M. Shadows recently spoke with GQ, where he discussed the upcoming album Life is But a Dream..., the album artwork, and spoke with his friend and artist Wes Lang about how they have inspired one another with music and art. You can check out the full article HERE.
You both have mentioned growth and progression as artists and the risk of losing an established audience. But I’m wondering if it feels more rewarding when you're able to have people meet you in these new places you didn't expect them to follow you to. Does it make you feel more seen as an artist and individual?
Lang: I never really felt seen, if I'm honest with you. I don't know the answer to that question.
Sanders: I've thought about this a lot because we constantly have to put out records. One theory I always live by is that every piece of work has to find its audience. Just because someone bought [the Avenged Sevenfold albums] The Stage or Hail to the King does not mean that they're ready, willing, or even going to want Life is but a Dream…, but I believe so deeply that it touches me, and that it will touch other people. The art has to find those people, and it takes time to meld into society or culture, and that's okay. That's totally fucking great because everything's a little bit of a challenge.
Lang: There are bodies of artwork that I've made that have literally taken 10 years for people to grab onto. It all goes back to making what feels good, and eventually, an audience will find you. Please don't write this [to be] misconstrued as [us] being cocky fucking pricks because it couldn't be more opposite. I mean, him and I are two very insecure motherfuckers. We're just getting through.
You make things so that you can feel good for fractions of time, and the more that you get to create things, those fractions of time start to build up, and then it helps build your being into being much more relaxed. I suffer from panic attacks, and I've learned how to manage them. [Matt,] I don't know if you deal with that shit at all, but I've had unbearable, horrible anxiety for most of my adult fucking life. I have no self-worth at all, so I make art to combat that feeling and create self-worth. The more you create, the more you grow, and then you become more comfortable in your fucking skin.
Sanders: I definitely have my issues with that, and I think as I get older, the people I respect and love, they're not the biggest bands. They're the bands that are deeply stepping into what they are. They're unique, and they're different, and they're rough around the edges. I do the same thing with art. The message is, "Do what you want to do and make the world a more colorful place for everyone else," because I love seeing all that juxtaposition around the world, and I think that's what I wish art and artists would do more in our genre, specifically.