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Underoath’s Christopher Dudley Talks Band’s Farewell, Future Plans + More

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

It was sad news for Underoath fans when the band announced that they were calling it quits after embarking on a farewell tour. With seven studio albums and 15 years as a band under their belts, Underoath have had a lasting impact on the metal world.

During their last stop in New York City, Loudwire had the chance to speak with keyboardist Christopher Dudley, who talked all about the farewell tour, his plans after Underoath, a band he’s been in for well over a decade, and much more.

How would you describe the vibe of the tour, it being Underoath’s last.

It’s been unique for sure. I think between us as a band and interacting with people coming to the shows – there’s a sense of finality that hasn’t really ever been there before. For me, talking with kids after the show, usually I would say, “Well I’ll see you guys when we come back” or something like that but that’s not happening.

Also with us, for the six of us, realizing that after this we’re not going to be on the road anymore, we’re not going to be in a band anymore. For me, I started playing in Underoath when I was 16 so it will just be interesting not being able to say “I’m in a band” — it’s weird.

When the band is said and done, what are your plans?

I’m actually a youth pastor in D.C. and I’m doing that full time. I’m doing a little bit of music here and there but really just for fun – I’m not trying to do anything big, just jamming.

I read that the decision wasn’t a hasty one. When did you guys feel like it was time to move on?

I think it’s been coming for a bit, not that we don’t like doing this or anything like that. It’s just like we’re all in different places in our lives – it’s a lot different being 17, 18 years old and getting in a van and being on the road 10 months a year than being 30 and having kids and all that. I don’t know when it was exactly, it was probably about a year ago or so, we hadn’t planned this tour or anything at that point.

We knew our time was going to be coming at some point and then we decided to do this tour and try to have it be as celebratory as possible and just let everyone know. There was talk at one point of us just like not announcing that these shows would be our last shows and just going out on a tour like, “Hey we’re going out on tour,” and then after the tour just saying, “Oh by the way that’s it.” I thought that would have been funny like, “Well if you wanted to see us you could’ve come to see us.”

So we made the decision to do this and it’s been great so far, the kids have been loving it and we’ve been loving it. It’s been emotional but it’s been awesome.

What has been a memorable moment on this farewell tour?

When we were here [in New York City] two nights ago, in between songs, the crowd just started chanting “Thank You” and that was pretty touching. It wasn’t like we were trying to get a chant going, it was pretty emotional. There was actually a kid at the show last night that has been to all of our shows in this area in the past eight years – I text with him when I’m home, I’ve seen him everywhere and last night that was the last show he was coming to and he was like, “Well, I’ll see you later,” and for me it was weird too because I’m like wow there’s a decent chance I’m never going to see that person again.

Everytime we walk off a stage I know that’s the last time I’m going to walk off that stage – we started playing Irving Plaza back in 2002 and we’ve played here a lot since then and that’s going to be it after tonight so it’s going to be crazy.

Do you think if there was a special anniversary for an Underoath album or the band itself that you guys might reunite to mark the occasion?

Well here’s the thing, we don’t hate each other. We’re not in a spot where it’s like “Screw this band, we’re getting out of here.” We’re just done. We’re all doing other things – I’m not in a spot where I’m like, “We’re never going to ever do anything again” but we are breaking up, it’s not like a hiatus.

We’re not planning on doing anything again but in 15 years I’m going to be 45 years old so I’m not one to say, “Oh when I’m 45 I’m not going to do this thing.” I never say never but it’s not anything that’s on our radar. When we’re having an internal conversation there’s never been a, “Oh well in five or ten years we can blah blah blah” — it’s just like this is it.

What has been the most important thing you’ve learned about the music industry since being in Underoath, since you were a teenager to now?

It’s weird because with Underoath, we are the worst examples of a band “making it” in the music industry – I don’t know the music industry is weird, it’s a thing where if you were to want to try to “make it” in the music industry you’re pretty much going to want to do everything opposite of the way that we did it. With how everything went with us, on paper we made all the wrong decisions, we had a record that did really well and then for our next record we wanted to do something completely opposite, something that was not as marketable, something not as accessible but we just wanted to do what we wanted to do. I know a decent bit about the music industry but we never really set out to make a career out of this, it just happened. I feel like God put us in a spot where he wanted us to be and no matter how much we wanted to go and do our own thing it was like we’re here.

It’s a big answer, what I’ve learned – I don’t like it, the music industry that is. In general, it’s just weird and most of the best bands are the bands that don’t make it. You’ve got the rare occasion of the very good artist or band making it but nine times out of ten, it’s either manufactured or it’s something that’s just awful, in my opinion.

What would you say is one of your favorite Underoath songs?

Oh man, that’s hard. I’d say probably one of my favorites from a completely biased standpoint is ‘Desolate Earth :: The End Is Here” off  ‘Lost in the Sound of Separation’ because that was pretty much my thing. We were in the studio and the guys were just like “Hey, you should write a song.” So I like that one a lot – I was watching ’28 Days Later’ a lot when I was writing it so it kind of sounds end of the world –ish. That would be my favorite song, solely and completely because I had so much invested in it.

Check Out Underoath’s Video for ‘Sunburnt’

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