Converge Is OK With Playing Corporate Festival (This Time)
While Southern Lord black metallers Wolves in the Throne Room have gone on record as saying that playing Atlanta’s Scion Rock Fest earlier this year was “a deal with the devil,” Converge‘s Jacob Bannon isn’t nearly as critical about his band’s involvement in the fest. But then, the hardcore stalwarts only agreed to playing it after being asked twice.
“We were originally asked to do it some months before, and we turned it down,” Bannon tells Noisecreep. “While we appreciated the invite, we weren’t really all that comfortable with performing to promote things which don’t have any role in our lives whatsoever. We only like to back things that we appreciate, admire and support in some ways. With that said, that car company has very little relevance in our lives whatsoever. It doesn’t mean we don’t drive vehicles, but our music being used to promote that is, I see that as a potential issue.”
What ultimately sold Converge on playing the festival was the way that the event was marketed. “There are a lot of festivals in Europe we’ve played and had experiences with playing corporate-sponsored events, and companies are always involved with any of those things,” Bannon says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s record labels, Live Nation, whatever the hell it is, there’s always an evil around. But we saw their involvement as something that wasn’t all that negative. We don’t think that people that support and appreciate our music were going to go ‘wow, I want to go buy a Scion,’ they look at it as ‘hey, a free show that I don’t have to pay for, and can walk in and see all these fantastic bands.’ Scion could have spent $2 million doing postcard campaigns at every college bar in the world, but instead, they decided to take a pitch at independent music. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”
Another thing that might have helped with the decision was being able to play with old friends like Neurosis. “We played with a lot of peers, people we’ve been friends with for years and toured with countless times,” he says. “In the States, you don’t really get to see those band bands all together too often, whereas in Europe and international touring, our paths cross a lot more, so it’s nice to be able to do it in the states.”