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As I Lay Dying Talk New Album + More at Metal Blade Records Anniversary Show in New York

As I Lay Dying
Photo by Ty Watkins

In 1982, Brian Slagel started a record label that would turn into one of the premiere labels in the world of hard rock and metal. Celebrating 30 years in the industry with Metal Blade Records, Slagel decided to throw a party for the fans in New York City. Michigan heavy metalers Battlecross opened the night at Santos Party House, and As I Lay Dying closed things out.

Being with Metal Blade for nearly a decade, it was no doubt an unbelievable honor for As I Lay Dying to help Slagel celebrate 30 years. Before the gig, Loudwire had the chance to catch up with Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso, both guitarists from the band, to chat about their new album, what it was like touring on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and more.

Leading up to the release of your latest album, ‘Awakened,’ you gave your fans a taste of what to expect with the tune ‘Cauterize.’ Do you think that is a good representation of the album as a whole?

Nick Hipa: We’re all pretty confident that the fans are going to be into the album as a whole based on the response we got from ‘Cauterize.’ That’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as the whole album goes. If people can get into that, they’ll be stoked for what the rest of the album is.

You recorded ‘Awakened’ in Fort Collins, Colo. I get the feeling this is a bit isolating as far as the metal community goes.

NH: You know, the experience was awesome. It allowed us to be more productive than we’ve ever been. That mostly was a result of Phil and I being able to record all day, everyday for the majority of the day in our own rooms while the rest of the guys were recording in San Diego. That made it a lot more enjoyable. We weren’t as stressed out with timing and scheduling. The icing on the cake is that Fort Collins is just a really cool place.

Phil Sgrosso:  It definitely helped that we didn’t have any distractions, not worrying about family plans or something that would cause us to leave early. It was great to just focus on the record and get it done.

Just a little over a month ago, you guys wrapped up the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. What was it like touring with bands like Slayer, Anthrax and Slipknot?

PS: It was great. The mainstage was all the older bands and the classic metal bands. Slipknot, they’ve been around for 15 years or so, but they’re such a presence on the tour. It was nice playing with those bands and sharing the stage with them. There was a lot of energy with the festival. Everyone was pretty stoked about it.

Any crazy stories from that tour?

NH: Not so much crazy, but one of the things that sticks out to me is that a lot of the nights on tour there would be a tour-sponsored mixer where a band would be in charge of throwing a party. Usually there was a theme associated with it. Anthrax had a Halloween theme and everyone dressed up. Lemmy and the rest of the dudes from Motorhead showed up in costume, they were dressed up as the Blues Brothers. To me that was incredible because Lemmy is definitely an older guy and he’s been around for a really long time. It was great to see that someone like that hasn’t been jaded by the biz. He’s got a really good sense of himself and is really down to earth. He still has a good time. That was really awesome to me. It was like, “Oh, Lemmy’s here, and he’s in a costume!”

What’s it mean to be a part of the Metal Blade family, playing their 30th anniversary show tonight?

NH: We’re all proud to be on a label like Metal Blade. Metal Blade has been very reputable the whole time, it’s cool to be a part of it and be amongst the roster of bands that have excelled in their genres or done cool things in the world of heavy music. It’s been a pleasure working with them and being on the label for this long.

PS: It’s kind of crazy to think that we’re playing our label’s 30th anniversary show. The owner, Brian Slagel, has seen it all happen. We’re definitely honored to be with them.

You mentioned the world of heavy music. As I Lay Dying have been around for over a decade, and I would say you have ventured past the term ‘up-and-comers.’ That being said, in the last couple of years, there have definitely been some new bands that have really made a splash in the music scene. Have there been any acts that have caught your ear?

NH: Even though we’re in a [Loudwire] Death Match with Gojira right now, they’re one of the heavier bands that are out there right now that are blowing us all away. They write such creative and crushingly heavy music, and we got to play with them a few months ago. They’re incredible live. They’re one of my favorite heavy bands right now.

[Editor's note: As I Lay Dying's 'A Greater Foundation' was in battle with Gojira's 'The Axe' at the time of the interview.]

What’s next for As I Lay Dying?

PS: We’ll be heading over to Europe for a month with Trivium. Then after that we’ll be on the Monster Outbreak Tour, a few Canadian dates and the rest will be in the states. So, basically two months of touring for the rest of the year.

 

Live Photos From the Metal Blade 30th Anniversary Party

As I Lay Dying:

Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire

Battlecross:

Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire

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