As I Lay Dying

author PP date 14/06/07

When it comes to metalcore/hardcore fusion, my personal opinion is that there isn't a single band that can top what As I Lay Dying has done since the band was born in 2001. They've released three incredibly successful albums, and have a massive fanbase that often comments on sites like ours saying that this is the best band in the world, and somewhere in the back of my mind a part of it tends to agree, even though we are supposed to be critical about that kind of stuff. The readers who've experienced As I Lay Dying live will know how all-dominating frontman Tim is live with his brutal mixture of screams and growls, so it was a rather big surprise to me to find a somewhat shy and remarkably friendly vocalist sitting at the back of their tour bus. He took a lot of time thinking about his answers and was careful not to spill out any foolish comments, but I wasn't entirely sure if this was the way he always is or just because he has surely been asked a lot of questions since that one interview where they hinted towards their tiredness of the whole metalcore genre. But without further ado, meet Tim, the vocalist of As I Lay Dying.

RF.net: Hi, thanks for agreeing to do this interview with us. Please introduce yourselves to the readers!
Tim: I'm Tim, the vocalist from As I Lay Dying.

RF.net: First off, hows the tour going?
Tim: It's going good, it's only been a week so far. We've played a lot of festivals, Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park in Germany, and playing Download this weekend

RF.net: You guys have just come off playing a few shows with Killswitch Engage - how did those shows go?

Tim: They went great. We toured with them three times before this, so it's definitely familiar. The group of guys to tour with.. it's a little more fun when you are comfortable with the bands you are touring with.

RF.net: How did the crowd receive you?

Tim: It was good, we played in Paris, France. The crowd was really enjoying the songs but in between the songs they were so quiet because they are so polite. It was definitely much different than to the US with all the loud Americans. [laughs]

RF.net: Good to hear. According to your website, you still have a couple of dates in your tour calendar marked as "to be announced": June 12th, 19th, 23rd and 26th. We're really interested in those because they seem to be around dates where you are playing in Germany and then you are playing Finland so we are kinda hoping for Denmark somewhere there in between!
Tim: Oh yeah. [huge smile] I know that we are taking a day off in Denmark but we're not playing a show. But I know that because we are a little slow updating our website, some of the dates have actually been added, we just haven't had a chance to put them on our website yet. I think we added a few more shows in Germany and a show in Poland. I forget actually, I don't even know where we are going tomorrow [laughs].

RF.net: Are you planning to come to Denmark anytime soon though? You were there for the Hell On Earth tour if I remember correct?

Tim: Yeah, I know that we wanna go back, but on this tour it was a little difficult just because we're connecting a lot of festivals, we don't have a package of bands we are on tour with, we're just kinda doing shows here and there. And so, I think when we come back we'll bring some bands to support and it'll be a longer headlining show.

RF.net: Next year or?

Tim: Hopefully in September!

RF.net: Before moving onto your upcoming album I wanna talk a little bit about the origins of the band and the previous albums. The first question I have is about Clint who recently left the band to get married. I'm yet to hear it, but how does Josh's voice match Clint's in songs like "Confined" for instance?
Tim: It's interesting because Josh actually did all the vocals and bass on our new CD and Clint had just joined the band before we did "Shadows Are Security". One of the songs is actually Clint's voice but it's actually mixed with our other friend, Dave Arthur, who's a friend of ours. When we'd gone through the writing process Dave had actually, because he's just a friend of ours and we share rehearsals with him, he actualyl sang on the record as well. So our last record is actually Clint and our friend Dave Arthur, which is kind of odd. As far as matching a particular voice, I think Josh does a great job. I think he actually does a better job, not that it is a competition, but he does a better job live than Clint did, but I don't think that it's really.. I don't think either of them really sound like the voice on our last CD.

RF.net: Tim you are the only original member left in the band together with your drummer. Did you ever at any point think about quitting and starting a new band under a different name because you lost pretty much everybody who you worked with?
Tim: Yeah, Jordan and I. There's definitely times when we've been on tour and it's been frustrating, when we were first getting started. There's a lot of money that's lost on tour you know, we go on tour for months at a time, and not make enough money to pay our bills and things like that, and it would get frustrating. But as far as member changes it never really made me want to change the band name or anything like that, because all the material up until "Shadows Are Security" was almost entirely music that I have written, like both guitars and vocals. So Jordan and I were the song writers, and so when we lose members it really wouldn't bother me because they were just guys, they were playing guitar and sort of filling in. Or not filling in, but they were, you know, helping the band sound more full, as obviously we need guitars live. But as far as the song writing and studio goes, it didn't really matter to us. But you know that everybody who is in the band now, with the exception of Josh, has been involved writing the newest record. It would feel strange if somebody left the band now, because these are songs that the four of us had written, so.

RF.net: Tim, what is your favorite song to perform vocally live, or on record for that matter
Tim: Hmm. Other than new ones.. I always look forward to new ones just because they are more fresh and exciting. But of older songs.. umm.. that's tough to say. [long pause] You know, I don't really know. I've never thought of that. Sometimes it depends on the night too like, in certain songs just everything seems right and the excitement is there. Because it is more of a chaotic song we have an older song called "Distance Is Darkness" I really enjoy it live, just because it has a lot of ups and downs and this real chaotic feel. It sends a lot of energy to it.

RF.net: If we take a look at the original recording "Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes" and compare it to either "Frail Words Collapse" or "Shadows Are Security", it is very different in style. Looking back now in 2007, how do you feel about each of these albums?
Tim: You know, I don't think that they are that great songs, but at the same time, it's what we were passionate about at the time when we wrote them. I'd only been playing guitar for about a year at that point. A lot of it has to do with.. it's much simpler, like there's a lot less technical parts. And vocally, I had never really sang on a studio before, so the engineer who was recording wanted me to double all my vocals so it sounds very mechanical and to me it sounds really weird. All the records since then I haven't doubled my vocals, so that is more what I sound like now.

