They’ve got a killer new album, are touring with Trivium and have spent over a decade letting the world know just what the hardcore/metal scene is all about. Amongst their busy touring schedule, we had a quick chat with bassist Josh Gilbert about Awakened, working with Bill Stevenson and covering the Descendents.
By Bec Hennessy
Congratulations on the new album, Awakened. Can you tell me a how it came together? Apparently you guys churned it out within the space of a few weeks?
Thanks! The record came together the same way most of our records have, we began demoing ideas. Once we could agree on which ideas were sounding close to complete, we jammed them at the practice spot. We has about 16 total songs and condensed it down to 12 for the recording session. We recorded the entire record in about 3 1/2 weeks, but we were also working with 3 separate engineers simultaneously. A little stressful, but I think the urgency helped us create a more impulsive record without second guessing ourselves as much.
The producer on the record – Bill Stevenson from The Descendents – is an interesting choice. How did that come about?
We had a meeting with our label, Metal Blade, about what producer to look into since our previous producer, Adam D, was going to be busy with Killswitch Engage in the timeframe we planned on recording in. After naming a few we were interested in, we decided on a few to do conference calls with, Bill being one of them. Bill blew us away with his detailed commentary on our past records and also got us really excited with his ideas for furthering our sound. It was a perfect fit!
You had a Descendents cover on the Decas album so obviously they are a band you enjoy. What do you consider your influences? Are there any new discoveries you have made recently you would like to share with us?
As a band, we all look back to the pioneers of metal for the foundation of our sound. The type of guitar harmony we employ is definitely influenced greatly by bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, and Metallica. Some modern bands we have been into and inspired by are Gojira and Decapitated.
I understand the members of the band are Christians yet, you don’t refer to yourselves as a ‘Christian Band’. I get the feeling people are keen to label you as such partly maybe because the idea of Christians in heavy bands seems to get treated as a novelty/oddity. But it’s not really – The Devil Wears Prada and Underoath come to mind. What are your thoughts on this?
Everything you said is correct. I think a lot of it is the media becoming lazy with their craft. It’s easy for someone to strike a note in an article with something like that, as opposed to dissecting the actual music, which should be the focus.
You celebrated your tenth anniversary as a band in 2011. How has the sound evolved during this time? What drives you?
When the band started, the sound was more chaotic, and bit less melodic. After a few years, the band’s sound headed in a distinctly more melodic direction, inspired by bands such as In Flames and At the Gates. Since then, the “core sound” hasn’t changed greatly, but the songwriting has grown better with every release, in my opinion. We just want to write the best metal songs possible, while still staying true to what As I Lay Dying is and what our fans want to hear.
I know you have been asked before about the origin of the band name being from the William Faulkner novel, and how the book itself doesn’t really relate to your music. So I’ll ask instead – are there any novels you are reading at the moment?
Honestly, I haven’t read a book this entire year! I stay pretty up to date with Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones though!
I see you guys are going on tour with Trivium in October, and then the Outbreak Tour in November which you must be excited about. Any plans to visit Australia soon?
Yes! We are in the process of figuring out our plans for 2013, so when we know, you’ll know!
Many thanks to Josh for taking the time to chat to us. A huge thank you to Chris for arranging the interview.
For more information, including upcoming tour dates – check out: http://asilaydying.com/