AS I LAY DYING Guitarist Says New CD's Success Is 'A Testament To How Sweet Our Fans Are'

FMQB recently conducted an interview with AS I LAY DYING guitarist Nick Hipa. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

FMQB: Your #8 album debut last week was not only the band's best, but also the best in the history of Metal Blade. How does that make you feel?

Nick: No way, I didn't know it was Metal Blade's best debut ever! Woah! To be honest, I've been out of the loop for the past few days. I knew the album did well in the first week but I didn't get all those official numbers and everything. That makes me feel pretty incredible, because the label has been around for ages — longer than I've been alive! Being part of that achievement is an honor. I saw the Billboard chart, and it was crazy to see our name up there with, like, FERGIE. It's a testament to how sweet our fans are right now!

FMQB: I think the new album is your best one yet. What did you differently this time? What was the whole process like?

Nick: We did a lot differently with this album. We were more meticulous with everything and overanalyzed things a lot, because we really wanted to make a strong album that was diverse and an interesting listen from start to finish. Aside from putting more thought into the songwriting, we thought about moods and words and how things flowed. Also, one of the things that was different from the last album is that everyone was way more involved than with "Shadows Are Security". This time, [singer] Tim Lambesis, [drummer] Jordan Mancino, [guitarist] Phil Sgrosso and I contributed equally in the songwriting process. "Shadows Are Security" was mostly Tim and Phil, with me putting my input where I could. We didn't have that much time on the last album and I hadn't even been in the band for a year yet when we started recording it. We were still feeling each other out as far as what everyone brought to the table with songwriting. It was a good learning experience and I'm still happy with the last album, but touring on "Shadows" for two-and-a-half years, we really grew together and I feel like I know the dudes in my band really well on a personal and musical level. That helped a lot with communicating in the songwriting process this time.

FMQB: The production also sounds amazing. What was it like working with [KILLSWITCH ENGAGE guitarist] Adam D?

Nick: Working with Adam was an honor because he's a genius — he's better at all of our instruments than we are! It's awesome working with someone who is that talented but it was very fun at the same time. It was all jokes and laughs every day in the studio. That's the gift that Adam has — he can keep things really professional and productive, but at the same time it's light-hearted and fun. Even when everything was going wrong in the studio, we were still laughing at something.

FMQB: What kind of things went wrong?

Nick: We had so many problems in the studio. When Jordan was recording his drum tracks, the hard drive crashed and we spent a whole day trying to restore it. We used the back up drives to get lost files and tapes, because we were close to Jordan finishing up and if we hadn't been able to salvage it, Jordan would have had to track again and that would have been another four or five days. That was pretty hectic, and then we lost two days in the studio because we couldn't get our guitars to stop buzzing. We had eight guitars set up and ready to go, and after two days we figured out that we had gotten a bad batch of strings. Then the studio at Tim's house wasn't wired correctly, so we were getting all kinds of buzzing and noise and things not working right for the first few days, and we had to rewire that. Then Adam spilled a glass of water into a $4,000 preamp — that was pretty funny. Those are some of the big things, but every day something would happen!

FMQB: Do you have plans to film a live DVD soon?

Nick: We are planning on doing that sometime early next year. We still haven't figured out where we want to record it. We need to figure out the logistics of a film crew and getting ProTools set up at a venue. We're still trying to figure out the city and what tour we'll be on, and then we'll do it. A lot of people have been asking us when we're going to do a live DVD, and we really want to. We have so many hours and days worth of footage of us from tours since Ozzfest 2005 that we'd like to include.

Read the entire interview at www.fmqb.com.

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