A Decade of Near Death

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After a decade of being in a state of half-life or half-death, the sadistic jokers in us all thought that San Diego’s premier metalcore outfit, As I Lay Dying, might have gotten so weak that they will finally fulfill the prophecy of their ill-fated name and, well, kick the musical bucket. Contrarily, the famed Christcore group are not only still alive and well, but have been consistent in the quality of their work by meeting expectations with flying colors (again) on 2010’s chart topper, The Powerless Rise. Being one of the rare few metalcore acts around that don’t attract an ammo-truckload of explosive hate, As I Lay Dying are still going strong ten years on, thriving on the positive attention of music fans instead of feeding off the negative attention generated by perennial controversies surrounding the –core sub-genres—a banal and verbally-abusive phenomenon that plagues many of their contemporary counterparts to no end. Having decided to take it easy this year and celebrate their tenth year anniversary, the group recently released their second and latest compilation album, Decas. From his San Diego dwelling (and a few weeks before Decas was released), frontman Tim Lambesis elaborates on various aspects pertaining to the new compilation, what a physically active person he is during his spare time, and gives an update on his Arnie-themed spoof project.

Hello Tim, between As I Lay Dying’s most recent tour with Amon Amarth and finishing up production on the latest and second compilation album, Decas, what else have you and the rest of your gang been up to?

We try to soak up as much time as we can with friends and family back home because we’re gone on tour so often. After the New Year we’ll actually stay home for a couple months to start writing new songs. Our 10th anniversary tour, called “Decade of Destruction” will only be in the US, so the Australians won’t see us again until we get a new record together.

You mentioned the recent Decas release is meant to be a gift to As I Lay Dying fans for their support over the years. How so?

We didn’t really plan on having a record out this year, but we were really excited about celebrating our history. It was impossible for us to celebrate that mark in time around the globe without something to release, so we put together everything we can think of. Instead of just a single or “thrown together” live tracks for an EP, we ended up pulling together some pretty unique material, in my opinion.

As Decas is supposed to commemorate As I Lay Dying’s 10th year anniversary, why didn’t you decide to record more than three new original songs and release a full-length instead of recording covers and doing remixes of old tracks instead?

That all came down to the timing of everything. Since The Powerless Rise came out just over a year ago, we hadn’t started writing any new material yet. The cover songs were a good way to fill in as some quality newly recorded music from us. I’m not really a fan of B-sides or live tracks.

You also got the Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage fame to help produce this compilation album. Why bring him to the production table if this album is supposed to be a very personal affair for As I Lay Dying?

We gave Adam credit for the first track because much of that came from ideas worked on during The Powerless Rise. As a whole, Adam didn’t really work on Decas, but we would never want to leave out credit where credit is due.

Does the three new original tracks, “Paralyzed”, “From Shapeless To Breakable” and “Moving Forward” hint at how the next full-length studio album is going to sound like?

It’s hard to say what the next full-length will be like because we sort of categorized the three songs for Decas when writing them. We wanted to capture the diversity of our sound over time all in three songs. The first track is what people might expect from us, the second is our heavier side, and the third, “Moving Forward”, is far off on our melodic side.

If not, have you already thought up what you are going to write for the next album, and will it have any links to The Powerless Rise (in the sense of a sequel)?

We always try to progress in some way without sounding like a totally different band. That’s a tough challenge but also what keeps us excited about new music. Naturally, there will be some similarities to The Powerless Rise though.

Austrian Death Machine seems to be dead at the moment. Are you working on any new material for it?

I have a few new songs already and am planning on recording the next album when I get some time off of touring with AILD. [Ed: Due to time lag, the ADM Christmas record is already out on Metal Blade] That’s always the hardest part. When a new album is ready, I’m sure that new life will come to the project.

Your upcoming “Decade Of Destruction” tour kicks off next month! Will it be different from all past tours in any way since it is commemorating As I Lay Dying’s 10th anniversary?

We’d like to let the fans pick a couple songs from each album they want to hear. The production in a lot of the venues will be a little bigger than other tours we’ve done as well.

You definitely get this a lot, but who are your greatest sources of inspiration and influence for your music and lyrical writings?

I hate to sound vague, but my life experiences as a whole are my greatest inspiration. Sometimes the trials of life bring out either a feeling musically or a lyrical idea. Since it’s metal, I would have to say that the perfect moments of life are less inspirational, but even they make their way into our music subtly. I also really enjoy philosophical conversations and thought-provoking writing, so I sometimes write lyrics about concepts that challenge me.

What do you love to do in your free time when you are not busy with any of your music projects these days?

I’m planning a quality snowboarding trip this year, and I ride my motorcycle when I’m home. Besides that, music is my hobby and my job.

Thanks for your time Tim! Do you have any favourite (and meaningful) quote or phrase stuck in your head recently that you would like to share with others?

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the human desire for connection and how that influences our development. Even for people who disagree with each other’s religious beliefs, there seems to be something with human beings that gives them a desire for a greater comfort than what humanity offers.

That, though, is inspired by this quote: “That God does not exist, I cannot deny, That my whole being cries out for God I cannot forget.” – Sartre






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