ALL THAT REMAINS vocalist Phil Labonte recently spoke with United Rock Nations. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the heavier direction of group's new album, "Victim Of The New Disease":
Phil: "It's something that we talked about. We did make a conscious effort — we said, 'Let's do a really heavy record.' That's partly why we went with the producer that we went with, Dan Laskiewicz. He really can get that kind of sound that we were looking for. It was something that we intended to do."
On the album's themes:
Phil: "When it comes to lyrical content, I try not to get too specific, because I think that the listener [has] the most important perspective. I can write a song and I can say, 'This is what inspired me,' but the important thing is what the listener takes away. If a listener hears something and I say, 'This is what the song's about,' then the listener actually might be, like, 'Oh, that's not what I thought he was talking about,' and I feel like it kind of lessens something. That being said, I think it can apply to a lot of different areas, whether it be the way that people spend their time on social media or the way that people behave politically nowadays. There's a lot of things that some people would consider a social disease, but I think what one person says is a bad thing, someone else might say is a good thing. That's why I try not to get too specific about, 'This is what I was thinking.' I don't want the listener to feel like the song isn't theirs anymore."
On the album's artwork:
Phil: "I wanted to get an artist to interpret, in their own imagery, what they would say mental illness tends to look like. Certain pictures kind of translate the ideas, or the descriptions of different types of mental illness, into pictures. Again, I don't want to get too specific, because I don't want to sound like I'm insensitive to people that do struggle with mental illness, but it's something that I'm familiar with. I've had family members that have had to struggle with it, so it's something that I wanted to have on the record so that way, I could talk about it and kind of shed light on it, and try to help limit the stigma that goes along with people with mental illness. Nobody ever looks at someone weird if they have a shoulder problem and they go to the doctor. Your body hurts; you go to a doctor. I think that people need to look at mental illness in a similar way. It's something you need to go and take care of, not something that you should hide or be ashamed of. [The cover] was a nice way for us to kind of bring light to that, and do it in what we felt was a sensitive way without offending people and hurting people's feelings, because it is something that a lot of people struggle with... Nowadays, people have so much more ability to be connected, but on some level, they tend to be more isolated, because they interact only through the screen. I think that anything you can do to alleviate that stigma and remind people that there are people out there that have gone through hard times, that have experienced that stuff and do care, I think that's a good thing."
On his songwriting approach:
Phil: "I tend to write about stuff that I'm familiar with, stuff that I've experienced. I don't feel like I can craft a good song about something that I am unfamiliar with. I don't feel like I can really say that I'm familiar with things that I've read in books, or that I haven't at least studied a lot. A band like IRON MAIDEN, Steve Harris and Bruce Dickinson, they can take a story and turn it into a really, really compelling picture of a historical event, and I don't feel when I write stuff like that, it's compelling. I feel like the only time that I write stuff that I really feel is good is if it's something that I've experienced. That could be just because I get an emotional reaction out of it... It is nice to be able to articulate negative feelings that you've had, and it is a bit of a catharsis. A lot of times, I'll write something, and I don't have my head really wrapped around exactly what I was feeling or thinking until I can actually put it down and re-read it. It helps me understand myself."
On aiming to inspire:
Phil: "On every record, I try to write a least a couple songs that can inspire people to disregard critics, disregard people that are going to shit on them for whatever reason. I think the most important thing that I've ever been able to impart on someone else is remind them to believe in themselves, because for the most part, except for your very close circle of friends or your family, you're probably the only person you can rely on. Belief in yourself is one of the most valuable things you can have, because without belief in your own ability to achieve things, you get stuck in a rut of not starting and not trying, and the fastest way to fail is to not try."
"Victim Of The New Disease" was released on November 9 via Fearless in North America and Eleven Seven in Europe.
ALL THAT REMAINS recently completed a European tour, their first since the October death of guitarist Oli Herbert. The band was joined on the tour by YouTube personality Jason Richardson (ALL SHALL PERISH, CHELSEA GRIN, BORN OF OSIRIS).
ALL THAT REMAINS has released nine studio albums, a live CD/DVD, and has sold more than one million records worldwide.