Way Too Loud! recently conducted an interview with ALL THAT REMAINS singer Phil Labonte. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Way Too Loud!: You've said at one point in time that ALL THAT REMAINS plays metalcore. Do you think you still play it, or do you think that you've changed into something different?
Phil: I think people are going to call it what they're going to call it. It depends. It doesn't matter what I say it is, I mean really. I've heard people describe us to everything from hardcore, which is kind of ridiculous to me, but I guess if that's what people think hardcore is… whatever, it doesn't change what we sound like. I've heard people describe as progressive, and that to me is DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X, and we ain't that! We're not IGNITE, or SNAPCASE, or EARTH CRISIS, or BLACK FLAG, even hardcore bands of today, we're so far from HATEBREED, or THROWDOWN or something like that. Not that there's anything wrong with that music, it's just not what we are. It doesn't matter what people call us, it's not going to change the way our records sound, especially since they're already recorded! (Laughs) So whatever! I don't care.
Way Too Loud!: Some of the choruses on the songs of "The Fall Of Ideals" have some really catchy radio-rock or even a pop feel to them.
Phil: Yeah, it's well documented that we like cheesy pop music. There's pictures of me wearing FALL OUT BOY shirts! I listen to PRINCE, and everyone knows that me an Mike love NICKELBACK, and every is always listening to DR. DRE, or SNOOP DOG, or EMINEM, or JAY Z, or just pop music! That song "Fergilicious" is the new "hit" for ALL THAT REMAINS, it's the song we want to hear. Just a lot of garbage pop. It's kind of a joke because it's the stuff we like, and it's the stuff we want to hear, but we play it for everybody. So, it probably does come through, and it's something that we're aware of, and we're cool with it. If we can make songs that make sense as metal songs, and ALL THAT REMAINS songs, so why not let your influences come into it, just so long as it doesn't get hokey, or it doesn't hurt the song. You don't want to make a song "do something," you kind of want to let it go its own way. If it fits and works, then it fits and works, and if it doesn't work, you can't make it work or force it to work. We just go with what we think sounds good, and what feels right to us.
Way Too Loud!: Was it intentional or natural that "The Fall Of Ideals" came out the way it did, with the catchy choruses, and the heavier than ever experimentation?
Phil: It's very natural. We knew what we wanted going in. We had an idea of what we wanted the record to deliver. We don't ever want to be one of those bands that because they do stuff that's more catchy, that they do less heavy stuff, or because they have certain expectations from labels that they forget where they came from. The song "Six" is actually the biggest song on the record, thanks to Guitar Hero it's huge, and it's one of the most extreme songs on the record. I mean, it opens up with blast beats and a black metal-esque scream, so it's really funny that it's doing so well, but it does show that there's a market for well-crafted aggressive metal, whether they have catchy, hooky singing parts, or whether it's just good metal that people take. We do put thought into it, but it just happens. It's very natural for us, because we all want songs that sound like us, like a metal band that takes from our influences.
Way Too Loud!: Is there any chance that the songs on the next album might sound like the first half with catchy choruses, and the second half experimenting with black metal and death metal together at the same time? That's just my personal wish…
Phil: There's always a possibility. When we were writing the songs, and I was figuring out what I wanted to do vocally, I don't put a lot of thought into "this song is going to have this part." If you listen really close, there's all the different styles of singing somewhere. The real guttural low death metal thing that I do in "The Weak Willed", I do that in "Whispers" too, it's just not as predominant. The more you do, the less emphasis you'll have on everything, and you can't make everything seem like it's trying to stand out with all the attention, then it seems chaotic. That's where the nuances lie. That's why we're always focussed on writing the song, because we don't want any one element to be the focus, or do too much. Too many cooks spoil the broth, you know? Let the song do the talking, and have cool stuff in it, and have cool stuff throughout the songs hopefully, and see what happens. If you listen to "The Weak Willed", there's sort of a singing yell at the end of it, but more of that song has that [low] growl and scream. It's really not about getting the focus on that section on every song, it's more about doing what we already do, which is making sur that each individual song has its own voice, and not trying to cover it with everything.
Read the entire interview at Way Too Loud!