RF.net: Do you think you will ever revisit the slower style of the debut on future albums - the last two albums have been pretty fast?

Tim: I'd say, if anything, this new album is a little bit faster. There is one song that's definitely very slow like, sort of, reminiscent of the older stuff, but then the vocals are so much different because it's much more like a haunting, like a singing mixed with screaming kind of vocal style. So you know I think that that style was something we were passionate at the time and it is maybe too simple for us now, and doesn't keep us interested in our instruments.

RF.net: It is not a secret you guys are a Christian band. How do you perceive being a Christian band differs from being just "a band" with no religious references?
Tim: Well i think, you know, if all the five members of the band or four members of the band believe the same thing, naturally it should influence their music. So there's really no way for us to not be a Christian band, and even though I don't always try to write songs that are entirely spiritual, my beliefs will always influence my lyrics. I don't really think a lot about being a Christian band, because I am a Christian, so therefore it is.. you know, our music is that way, and it's not something I had to be conscious of. But likewise, I think that if five members of the band are straight edge that makes them a straight edge band, even if they don't sing.. not every song has to be about straight edge, you know, that's obviously the case with our friends in Throwdown, their new record, not a single song on the whole record is about straight edge. Or Bleeding Through, not a single song on their last record was about being straight edge, yet they are still straight edge bands because that's what they believe, so.

RF.net: I've read through all the lyrics you've written, and not one of them specifically mentions the word "God", and instead have "You" instead. Could you expand on this and how you write lyrics, decide on themes etc?
Tim: I write lyrics from a very personal perspective, so if there is a reference to God, it would be almost like me writing a letter to God. So I wouldn't say "hi God how are you doing?" because when you speak to somebody in person you say "how are you?", you know. And so I generally refer to God as 'You', and in the lyrics I try to emphasize that by capitalizing the word 'You', and not capitalizing it when it refers to a friend or a relationship or something like that. But I think it is important for us, being a Christian band, to write from a personal perspective, because it's never been our goal to be preachy and try to tell other people what to believe. It's just always been our goal to create art that embodies what we are about, and obviously a personal approach is much more artistic, I think.

RF.net: If we move onto the new album next, "An Ocean Between Us". I read that you guys apparently got 'sick of metalcore' somewhere between "Shadows Are Security" and writing the new one. What's that all about?
Tim: [laughs] Yeah I think that was a headline, or the writer's own words. But it's sort of true, I think what I was trying to say in that particular interview was just that, this genre seems to copy itself. I know there are certain bands that have released records that have riffs that sound almost identical to the riffs that we've written. Just the longer the genre has been around, the more it just seems to be the same old thing. So for us we wanted to create a record that was more diverse and.. it definitely has metalcore elements in it, I'm not saying that we don't have any metalcore influences, but I think that the on the new album what we are doing is something that other bands are gonna have a hard time copying. Maybe just because it's faster or.. whatever the reason may be, but hopefully it won't be so easily copied by other bands.

RF.net: The same article mentioned that some of the new songs are thrashy - should we expect a "Reign In Blood" from you guys or what?
Tim: No well, like "Reign In Blood" to me is a great record although after like four or five songs they all start to sound the same for me you know, so we really wanted to have some thrash influences and we have some songs that are like that, but my criticism of thrash music has always been that after four songs I forget what song I'm listening to, so I think that influences a part of the record but not the whole record.

RF.net: I've also read that Nick said it might throw the old fans off a bit, what did you exactly mean?
Tim: I think that just everytime a band releases a new record where they try to expand on their sound, it's always something different for the fans. But I actually sort of disagree with Nick on that, that old fans won't really like it. I think that they might recognize it as different but it would be different in a positive way. So just like I said, a little more diverse and a little more energy as a whole.

RF.net: What kind of music have you guys been listening to on your spare time at the moment?
Tim: Everyone's been listening to different things. And honestly, I haven't really been listening to a lot of new music in the past few months because while we are writing a new record, I try to sort of have a clean slate and not listen to anything, but as a result if I do listen to music, I listen to stuff that doesn't sound anything like us. Now that we're done recording our record, we just finished mixing it a few weeks ago, but there's an older band called Murder City Devils that broke up, and I actually really like their music a lot. And there's certain punk bands that I really enjoy. I guess Comeback Kid wouldn't be a punk band but I like that hardcore punk kind of vibe that they have. So those are just kind of some examples.. stuff that I enjoy is not necessarily part of our genre.

RF.net: Okay, I spoke to Twelve Tribes recently, and the guy said that when you are on tour you listen to screaming every single night like three months in a row, so he gave me a number of pop artists that he was listening at the moment, because he couldn't take it. Is it the same for you as well?

Tim: I don't dislike all pop music but as a whole, I don't think it has a depth to it, it just seems very surfacy, so I can't listen to a lot of pop music. But I do listen to more mellow music in general. I think that when we are on tour we have the same sort of feeling that.. not only us but also all the bands that are opening to us are screaming and very heavy all the time. It does get to be a little bit much but I don't know.. pop music is going a little too far for me [laughs]

RF.net: That's all from me today, looking forward to the show. Thanks for the interview! Any final comments?
Tim: We didn't skip Denmark on this tour because we wanted to but just because.. it wasn't really our choice we had.. we had to skip this time so we can come back next time and put on a better show!

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