How did Underoath become a band?
Oh man I think its kind of like how every other band starts. Your just a bunch of kids who love music and going to shows and you want to play together and start a band. It takes a couple of different groups of guys though to finally get it right and find that perfect mix. I think we all met over the span of our high school years and we just kept chipping away until we found the right group of people and that’s just kind of how it went.
How did you come up with the band name Underoath?
The name was actually decided before I was even apart of the band, I think that was like an early high school decision.
What is the story behind your two year break up and the decision to get back together?
Yeah man, I don’t know how familiar you are with the band. We toured a lot and we started as kids and I think this kind of music wasn’t ever acceptable like it is now, or like has been in the last couple of years. So when we started a band, a heavy band, most music venues wouldn’t even allow us to play there. You could only play basement shows and house parties and bmw halls, it was all DIY you were doing it like it was the punk rock movement of the 70’s, a kind of anarchy against other things. It was a community and a movement. Underoath kind of became way bigger than anyone would have imagined because when we started the band it was to make money and then it became a full time job and we started touring and we were definitely toured way to much. At the size that we had reached by 2008, we shouldn’t have been touring the way we were touring. At a certain point you start hurting yourself because you’re not trying to get your name out there anymore because everybody already knows your name. We definitely over did it and we basically worked ourselves to death. We grew up and turned into individuals and individual men that believed in different things and had different lifestyles and you get into different things that aren’t always the same things that your band members are into. That’s when we started to think maybe breaking up was for the best, because of course when we started this band we all liked the same thing so we were like whats going on. There’s a lot of growing pains when you grow with a band and your flying all over the world and you don’t have time to go to school, or have a normal job and just being around normal life stuff. That part of your life kind of moves in slow motion and it makes things a lot harder. We had to walk away and let the smoke clear, I don’t think we thought we would get back together, but spending that much time together with the same people makes you a family and time can heal all wounds. You learn to forgive each other and forgive yourself and move forward. I think we just finally got to a place where we knew who we were, and what this is and who we are as individuals separate from the group and we learnt to respect that. That is why the band is back together and stronger than ever.
What was the reaction when you announced you were not only getting back together but heading on tour?
It was across the board ecstatic, they were just so happy. We noticed all these people were upset about us breaking up and that cry from fans never really went away. People are just as happy as we are to be performing as Underoath again.
Why did you decide to return on tour to Australia, after almost five years?
Well we decided to do a 10 year anniversary of our record ‘Devine The Great Line’ and so we started talking and decided to do a tour. Kind of as a joke we decided to add a whole other album to it that was even older ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’ because we never got to do a 10 year anniversary tour for it as we were broken up at the time and not talking. So we decided to do the tour with both, and everyone was so happy and we were so happy that we decided well we should take this tour across the world. We didn’t get to do a farewell tour across the world either, in fact we didn’t even get to do it across America, so we felt like we owed it to our fans to do this and take our tour to all the major countries that supported us and our music.
For fans who haven’t seen you live before, what can they expect from your live shows?
It’s definitely not mellow. The motto for our band was ‘You play until you puke or die, or you don’t deserve to be up there’. I think that has always helped us through. You will be at a high energy show, with a high energy crowd. Everyone will be singing every word, crowd surfing and we will be jumping off stuff. Its a sing along, its high energy. It’s an Underoath show and if you have never seen us you should totally come and find our for yourself.
As the lead vocalist do you feel like you take on more responsibility on the stage, or is it all pretty equal between each member?
Absolutely, I mean that’s your job. You do have the creating side writing lyrics and perfecting your vocals. I mean for a lot of singers I think it stops there, I think that is where they really mess up, but it can’t be forced it can’t be fake. You have to connect with the people. You are staring at a crowd full of people that are openly singing every lyric back to you and connecting with you, so you have to really open your heart, mind, body and soul to that to let that full connection happen. To live in that moment, even if that might be a bit of a cliche. I have seen singers look uncomfortable or they don’t know how to react or are even to cocky to let it happen, but you are supposed to be up there leading the show and leading a whole group of people so absolutely there is a lot more responsibility.
