M. SHADOWS admits AVENGED SEVENFOLD was behind alleged hack that falsely announced festival cancelations
AVENGED SEVENFOLD singer M. Shadows has admitted that he and his bandmates were behind the alleged hack that falsely announced the cancelation of the group’s festival appearances.
In late February, it appeared that a hacker used deepfake AI technology to emulate M. Shadows‘s voice in an episode of AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s “Trax” podcast and reveal that the band would no longer appear at the Welcome To Rockville and Sonic Temple festivals as the band was putting the finishing touches on its new album. The “Trax” podcast was uploaded to Spotify and shared on AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s Twitter account. Within minutes, Shadows took to his personal Twitter to shoot down the fake announcement, writing: “Yikes! This is NOT TRUE. We are still playing. Getting to the bottom of this.”
A couple of days later, AVENGED SEVENFOLD officially addressed the hack, tweeting: “Our accounts were compromised over the weekend and have now been recovered. Our festival appearances have not been cancelled. For the time being, please go to our Discord for all future communications. Thank you for your patience.”
Now, in a new interview with Rock Feed, M. Shadows, whose name is Matt Sanders, acknowledged that he and the rest of the AVENGED SEVENFOLD were in on the fake announcement, partly as a way to promote their new album.
Regarding how the whole thing came together, M. Shadows said: “Our management has two guys that run it. There’s Mark Wakefield and Beno (David Benveniste). And we work really closely with this girl Samantha. So Samantha wasn’t even gonna tell them, because we knew that everyone would say ‘no.’ I said, ‘Don’t tell anyone.’ She said, ‘We’ve gotta call Danny (Wimmer, Welcome To Rockville and Sonic Temple promoter).’ (I said), ‘No. If you call Danny, he’s gonna say ‘no’.’ She said, ‘We’ve gotta tell (Ryan) Harlacher,’ who’s our booking agent. I’m, like, ‘No. Harlacher‘s gonna say ‘no’.’ So we kept it secret. And we just did it. And I said, ‘Samantha, all you know is we got hacked and we are trying to fix it.’ She’s, like, ‘Are you serious?’ And I’m, like, ‘That’s what we’re doing.'”
He continued: “The day that it went down, I was in Mexico and I’m watching this go down. And my phone is blowing up. Harlacher, Wimmer, Beno, Mark… And it’s my voice. And people are calling them, going, ‘You guys are so lame for letting the band…’ And then Mark said, ‘What are you talking about?’
“The whole plan all along was I would go on Twitter (and deny it)… And it worked,” M. Shadows added. “And then, as people went back, they were, like, ‘Oh, it is AI’ ‘Cause once the knee-jerk reaction (was out of the way), you go back and listen, and you go, ‘Oh…'”
According to M. Shadows, the entire announcement was created using AI. “We wanted it to be as authentic as possible,” he said. “We said, ‘Let’s make an overarching comment on society and where it’s going with the AI. And then we’ll do the Web2 stuff, and then we’ll bring them into Web3 and show people how to use this thing.”
Shadows also addressed the puzzles and clues that were shared via AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s Discordchannel in the days following the alleged hack. At the end of the alternate reality game, which lasted over a week, fans cracked Internet codes and solved riddles, which led them to actual pieces of evidence in the real world.
“The thing about that whole augmented reality thing, we wrote with ChatGPT,” M. Shadows said. “A bunch of the code was written with ChatGPT. All the posts by this guy that was hacking us was all ChatGPT. All we used was DALL·E 2; it was open AI. And the whole thing was, like, ‘We don’t need to be a real person. You will be fooled. You will feel something. And we can fool you just by some bad actor that’s got this in the wrong hands.'”
AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s new album “Life Is But A Dream…”, is set to arrive on June 2 via Warner. Written and recorded over the span of four years, it was produced by Joe Barresi and AVENGED SEVENFOLD in Los Angeles and mixed by Andy Wallace in the Poconos, Pennsylvania. The album is a journey through an existential crisis; a very personal exploration into the meaning, purpose and value of human existence with the anxiety of death always looming.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD has recently released a new song called “We Love You”. The track came with an innovative 360 VR music video. The band’s eighth album, “Life Is But a Dream…” , drops June 2 via Warner.
Watch “We Love You” below.
“More power, more pace, more money, more taste,” singer M. Shadows delivers the unforgettable lyrics that relate to what keeps us pushing and being the motivators and destroyers of our self and reality. The song depicts the forced feeling our society pushes on us to consume, push, stretch and empty everything we can, if not halted result in possibly our own downfall. AVENGED SEVENFOLD are masters at dynamic transitions over the course of one song, and this is no exception.
The music video for “We Love You” is no less ambitious. Artist Ryan McKinnon, using Unreal Engine, has crafted an enveloping, innovative visual experience which has been optimized for Oculus in VR and 360 on YouTube. The visualizer begins in the peaceful natural world, before the pressure of society takes over and the world starts building at a crazy pace.
Watch the previously released “Nobody” video directed by award-winning director Chris Hopewell below.
The sprawling sound of “Nobody” is reflective of “Life Is But A Dream…” . Written and recorded over the span of four years, “Life Is But a Dream…” was inspired by the writing and philosophy of Albert Camus. Accordingly, the lyrics are rooted in existentialism and absurdism. Always on the cutting edge of music and technology, AVENGED SEVENFOLD has partnered with Berify to include an NFC tag with bonus content on all CDs, vinyl, cassettes and official merchandise sold on A7XWorld.com. Additionally, the cover art and packaging are by renowned artist Wes Lang. Bold and multi-layered, the band’s new album promises to be their most daring.
To date, AVENGED SEVENFOLD has sold over 10 million albums worldwide and earned two consecutive No. 1 albums on Billboard‘s Top 200 Albums chart (2010’s “Nightmare” and 2013’s “Hail To The King”) to go along with over a billion video views and a billion-plus Spotify streams, as well as multiple No. 1 singles on rock radio. The band is equally known for their spectacular live shows, selling out arenas and headlining the world’s most prestigious rock festivals.