UnderOATH

author BL date 24/04/11

It was a beautiful day in London, the sun was out shining bright and the temperatures suprisingly hot for April in England, and I had the opportunity to sit down with someone from UnderOATH for about twenty minutes to talk over some questions I had for the band a good three-four hours before the show was supposed to start in the evening (UK headlining tour with Deaf Havana and Devil Sold His Soul). A small technical hiccup meant we had to redo a small part of it, but what we have here is the entire interview with just a few minor edits that were added based on what got cut out the first time.

RF.net: So first off, can you introduce yourself and what you do?
Grant: Whats up? this is Grant, I play bass in Underoath.

RF.net: How is this tour going?
Grant: Awesome, Deaf Havana, Devil Sold His Soul have been really good. Played Hit The Deck festival for the first time, I guess their first time doing it with us. So yeah just really excited.

RF.net: Can you explain a little about the meaning behind the name of your new album "Ø (Disambiguation)"?
Grant: Its basically the symbol, the Ø, its one of the definitons for it. The definition we picked was because it means "ambiguous", and we felt that especially with this record losing the last original member and just still continuing on, it definitely describes our band isnt about one person or thing, but UnderOATH as whole as art moving forwards.

RF.net: What have you made of the critical acclaim the album has received from critics across the board?
Grant: Hate it. Haha just kidding. I haven't actually heard anything, is it good or ...?

RF.net: Yeah its been really, really good.

Grant: Awesome, unexpected but I think for us we write for us first and foremost. So when we get that and we're happy with that, thats what matters. But then when it comes on top of that, that people actually appreciate and respect it. Its awesome, its a blessing, and we're blessed to be able to do it.

RF.net: So Aaron (the previous drummer/vocalist) left the band shortly before you guys were supposed to go into the studio to record this new album. Did that affect you guys in the studio at all? And if so how?
Grant: We thought that it would, but actually it didn't really affect us so much. We had everything scheduled with him (Aaron), and when he left, it was kind of up in the air. And it was a really tight schedule, and we ended up getting Daniel (Daniel Davison, ex-Norma Jean drummer) and basically writing a record in a month and half or so since we had to scrap everything we had written with Aaron up til then. Going straight into the studio, recording with him (Daniel), going straight into a tour with him. So it worked out amazingly well, like eerily well.

RF.net: So some would say that "Define The Great Line" to a great degree helped popularise a genre that has, not so much evolved per se, but grown into something really big nowadays. What do you think of the whole post-hardcore music scene as it is now?
Grant: Its very more mainstream. I think obviously audiences are way more accepting. I've seen bands like A Day To Remember, The Devil Wears Prada, and Asking Alexandria, like bands that are just blowing up and have screaming and breakdowns in their music. Its awesome, ten years ago that wouldn't happen on the radio or TV, and its a good thing but also has a backlash in the fact that theres a hundred other bands out there that are doing the same thing, but are just a generic version of it so, its good and bad. In terms of the "scene", I think people would say we're still a part of it. But I think we're more "left-wing" than we used to be, like compared to a lot of other bands out there and so I feel like we are misunderstood or misinterpreted a lot. We're trying to push forward and break free from the norm.

RF.net: What do you have to do to stay relevant with the changing musical landscape?
Grant: To stay relevant? Um, I mean it can go a number of ways. You can base your art and just try and make and create art as being relevant and hopes that works out. Or you can make 'not-great' art, and do the right thing business-wise. I mean theres a lot of ways you can do it, and I think that it depends on what you are comfortable with and what works for you, morally, so you can sleep at night or whatever. The whole term "sell your soul", to become a rockstar, is definitely apparent.

RF.net: What do you think of the band's past discography (Grant joined the band after "The Changing of Times" was recorded but before "They're Only Chasing Safety")?
Grant: I think its all over the place. We're very proud of everything we've ever done. I think everything we have done was at the time the best thing we could have done. Which I think in the end, is what I think making music is all about. If you're not there, if you're not stuck to your path then kind of whats the point? So yeah, its an ever progressing 'journey' or whatever you call it.

