It’s only April and Underoath have just released their new album Erase Me and it’s already a strong contender for 2018 album of the year. This is their first new album in 8 years and the album also see the return of drummer and vocalist Aaron Gillespie. We caught up with Aaron to learn more about the albums writing process and he shares his thoughts on Warped Tour ending.
 
SCENEzine
Firstly huge congrats on the new Underoath album Erase Me it’s such an amazing album start to finish. You must be stoked with what you created?
 
Aaron Gillespie
Thank you. It’s kind of surreal man. I didn’t know that it was possible for us to make a record again. So for it to be a pretty good one I feel good about it.
 
SCENEzine
I feel it’s that good you shouldn’t wait for an anniversary tour you should start playing it front to back on tour already.
 
Aaron Gillespie
I think people would get pissed if we went out on tour now and just played Erase Me. We just spent a couple of weeks rehearsing the new songs and I think it’s going to translate live really well. I’m excited to get out there and play some of them.
 
SCENEzine
Was one of the big challenges deciding on how Underoath should sound in 2018?
 
Aaron Gillespie
We had this thing through the whole record we kept finding ourselves saying the phrase is this Underoath enough. After a few months of writing we kind of squashed that because I think that what has made Underoath last is the fact that we always put our hearts forward and went with what we felt like at the time. If you look at the jump from chasing safety to define the great the line it’s a black and white kind of thing. I think for us we really just wanted to write the most honest thing we could. When we started talking about making a record I had no idea how Underoath would sound in 2017 when we started writing.
 
We did the rebirth tour all over the world and we played our two largest records front to back. Then beginning to write it was strange I didn’t really want to write music like those two records we’ve been playing for a year I wanted to do something different. I wanted it to be fresh, honest and new. We wrote a lot of songs that will never see the light of day. We wrote around thirty or forty different songs and it took a while to get to where we felt it should be. We wanted a certain level of honesty and a certain level of reality in the music that I think especially lyrically that we’ve ever done before. This is the first Underoath record where I can truthfully and honestly say I like every song on the record. I don’t fell like there’s a moment on the record where I kind of layed down so someone else in the band was happy. We all worked really hard together to get this piece of music that we really feel good about.
 
SCENEzine
There’s a great mix on the album between heavy songs and those melody driven songs. Was it planned that way?
 
Aaron Gillespie 
No not at all it wasn’t calculated in that way. We are all in our thirties and the reality is we don’t really listen to music that sounds like chasing safety or define the great line, we just don’t. We don’t find inspiration from that type of music. Every once in a while will a band will come along that really blows my socks off that’s really heavy but I don’t really relate to a lot of modern heavy music. So for us it’s about where we are as people, we are really into atmosphere and feeling. Like when you go see a heavy metal band and it’s really good, loud and emotional that’s cool but you go see a band like Coldplay and you get the same feelings from a band that is all melody driven.
 
We’re not the kind of people who say lets write a song that’s all melody so we can be on the radio. We can do that but I don’t think there’s any good in that. I think there’s a lot of artists out there that do it and that’s ok and not my business but I think it’s really strange to write a song for it to have a future. You should write because you feel a certain way and you want the song to portray your emotions. So for us it wasn’t calculated it was more about what do we want to say on this record.
 
SCENEzine
“On My Teeth” is such an amazing song. Did that one come quickly in the writing process?
 
Aaron Gillespie 
Yeah really quick. Me, Chris, Tim and Spencer had gone out to dinner we had a few drinks and we were talking about what we want the record to be like. Even a few weeks into the recording process we were still trying to find exactly what our goal was with the sound. We were listening to a Nine Inch Nails record from 2007 called With Teeth, Dave Grohl played drums on that record. The second song on that record is a song called “you know what you are” it’s got this really aggressive drum beat. I wanted to try and do something like that with the same feeling. The drums on the intro of that Nine Inch Nails song set the pace for the rest of the track. The drums make it feel full of angst and emotion. So that was the start of that song. Me and Spencer wanted to have this soaring melodic yet aggressive chorus. So yeah within an hour there was a template for that song then over the next month or so we got it to where we wanted it.
 

