An Interview With Danny Marino Of The Agonist

Written By: Eric Littman


Hey what’s going on Side Stage Magazine its Eric, and I’m currently sitting with Danny from The Agonist

Side Stage Magazine: How are you doing?

Danny Marino: I’m doing good. Just got off stage not that long ago.


Yes sir you did, and this being the first time I’ve seen you live I thank you for the phenomenal set!

Thank you that’s great to hear.


You were just in Patchogue Long Island New York on February 19th, and you’re 11 days into the Bound By The Road Tour how has it been going so far?

It’s been going great. I didn’t know what to expect because we haven’t done a tour with such a diverse package. There’s a lot of heavier stuff so we kind of made our set list our heavy side of our band. Everyone has been really cool and accommodating and that’s been really nice. The DevilDriver and Death Angel guys are so helpful and not at all boss domineering type headliners and that’s been really cool. The tour has been good the crowds have been good it’s been a lot of fun so far.


Five is the newest album that you’re currently supporting. Has “Five” produced what you envisioned it to be when you were writing it?

I think so. We really wanted to branch out a bit more and try new things. I feel that every record that we do is different, we really like try different things on different records to give a different mood instead of being like here’s another 12 songs that are like what we’ve done before d. We try to make each one its own thing, and this one we changed producers, we went to L.A. and lived there we did everything different this time. The preproduction was different the result was different and I was real happy with it. It’s like its own album that exists within itself and that’s what we wanted to say. So the next one I don’t know what’s going to happen. A lot of people were saying this album was a lot more song oriented instead of cerebral like oh look at this riff and this fast drum beat it’s more like just listening to the song as a whole and that’s what we wanted it to be a very cohesive song album. Who knows the next one might be 100% progressive we don’t know till it happens.


How did Five differ from the previous albums? Obviously the departure of Alissa and then with Vicky joining, beyond all of that how is Five different?

We really focused on the song more I think it’s always been like that but at the same time it was a little bit more before about a collection of ideas and riffs that create a song instead of approaching it from a much bigger picture kind of perspective and being like what are the lyrics about and then  these are the riffs that we have does that actually represent the entire emotion of the song and trying to really match the music with the lyrics and the entire feeling of the song instead of it being much more before about like well these are the riffs and their really cool riffs and now let’s fit some vocals in and now it’s a song instead of it being a much more global idea.


Is there a song that you look forward to playing off Five or any of your previous albums?

Actually I never know till we do it. You think when you write it and record it that this is going to be an awesome live song, but then you jam it together live and your like it didn’t necessarily feel so great and then the one that you never  thought would be that one song ends up being great. On this tour we bust out a song from “Eye Of Providence” called a “Necessary Evil” that we’ve never played live before and I’m absolutely loving it and everyone in the band is fucking loving it. It’s probably going to become a staple in the set now because it really works.


Speaking of the song writing one of the songs that stuck out to me is “Ravens Eyes”. Between the lyrics by Vicky its sultry, it reminded me of an old smoke-filled piano bar with this amazing female singer the piano and the band accompanying her and between the lyrics and the music that the lyrics are riding on its completely out of the scope of what I was expecting for me it has a beauty to it. 

I’ve been asked before which song for you kind of stands out or are you most proud of and that’s probably it’s a song writer because we have never really done something like that before. Me and Vicky are into lots of different types of music, so we really got to express a whole other side of ourselves that was a big part of ourselves and our music. It was a lot of fun to do something like that and when I heard back the mixes in the studio I kind of felt I can’t believe we just did that it was so cool. I’m really happy with it and it is one of my favorite songs that we have ever written.


Five is the first album with Napalm Records. How has the transition or change been from Century Records to Napalm Records?

It’s been great. All the metal labels kind of know each other they’re all you know in the same game, but it’s definitely been a different feel the way they view the artist and the relation to the business we feel that they care about everyone top to bottom of their roster and they just try their best in a very difficult industry and so far it’s been great and we are really happy.


How do you know when a song is right for The Agonist or for the band as a whole?

It’s really hard to say but there are those moments when you’re demoing songs and you hear it back.  Let’s say I write something at home and I send it to Vicky and I have this chorus it’s really great, and then sometimes she’ll send me something back and I’ll hear it with the vocals and everything together and I’ll have like this “Yes” moment chill up your spine hearing it for the first time and really get those shivers and when that happens it’s a good sign and you know that it’s something special. It’s not always like that though sometimes you have to work for it or maybe that one doesn’t really become one of the best but through this idea or change it could be something great or we decide to just scrap the whole thing. Like on this record there were 2 or 3 songs that just didn’t make it. Sometimes what ends up happening is maybe the song as a whole just didn’t hit enough but maybe there’s one section of it that’s great and maybe on the next record you can find a way to rework that section and make a new song out of it but with keeping the best part of it. That actually happen on this album a part of it was actually written for Prisoners which was actually 2 albums ago and that song didn’t make Prisoners but there was one riff in it that everyone knew was killer but it wasn’t enough to keep the song but we kept the riff and ended up making a new song with it.


What bands beyond the tour your on now would you like to tour with?

There are so many bands that we would like to tour with there are different things like we’d love to tour with this band because we feel it would be great for our career, or we’d love to tour with this band because we are such big fans. I could name off a bunch of bands that I’m a fan of Opeth, or Devin Townsend or Gojira or Meshuggah or In Flames. We would just tour with anyone that we feel it would be a fun time and help our name get out there. Never thought I’d be touring with DevilDriver, but the offer came up and here we are.


What was the first album you feel in love with?

Wow I guess did play the shit out of the cassette tape of Appetite For Destruction when I was 12. I wasn’t much into a lot of the stuff that was happening when I was young. I grew up in a house of musicians and there was a hell of  a lot of 60’s and 70’s stuff going on in my house I was growing up listening to like Hendrix The Doors, and Santana a lot of guitar music. My brother was getting into metal and he showed me the Black album (Metallica), Guns and Roses, Megadeth and that sort of spawned me getting on that path so to speak.


Where do you feel as a band you fit into the metal scene?

I hate saying it, but we don’t its heard to really place us in one thing or genre. You know how some people just really fit in kind of like they are the quintessential band of that genre. Like Suicide Silence is obvious death core. With us in that we keep trying to do different things.We don’t want to just stick to one thing we like to experiment by going from pure death metal to like rock music to like “Raven Eyes” which is like a lounge jazz sound there aren’t a lot of metal bands that doo that but that’s what we want to do and that’s what we are and that’s what we want to express. We are like a sandwich which has 10 toppings in it that’s the kind of sandwich we are.


What has been some of the craziest moments for you or the band so far on the tour?

Honestly on this tour nothing really crazy has happened. On previous tours a lot of crazy stuff has happened, like we crashed our van the trailer came off our RV as we were driving down the road, showing up like 5 minutes for the set and running in with our guitars on our backs and plugging into the headliner’s gear and playing our set. This tour fingers crossed everything has been great so far.


What do you see on the horizon for The Agonist?

Continuing to create music that’s what we want to do. If you noticed we put out 2 records in a fairly short time but that’s because we wanted to do. I write a lot of music and that’s what I like to do and I now have a singer that is very active if I give her something she starts working on it right away and we just start busting out a bunch of material and we are going to keep doing that and giving the fans new material for them to listen to it’s what we enjoy doing the most.


I thank you once again for taking the time to sit down with myself and Side Stage Magazine.

Thank you

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