As I Lay Dying are a band that need very little introduction. In just under 10 years they have pushed themselves to the forefront of modern metal music, growing stronger with each release. Today, they are are one of the biggest names in the genre and are coming to visit us very soon on tour with Disturbed and Trivium. Vocalist and founding member Tim Lambesis was kind enough to chat with us.
Hey Tim, We’re just under a month away from your Australian tour with Disturbed and Trivium, looking forward to it?
Definitely man. We’re playing in pretty big venues which will be cool.
As one of the biggest bands in the modern metal scene, I suppose the biggest support slots that you can be given would be the older bands. With that in mind, if you could support absolutely anyone who would it be?
The one band we all grew up listening to collectively was Metallica, so that would be pretty great.
You worked on The Powerless Rise for quite a long time, a 3 year gap back to An Ocean Between Us. With that in mind, where are you sitting with album number six at the moment?
Well at the moment we’ve got a lot of stuff planned for our 10th anniversary in June and July, we’ll be looking at the next album after that I think.
Yeah cool. So almost into your 10th year as a band and there have been quite a few shuffles in lineup along the way, but you’ve held the current lineup for quite a long time. How strong would you say your bond as a band is now?
Well this has been our first lineup to release two albums in a row, and also the first where we have all been active songwriters. Most of our past members were never really part of the songwriting, whereas now everyone contributes in their own unique way.
According to Last.fm, Nothing Left is still your most played song by quite a long way. What do you think it is about that song that people love so much?
Well what I personally like about it the classic metal elements that we’ve added with the solid starting riff and the great classic solo but that’s just what I personally like. It’s good to see so much for support for the song though, it’s great to play live.
Can you tell us a little about your charity clothing line, Modern Rebellion?
Well a friend of mine had been doing design work for a long time and we always talked about doing a company together. When it started to come together, I was really passionate about making it more meaningful than just clothes. I had recently visited a lot of orphanages in Ethiopia and felt really good about starting a charity based clothing line especially seeing the proceeds going to people and places that visited in person. It gives the fans a little bit of depth and a more meaningful connection when they buy the clothes as well.
Would you explain the term Modern Rebellion to us?
Well obviously rebellion is going against the mainstream way of thinking and to me, in 2011, the mainstream way of thinking is very materialistic. I think of Modern Rebellion as a reaction to that and giving money to those in need instead of collecting it for myself. It’s a reaction against mainstream business
I don’t think I can interview you without bringing up Austrian Death Machine. Can you ever see them coming to Australia?
I would love to do some Austrian Death Machine dates in Australia, the unfortunate thing is I only really get to come to Australia once a year with As I Lay Dying and to come back with Austrian Death Machine would be a pretty expensive trip. That said, if someone were to make it happen we’d be very interested to do it.
You have a new album coming out this year with Austrian Death Machine called Keep It Brutal. What can we expect?
The last two albums I was the only songwriter, but this time I’d like to co-write each song with a guitar player I really respect. It would make each song more unique and interesting.
Although you are Christians in a metal band, you seem to avoid the label ‘Christian Metal’ or ‘Christian Metalcore’ that several bands get given. Why do you think that is?
I think that our main goal when we write music is to just write the best music we possibly can. Christianity is a big part of my life and may cross the lyrics a bit, but I don’t sit down and specifically try writing an agenda driven message where I’m preaching in some way. I think that while I often have an important point to make, it comes from a general place and not necessarily from a religious idea as opposed to other bands that seem to get the ‘Christian Metal’ term applied to them.
If you could say there was a song that inspired you to want to play music, what would it be?
I’d say probably Metallica’s ‘Battery’ off the Master of Puppets album. The song was so driving all the time, that kind of intensity really stood out to me when I was young, growing up in the 80s. The other song that really stood out to me was Crazy Train. That opening riff is so incredible, if you could write a riff that beats that then you’re a great guitar player.
If you could form a supergroup of any musicians, alive or dead, who would you choose?
Good question, I think if I could bring anyone back from the dead it would be Dimebag to see him record one last album. As far as drumming goes, I think most people who were in to rock or metal would bring John Bonham back, but then being the metalhead that I am I’d probably throw in Gene Hoglan who is one of my personal favourites. I think I’d throw I Rancid’s bass player, while he obviously isn’t metal he has some of the best basslines of anyone. Vocals…I’d have two vocallists. Dio for the clean vocals and Phil Anselmo to add a bit of raspiness.
Would definitely see that band. Well thanks a lot for your time man, any final shout-outs?
Obviously a huge shout-out to our fans, thanks for enabling us to play music for a living. Hope to see all you Australians on our tour with Disturbed.