All That Remains’ Philip Labonte Talks ‘The Order of Things,’ Metal Antagonists + More
All That Remains are ramping up to the Feb. 24 release of their new album, 'The Order of Things,' and frontman Philip Labonte recently took a few minutes to chat about the effort with 'Loudwire Nights' host Full Metal Jackie. Labonte addressed the mindset going into the album, what things became evident in the music and the safe nature of some of today's rock. Check out the chat below.
Phil, recently you went on record about your willingness to be the bad guy of heavy metal. Who do you think was the last proper metal antagonist? What made them so thought provoking?
I don't know who the last guy was. There's some that jump into my mind like Axl Rose. There was a time where Phil was looked at by the metal community as the bad guy, Phil from Pantera. He's since moved away from that but I remember there was a lot of -- when Pantera first broke up, Phil was catching a lot of heat and he was like, 'F--k you guys. This is the way it is,' and I sort of respect that. You can't really force stuff. If things aren't working in a band, you can't force it. So, Phil was the bad guy for a little while.
I just don't think there's a lot of people that really push the envelope. To be honest with you, it's not even that it takes much anymore to push the envelope. If I'm looked at as the bad guy, it's like -- man. How is metal now? [Laughs] How lukewarm is it if I'm the bad guy?
You brought into question your own effort on the last album, 'A War You Cannot Win.' How much motivation in making the new album came from holding yourself to greater standards because of your opinion of the last one?
I don't know that it really did. We don't go into the studio and say, 'Alright this is the bar we've set that we have to beat. Or this wasn't done last time.' We really have a laid back look at it and it's just like, 'Alright, let's go write some songs.' Sometimes you miss the mark on some stuff and it just doesn't come out the way you hoped it would. So, it wasn't some... you hear a lot of people talking about how we wanted to go out there and do this or that or we wanted to show the world. We're just like, if we get the right songs, let's just go write some songs and hopefully we can make them sound the way we want them to.
You're already outspoken. Taking into consideration both of your songwriting and vocal performances, what does 'The Order of Things' reveal about Phil Labonte that maybe wasn't so obvious before?
I don't know if it wasn't obvious before, but it definitely reveals that I'm sarcastic as hell [Laughs]. You hear people talk about, people from Massachusetts and people coin the term "Masshole" and people from New England tend to be curt and short with their answers, that really does describe me. It's just a matter of being as snarky as I can [Laughs] and it's supposed to be in fun. People get butt hurt and take offense because it's incredibly easy to offend people nowadays. Most of the stuff I say is supposed to be a joke, even if you don't take it as a joke or if you take it as offensive, most of the time when I'm saying sarcastic/snarky things it's supposed to make people laugh, even if it doesn't make the target laugh. That's the target's problem, not mine.
All That Remains is going back on the road with In Flames and Wovenwar. What is more important -- musical compatibility between bands that make for a better show or personal compatibility backstage?
Personal compatibility for the most part is a distant ninth. If the show is good, if the tour makes sense and people are excited about the idea of the tour, we're real good at shutting our faces and swelling our egos and saying this is the right thing for both bands. So, let's just go and do the tour and not let egos get in the way. At least that's our outlook. Some bands do that, some bands want to do that, some bands don't want to do that and that's everybody else's prerogative, it's not mine. It is common in other bands.
If it makes sense, we can go ahead and be like, alright, either these guys aren't our favorite people or we know that this happened to another band or whatever -- we'll go ahead and suck it up, we can get through a few weeks. It's usually only a few weeks anyway. The first week everyone is on their very best behavior anyway, it usually takes a few weeks before people start getting crabby. Week three is when All That Remains starts hating each other, so [Laughs].
Tell us what prompted the online scavenger hunt to find the new single 'No Knock'?
To be honest with you, it was the brainchild of our booking agent. Josh Kline from TAG, he's been our guy and a friend of mine for over 10 years. He was our first booking agent and he was the only guy we've ever worked with and he's taken real good care of us. He thought it'd be funny if we put... I told him, you know how on the last record we released a song early and the image was just me, Janie and Mike sitting at the airport looking like morons? This time I think I'm going to take a whole bunch of videos of my dog and then Josh was like, you should do that and put it up on a subreddit and do a scavenger hunt, that was brilliant! That was his idea to do the scavenger hunt. I think it was a great idea, hopefully kids thought it was fun.
Thanks to All That Remains' Philip Labonte for the interview. The band's 'The Order of Things' album is due Feb. 24 and is currently available for pre-order at Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. Look for the band on tour with In Flames and Wovenwar at these locations. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie and Tony LaBrie Monday through Friday at 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.