We've been together for about four and a half years. Four and a half years ago I was writing music and I've always been drawn to that as a kid. I had a bunch of songs that I'd been working on and I decided to start a band. At the time we couldn't find a full lineup so we started as a three piece and Jordan, our drummer, and our old guitar player, we just started playing. It was the three of us. We recorded our first CD only two months after starting the band. It was a pretty quick start. As far as from there, obviously we got much better at what we did and we just kept growing. As we grew, more and more people were interested in the band and of course more and more people were interested in playing in the band as well. We eventually rounded out the lineup and now have the members that we have today which is still myself and Jordan, my drummer, but we have the new guitar player and a second guitar player and a bass player now.
You were pretty ambitious recording an album two months after you got together.
Yeah, we definitely wanted to pursue music for a living. I was going to school at the time but I didn't have enough interest really to keep me going pretty much. I was doing well in school, getting good grades but I had three semesters left in college when I left to pursue As I Lay Dying full time. It was always our goal from the beginning to just play music for a living and I've definitely been able to do that. It's been a great time ever since.
You guys sonically have the Gothenburg sound like bands such as At The Gates. Are these bands that influenced you?
Yeah, that's one that influenced me because they had a lot of melody in the guitars but at the same time they were a very aggressive band. Usually bands are either very melodic or very aggressive. At the time when I first heard them, it was very rare to hear a combination of the two. That's what we try to do. Of course we have our own twist on it. Our rhythms and just the way we syncopate as a band, it's much different than At The Gates but that was definitely one band that inspired us.
You guys found yourselves in heavy rotation on Fuse and Headbangers Ball with your videos. Did that come as a surprise to you to all of a sudden wind up on major video programs?
Yeah, it was a surprise to us at the time. Looking back on it, I realize that a lot of the bands that Headbangers Ball and Uranium were playing at the time were bands that I actually think, I don't know if that's the way to say it but, I think sometimes that when you're growing as a band you look up to other bands that you think are big but aren't necessarily the best bands in the world. Then as you get bigger as a band you start to realize okay, I can see why we have our place amongst these bands and now it's easy for me to see why we're played on those type of shows but at first, it was a big surprise for me.
You guys have played alongside Killswitch Engage, In Flames, Shadows Fall, Lamb Of God, and Hatebreed. Do you feel like you're pretty much on par with those bands now or are those some of the bands that you looked up to?
Yeah, as far as bands I looked up to, those are I think also newer bands that are maybe years old enough and definitely some of those guys are up to 10 years older. Actually between us and some of those guys in the band, there's a 10 to 15 year age gap as far as band members go. As far as bands I look up to, they're old enough but as far as how long they've been around, many of the bands we looked up to are some of the classic metal bands. Bands like Iron Maiden or At The Gates is a band that broke up before we ever started playing. Our big influences are bands that are a little older than that.
You guys have put out three or four studio albums now.
Yeah, three full lengths and one EP.
Tell me a little about Shadows Are Security.
Naturally as a band as young as we are, our newest recording is always going to be our best. We're always progressing and this new record is a big progression and step forward for us. It's very focused on as I said earlier a very melodic but yet still aggressive sound. It's very driven by guitar melody and one of the things that stand out the most for us is always that our drumming is always very intense and very technical but it gives the music a very energetic drive.
How does Shadows Are Security differ from what you've put out before aside from being a better album?
The main thing we want to accomplish with our music is to have a lot of energy but also enough diversity where you can see change and leave room for instance, the melody and the different things that we'd like to incorporate into our music. It's also very passionate. That's the frame in which we try to write. As far as the drastic change I'd say that shows our maturity is not drastic in any way. I think it's taken all of our ideas and better captured them. Taking them to the next level I guess is the best way to describe it.
Something that you mentioned before is learning what songs work better in a live setting and what ones don't.
Yeah, it's very important for us to not just write a song that sounds good recorded but will be enjoyable for us to play. We tour so much of the year that it's more important for us that we enjoy the songs we're playing than it is to actually have a certain kind of record that the public would want to hear.
Are there any particular songs on here that you enjoy playing the most when you're out on the road?
I really enjoy the song "Confined". I think that really captures a lot of different elements and it really represents the band well.
You said the album is kind of about love and learning to love all over again.
Yeah, I always write from a personal standpoint. It's easiest to be very passionate about what's directly going on in your life. To me, I do not believe that love should be based on an emotion or feeling but a deeper sense of commitment and sacrifice and so the album most specifically is about making that transition from living our lives, not even entirely love but just the way we live our lives in all of our decisions. What we find meaning in and the way we love. Our search for fulfillment is typically based on the way we feel and just how our emotions tell us to be. It's a transition from that type of feeling to a greater sense of commitment and sacrifice which are two words I think much better describe love.
I think that's really cool because a lot of times when people do albums in the genre you're in, it's usually about violence. It's kind of cool that yours is about love.
Yeah, I think it's hard to be passionate about violence and extreme, shocking lyrical material. I want to make sure we're very down to earth and we have something meaningful to say.
And something positive to say. You guys are going to be on Ozzfest this year. How did you get hooked up and how do you feel about playing on the second stage?
We talked about Ozzfest about a year ago and it didn't really seem to be the right timing financially and then of course other tours that we had going on. This year, when they talked to us again, they presented us the chance to be the side stage headliner and that was something definitely too good to turn down. We're really excited about the spot we have on this year's Ozzfest. I think it'll add to the show but it will also help us get a lot of new fans.
Yeah, it should because the second stage area is always crowded. How did your CD release party on June 24 come out?
It was a great show. It was sold out and we played some songs we hadn't played in about four years. We really felt very appreciated by our hometown fans and at the same time did our best to play some special songs for them and show them the same kind of appreciation.
You guys have already released a video called "Confined" which was on Headbangers Ball. Tell us a little about what went into making it.
We shot the video at night. The deal was to be playing in the middle of a storm so there's a lot of energy with the way we play. Performance wise that's what's going on. Then the concept of the video that goes back and forth transforming the concept is a kid who's spent all day working on a project with chalk. He's been drawing on the concrete all day long and after spending an entire day working on it, at the end of the day the storm comes and washes away what he had been working on. It just goes along with the lyrics to show that in a moment's time, everything we've put our time into can be washed away and it's sort of a reminder to many people that many of the things we pursue in life are ultimately meaningless.
Yeah, that's very true. Outside of Ozzfest you've got some off dates with Killswitch Engage and Soilwork.
Yeah, we've toured with both of them before and I'm more excited about hanging out with them as friends than particularly about the shows we're going to have. We've played with them many times. We're pretty familiar with each other's sound but being able to work alongside friends will of course make the summer a much better summer.
It must be pretty exciting to play Ozzfest with bands like Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath.
Yeah, we're very honored. Iron Maiden is one of the bands that influenced me when I was learning to play guitar. Of course Black Sabbath is what a lot of people say technically was the first metal band so those are two legendary bands.
What other things are on the road ahead outside of Ozzfest?
We're going to go to Europe after the summer and then come back sometime around November and do a headlining tour so that people can also see us in a club setting. I think a little bit more intimate. Both festival settings and club settings have their pros and cons so it will be a cool opportunity for our fans to see us in both.
You spend a lot of time out on the road. What are some of the things you love about being on tour and some of the things you don't like?
Sometimes the traveling is very difficult. All night drives are very difficult but it's always worth it when we get to the show. The energy of the show, there's really nothing really you can compare to it. It's irreplaceable in my opinion. I really just enjoy the actual time that we're on stage playing.
As I Lay Dying