One thing I love about what I do is that I get to learn about amazing programs and I get to meet amazing people like the band Aversed. Aversed isn’t your “normal” run of the mill band. Actually, they have a step up to most bands out there due to the Berklee’s Popular Music Institute (BPMI). This program enables students to go from the classroom to the stage in every facet of artist development and touring. They learn to handle artist development, marketing, contracts, tour budgets, digital presence, merchandise, and sponsorships. They also handle on-site promotion; assist with production and tour management; and film the performances and document their travel experiences. I can’t tell you how amazing I think this program is. Most bands walk into fame without knowing what to expect. BPMI helps their students, so they understand the business and don’t get taken advantage of. I wanted to make sure their program gets a shout-out, because it is so unique, cool, and different!
Aversed was formed in 2009 by guitarist and vocalist Sungwoo Jeong and Berklee alumnus bassist Martin Epstein. They began composing original music in 2010 and recorded their first demo. Guitarist and alumnus Alden Marchand joined in 2011 and the band began writing and performing again with the addition of drummer Jeff Saltzman (ex-Buried Electric) in 2014. Multifaceted student vocalist Haydee Irizarry completes the lineup. Aversed has performed with Ensiferum, Exhumed, Korpiklaani, Sonata Arctica, Tengger Cavalry, and Incite, among others. In 2016, the group released its debut EP, Renewal.
I got to talk to them after their set at Chicago Open Air. They were amazing! Aversed is really their own sound. I went into listening to their set thinking they were just like every other hard rock/death metal. I walked away (as did all of the crowd) blown away by Aversed. When I asked Aversed what they would call their sound, they said they would classify it as “extreme melodic metal”. I think that is the perfect way to describe them. They are truly unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Their inspiration comes from everything from Evanescence to Gojira to Black Sabbath to Steel Panther. You can hear that in their music.
Honestly, I loved talking with Haydee Irizarry. A woman leading a band in this genre happens few and far between. There are challenges that men don’t have. One of them is being catcalled when they walk on stage. When I asked Haydee about it, I loved that her bandmates also answered. They said it was time for men to finally make room for women. I have to agree. Haydee talked about the balancing act that woman have to do, but they can’t lose their femininity. This totally shows in Aversed music.
I absolutely loved their enthusiasm for all facets of their music. When I asked about the ups and downs of touring, they all still love it. If something does happen, they all were like, “hey, we are on tour how bad can life be?”. It is such a great way to look at things.
We also talked about social media and now it has changed how bands promote themselves. They recommended having a product online that is easy to find and take advantage of the free advertising that social media has to offer. They also said to make sure your live show is a good one!
Lastly, I asked how their lives have changed. They said it is still weird when complete strangers walk up to them. From what I could see, they are all still grounded in their roots. They were all totally down to earth, and I could have spent all day talking with them.
I can see Aversed going far in the hard rock genre. I hope I get a chance to see them again when they come to Chicago! For the rest of you, you can see them on August 13th at 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence, MA! You can also download their album for free!