The Acacia Strain's Vincent Bennett Discusses Art, the Importance of Good Merch and His Schoolteacher Mom
"After I deduced my own meaning of the album's title, I wrote the songs based around that theme. I think that's what most artists want you to do -- they want you to come up with your own interpretation of what you're looking at. When we write a song and release it, it's kind of like public domain at that point. People get to take it and make of it what they want. Who am I to tell one of our fans that a certain song isn't about a breakup, if that's what they think it's about? It's whatever the listener wants it to be about. It's a powerful thing and who am I to destroy that? That's how I feel about our lyrics," explains Bennett.
So what does Supreme, the artist that originally came up with the 'Death Is the Only Mortal' title, think about The Acacia Strain using it? "I know people that know him and I guess he's pretty cool with us using it," laughs Bennett.
Formed in 2001, The Acacia Strain are one of the more popular bands dishing out metalcore these days. Bennett tells Noisecreep that even his schoolteacher mom is a fan, well, kind of: "I've given my mom our records, and she comes to our shows from time to time. She doesn't really understand our music, but she does know that is an outlet for me. I'm a creative person and I just need to get stuff of my chest sometimes, no matter how gruesome my lyrics can be at times. I was really worried at first. I thought she would read my lyrics and hate me, but she's never really asked me about them. It's an unspoken thing where she knows what type of person I really am, and this all just my artistic side. I'm really open with my mom and I tell her everything. She gave me life and I think she just deserves it."
The day of Noisecreep's interview with Bennett, word got out about a special pre-order bundle for Death Is the Only Mortal featuring none other than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's another genius promo piece from a band known for its eye-grabbing merchandise: "The merch stuff is all on me. The rest of the guys rather not deal with it. It's kind of tough coming up with cool and new ideas every time we're going to go out on tour, but I take it seriously.
"Around five years ago or so, it occurred to me that most band t-shirts were boring. People were paying $10-$15 for a shirt when there was no real substance to any of it. I wanted to make our stuff worthwhile. I want to give our fans quality. I want people to go to our shows and see something we're selling and go, 'Wow! I need to get that!' I remember being a kid and saving up money for a month just so I could buy one shirt at a local show. The fact that a kid can come to our show and have a hard time deciding which shirt they want is an amazing feeling. It's much more than just making money for me. Yes, it's important to make a living, but I don't just want someone to buy one of our shirts and have it sit at the bottom of their drawer."
Not surprisingly, Bennett says t-shirt sales make up for a huge chunk of The Acacia Strain's bottom line: "I think most bands out there right now make more money on merch sale than anything else. Who sells records anymore? We survive on cotton [laughs]. Obviously, hoodies sell better in the winter, but you would be surprised how many tank tops we're selling. There can be a blizzard outside and kids will still buy one of our tank tops and leave the club wearing it. They're crazy!"
The Acacia Strain's Death Is the Only Mortal will hit stores on Oct. 9 via Rise Records. Pre-order the album at this link.