RF.net: Where do you see UnderOATH now going? Especially as the last original member of the band has now left.
Grant: After this new album we'll just continue doing what we've been doing. This record we just put out was kinda like for me, when we lost our singer Dallas (Dallas Taylor, now vocalist for Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster). "They're Only Chasing Safety" was kind of like a new direction, something new to go into. I feel like this record was the step in that, I think that it is a beginning of a new progression that will continue to come out you know?

RF.net: What do you make of the piracy at the moment? And what do you think of the things like the recent changes to the Spotify streaming model, where free users only get to hear the same song a maximum of five times and only have ten hours of free music a month?
Grant: I think that someone will figure out a way to break it. I think that like, the music scene, technology are so far apart, technology is so far ahead. You got to accept it for what it is, I don't have a problem with downloading stuff. Obviously it affects what we do as a band, and as a business, as a job, tremendously. But its kind of a thing you can't fight, like you got to accept it at this point. You're not going to be able to change it. Work with it.

RF.net: Did you read what Greg from Dillinger wrote about his thoughts on piracy?
Grant: Yeah actually, was it on blabbermouth? (the original source of the article).

RF.net: Yeah.

Grant: Yeah I actually read that whole article, and I thought it was really cool. And I think that he's right, I think that finding ways to work with it is going to help out the music scene. It was a cool article.

RF.net: So moving on, are there any new bands or artists that you think are cool/fresh/exciting that you think people should check out?
Grant: Theres a band from the States called "Stray From The Path" which I really like. Another one, they're kinda smaller and newer, coming up, a band called "Letlive". Other than that, I don't know if you've ever heard of the rap group called "Odd Future". They're pretty intense, they're gaining a lot of steam in America and they're very kind of shocking but like good stuff. One of the main guys is called "Tyler The Creator". Its cool, something new.

RF.net: Whats your fondest tour memory?
Grant: I think just my favourite tour we've done in a long time was Soundwave in Australia. It was just a really great tour with a lot of great bands and friends and shows. But I think here (UK), my favourite show we ever played was the Astoria before it closed down, it was a great show.

RF.net: What about the worst show? Is there a worst show?

Grant: Yeah there's been bad shows, I mean I remember the first time we played Download festival over here. We were kind of a new band and whatever and not really known and people just weren't into it, and even got bottles of piss thrown at us and stuff.

RF.net: Wow that sucks.

RF.net: So you joined the band between...?
Grant: I joined before "Chasing Safety..." and before "Changing Of Times" came out, but it was already recorded, so early '02.

RF.net: What was the biggest difference between being in the band then compared to now?

Grant: That its become more of a job as well, do you know what I mean? Not in a bad way, but when you're 21, you're jumping in a band on tour, you don't care about bills, you don't care about anything. But when you're 29 now, you have a house, you have bills and things like that, a family and stuff... thats the biggest thing. And I think its such a weird thing to look back on and be like "Oh yeah...". I used to be go on tour and do whatever I wanted and if things didn't work out, who cares? And now its like, whenever we go on tour, we have to be smart about this. This is what I do, if things don't work out, it can affect other people really strongly.

RF.net: What goals have you and the band set yourselves for the rest of 2011 and the 2012 that you have not achieved yet?
Grant: Theres still places I'd like to go. We haven't been to Indonesia, like Eastern Asia as a whole. We actually were going to go back to Japan, but that got cancelled due to the Earthquake. As far as goals, I mean like I've achieved more than I started off to, you know like I'm way past that point? Like I think at this point, achieving is keep doing what you've been doing - like writing music you're proud, going round playing shows and putting your heart into it.

RF.net: You guys have been seemingly putting out a new album once every two years, so does that mean we will see the new UnderOATH record some time in 2012?
Grant: I think that at the latest, this one could be eralier for a change. I think that we're just, feeling like such a new group, got that fresh thing going on. We wrote the last one so fast, and everyone's been saying that they're feeling ready to write again.

RF.net: Any hints as to what it could sound like, even if just speculating?
Grant: Not really, whatever comes out at the time. I feel like the songs that really stood out for me are like, In Division, Paper Lung, Driftwood from the last record, I feel like thats the area that we haven't really potentially dabbled in, we might go into more and try and make more songs like.

RF.net: Cool thats all the questions I have, any last words?
Grant: Hopefully we'll see you guys on tour!

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