Tim Lambesis of AS I LAY DYING Interview October 16, 2011

November 2, 2011 by: admin

October 16, 2011


Metal Blade Records

Tim Lambesis (Vocals)

San Diego, California





By: Shauna O’Donnell

As I Lay Dying out of San Diego, California was started by vocalist Tim Lambesis a decade ago. To commemorate that, on November 8th the band will release their latest record titled Decas that will be followed up with the ‘Decade of Destruction Tour’. Decas is a compilation album that features three new tracks, some cover songs and some remixes. The band has been steadily progressing over the years bringing the metal fans what Tim describes as “I think we’ve taken a lot of traditional metal elements and put them in a heavier context.” Tim is also the proud owner of Lambesis Studios where he not only produces for AILD, but he produces for other bands as well. The goal for the future according to Tim is to make albums every couple of years and as a fan of the band, I hope they do just that. The tour starts up November 30th in New York and ends December 16th in San Diego.

On November 8th you will be releasing your latest album titled Decas. The album was made to commemorate the band’s ten year anniversary. Time flies when you are having fun. Does it feel like the band has been around that long?

Tim/AILD: When we’re out on the road it sometimes seems like it’s been longer than 10 years, but when we’re home working creatively on new songs I start to feel like there’s so much more ahead of us. Even though we’ve been a band for 10 years we’re still pretty young when compared to many of our peers since we started the band at such a young age. That gives me excitement about new albums to come and all of the ideas I still have. Touring on the other hand takes more out of me now that it used to. It’s hard to get as excited to visit places we’ve been to dozens of times and be gone away from family.

Was there any specific event that you think was responsible for jump starting your career?

Tim/AILD: In our case all of our progress was a slow steady build. The bright side to that is that it never stopped. Some bands have a moment that sky rockets them to almost the top of their genre, but that same type of instant success leaves them with fickle fans and a major fallout when trends change. If I had to pick one thing that stood out as stepping forward point I would say that signing to Metal Blade back in 2003 helped us better promote our best record yet at the time “Frail Words Collapse.” That moment wasn’t magical by any means though. It took a full year of touring on that record until it really caught on.

What would you say your band is known for? What makes you unique?

Tim/AILD: There isn’t one thing alone that makes our signature sound. I think we’ve taken a lot of traditional metal elements and put them in a heavier context. Combining melody with aggression 10 years ago and still making it sound modern was the initial goal. Now we’re trying to make each album progress from that point. It’s also interesting to see how many popular bands know have been influenced by that approach to song writing. We’re happy to site the bands that inspired us, and we’re honored to know that we’ve in return inspired a lot of younger bands in part.

Decas has 12 tracks including three brand new songs, cover songs, and remixes by INNERPARTYSYSTEM, Benjamin Weinman, Kelly “Carnage” Cairns and Big Chocolate. What was the inspiration behind putting out an album like this as opposed to an album with all new original material?

Tim/AILD: We needed to have a collection of songs that covered 10 years of being a band but we didn’t want to simply re-record a couple songs from each album or throw together a bunch of live junk. We also thought it was too early to do an entirely new album. The new songs are diverse enough to cover the AILD sound from the heavy side to the most melodic. The cover songs show some of the older styles that we’ve drawn from. For instance “Hellion” is very melodic, “War Ensemble” is very thrashy, and “Coffee Mug” is just simple raw aggression. Then we somehow wanted each of the old albums to be represented but with something that was totally new compared to the first recording.

When it comes to writing new material, do all of you usually agree on the direction an album is going when writing it?

Tim/AILD: There are compromises needed in individual songs but we can usually end up agreeing on the direction of the album as a whole. For instance, Phil might tend to prefer a song that are interesting to play on guitar even if the feeling of the song isn’t necessarily fitting to an aggressive vocal approach. On the other hand, I might like something that is simpler or more rhythm driven and straightforward in a thrashy kind of way. If an album was all one way or the other it just wouldn’t be us. The variation from song to song is pretty key to making us all agree.

Do you usually write the music first or the lyrics?

Tim/AILD: I write them separately at times and then at other times the sound of the music inspires a feeling that I will explore lyrically.

How did you decide on which songs to cover on the album?

Tim/AILD: We wanted to do older songs that cover the different elements of heavy music that influence our band. Those aren’t necessarily our three favorite bands, but they are all songs that we agree on.

