Interview with Ace Stallings of Mutually Assured Destruction & Break Away
You might know Ace from his former band Break Away or you might know him from his current band "Mutually Assured Destruction". Either way, he's a solid guy who was nice enough to take part in this interview series. I can't recommend either band enough, so do yourself a favour and check them out!
Tell us a bit about the history of Mutually Assured Destruction and how you guys formed.
m.a.d. started a few months after my previous band Break Away had broken up. I wanted to do a new band that was entirely different than what I had done previously. I hit up some people that had all been in really good bands before that seemed like they would have the free time to do this. It worked out great, we instantly all clicked and the songs just flowed out of us. We played our first show in summer of 2019 and released our demo on vinyl via a local record store/label (vinly conflict). Earlier this year we released a 10” on another local label (Edgewood) and have collectively played maybe 13 shows so far? For not even being a band a year I’m really happy with how things have gone.
If you had to introduce extraterrestrials to music using only five records, what do you choose?
I feel like you have to be super objective and cover every corner of what music can actually be. So I would probably pick a pinnacle record from every genre. 1. Probably some kind of Mozart collection. 2. Metallica – Ride the Lightning 3. Nas – Illmatic 4. Some collection of big room dance music, like a Tiesto or something. And then 5. Probably some old country like Hank Williams.
This way I feel like the extraterrestrials would get a good swath of what’s out there and then I could give them more suggestions based on whichever one they liked most.
M.A.D have put out physical releases on 7 and 10 inch formats. Obvious question but are there any plans to do an LP any time soon?
So I am really ready to go with writing an LP. We have a lot of momentum and I want to keep it going. We have had some base level discussions about it, but no writing has been done yet. We are definitely going for it though. No matter what we will have an LP out in 2021.
The new release " Fever Dream" is a monster of an EP, that seems like a natural progression of your last 7", but more focused. Was the writing & recording process different this time round?
Good question. I feel like we are doing a better job of figuring out exactly who we are as we move forward. This time we leaned a little more towards Doom Metal stuff and bands like Black Sabbath. We like all kinds of hardcore, punk and metal, so we try to blend these tastefully. It’s been fun to come up with ways to incorporate influences that would normally not be linked together. The writing process for “Fever Dream” was no different than the 7’, I think just a further extension of what we had already done. I want to keep evolving our sound, Fever Dream was just the next step in the evolutionary process.
I hear certain elements of Danzig, Life Of Agony & even Corrosion Of Conformity. What are some of your biggest influences, collectively or separately?
I mean you nailed it with those. At least 3 of us really like this band Windhand from where we are from. Black Sabbath like I mentioned. The Misfits are one of my all time favorite bands, so the Danzig thing comes in there. I know one of our guitar players is really into Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains. The m.a.d. model could be “Take all these bands that aren’t necessarily hardcore and make them hardcore”, which seems simple, but you get some cool results.
Richmond is such a hotbed of ridiculously good bands. Is there a sense of camaraderie? Or competitiveness?
Thank you for that. I’m proud of the fact that our home continues to create cool and relevant hardcore, punk, and metal. It’s been an amazing place to grow up, learn, and experience the corners of alternative music. The scene can be a little divided, not what I would call standoffish between lines (it used to be), but I’ll see certain people only show up if certain bands are playing or people not giving certain bands the time of day because it doesn’t match their aesthetic or something. On the positive side, I think some walls are coming down and I’m seeing less of that. I wouldn’t say things are competitive, I would say some people think they aren’t even a part of the same scene as others, so they don’t view it as being in the same field to compete in. All this being said, for the most part everyone gets along and people are very supportive of one another. I just know if everyone was united things would be even better than they are.
Are there any bands past or present you wish got more recognition?
I could really ramble on with this one. I think the band In Control is incredible. I only discovered them in the last couple years and I can’t believe not every hardcore person knows them. I love the band Red Death and think they don’t get the praise they deserve. Any time I meet someone who isn’t into Take Offense, I’m blown away, they should be on top of the world. God, so many others. I wish a lot of Japanese hardcore wasn’t some kind of secret and was more accessible (like I’d love to be able to listen to Judgement on a streaming app). Like I said, I could go on and on.
What is one song that you didn't write, but wish you did, what is it and why?
Where Eagles Dare, because I too am not a god damn son of a bitch and I want the world to know that.