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All That Remains

With their last album Victims Of A New Disease’ All That Remains proved that they are still standing at the top of the metalcore genre. The albums sounds a lot more aggressive than on processor ‘Madness’, and that was a great decision. Now this interview was scheduled for a few months ago but a few days before this date the news that guitarist and co-founder Oli Herbert passed away due to unclear circumstances. Fortunately I succeedet to get vocalist Philip Labonte on the phone a few weeks later. Their label however warned us that questions about Oli’s death should be avoided, for at the moment this interview was done the investigations where still running.

By: Koen W. | Archive under metalcore

Hello Philip. Nice to hear you. Are you doing well?
Yeah man, everything is clear.

First and before, my condolences for the passing away for your friend and band member Oli.
Thanks

It was one of the darkest periods for the band, Oli passing away. And then that hectic time with the release of a new album and all the publicity around it. Did your never thought by yourself: fuck it all, I’m quitting?
No, I mean. We said to each other when Oli passed away that the band will go on. There wasn’t a time that we were thinking that the band not should carry on. That was pretty clear that what we had made with Oli, was the last thing that he did with us. And it was clearly sure that the people would have to hear what he did. So we continue playing. And this album will be our tribute to Oli.

We read that Jason Richardson will join the band as new lead guitar player.
He just signed up for the coming tour. He is an excellent guitar player. With All That Remains we actually talked about a replacement. But who that it will be isn’t for sure. Jason was contacted to do the upcoming European tour. We want it to make sure that this tour would happen. So we found someone to fill in and who would really could to this job. Oli was a formidable guitar player and Jason is proud about doing it. He is the guy who we always wanted to have taken his place. Happy he is the best and he is the guy we wanted to.

Was it a hard part for him to learn all those guitar parts? Lead guitar is not always that easy.
Well, we didn’t reversed together already. But he is the professional and he will be able to play those shows. I have no doubt about that. He has spread some videos on the internet and he is doing great. So there is no question of doubt that he could play the stuff.

Over to the fresh album now. ‘Victim Of The New Disease’ is your ninth studio album in sixteen years. In comparison like ‘Madness’ you went back to a more aggressive sound like in the beginning years. Why this choice?
Because of what ‘Madness’ sounded like. We wanted some variation and we didn’t want to make the same record over and over again. So we wanted to do something different as the last album we had made. So it seemed like a good idea to focus on writing some really heavy stuff.

What is the story after the title of the album? It sounds not so positive?
Well the story honestly. Initially I wanted to call the record ‘Fuck Love’. But our management and our label said ‘Fuck That’. So we had to come up with a different tittle. I didn’t had anything. Then I talked to our tourmanager and after listening to a few songs, he said that that line was sounding really good. So we called it ‘Victim Of The New Disease’. And I liked the idea so we went further with it.

When you started writing, had you already decided which direction you wanted to go with the album?
Yes, before we recorded it, we started with some sessions for the album. And we did the heavy stuff.

The bio that I received with the promo wasn’t that big. I even didn’t found the name of the producer. Did you worked again with Josh Wilbur? And did he did some co-writing this time also?
No, Josh was over the other record. The producer was Daniel Laskiewicz from the band The Acacia Strain. He is from the town Massachusetts and that is not far from where we are based. We already toured with The Acacia Strain so we knew him. It was a pretty easy decision for us. We wanted to stay at home and we wanted someone who could do those heavy things. He worked with The Acacia Strain stuck out and we wanted that heavy crushing sound of that band.

I didn’t have seen the lyrics but from what I heard, this is mainly inspired by a lost relation. When I hear you scream and roar in ‘Fuck Love’ it seems that you are very deeply hurt and disappointed in love in general.
I have to write about things I experienced. I feel like I don’t can write on other things. So all the songs I wrote are things that I experienced in my life.

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There are two ballads or semi ballads on this album. ‘Alone In The Darkness’ is a beautiful piece. But then you have ‘Just Tell Me Something’. And there it is like I hear two different vocalists. So is there a guest who was singing with you?
That was Danny Worsnop from Asking Alexandria. We are friends with those guys for a long time and toured earlier in 2012. We remained friends since then. So I send him the lyrics and he liked them. So he sung on the song. He did the choruses and I put them on the record.

You play metalcore. There are some criticasters who claim that the genre metalcore is at a dead end. But this year I reviewed two albums: Bleeding Through and now All That Remains that prove the opposite. How are you looking to try new things out every album again?
I think so. I don’t see a reason why we should stop doing that. It works pretty well for us. Generally. So I think on this record it is a bit heavier. But we work for a way that habits stand out for their own entity. And not a reproduction for another record.

‘Fuck Love’ has been leaked a week before the release. I have read the comments on your social page and some are hilarious. Most of the fans love it. But there are also people who were literally blown away when they heard you playing so hard. It’s like they never heard the first albums. So can you see the humor in it?
Yeah really. That is part of a something that Oli and I wanted. The reaction of people who did not expect that. And we like doing that. Keeping people away from knowing what this record is going to sound like. So it’s fun.

A long time ago you started as a death metalband. Now you are a big selling machine and every note you write, play and sing is dissected by thousands of listeners and critics. Aren’t you sometimes dreaming of the beginning period when everything was more simple.
I try not to think about what people do or how they think when listening to our stuff. I try not to think what critics say about us. That is not something that I dwell on. We are working not back to things that happen. I let it not come to me.

In the ‘Madness’ video the band emphasized the PTSD syndrome. So the world learned about and support all the veterans of the army and police officers. Now Five Finger Death Punch did something for the fallen police officers in the video ‘When The Seasons Change’. I think it very beautiful for both bands to support army veterans and the law enforcement. Do you find it important to support these people by distributing messages people listen to and watch?
Yes, I think it’s important as much as people would like to live in a world where we don’t need police officers or don’t need the military. There would not be much left of our society. Without them society is more likely filled with more issues so it’s important to those people remember that those services are noticed and that it is appreciated.

This year, All That Remains can celebrate their twentieth birthday. How did the band changed all over these years?
We changed in many different ways. I am twenty years older. I think it’s the ways the band is changed I have not much comment on. It is almost a live on its own.

Did you guys ever made a decision that you regretted afterwards?
There is stuff that we think we would have done this way or that way. But that is happening in everybody’s life and experiences.

So I thank you a lot for your time. And hope to see you soon here somewhere in the neighborhood.
A European tour is happening right now! We are also hoping to do some festivals but for now there is nothing in the pipeline for us. But that can change fast.

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