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As I Lay Dying Interview

A Conversation with Vocalist Tim Lambesis

By

As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying

Metal Blade Records
Updated November 07, 2011
They've been together for a decade now, and As I Lay Dying is marking the occasion with a new album Decas that includes new material along with some cover songs and reworked versions of tracks from their previous catalog. I caught up with the band's frontman Tim Lambesis, who gives us the scoop on Decas.

Chad Bowar: How did you decide on the tracks for Decas?
Tim Lambesis: We wanted to create something new for our fans while still covering our 10-year career. The first three songs represent where we’re at in our career now. Those new songs include the diversity of our sound from the really heavy side to one of the most melodic songs we’ve ever done. Then we pay tribute to what influenced us to play metal in the first place, so the cover songs come up next and include Judas Priest guitar melody, thrash from Slayer, and simple raw energy from Descendents “Coffee Mug.” Lastly, we cover the previous five albums with a redone or remixed version of one song from each album.

Were the 3 new songs left over from previous sessions, or did you record them specifically for this release?
The first song, “Paralyzed”, was written at the very end of our recording of The Powerless Rise, but we didn’t have a chance to finish it. It isn’t really a b-side because it’s actually better than a lot of songs on that album. It’s more that it’s just from that era. The other two were written specifically for the Decas release.

With the remixes, did you have any creative control/input?
The first remix is actually a medley that was completely under Jordan and my control since we chose our favorite parts from our first record and re-recorded them all in one song. The main creative control/input we had on the other remixes mainly came down to choosing who would do the remixes. Each of those guys is an artist of their own in the digital remix kind of world and they have their own style. For instance, we chose Benjamin Weinman from The Dillinger Escape Plan because we knew his style was more chaotic. That was offset by Innerpartysystem who I think is very cutting edge in a totally different way.

Ten years ago, did you see As I Lay Dying having the level of success you've attained now?
In the general sense I always viewed our style of music as extreme or part of underground music to some degree. Of course there are plenty of more extreme bands who just want to be brutal, but I never thought that any band with yelling type vocals would be able to make a living solely playing music. For that reason, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have and the fans that support us. Now more than ever, we live in a world where fans can get the media they demand and don’t rely on radio for a clip of what they might like. I acknowledge that opened a lot of doors for us as well.

What advice would 2011 Tim give to 2001 Tim?
That’s a great question. Whatever advice I could give myself might actually mess up the motivating factors of what made As I Lay Dying become what it was! (laughs) Our work ethic certainly is something that cannot be handed down through advice, but other than that I would tell my younger self to try stupid things and take chances. I mean that within reason and in context of course. When it comes to recording music, some of my favorite ideas are things I wasn’t entirely comfortable with right away.

What has been your proudest accomplishment as a member of AILD?
I’m proud that I can provide for my family while doing something that I love. A lot of people I know are unhappy with their daily lives, and that translates into how they interact with the people they love.

Will the band be around 10 years from now?
Yes. I don’t see a reason to stop playing music. We might not always tour like dogs, but there’s not reason to completely stop unless my vocal chords fall out.

Switching gears to your current tour with Amon Amarth, what have been some of the memorable moments so far?
As sad as it sounds, my favorite moments are the days when I find great food. A lot of the time we spend traveling is foreign and uncomfortable, so the little comforts of homelike cooking or warm comfortable environments are very appreciated by a guy like me from sunny San Diego.

Where haven't you toured yet that you'd still like to get to?
Rock music in general isn’t very big in most parts of Africa or the Caribbean vacation spots, so I can’t really say. Going to India or some place with a drastically different culture might be cool, but it’s a gamble. I could get there are realize that I wish I was home again.

Give us a preview of your upcoming U.S. tour. Since it's in honor of your 10th anniversary will you be playing stuff fans haven't heard in a while?
We really want to give the fans a chance to pick the two songs from each album that they want to hear and then we’ll choose the rest of the set. I’m not sure how we’re going to organize that exactly yet, but we’ll make it happen.

What's the coolest place/attraction/country you've been able to visit while on tour over the years?
I love Thailand and Thai food. That’s exotic for most Americans, but I also love otherwise uneventful Midwest cities where I might run into old friends. The more I travel, the more I realize it’s more about the people that it is about the place. However, we can still brag that we’re the only metal band that I know of to have ever played in Sri Lanka!

Describe an interesting person you've met while on the road.
Every bus driver we meet is an extremely unique person. They drive all night and sleep all day, so they usually talk my ear off if they can ever catch me in conversation. It’s impossible to fully describe any one of them without going on and on, but the irony is that it’s surprisingly easy to stereotype most of them by saying they are usually overweight white dudes who love energy drinks.

Will there be another Austrian Death Machine album?
Absolutely! The two records I’ve done so far have been just me writing the songs, but the next one will have each song co-written by me and another relatively well known metalhead peer. When I get enough time off of tour I will finish it up and record it.

Have you been working on any other projects, either as a musician or producer?
As a studio owner and producer there is always something new coming through my studio. However, I don’t often have time to personally work on a project. For those who don’t know, I co-own Lambesis Studios which is in a suburb of San Diego. We’ll be doing the next Allegaeon record next month who is another band on Metal Blade.

Do you have a timetable yet for the next AILD studio album?
I’ll be recording the next Austrian Death Machine while we’re writing the next As I Lay Dying studio album. Both bands are just waiting for some time off tour to make that happen.

What's the best DVD/movie you've seen lately?
I’m a documentary nerd, so I go to this site documentaryheaven.com and stream stuff. Some of it is DIY and some of it legit documentaries that decided to let their stuff be hosted for streaming. An older one that is on the conspiracy theory side but still though provoking was called Wake Up Call.

What's currently in heavy rotation in your MP3/CD player?
I like the latest Decapitated album, but still have my classic more mellow favorites like Tom Petty.

Anything else you'd like to mention or promote?
At some point I want to start collecting fans' stories of any way we’ve inspired them in the last 10 years. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are, so I want to include them as much as possible in the 10-year celebration!

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