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Thrash Into Submission: An Interview With Michael Vafiotis Of 4ARM

By Damian J. Cousins aka "The Maestro", Dallas Contributor
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 @ 4:06 PM

"Itís all good touring with the big guns, but sometimes youíve gotta hold your own and get out and do some major tours yourself."

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Last month I was able to get a few minutes with Mick Vafiotis, drummer for Australian thrashers 4ARM at their tour stop here in Dallas, TX with GOJIRA and SLAYER. For those of you not already in the know you should be rocking and thrashing to their body of work (13 Scars, The Empires of Death, and newest album Submission For Liberty) on a regular basis immediately after you finish reading this. Got that? OK, good. Read on and see what Mick had to say to us:

KNAC.COM: So weíre about 11 or 12 shows into the tour. How have the crowds been treating you?

VAFIOTIS: Really good, man. Exceptionally well, and weíve had some good numbers turn up early to see us. That also happened on the TESTAMENT tour earlier this year. We were pretty shocked to see that. We donít get that much at home when international bands tour, so itís been great to see.

KNAC.COM: Youíre out here with SLAYER who are doing an "old school" set. How have you enjoyed seeing legends up there doing their thing?

VAFIOTIS: Yeah itís good, and I havenít heard some of those songs in a long time, so hearing them never gets old. I could watch them every night. I try to watch from all different angles when I do.

KNAC.COM: The U.S. really seems to have embraced 4ARM. What do you think of the positive reaction from the metal scene?

VAFIOTIS: Itís great, man. Really great. We finally feel that weíre getting recognized internationally since the release of the last album. It feels like the rest of the world is starting to wake up a little and know about 4ARM. The first two albums were pretty much stuck in Australia. Submission really got out there and made some noise.

KNAC.COM: As far as writing goes, do you do any on the road, or no?

VAFIOTIS: Weíve already written stuff for the next album. We knew we were gonna be doing the whole SLAYER tour for quite some time now. Itís hard to write on the road, especially in the vehicle weíre in. It gets tight with all our stuff. So when we finished the TESTAMENT tour we started writing, and then we stopped when we toured Europe. So itís been on and off, whenever we got a break and would go home, we got together and got some material down. Weíre not far off of a release, sometime early next year. But as far as writing on the road weíre not really comfortable doing that. Plus, weíre soaking it all in trying to enjoy our time while weíre here.

KNAC.COM: What is the writing dynamic within the group?

VAFIOTIS: Itís always been from day one me and Dan, our singer. We just belt it out whether itís at his place, or I come up with something and send it to him online. We get together regularly and write. We just have that connection; our influences are very similar in styles. And itís worked so far, so for the next record I donít think that will change. Dan writes all the lyrics, thatís his thing. I leave him to it because heís an awesome writer and singer. Thatís the formula.

KNAC.COM: OVERKILL, TESTAMENT, and now SLAYERÖsafe to say your touring wish list is pretty much getting filled?

VAFIOTIS: Well thereís one that hasnít happened. That would be METALLICA. For me that would be a childhood dream come true. THIS, what weíre doing now is a childhood dream come true, but METALLICA would be nice!

KNAC.COM: Oh, man. A METALLICA/4ARM tour would be one hell of a bill!

VAFIOTIS: I think our music would suit their audience. And thatís kind of whatís happening at the moment. Fans have sort of turned to us and appreciate what weíre doing. Because thereís a connection between our music and SLAYERís. Weíre very similar styles, so itís not like the crowd is going, ďWhatís this noise??Ē So I get it. Weíre winning them over with what theyíre hearing, initially.

KNAC.COM: Iíve interviewed some of the Elder Statesmen of Thrash if you will and Zetro from HATRIOT named you guys as one of the newer bands he really likes. He named HAVOK, WARBRINGER, and 4ARM off the top of his head without any hesitation.

VAFIOTIS: Iíd really like to see a tour like that. Itís all good touring with the big guns, but sometimes youíve gotta hold your own and get out and do some major tours yourself. I think those bands you mentioned and us would be an awesome tour. So to everyone reading this, you knowÖ

KNAC.COM: HAVOK is definitely a favorite of mine, too.

VAFIOTIS: We did a show with them on the TESTAMENT tour. I met Pete (Webber, drums) and all the guys. Theyíre awesome dudes!

KNAC.COM: Peteís a monster on drums, too.

VAFIOTIS: Yeah, he is!

KNAC.COM: SO whatís next for 4ARM these next few years?

VAFIOTIS: Touring. More touring. Thatís what we love doing. Iíd like to get back to Europe maybe in summer and of course getting the album out is the main focus.

KNAC.COM: Do you ever miss home in Australia?

VAFIOTIS: Not really, I can live like this. The guys think Iím a little bit of a princess on the road because I have to have showers every day. You donít know the rest of these guys! Less hygienic, so to speak.

KNAC.COM: Ummm, Iíve read some things. Some of which are more disturbing than others.

VAFIOTIS: We went to Walmart and bought Febreze and air fresheners and we had a good laugh because we were like, ďThis ainít metal!Ē (laughs). But I could live like this, itís fun. You get to see the world, hang out with cool people, see some great bands, and play.

KNAC.COM: Tell me something about the band right now that I CANíT find online, or anywhere else. Something 100,000 interviewers havenít already asked you.

VAFIOTIS: Me and Dan used to be in a band together prior to this. Not many people know that. Uhh, I canít swim. Off the top of my head, youíve got me there.

KNAC.COM: Mick, if youíre gonna travel the world I think youíd better learn how to swim.

VAFIOTIS: Yeah, I nearly drowned in the Ukraine, the Black Sea.

KNAC.COM: (Laughing) 4ARM needs you!!

VAFIOTIS: (Also laughing) Yeah, hopefully!

KNAC.COM: What do you want to say to the 4ARM fans out there?

VAFIOTIS: Well thank you first and foremost for your ongoing support. I hope to see each and every one of you out there rocking it.

As I stated in my earlier review of the show, 4ARM came out and just absolutely shredded South Side Ballroom that night. They may have been the opener, but they play with the confidence and swagger of a headliner, and you can see it and hear it. Definitely catch them when they come to your neck of the woods, and if you havenít checked out their albums I strongly urge you to do so. Because 4ARM are here to stay, people. Get onboard now!


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