How did you decide on sleepmakeswaves as your support act, because I know you had a second band called sleepwave, did that have anything to do with it?
Yes, haha. That’s actually why we sprung on them. It has been confusing for some people. Underoath wants to pick a band that we enjoy, we aren’t going to pick a that’s exactly the same or sounds anything close to us. I wouldn’t want to go see the Deftones and the band before them is just a worse version of the Deftones, because that doesn’t sound like fun to me. I think bringing a band that has an identity and an individuality about them is very important. We got a group of submissions from our Australian agent that he thought we might want to bring and literally the only one we liked was sleepmakeswaves so it was a no brainier for us. I believe our fans are the kind of people that would like the same things we do, so that’s why we always hand pick the bands. I think bringing something different to the table is very important in this stone age, its like going to seeing a mini warp tour when you go to a show there’s like a whole array of different genres.
With the ‘Rebirth’ of Underoath, do you plan on recording any new music?
Our band is back together, so whatever happens will happen. We aren’t exactly suppose to talk about much outside of Rebirth at this point in time. I understand that people and fans want a clear answer out of us right now and I don’t blame them. But a lot of stuff legally and behind the scenes has been a huge hurdle for this band and some of those reasons and apart of the band breaking up in the first place I mean not a huge role but there’s contracts that we are stuck in and its a little ‘Damned if you do, damned if you don’t’, so we have a lot going on at the moment but we will move past it.
What song by Underoath are you most proud of?
It changes all the time because you don’t really think about it once its written. You put so much work into writing a record your literally working day and night for months on end, writing new songs and then once it comes out, you’re thinking about the next things you are writing. So I don’t really think about my most proud moment. I see songs connect differently with different people and I’m proud of everything we have done YA KNOW! I could probably tell you a song that I enjoy, because I will never be 100% satisfied because I’m always trying to out do what I have done in the past as a singer and a writer. Im equally proud of all of our songs, I dont have one that I am more or less proud of. Since taking a step away from the band and then coming back I look at it as a whole catalogue that I’m still very pleased with and I know that I can do even better with every year that I’m alive.
When you are relaxing, what music do you play in the background?
I listen to a large spectrum of things. From Led Zepplin to Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, to new music now like The Neighbourhood and The 1975 but I also like the Deftones, I like all sorts of things. I listen to everything but I don’t like country music haha. I think being a writer and a musician its important to be open minded and I listen to just about everything that comes out for the most part, its on my radar as I try to stay connected to whats happening and finding merit in it. Why do kids like [insert band name here] on the cover of a magazine, whether its my personal tastes or whether I think its dumb or not, I could hate on it and be a musical snob or I could look for the reason and understand why people like it. I try to keep my eye open, because even if I hate it there is always a reason why somebody else loves it because not everybody is the same. As I have gotten older I have become very contentious as to not be close minded because I would rather let people be themselves than hate on someone for not having the same taste.
If you could pick any line from any song that meant something to you. What is the song, who is it by and what is the line?
There is lyrics across the board but I can’t really think of one right now I’d have to have a really good think. Lyrics to me are very important and most of the bands I love are because I connect with the lyrics.
Whats the worst piece of life advice you have ever received?
Someone told me once to not waste my time on music because there is no money to be made and I should concentrate on school. Clearly that has had the opposite effect on my life. So that person definitely didn’t pay attention to who I was as an individual or what was driving me. So that was the worst piece of advice I have received, just to put down the guitar, stop trying to sing, go back to school, its just a hobby, its time to grow up. That was just terrible advice.
Underoath ‘Rebirth’ Australian Tour Dates
Supported by sleepmakeswaves
FRI 10 FEB
Eatons Hill, Brisbane
Tickets: Destroy All Lines
SAT, 11 FEB
Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Tickets: Destroy All Lines
SUN 12 FEB – SOLD OUT
170 Russel, Melbourne
MON 13 FEB
170 Russel, Melbourne
WED 15 FEB
Governor Hindmarsh, Adelaide
THU 16 FEB
Get Tickets HERE