Chad Bowar: You’re getting ready to kick off a headlining tour. How much input does the band have in selecting the supporting acts for a tour like this?
Jeremy DePoyster: On a tour like this that we put together we have 100 percent say. Everything we do goes through a band business email account that we all get on and use. Any offers or anything like that goes into there. Then we put together what would be our ideal package if it would work out. We got lucky on this tour. We have been wanting to tour with the As I Lay Dying guys again for a while. We handpicked each of the other bands. Usually for a headlining tour that’s how it goes.
Have you toured with all these bands before?
We haven’t toured with The Color Morale or The Chariot. Those will both be new to us. We did Mayhem with As I Lay Dying and Warped Tour with them a bunch of times. We have known those guys for a long time. We have done a couple tours now with For Today.
You’ll be co-headlining with As I Lay Dying. Do you just alternate headlining spots night to night?
Yes, for the most part. Certain cities they really want to play last, and certain cities we want to play last. The rest get filled in.
Now that you’ve reached headliner status, does how you were treated as openers (both positively and negatively) affect how you treat your opening bands?
Yeah, definitely. Bands like Philistine, Underoath, Killswitch Engage and a bunch of others that we supported going back to the beginning of our career were super awesome and showed us a really good time and taught us how to be on tour. But there were definitely a few tours we did that were big bummers. We really took a lot from that and vowed we would never do it again. We try to treat anyone around us with respect, but especially the bands that are on tour with us.
Who is playing keyboards for you on tour now that James Baney left the band?
It’s a guy named John. He’s our drum tech’s brother. He’s a very anti-spotlight kind of guy, so he’s just kind of chilling. He’s been working with us, playing and writing. He’s an awesome guy and has been playing with us for over a year now.
James leaving was your first lineup change. Was that a strange feeling?
It was our first lineup change. We never had anything happen like that before. Everyone has fights. We’ve probably physically altercated with almost every member at some point. But it just got to a point where he wasn’t having a good time and didn’t like the direction we were trying to take things. If it’s not fun, there’s really no point in doing it. It was weird, but it’s awesome now. These guys are my best friends.
How do you put together a setlist for a tour?
We generally pick one and stick with it for the whole tour, just because we have some interlude things and stuff like that that correlate together. And especially on a tour like this where we have a big lighting rig. It usually helps out those guys if we play the same thing every night.
Turning to your new album, how far along are you?
Musically, it’s pretty much done at this point. We have way more songs than we’ve ever had. They are all really cool. We really like them. We spent the last year working on them. We have spent probably three months total rehearsing them and getting them ready. We’re ready to get in the studio as soon as we’re done with this tour. We just put the final pieces together in preparing to make the record itself.
What musical direction are you taking with the new record?
I think it’s continuing on the path of Dead Throne. There were songs like “Kansas” and “Chicago” that we really liked, but didn’t know how they were going to work out. But people really responded to them, especially live, so I think that’s a direction we have gone in on some of the songs. Across the board we’ve tried to bring in more of the heaviness. The choruses are still catchy and there’s some cool leads. We wanted some punishing, sinister craziness.
Are you going to be able to tour this summer, or will you still be in the studio?
For us, we don’t go into the studio to write. Obviously there’s a lot of changes that are made, but we pretty much know what the songs are going to be. Dan (Williams, drums) has a rehearsal studio and is getting ready before the tour, so as soon as we’re done he can hit the studio and lay down the drums. So it doesn’t really take us that long to make a record compared to some bands. It will probably take six weeks or so. We’ll do that after this tour is done, go home for a couple of weeks, and then we have a ton of European dates and festivals this summer.