on this album. It’s the vocal tone that I had always envisioned in my head as the perfect screaming tone. Controlled, but fucking brutal. I forgot Jason Suecof. Huge influence on me. He taught me so much. How to construct hooks in different ways and experimenting with different vocal harmonies. Everyone seems to always use thirds or octaves. Jason showed me some really creepy ones. He’s great man. Mark Lewis is a underrated vocal guy. Everyone associates Mark with guitars, but he’s come into his own. I thought we crafted some amazing chorus’ together on Requiem. The chorus in “Narcosis” has so much going on…we had never really heard a chorus like that before, with so much call and response. Mark rules. Present day influences? There aren’t many. Most metal vocalists are shit now. Especially the ones who just scream. If your going to exclusively scream, you better be damn good. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Randy Blythe is good. I like Keith from Every Time I Die. There are some good ones.


Rocket: Let’s talk about the new self-titled The Autumn Offering CD set to be released Aug 31st.
Where was it recorded and who produced it?

Matt: Well, drums, rhythm guitars and bass were recorded in Arizona. Leads were done in Cleveland and in North Carolina. I tracked my vocals in Mass. We’ve got to the point as a band, having so much studio hours logged,that we can record anywhere. Having friends with studios helps. One guy may not have the pre amp you like, or you may like the studio but hate the drum room. It helps to move around. We produced the album ourselves. Pete Rutcho mixed and mastered it, and he did a fantastic job. It was our first record away from Audiohammer studios. We wanted to try something different.

Rocket: How does the songwriting process generally work for your band?

Matt: Well, Tommy or Jesse will send me a demo and I’ll start writing vocals over it. I’ll tell them what to change, be it a drum, guitar riff, something like that. Make a chorus longer or shorter. When we finally record them, they always change. For the better, usually. Our personalities are too strong to write together in room. Plus we all hate that. I don’t want people around when I’m writing vocals, baring my soul. That’s my time. They feel the same about their parts. When we come together in the studio that changes. We craft the final versions of the songs together, except for the vocals. I do those alone usually. It’s not because I don’t want them there. It’s usually because their parts are done and they have flown home. Or, if they are still at the studio their out at a bar chasing ass or something. If I was in their shoes I’d rather talk to broads and get drunk then watch me scream my brains out. They trust me. They don’t need to be there. If they have a real problem with something I did then I’ll change it. Unless I really feel strongly about it.

Rocket: What’s your favorite The Autumn Offering song to perform live and why?

Matt: Right now it’s ‘Fear Will Cast No Shadow’. That’s gonna change because we haven’t played the new songs live. The new material is so fucking heavy its gonna be a blast. I can tell you my least favorite song is “Embrace The Gutter”. I know fans like it, but it’s before my time. I think its too happy and the lyrics are cheesy as fuck. Maybe that’s why people like it, I don’t know.

Rocket: Does The Autumn Offering have a fan club or street team that people can join if they want?

Matt: There’s a Victory Records street team. They go to shows and pass out fliers, CD samplers and shit. We’ve been lazy with our online presence but that will change. I’d like to set up a street team. I’ll tell you though, we are way cooler to the fans then most bands. We hang out, bring them on the bus, sign whatever, buy them beers. We’re not too cool, you know? Some metal bands think they are fucking rock stars. Let me tell you, there are no rock stars in metal. Metal is a pimple on the ass of the music industry. It doesn’t sell shit, and none of us have any money. Kids see the tour buses and things like that but it’s an illusion. Everyone is broke. These record labels are snake ass motherfuckers and they fuck you left and right. The rock stars are the rappers, sadly.

Rocket: I like to have fun with this next one. What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you while
performing live on stage?


Matt: One time I was headbanging, in Detroit I think, and I drove my forehead into my knee. I knocked myself out. It was only about 5 seconds but it felt like a fucking eternity. I came to, on my back. For a second I had no idea where I was. I used to box, and I’ve been flattened before, so I knew not to get right up. If you do that boy, you are on fucking queer street. You’ll do a chicken dance and fall right back down. So, I laid on my back and kept singing. For a about 20 seconds. Then I got right back up, feeling like a damn jerk off. Another time I took acid and went onstage. Frying. It was hysterical.

Rocket: Who are some of the local un-signed metal acts on your scene that you think are worth
mentioning right now?

Matt: I feel bad saying this, but I never watch the locals anymore. I should. I really should. I did, the first 7 years of this. To be honest, I barely watch any of the bands I tour with. Except for a few nights, if I like them. They don’t need my approval. I dont even go to shows, unless it’s a friend of mine that’s in town. I went and saw Unearth a couple months ago and they killed it. Fear Factory, I went and saw them and they rocked. Locals….hmmm…I’m gonna make it a point on this next run to check some out. I don’t wanna be ‘that guy’. Even if I don’t watch them I always hang out with them, and lie and say I did watch them hahahahaha.

Rocket: What are some of the upcoming shows for The Autumn Offering that fans need to watch out for?

Matt: Hmmmm…all of them. No one show is more important. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing with Metallica or Corpsefucker from Akron Ohio. We give it 100 percent. Unless we’re too hammered. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone anymore. I give it my all for the fans.

Rocket: Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

Matt: Dead. I’m clean now, but god, all the shit I’ve done. I’m worried. I’ve literally had doctors tell me to slow down or start penning my will. That’s nothing to be proud of, by the way. It’s fucking stupid. Have your drinks, but stay away from the hard drugs. They will only bring you to hell. Like I said, I’m clean and sober but the bill is in the mail.

Rocket: Thanks for rocking this out with me. Best of luck with it all! Go ahead and give a shout-out to your
biggest supporters.

Matt: Thank you, man. Uh….what up, methadone clinic!!!