The Acacia Strain

Acacia StrainMassachusetts deathcore outfit The Acacia Strain have been a few big changes over the last 12 months. JESSICA WILLOUGHBY chats to bassist, Jack Strong, ahead of their Australian tour, kicking off with two Perth shows – at YMCA HQ (all-ages) in Leederville on Wednesday, April 23, and Amplifier on Thursday, April 24.

So what happens when a band parts ways with their main songwriter after 12 years? They are reborn – as is the story with The Acacia Strain.

Last year, the US deathcore outfit said goodbye to Daniel ‘DL’ Laskiewicz – the guitarist that helped to shape and establish the sound this five-piece are known for. Although a decision that suited both parties, as Laskiewicz hasn’t been on the road with the band since 2008 due to family and life commitments, it was a change that sent ripples through not only their fanbase – but the deathcore community.

To fill his shoes, the band moved to bring in not one, but two, guitarists – Devin Shidaker (ex-Oceano) and Richard Gomez (ex-Molotov Solution).
Bassist, Jack Strong, couldn’t be happier with the new additions.

“They fit in quite nicely,” he says. “They’re both incredible guitar players. On top of that, they are great guys – they are easy-going. They work quite well with the rest of us. We’re just lucky it worked out. If one has a cool idea for a rhythm part, the other will automatically have a great idea for a lead part. They work really well together, as well as with the rest of the band. So I’m really excited about that – I really don’t think it could have worked out any better.”

Their latest effort, the Above/Below EP (2013), was the first time the band had actually sat down in the same room to write an album since their 2002 debut, …And Life Is Very Long. Now bunkered down in the studio to write their seventh full-length, Strong points to The Acacia Strain feeling ‘whole’ again. “It’s nice actually because we all get to sit in a room together and think of ideas and work them out until they are a complete song,” Strong says of the experience. “It’s a different process from what we are used to. It’s been refreshing. Maybe that will add a different feel to this album, too. It’s definitely a different thing for the band, but it was a neat experience and a really productive process.

“We are on good terms with Daniel for sure. He hasn’t been touring with us since 2008. But there’s no animosity towards it. He has a family. He stays home and takes care of them and works. Touring life for him wasn’t really conducive to the life that he had. It wasn’t a bad thing. It was what it was.”

Recording with Will Putney on production duties, Strong points to the band still retaining The Acacia Strain sound. “This record will be very different. It’s still going to be the same old band. But it’s respectful of the sound that we had prior to this and opens up the future a bit more for us. While this does still sound like the band, it’s a little different – but in the best way possible. I hope people agree with me or at least tell me it’s not terrible.

“I think it’s a little different from our EP. The Above/Below thing was a good little appetiser and a preview of having these two new guys writing with us. I wouldn’t say it’s an extension of that. It was like that was a sampler and now we get to do what we’re really capable of now. Especially spending more time and having more opportunities to write and play together. We built upon that.

“Even though it’s been a short amount of time, maybe we’ve come out with something that’s a bit more advanced or mature than what we did when the new members were brand new.”