As I Lay Dying
The massive Music As A Weapon tour hits Australia for the first time ever this week. Spearheaded by Chicago’s Disturbed, the undercard also features some major luminaries of the heavy music scene as well, including Florida’s Trivium, Australia’s Forgiven Rival and As I Lay Dying from San Diego. As I Lay Dying’s guitarist Phil Sgrosso chats happily about the upcoming tour from his home.
“Australia is one of my favourite paces to tour,” he states. “Great people, just a great vibe overall. It’ll be nice to play some bigger places with Disturbed; arenas are more comfortable for travelling bands. I think it’ll be a fun run; we have some more time off in between shows, so we can relax a little bit and go out and enjoy more of Australia. I think this is our fourth or fifth [time to Australia]. The first time we went over was for Shadows Fall, back in 2006. So we seem to go back on average once a year I guess,” he grins.
“Disturbed have been one of the biggest names in heavy music for the last ten years,” Phil adds, “so it’s really cool that they can take out some bands that came more from the underground, like Trivium and us, take us out with them and introduce us to a lot of fans that might not have heard of us before.”
As I Lay Dying themselves have been around for more than ten years, and have released an album virtually every two years since 2001. Phil agrees that the time has flown, and that it doesn’t seem like over a decade that they’ve been together. “Time definitely flies for us,” he says emphatically, “we’re always traveling, always touring. We’ve wound it down a little bit from how it used to be six years ago, but we’re always traveling, we’re always moving.
“When we’re not touring we’re writing. We’re always doing something, so for me, it seems like it’s been about two, three years. Time’s definitely movin’ man!” he laughs.
Musing on whether or not it’s difficult to keep up such a hectic schedule of releases and touring, Phil concedes “It is and it isn’t. Sometimes on tour it’s easier to be free of distractions [than] at home. We just sit down and start working on ideas. At the same time, on tour it’s definitely not the easiest thing to find that time, depending on what your schedule is with press and all the rest, it can be not so favourable.
“For us, with the state that heavy music’s in, a lot of it’s getting pretty diluted, I feel like the quality has kind of gone down. We really pride ourselves to do our best to make the make the music as special, and as moving and as progressive as we can.”
The band actually have a special release planned to celebrate their ten years together, as Phil explains: “To commemorate our ten years as a band we’re putting out an anniversary EP. It will have a few originals that we wrote and recorded earlier this year, and some covers, some remixes and a few things to commemorate a decade of being a band. To give the fans something unexpected.’
Beyond that, Phil sees no reason why they can’t keep up their schedule of an album every two years, as long as the creative juice keeps flowing between the five of them. “We’ll see,” he supposes, “we’re still tight as a band. I don’t see that there’s an end to what we can do, album-wise. I think the music industry is changing more drastically than I feel like it ever has, so as long as we adapt to what’s going on out there. Bands like Iron Maiden used to put an album out every year, for the first four or five years as a band. It just depends how driven and focused we are as a band, so we’ll see.
“Singles have become a pretty big thing these days,” he adds, “a lot of bands are releasing music on their own, however often they please. Things are changing, but as long as us as a band are getting together and trying get some new tunes out, we’ll keep forging ahead. But we still tour; we don’t do as many support tours as we used to, when we were a younger band. So we’re becoming a bigger international band, so I guess there’s always these new territories for us to go to. Which is great, it helps us sustain a living, and have our fanbase grow like that. But we’ll see, we’ll take things one step at a time!
“We look forward to coming out there,” he states in conclusion, “you won’t hear any of complaining about touring Australia and New Zealand!”
AS I LAY DYING are part of the Music As A Weapon tour with Disturbed, Trivium and Forgiven Rival, which hits Melbourne at Rod Laver Arena this Sunday April 24 – tickets from ticketek.com.au and 132 849. Their latest album, The Powerless Rise is out now through Metal Blade/Riot!