soil aj cavalier
Interview by: Lynn Wyeth
Date: 05 November 2009
Venue: Rock City, Nottingham, UK
Photos by: Soil
Chicago Rockers SOIL are currently touring Europe with Shinedown. MusicXtra managed to snag twenty minutes with front man AJ Cavalier at their Nottingham Rock City show…
We’re not going to go over the band’s history, it’s well documented online, but do you see the 2005 onwards era of SOIL, after you joined the band, as sort of a new start and almost a new band?
Yeah, I guess to me it was a new band. I asked them to change the name because whenever there’s a change in the voice of a band, the identity changes. I recommended that when I first joined, but because of their history they wanted to keep it. I got outvoted, but I totally respect that. I think we should have changed the name, it’s a whole new band again. A little more versatile, no limitations. It’s like an old SOIL and a new SOIL. Sure we lost some old fans who were in love with the old singer, and I respect that, but I’ve got no animosity whatsoever towards those who like the old singer more than me.
The new album Picture Perfect came out two weeks ago, some of the reviews have been poor, one was 2 out of 10. It’s never a 2 out of 10 album! How do you deal with that sort of criticism?
I kinda love criticism. But I don’t like criticism with ignorance because they don’t do their homework… they’re expecting something else. I thought people would love it or hate it and that’s pretty much what’s happened. Some are hung up on the old SOIL. This has new flavours, new singer, new music, it’s not 2001 anymore. How do I deal with it? I don’t care. You know the saying… ’Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one’? So I also love it when people don’t like it.
Many people know Halo as one of your most well known songs. Do you ever worry you’ll be seen as a bit of a one hit wonder band?
I’m not. I wasn’t in the band then. Just the fact that we’re still here, still doing it, shows we’re not. One hit wonders disappear. We can still headline our own shows here; we’re still playing shows like Sonisphere. Everyone wants a hit; they’d be lying if they said they didn’t. Just because the band is still here speaks for itself.
Ok, you’re currently on tour with Shinedown. How did that come about?
We’ve been friends with Shinedown for a long time. We toured with them and Godsmack in the States. Our booking agent TKO called them, and we called them, and said we had a new record to tour. They knew we’d already come here and had done pretty well, so it was good to get together. We love their music. When you tour with friends it’s a treat, and time to catch up.
You’ve been on tour in the UK for two days now. So the main topic of conversation here… Have you seen John and Edward on X Factor yet?!
No, don’t know them. What show is it?
Like American idol…
Is it like karaoke? Or are they singing their own songs?
Covers. So you’ve no desire to take part in those types of shows?
Hey, I don’t even like singing old SOIL songs! No, I’m not that kind of musician. But good luck to them.
So after the UK you head to Europe… Germany?
Yeah, there’s a bunch of German shows….
Any particular countries you do better in than others?
Germany has always been a good market for us. That and the UK I think has the biggest fanbase.
How big do you think you can go? Stadium rock?
We’ll be as big as as many people listen. This record has some very big songs on it. The Lesser Man is more classic rock, Surrounded is a big ballad. Big arena rock. If we get lucky, who knows. The album is there. We did our job, now it’s up to people to see if it goes anywhere. You gotta have the product… we provided that. Just don’t try and judge it on past records.
Do you think this newer material is more commercial?
I would say some, yeah. It’s more musical, a little more in depth. There’s not so many crappy screams. I believe that music is all about emotions and each song is different, each song should have its own flavour.
Ok, and finally, let’s get cultured. The album is called Picture Perfect. Do you have a favourite artist or picture?
Not really, I couldn’t really say any. I haven’t learnt to appreciate art yet. I started to appreciate wine (AJ has a glass of red as we do the interview), I’m turning into a wine snob, so maybe I need to try art appreciation next.