In February, Avenged Sevenfold sounded the alarm, informing fans they had been victims of a hacker who had appeared to use AI deep fake technology to announce a pair of festival cancelations. Now, singer M. Shadows reveals that it was an intentional inside job the whole time and that the band's account were not genuinely hacked.

What we now know, thanks to Shadows' recent interview with Rock Feed, is that this was actually the beginning of the band's promotional campaign for their new album, Life Is But a Dream..., which is set to arrive tomorrow (June 2).

Despite the hack being a planned effort, it wasn't something absolutely everyone involved was even aware of as the band pushed to keep it as much of a secret as possible.

Shadows explains (transcription via Blabbermouth), "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 going to tell them, because we knew that everyone would say 'no.' I said, 'Don't tell anyone.'"

"She said, 'We've got to call Danny [Wimmer, promoter of several festivals, including Welcome To Rockville and Sonic Temple promoter].' [I said], 'No. If you call Danny, he's going to say 'no'.' She said, 'We've got to tell [Ryan] Harlacher,' who's our booking agent. I'm, like, 'No. Harlacher's gonna say 'no'.' So we kept it secret," the singer continues, "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.'"

Revealing what happened when the phony announcement that Avenged Sevenfold would be withdrawing from both Welcome to Rockville and Sonic Temple, Shadows reveals, "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?'"

Shadows also had a plan to confront the world's reaction to this hoax, going on, "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…'"

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The announcement, he notes, was created using AI technology as a means of providing social commentary on the rapidly developing tech.

The original phony announcement came via a file uploaded to Avenged Sevenfold's Trax podcast, which was a pretty savvy business move, helping to raise the profile of the podcast itself.

Next, the band focused on another area of their digital portfolio, sending fans on an elaborate augmented reality scavenger hunt that began on their Discord channel.

In that same interview with Rock Feed, Shadows also opens up about how that was all assembled, revealing that the group again turned to AI for assistance.

"The thing about that whole augmented reality thing, we wrote with ChatGPT," Shadows confirms, "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.'"

Watch the full interview below.

Avenged Sevenfold's New Album + Tour

Life Is But a Dream..., the successor to 2016's The Stage, will be released tomorrow (June 2), featuring the singles "Nobody" and "We Love You" as well as an additional nine tracks. The band has an extensive tour booked in support of the new record and you can see all the upcoming dates and get tickets at this location.

Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows — Rock Feed Interview

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