An Interview With Tim Lambesis Of As I Lay Dying
Band Photo: As I Lay Dying (?)
As I Lay Dying is one of those bands that simply gets better with age, instead of being crippled by it with each album becoming better than the last. Metalunderground finally got the opportunity to talk to Tim Lambesis about juggling two bands, his opinions of Arnold as governor, and which band he dreams of touring with.
Matt Dasher: It seems that with the change in sound on that last two As I Lay Dying albums as well as your work in Austrian Death Machine that you're going through a creative peak. Was there any particular catalyst for this?
Tim Lambesis: We've still very young. We're getting better at our instruments and our best ideas are still ahead of us. A lot of bands lose aggression or intensity over time and I don't think that we have to worry about anything like that.
Matt: Out of the three biggest bands from the Southern California metalcore scene, it seems like As I Lay Dying has stayed true to it's roots while Avenged Sevenfold and Atreyu have really moved into a more accessible territory, you've moved towards a harder, more underground sound? Is there any particular reason for this?
Tim: We're friends with the guys in Atreyu and they chose to go in a more radio accessible route because that's what they were personally into at the time and while it may have backfired for them a little bit, I still respect them for following that they're passionate about even though I personally am more of a fan of the aggressive underground sound. For us sticking to our roots, it's not a matter of whether it's underground or not underground, it's about what we personally like as songwriters. All we can really do is write songs that are true to what's on our minds and what's in our hearts and that's what we've done.
Matt: I noticed that there was a theme with the music videos on An Ocean Between Us as well as a lot of lyrics on The Powerless Rise that have to do with tyranny. Do you feel that we as a society are progressing down that path?
Tim: I think that tyranny in a poetic sense doesn't have to come from a tyrant or a dictator but certainly we put ourselves under a lot of it, whether it be addiction or over consumption or materialism which has become very, very prevalent in modern society and so those things dictate our sense of joy and our sense of fulfillment and we end up being slaves to those types of ideas. Those things are more likely to enslave a person or become a tyrant than a single evil figure like Hitler who's so obviously evil. Or at least in retrospect is so obviously evil but most of the time something like that creeps up in a much smaller and more insignificant way until it begins to control us. I think that the more we consume the more we enter a cycle that we need to continue doing to maintain a certain level of happiness or fulfillment. A lot of my lyrics are sort of taking us before all that starts. Like the song Without Conclusion is about if we had the wrong starting point then it doesn't really matter where we end up since it all ends up coming back to the beginning.
Matt: What about Proposition 8 in your home state or the new Arizona immigration law with regards to tyranny?
Tim: The Arizona law in particular really saddens me just because there's so much injustice that's caused by the border and to not only take a lot of those injustices and transfer them to people who've already been living in the US. It's very unfortunate that a family would cross the border and the children who were very young and would live in the US for their entire lives, then an immigration officer could pull them over at any point just because of the color of their skin and ask them for identification even if they've grown up in the US their entire lives and to send them back because of a law that says that the cops can interrogate your for no reason is extremely unjust.
Matt: Now that you have your own studio, how do you juggle the responsibilities of having two bands as well as producing?
Tim: I built the studio to have a couple places to record and not feel the pressure of paying fees whenever I wanted to have a creative moment so it's been helpful to me since I no longer have to worry about the monetary side of things. Then with As I Lay Dying and Austrian Death Machine I think that once a band has gotten to the level of As I Lay Dying you can't put out an album every year since there's too much that goes into the making of an album. There's so much touring involved so in that in-between time I wanted to have a creative outlet and that's where Austrian Death Machine came from.
Matt: what is your favorite band to tour with and what band would you most like to tour with?
Tim: The bands that we enjoy touring with the most are the ones we're friends with. We usually respect their music as well. There are a couple of bands where I'm not a fan of their music but we've had a blast just because of the people they are. Like we're a metal band and Story of the Year is more of a punk band but we toured with them twice and got along with them very well and so it's not necessarily what a band sounds like that makes them fun on tour but musically speaking there's always the classic metal greats. We already toured with Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath on Ozzfest a few years back but I've always wanted to with Metallica. We've done festivals with Megadeth and some of the other greats so I think Metallica is the obvious one. I think I'd like to tour with them.
Matt: What do you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger's term as governor?
Tim: I'm not too keen on politics so I don't keep up enough to critique his politics. I think just on a contextual level it's funny to me that such a gnarly action guy would do such a serious job like running an entire state. I think he's done some things well and other things he could do better. I don't' know the ins and outs of all his politics although I know the ins and outs of all his movies.
Matt: Will Austrian Death Machine ever have a song titled, "This is a Ferret?"
Tim: That's definitely possible. Kindergarten Cop has probably five or six lines that I still need to incorporate.
Matt: Six years ago that was the line that my history teacher chose among his friends as the best Arnold line that nobody remembers.
Tim: Some of the obscure lines appeal to the real die hard fans. If you've been out of movies for a long time, people keep naming the really popular lines just to tie together the time gap. My other favorite line is, "Consider that a divorce" from Total Recall when he shoots his wife.
Matt: And you still haven't done, "hasta la vista, baby."
Tim: "Hasta la vista, baby" and "I'll be back are his two most famous lines so I'll have to write some pretty epic songs for those.
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