One of metal’s modern day premier acts, California’s As I Lay Dying are a band respected by fans, peers and critics alike. With an Australian tour just around the corner, and a new album entitled ‘The Powerless Rise’ due out shortly, guitarist Phil Sgrosso kindly donated his time to chat with Killyourstereo.
Could you please state your name, and role in the band?
Phil Sgrosso – Guitar player
You guys are currently in the process of preparing you new album ‘The Powerless Rise’ for release this year. Can you tell us how that is coming along, and what we can expect from the album?
The album is being mixed by Colin Richardson at the moment. He should be done in the next couple weeks, then it’ll go to mastering. I think the record has a lot of the same elements we’re known for but we’ve definitely expanded our sound a bit more than the last record. I think musicians should always be growing and finding new inspiration for what they write, I think we’ve done just that.
Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz is again behind the mixing board. Can you give us an insight into what it’s like working with him?
Adam actually ONLY produced the record with us. We decided to go with Adam after having talks with about 10 other producers and realizing that Adam understands our sound better than most. The producer is the 6th member while in the studio, so having someone with an extensive knowledge of every instrument and song writing is highly valuable. He’s a hard worker and always keeps a positive attitude.
2007’s ‘An Ocean Between Us’ saw the band add more diversity to its sound channelling thrash and even death metal themes as well as adding more clean vocals. AILD have been quoted as saying the ‘metalcore genre’ has a tendency to copy itself repeatedly. Can we expect more variety again on your new release?
I think you can definitely expect more variety. Through the writing process, we make it a goal to make sure we’re not over doing any specific sound and that each song will stand out on it’s own.
‘The Powerless Rise’ will mark your fourth release with renowned record label Metal Blade. How important is it to the success of a band to have stability and continuity with your record company?
It’s a great feeling to say we have a strong relationship with Metal Blade. They put a lot of trust in us just as we put a lot of trust in them so it all works well to make a good team. Brian Slagel has a good understanding of what’s going on within our genre so that helps us continue to grow and reach new levels of success.
Your bass player Josh Gilbert joined the band just before ‘An Ocean Between Us’ was released. Is it refreshing to enter the studio with a stable line-up, not needing to rely on getting people to fill in and write/record certain parts in the studio?
It’s nice being able to rely on everyone else in the band to carry their weight and track their own parts. When we were trying out bass players/singers before the last record, we really took the time to find someone who’s skills we admired and knew could contribute to our sound in the future.
As I Lay Dying have achieved a lot in the duration of your career thus far – having toured internationally, been nominated for a Grammy and last year released your first ever DVD. What other things as a band would you like to do, that perhaps you haven’t yet had the chance to do?
I’d just rather focus on one thing at a time. I think if you only strive to make good music and make smart business decisions, bigger and better opportunities will follow. Hopefully, someday, that opportunity is doing a tour with the biggest metal band in the world…
As I Lay Dying are touring Australia again later this month for a headline tour as well as a spot on Easterfest. What are you most looking forward to about the tour?
I’m looking forward to getting back on stage and getting back in the groove of performing, especially for people as friendly and respectful as the Aussies. Most people in Australia seem to like having a good time, so we’re always in good company down there.
As I Lay Dying have been fortunate enough to play with a wide variety of bands, from death metal groups like Cannibal Corpse to rock bands such as Story of the Year. What are some bands that you really enjoy touring with?
It’s nice touring with our peers like Unearth, Killswitch, In Flames, Evergreen Terrace, Protest the Hero, and August Burns Red. There’s a lot more I could name but overall it’s great to leave home and have a bunch of cool dudes and good musicians to hang out with.
Being in a band can be a very unconventional lifestyle. What do you like to do when you eventually get some time off from recording and playing music?
Usually I’m playing more music with other musicians I admire. It’s nice to step outside of metal from time to time so you’re not stuck in a bubble with your playing style. Other than that, I love the beach, movies, and FOOD.
What bands have you been digging lately that people should keep an eye out for in 2010?
Just saw Alice in Chains and Muse last week. I highly recommend any fan of music to go to their shows and get your minds blown.
Any final words?
See you soon.
Thanks for the interview.