As I Lay Dying
Interview with Tim Lambesis
"It's not very often you get to see a band from California (U.S.A.) coming to you're city, so it was a good opportunity to see the band live in Hull. As I Lay Dying are no strangers to the Metal scene, hailing from San Diego these 5 musician's pack a powerful bunch with their heavy style of Thrash Metal with elements of Death and maybe some Hardcore also thrown in. The band have come a pretty long way since they form in the early 2000 when the band were signed to the U.S biggest metal label 'Metal Blade', known for Slayer, Fates Warning, Cannibal Corpse, D.R.I. and so many more well known acts. In 2003 the band released their debut album for Metal Blade titled 'Frail Words Collapse', which was one hell of a fine debut album and sold 210,000 copies. The band have released 'A Long March: The First Recordings' in 2002, 'Frail Words Collapse' 2003, 'Shadows are Security' 2005, and the band current album 'An Ocean Between Us' in 2007. Not only have the band been touring the UK last month they also played the Bloodstock festival, were I had the pleasure of see in them live for the 1st time. Singer Tim Lambesis also has the side project under the name of 'Austrian Death Machine', also released their debut CD for Metal Blade in 2008. I managed to have a few words with Tim in Hull about AILD and also about the Austrian Death Machine. Here is what he had to say. I started asking Tim about the formation of AILD, where what he told me and many more questions put to him."
"Well I started out as As I Lay Dying back in 2001 and early in that year I had written some songs and presented them to our drummer Jordan Mancino and that was pretty much the foundation of the band."
How did you hook up with the rest of the band? Was it through college, school or a music paper?
"Well back then I was playing the guitar so I could write songs so I was always looking for a guitar player so we could actually play the songs live. There was a long search until we found a dedicated guitar player and it took us a couple of years to find the right guitarist. We had to find musician's who would be part of the band. Up until that we just had guys filling in for us."
As you jus said you were a guitar player at 1st, so what made you change to been the singer and who inspired you as a singer, any family members?
"Well actually nobody in my family had musically inspired me. Once I learnt to play the guitar I wanted to write music and to be in a band that I was proud of and I could never find a singer that I could feel like have to back and support me. So in the end I just thought 'forget it!!' So I decided to do the vocals instead of been a guitar player. It's difficult for me to tell you who I have as a vocal influence, they are mainly guys who I don't sound like, I like Phil from Pantera, and a lot of Hardcore bands from New York like Agnostic Front, Cro -Mags, but I don't sound like any of those. I also like people like Bruce from Iron Maiden, Rob from Judas Priest."
Do you do any of the high pitch vocals in you're music?
"Well yes I do from time to time on our records, but live it is difficult so I just tend to do the more lower vocals live."
Before signing to Metal Blade, just how many demos did the band record?
"Well our first record deal was with a small label Pluto Records, and in a way it was kind of like we paid for the recording ourselves and they were just released on that label. Before we signed to Pluto Records, we only ever did 1 demo which was not released to the public."
As a band who are your influences?
"I think we all have various influences within the band, we all love the older bands like Maiden, Priest, Sabbath, and all those guitar melody bands. I was always put off by the lack of aggression with those band. We like to mix those band with the aggression of such bands like Pantera, Machine Head etc... As for the Death Metal bands we like such bands like Carcass, but kids of today might not consider Carcass to be a Death metal band because there not extreme as some of today's bands. I also like Cannibal Corpse, because they are creating some shock able horror type metal music and I think their mentality is just to be extreme. I think Glenn Benton from Deicide might actually be insane, but it is hard for me to enjoy that stuff at times."
How would you best describe your music?
"I really don't know really, as our influences are very varied and and there are so many categories of metal music right now. I would say we are a metal band although the vocals are very heavy. Some people would say we could be like Metallica, which isn't true. We are a metal band with a lot of aggression on the heavier side. I really don't care what people categorize us as as long as our fans are judging our music and not our categories out there."
What do you think about bands like 'In Flames', 'Arch Enemy' etc... The Swedish stuff, has that inspired you all?
"Yeah it has to be honest, they have took some of the melodies from Iron Maiden and the N.W.O.B.H.M. and out a modern twist on it. They are one of our influences as well. We certainly do have in similarities to that of 'In Flames' and roots."
So why the name 'As I Lay Dying', did you have any others names in mind?
"Well the other names we had, AILD was certainly the best name we came up with. The others were way too stupid to use, so really I can't remember what they were called. We were once thinking of using the name 'Life Once Lost', but there is already a band called that signed to Ferrit Music. They have actually been around a lot longer than we have."
Has the band had a steady line-up since the formation of the band?
"No not at all, I started the band and with Jordan and and the line-up didn't become steady until until our 2nd Metal Blade release which is called 'Shadows are Security' in 2005. That is when the line-up became more steady and even on the newer album our bassist is a new guy."
You have recorded 3 albums with Metal Blade, did they re-release the debut on Pluto? Also who else did you approach beside Metal Blade? Are you also happy with them?
"Yeah pretty much they have re-released the debut. Well with Metal Blade, we sent out our demo to them and there were tons of label who actually never replied to us. The ones who were interested were: Metal Blade, Victory, Hopeless Records, but we just realized that Metal Blade were in a long term the best to offer us such a good deal. We can actually call the owner, its more of a family run business so we have a 1 on 1 relationship with them. Things are going really well with the label so far."