The holidays are coming and it made me think of this question. You did a Christmas album with Austrian Death Machine, have you ever considered doing a holiday track, cover or EP with As I Lay Dying?

Tim/AILD: It’s pretty hard to do a serious sounding holiday track, especially for heavy band, so for that reason I don’t think AILD will ever do one. AILD has a depth to it lyrically that makes it hard to do make certain type of light hearted things fit. ADM on the other hand can get away with almost anything, haha.

In celebration of the release you will be going out on the road for a little more than a couple weeks with Of Mice and Men, The Ghost Inside, iwrestledabearonce and Sylosis on the ‘A Decade of Destruction Headline Tour’ that kicks off November 30th. The tour starts in New York and finishes up in California. That is quite a distance in very little time. How did you decide which cities to hit across the country?

Tim/AILD: We had to look at cities that we haven’t played too often on our last album cycle but also make sure they were bigger cities. Ideally we could make the tour longer, but with the end of the year coming up we had to pick a limited amount of cities where we thought we’d get the most support given the circumstances. When you combine that with needing to get all the way across the country there weren’t as many options as you might think. Another unfortunate thing is that we can’t do another leg of the tour after the New Year since that wouldn’t be our 10th anniversary anymore. These few weeks of shows are really going to be unique and something I’m looking forward to.

You have done a lot of touring. Have you been able to meet some of the musicians you are a huge fan of? Who are they?

Tim/AILD: We’ve had the chance to play with some classic metal bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Slayer, and Megadeth. Oddly enough, while I’m metal head now, I grew up listening to just as many punk and hardcore bands so I was just as excited to meet bands we actually took out on tour that opened for us. Madball would be one good example.

What do you find to be the most difficult thing about being out on the road for long periods of time?

Tim/AILD: I always miss my family. Another difficult thing is maintaining meaningful friendships. Dudes don’t really chat for hours on the phone. At least full grown men don’t and I’m not the most talkative guy anyway. When there’s a lot on my mind I end up keeping most of it to myself, and by the time I get home I’m usually over talking about it anyway.

Do you guys like to pull pranks on each other while on the road? If so, which one was the most memorable?

Tim/AILD: We’re usually giving each other a hard time in some way or another. A popular prank right now with our bus driver is to put the heat on in the middle of the night until I wake up sweating. Another prank that started on this tour is for someone to put their phone on a setting where it makes a terrible dog whistle sound and then leave room. Everyone else in there can’t figure out what or where it’s coming from.

What do you like to do on your days off?

Tim/AILD: If we’re overseas I usually try to see something unique of whatever city we are in. If we’re in the US all I want to do is find good food and be lazy.

Out of all the places you have been in your career, where did you enjoy the food the most?

Tim/AILD: I love Thai food and I really enjoyed our stay in Thailand in general. Since I’m a big fan of sushi as well I look forward to going back to Japan as well.

You are the owner of Lambesis Studios where you produce for not only your band but other bands as well. What are the benefits to having your own studio?

Tim/AILD: It’s nice to work on an album and not feel the pressure of a budget rushing you. The Powerless Rise was really the first time I didn’t feel rushed doing vocals at the end of the recording and most of that is because I own the studio.

I know you have produced for other metal bands, but would you ever consider producing for bands outside of the genre?

Tim/AILD: Yes. The unfortunate thing is that most people become known for doing one thing even if they are very capable of doing other styles of music.

What advice do you have for bands that would help them prepare to enter the studio?

Tim/AILD: Most bands don’t write enough songs. You should always have more songs than you really need and let the producer help you choose which ones to cut.

What are some of the things you want to accomplish with the band that you have not done yet?

Tim/AILD: To be honest, our band has done more than I ever anticipated being possible for such an extreme style of music. At this point I just want to do what it takes to stay passionate and genuine about our music. I’d like to keep making albums every couple of years.

What do you think is the key to a long lasting career in metal?

Tim/AILD: Metal fans are smarter than most people give them credit for. I think the fans know when a band is genuine and when a band is trying to write a song that will get them to the next level. People are who they are their music should simply be an expression of that.

I brought up Austrian Death Machine earlier. What is going on with that project?

Tim/AILD: I’m waiting for the next big break in AILD tours to do a new record. I already have a handful of songs written.

Thank you so much for the interview. I wish you the best of luck. Is there anything you would like to add or say?

Tim/AILD: Nothing more to add other than that I appreciate the support!

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