M. SHADOWS: How AVENGED SEVENFOLD Got Involved In NFTs
November 7, 2021
AVENGED SEVENFOLD recently announced the Deathbats Club, a new level of connecting with fans based around non-fungible tokens, or NFTs — digital assets (free tickets for life, free meet-amd-greets for life, airdrops over the course of each year, drum lessons, guitar lessons, golf lessons, giveaways, skip the lines at shows, poker nights, movie nights, etc.) that can't be replicated. After an initial drop of 101 free NFTs to whet fans' appetites, they will release 10,000 at the end of November via avengedsevenfold.io, with everyone who buys one becoming part of the community.
An early adopter of cryptocurrency, AVENGED SEVENFOLD singer M. Shadows spoke about how he got into NFTs in a new interview with Ryan Matta. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I bought crypto early. I was obsessed with the space. But it was an investment. There was no connection between the band and art; it was just purely an investment. It felt like that's where the web was going. I kind of see that. But it was super cool. Then I learned about CryptoPunks at the end of last year, and I started paying attention to it. Then one day I decided, 'I've got all this Ethereum. I wanna spend it on something.' And I was, like, 'These CryptoPunks seem like they're interesting.' And spending some time on [popular chat app] Discord and seeing the community in there, I was, like, 'This is kind of a relic.' When we look back, it seems like a relic on Web 3; the first thing that was on the Ethereum blockchain were the smart contracts. And we can debate that. Obviously, people talk about Curio Cards and stuff. But Punks interested me. I bought one. I went home. I was super scared, like, 'Why did I spend a lot of money on this thing?' And then I looked at it every day, and I was, like, 'Man, I kind of love this thing. It's amazing.' So I started buying CryptoPunks. And then the Bored Apes came out. The Bored Apes — I minted some of those. And I saw the utility with the Web 3 where they were locking down part of the web site and you had access via this and you can buy merch drops only if you have the token and the community was just growing and growing and it was the excitement. And I was, like, man, this is what every artist that has a community or any sort of fan base should be doing. Because the Bored Apes were able to pull that out of thing air. They just made an Ape and they made a community, and it was, like, 'We're gonna give you utility.' Okay, but what it is based off of? Well, just a community. If you have a band or an artist, you can base it off that community and tokenize it and give these people so much. So that's how I got into it. The wheels started spinning and I started going, 'This seems like it's gonna be something.' Then I became obsessed. And when you're obsessed with something, it finds its way into your work, into your art."
As for how AVENGED SEVENFOLD as a band became involved in NFTs, M. Shadows said: "Well, we knew it was gonna be a big leap for our fans to hear these words — these almost trigger words in the mainstream — which is crypto or blockchain or NFT. And so we knew if we wanted to do something like this, we needed to be respectful to the NFT communities that have already been built and how they roll. And me and Brian [Haner, a.k.a. AVENGED SEVENFOLD guitarist Synyster Gates] have been spending so much time in these Discords that we really wanted to kind of take that model and incorporate it into us. So we went to the band and we said, 'Guys, we really think that we can offer the community much more by having our own tokens.' And we went through example after example of giveaways weekly to dropping them stuff in the Metaverse. 'Cause we had been building a Sandbox for about a year. The Sandbox, for anyone who doesn't know, is a Metaverse where we're building out social hubs or building out games. So we were, like, 'What if only token holders can play the games? Or what if we can give them avatars and include them in the games if you own the token?' So it all started piecing together. And we said, 'What if we started fractionalizing music in the future and we're allowing people to participate in publishing?' And we just kept thinking about it and going, 'Well, none of that stuff is possible without a blockchain.' And so the first thing we needed to do is create a collection, think about it — really think about this thing — so we spent six months ideating on this thing, building out the contracts ourselves, making sure that there's no third party intact. The whole point of this thing is to be a direct connection, not, 'Oh, we had this company build it for us, and we did this, and I'm gonna ask them if we can do this.' We can do whatever we want — it's our connection."
He added: "So we just started hanging out at Discord, educating fans. A lot of them had a negative reaction to it, which we expected. And then slowly just keep reiterating this is not a scam, we're really here, we're gonna build this community out, and it's starting to happen. Now we get to November 2021, and we're ready to drop our 10,000 launch, which will be the 10,000 that will sustain us through the rest of our career. These will be the 10,000 that you can get, and it's all there is."
This past summer, M. Shadows confirmed that AVENGED SEVENFOLD's next album will be released before the summer of 2022.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD kept a low profile during 2019, as well as during the pandemic, and will not return to the road until next year. A blood blister on M. Shadows's vocal cords forced the band to cancel a summer 2018 tour with PROPHETS OF RAGE and THREE DAYS GRACE.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD's latest album, "The Stage", was surprise-released in October 2016.