So lets talk about the newest release 'An Ocean Between Us', how long did it take to record the album and by whom was it recorded? Do you think the album turned out well with the overall sound?
"I took about a month to record, and everything was recorded at my home expect for the drums which where recorded. The reason why we recorded the drums at a different studio was because, of a lot of home studios they don't have such great equipment. And so I built a great studio which has some great equipment but because it's at a home it doesn't have the space to record the drums. I wanted ot have a more roomy place with more of a open sound so that is why we recorded the albums somewhere else. This was the first time we had used somebody else to produce the album, it was done by us and Adam D, who is in a band called 'Killswitch Engage'. Colin Richardson mixed the album. We are very happy with the way it has turned out. We had to finish the album off ourselves because Adam had to go onto his next project, and he did a great job whilst he was there, so did Colin. I think the overall sound of the album at that time is good. I'm very proud of it and it is now part of our history. When we go into the studio next time it will be a different picture."
Does the album title and artwork reflect the overall album?
"I would say that the overall intention is that the artwork would reflect the title of the record, Jacob who did the artwork is the singer for 'Converge' and we had a pretty long conversation about the ideas and the songs for the album. So he just came up with some ideas from what I had told him. Jacob has done our last 4 albums covers and I think if we had more time we could of represented the album cover better."
Did you have any guest appearances on the last album?
"We had some friends doing back-up vocals, nothing like major guest spots at all."
You played the Bloodstock Open Air festival in the UK this year 2008, which you almost arrived late for you're performance, how was the show for you and why did you arrive late?
"We were crossing the ferry from France and and 1 of our guitar players didn't have his work visa sorted out, so they wouldn't not let him in the country. So we forged his work visa and and drove through a different boarder and crossed their. We had a great time at Bloodstock despite they hectic time getting there."
Do you plan on releasing a live DVD in the very near future?
"Yeah we are working on one right now. When we get home from this tour we are doing a string of shows in the U.S. which will all be part of our DVD. The DVD should come out in march of 2009."
How well is the European and UK tour going so far for you?
"It's going great!! There's a lot of cities which are pretty close to one another. When we usually come to the UK there are about 5 shows which are scattered all over the place. This time around there's 12 shows on this UK tour."
Moving away from AILD, I want to talk to you about the 'Austrian Death Machine', which I find really funny with the Arnold Schwarzenegger voice in between each song, it makes me laugh. Did you do all the vocals for this album including the Arnold voice?
"Haha!! That's a good album. My friend Jack did does a really good impression. So I recorded the whole album and I did the main vocals and choruses I wanted Jack to do his impersonations of Arnold. It was probably the most fun I have had recording and of the subject matter and it is light hearted and I didn't have to think about what I was doing, it was just another experience for me."
It must of been so funny hearing Jack doing the Arnold voice, there must of been times were you had to stop and take a break because you couldn't stop laughing.
"Yeah it was really funny at times, the out takes are probably the funniest and some of the things that happened just happened and I didn't know some of them were going to take place. It has that extra humor to the whole recording. There was a lot of laughing which we had to cut out and we had to edit it out."
Why did you decide to call the project the 'Austrian Death Machine'? The Artwork is really cool, kind of reminds me of the guy who did the 'Evil Dead' cover and 'Solstice'. Tell me more about that cover.
"To me he is a Austrian Death Machine, when you watch 'The Terminator' he is a Austrian Death Machine. I did think about calling the project 'Arnold', but the 'ADM' seemed a better choice. The guy who did the cover is called Ed, he did the cover for Megadeth's 'Rust In Peace' and I think he might of done the covers for Evil Dead too, but I am not sure. he did a lot of work with Thrash bands back in the day."
How long did it take to get the ideas for this album together?
"Well I grow up listening to Thrash metal, so it was all those Thrash ideas mixed together with these break down part were you can inject those Arnold voice into the music. All the music was pretty much Thrash, so it was a 2nd nature for me to write the songs and I wanted some fast and aggressive music into our music. I did the vocals, guitars, bass and Nick did a solo on 1 of the songs. The drums were done on Pro-Tools, kind of a studio trickery haha!! I don't like bands who use these Pro-Tools in the studios but can't pull it off live. I am going to make sure we can pull it off live."
Why don't you have a Arnold Schwarzenegger monster type guy on the stage if you play live, just like Iron Maiden have Eddie. Haha!!
(Laughing) "That would be cool. I might consider that haha!! We did that once when we played with GWAR, they created a Arnold Schwarzenegger monster on the stage for us, that was funny'"
Have you done a promo video for the ADM?
"Yeah I have, it was a video for the song 'Get To The Chopper', which features a bunch of machines which are all playing instruments, you just have to see it really."
I suppose there will be another 'ADM' album in the near future? Will it feature the Arnold Schwarzenegger voice again?
"Yeah for sure, and I will have the Arnold voice on the next one too."
How do you compare the 'ADM' to 'AILD'?
"I think that the 'ADM' is just more aggression than 'AILD', more Thrash. As for 'AILD' is more melodic and has more layers. The subject matter in 'AILD' is more serious but each one has some fun to it in it's own way."
What bands have 'AILD' played with so far in your career?
"Pretty much every band in the metal scene really, except for Metallica."
Well Tim, thanx for taking your time out tonite, good luck with the future plans with 'ADM' and 'AILD'. Do you have anything to ad before we finish?
"Yeah we appreciate the support of our fans, without ur support we would not be here."
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