As I Lay Dying Talk "Awakened"
As I Lay Dying rip through the senses with their latest offering Awakened.
With claws out, the San Diego quintet fire off one razor sharp anthem after another. As a result, Awakened is the group's most incendiary and infectious album to date.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, As I Lay Dying singer Tim Lambesis talks Awakened, telling stories, and so much more.
Did you have one vision in mind for Awakened?
What we wanted to do was partly in reaction to The Powerless Rise. We wanted to make an album that was enjoyable upon a first listen. It has an immediate quality to it. A lot of fans felt like The Powerless Rise was our best record, but it took three or four listens to get it. For this, we wanted to be more traditionally us. We realized we can fine-tune what we do and make it more concise. When I look at the catalogs of my favorite bands, it was never their experimental or oddball records that I liked. It was always the one where they stuck to their own sound or fine-tuned it in a way that none of their albums had accomplished at that point. Everybody talks about Metallica at the pinnacle of their career. We wanted to make our defining record. People can say, "That's definitely an As I Lay Dying sound I'm familiar with, but somehow they made it even better than it's ever been".
What's the story behind "Tear Out My Eyes"?
That song has this epic closer feel to it. We continued to develop it after we demoed it. Lyrically, it was in reaction to The Powerless Rise. That record was very focused on society in general and big picture issues. I felt like I'd covered so much of that on the previous record. I wanted to focus on some of my own inner demons and the things happening close to me in a very personal way. The record took a personal twist, and it's definitely much more introspective than our previous records.
Was "Cauterize" from that same place?
That may be the most introspective of the lyrics. The first line of the lyrics is "The truth of my heart is like a repressed a tale". What's really going on in my mind and heart are things I struggle to grasp. The process of writing the lyrics was very therapeutic. I was realizing things in myself I wanted to change. In other ways, I realized things I've overcome positively. Naturally, that has a certain darkness to it. That's not because I'm a suppressed or dark person. I think it's because if anybody is really honest and they look at the deep issues in their hearts and the things they don't typically talk about, there are going to be dark corners there. The lyrics have a bit of a darker twist to them. We've always been known as a really positive band, but the positivity is addressing those issues head-on and the beauty that can come out of that.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the lyrics?
It's art. It's hard. I want to have a poetic sense, but I also don't want to be so full imagery that there aren't clear statements. I try to achieve a balance between the two.
If you were to compare Awakened to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a tough one [Laughs]. As far as genres of movies go, a lot of death metal bands put themselves in the horror movie genre. For us, that doesn't quite fit us lyrically. I'd say it's some sort of thriller with good and bad twists. There's a positive outcome and a hero at the end, but there are a lot of dark turns to get there.
When did you choose the title Awakened?
We just celebrated our ten-year anniversary. My mindset was very reflective on things we've gone through and changes that have occurred. A new awareness is awakened as a result.
What's up next for Austrian Death Machine?
I'm supposed to be recording a new album now. I've been moving, so intermittent things in my personal life are taking precedence. It drives me nuts [Laughs]. I'd love to be recording and making music, but I spend my time moving beds around. I've got to do it though! The next chance I get, I'm doing a new record.