Q&A: Underoath

A musician by the name of Thom Yorke once said, “Being in a band turns you into a child and keeps you there”. Such a statement is true; every piece of music you write is almost like building a new snow fort or a treehouse, watching it fall and then devising plans on how you’re going to create a new design that’s more monumental. Though they’re not kids anymore, UNDEROATH produce music in a similar fashion and as vocalist Spencer Chamberlain told us, the Florida act’s latest release is far from being their best yet.
Have you listened to any of your older material the past few months?

Not really. I’d say I haven’t listened to any of it lately. We did compare our new material to our older albums when we were recording but that’s it. All of us wanted to make sure our current mix was better and didn’t sound like our last album. Drawing comparisons helped make the record sound better.
Is it weird to hear your vocals from different time periods in the past and then notice you how much different you sound now?

Kind of. When I look back on the past like that, it’s just me being a little kid. A lot of the songs we created when the core group of us first started were a lot different, they were a bit more made for television. It is interesting to see the path we have taken though and how its led us to where we are now. The music’s changed, the songwriting has changed and we’ve changed.
Your vocals have definitely changed on the new record; did Melissa Cross assist again or did you refine them on your own this time?

Melissa has taught me a lot for years now. Being able to open up my voice more has helped. I use her advice and practice working on my vocals everyday, doing warm-ups. It seems like a bit much but it’s helped me sing higher. Like look at our older albums, I can sing a full step higher now.

Improving yourself as a band makes you better and shows you it’s important to be the best. No one can ever be the best early on and then decide to call to it quits. You have to make sure you’re never tapped out, constantly improving and pushing your limits so you can be limitless.

You listen to a new track like “Paper Lung” and it’s almost shocking to hear that it’s you behind the mic.

Yeah, it’s cool (laughs). I grew up singing all the time as I’ve been able to do many different things with my voice. Now I have a lot more freedom as a vocalist. I’m not just using one tool in the band. There’s no boundaries, just room to be free.
Being committed to improving has made Underoath a definition of progression. Why is it that your records keep impressing listeners?

It’s because we write honest music. When we go into the studio, we go in with the mindset that we’re not going to leave until we make the best record we have ever made in our lives. With everyone coming in with so many different tastes in music, it tends to work out. Being able to do that helps your career. There are going to be older songs people will hold onto but our goal is to always make the best music we can. We try to produce the best harmonies, rhythms, the whole nine yards. We don’t write songs to resemble others.

People have come up and told us how similar Define The Great Line is to Lost In The Sound Of Separation, but it’s not like we meant for that happen. We go into the studio trying to be better while having fun and enjoying every bit of the process. The singer has to enjoy singing, the guitarist has to enjoy playing the guitar, the drummer has to enjoy drumming. If that doesn’t happen, then why put out the music you’ve made?
Have you guys acknowledged that you’ve become a role model for younger bands in the genre?

We haven’t really thought about it too much. People have talked to us about it though. When we’re on the road, others tell us how much of an influence we are. Even bands we tour with come up to us and say how awesome it is they got to tour with us and how sweet they thought we were back in the day when they weren’t in bands. Things like that are always to great to hear.
The name Underoath is 13 years old and has seen two different core groups. Is the new record the start of a third chapter?

I think so. We wouldn’t have gone on if we didn’t think we were starting a whole new stage as a band and were going to improve. We may not be liked by a lot of Aaron Gillespie fans out there but there were no hard feelings and all of us think we are better now. Who we are now is who we will be. None of us would ever decide to go back. The music we make is the kind of music we want to make. This is our style and it’s because we’re more mature.

From your perspective, what haven’t you accomplished yet?

That’s hard to say because we have accomplished a lot. We’ve become more successful and popular than I ever thought we would be. What we haven’t accomplished is a full career. When I say that, I mean a long enduring career. Deftones have accomplished that. Look at them now, they’re not part of a genre, they’re just Deftones. We’re going to try to do that but they have years on us. I’m a major fan of them and have been for a while.

Look at when they first came out, Korn and all of their other peers put out music as well and became a lot more popular. Now, those bands have broken up and Deftones are still playing music, selling out shows, playing in front of thousands of people and are still making music.
Diamond Eyes is a great record even though it was just released this year.

Exactly. I think it’s one of their best records ever. People talk about Diamond Eyes a lot because it’s done well on the charts. To be on the charts, you have to be a pop band. They changed that for a split second.
With the new lineup, you hope to establish a long career. What’s one lyric that best describes Underoath’s future?

That’s a tough question. I couldn’t really tell you. My songwriting is really dark so there’s nothing I can take from our songs. Music is more like art; everything we write and create is artistic in a sense. It doesn’t really affect the band because it’s more like a business with all the labels and all that crap. When it comes to our future, we are not slowing down. We are not stopping. We are not going to throw in the towel just yet.

We’re not trying to be a buzz band. We don’t care about being the biggest band in our genre. Our plan is to keep the same mindset and top this new record, make it sound obsolete. By doing that, we’re fueling a fire and expressing how we enjoy creating music. If you don’t enjoy it then there’s no reason to make it.

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  • laura says:

    first!!! i really like the new album, Spencer keeps surprising me.

  • Anonymous says:

    good interview. i don’t think Underoath can reach Deftones status though

  • Muhammad says:

    To the person who said Underoath cant reach Deftones status…. open your ears. They are on their way there. Glassjaw, Underoath, Deftones, and Thrice all need to go on tour and take over the fucking world.

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