 

SCENEzine
My favourite track from the album is “I Gave Up”.

Aaron Gillespie
That’s my favourite too!

SCENEzine
Is there much of a story behind that one?

Aaron Gillespie
Yeah I had gone home for the weekend to decompress for a few days during recording. For me songs are a concept first, the idea of something more than just the music. I had this idea that we had been explaining ourselves throughout this whole record, like where we are in life and how we feel spiritually and socially. I feel like sometimes you get into an argument with someone and say all you have to say then make the statement I give up. Like you’ve heard it all I give up, that’s it. So I had that idea rolling around in my brain then went into the studio the next morning and started playing the piano part. I thought it would be really neat to have a melody line that almost became the chorus. So obviously it grew and morphed into what you hear today. It’s my favourite track on the record because it’s a heavy moment but not about life more about a conversation like I’ve said all I can say and I don’t know what’s next so I’m going to give up in this moment. It’s such a cool thing that it closes the record.

 

 

SCENEzine
I’ve been a huge fan of your vocals for a long time. Is it challenging recording an album the realising you not only have to hit those notes live but drum at the same time?

Aaron Gillespie
Everytime I am so stupid. You think I would learn my lesson after twelve or fifteen years. What happens is you record the drums first and you are the first one to record so you want it to be great. So you spend a couple of weeks playing drums and you make it grand then you forget about it. You spend time on writing lyrics and melody and you go in to sing when you get into the rehearsal space six months later some times. We just had our first rehearsals for this album in the last couple of weeks and you realise oh shit I’ve got to figure out how I’m going to do both of these things at the same time. That’s something I’ve been dealing with since Chasing Safety.

SCENEzine
In your time away from the band and then coming back after seeing fans with Underoath tattoos and how passionate fans are does it blow you away to realise how many lives you’ve affected worlwide?

Aaron Gillespie
It’s an honour man, blown away would be an understatement. I’m just a kid from a beach town we had no idea that in out thirties we would be still relevant and still making music that people care about. I even love reading negative comments about the new record because that says something to me that people really believe in this band. If they hear something they aren’t accustomed to they will have an opinion on it. Spencer and I always have this conversation like there’s negative comments should we worry. We always tell each other we really shouldn’t worry its actually kind of an honour to be in a place where people actually care enough to be negative about it.

When we release something new and everyone says that’s awesome I don’t believe that. One of my favourite bands in the world is Foo Fighters and they put out things that I don’t understand. It takes me some time to sink my teeth into it and want to be a part of it emotionally. So we are honoured to make a record all these years later and still have people very engaged even if it’s not in a positive way. It blows my mind every day, sitting here on my porch tonight talking to you this many years later the fact that you are fired up about a record that you don’t have to be. There’s tons of shit going on in your own beautiful country. It’s those things when I go to sleep at night I am honoured about.

SCENEzine
Are you excited to be part of the last Warped Tour?

Aaron Gillespie
I wish we could do more dates but we are only doing three shows. Our schedule with the album release is ridiculous. We are flying to Europe three different times this summer for different festivals. It wasn’t possible for us to do more Warped dates but I am excited and it’s also strange. Warped Tour is like McDonalds in my opinion in a good way where it’s always going to be there. I’ve always thought that. That fact that it will be gone is a really strange thing. Kevin really made a worldwide institution. I’ve done the whole tour seven times. Warped Tour grows you up and it teaches you something it’s not a popularity contest it’s about reality. It’s a weird thing to look back on and say it’s over. It’s so hard for me to believe that Warped Tour has shrunk enough over the years that Kevin has decided to lay it down. I feel like it should of been part of our world until forever. I’m really happy we are at least getting to do three shows.

SCENEzine
Lastly do you think you will make it back to Australia this year or is more looking like next year?

Aaron Gillespie
I know 125% we will be down for the Erase Me album cycle I just don’t know when.

(interview by Christian Ross)

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