Underoath Interview

5 minute read

Underoath is a Grammy-nominated metalcore band hailing from Florida. Known for their intense live shows, this band has been around since 1997. Their albums, They're Only Chasing Safety and Define the Great Line were their turning point commercially, selling well over 500,000 albums in the United States alone; not only this, but they became the highest charting Christian band on the Billboard 200 since 1997, by no means an easy feat. But Underoath isn't done, not by a long shot. In 2008, they released Lost In The Sound Of Separation, a heavier sounding record that's received critical acclaim as well as support from their loyal fans.

In the midst of torrential rain, thunder, and lightning, I chatted outside with Underoath guitarist, James Smith, at Warped Tour in Montreal.

UpVenue (UV): Have you had weather like this yet?

Underoath (UO): Nah, first time.

UV: First time? All right! Sorry to drag you out in this.

UO: No problem.

UV:  This was by no means your first time at warped tour…what keeps drawing you back?

UO:  It’s always a really great show and some kids, they only go to Warped Tour every year so we play to a lot of kids who really like Warped Tour. And yeah, I think it’s good because different bands bring different crowds so..exposure too.

UV: Do you get to watch other performances or are you just running around?

UO: No, I get quite a bit of time to watch the other bands. I’ve got to do a little press, and got to eat… and that’s about it.

UV: So what’s next for you guys? Will there be more touring?

UO:  We’re doing Warped Tour, we have a couple small shows in September and […] two of us are both having kids, our first kids.

UV: Congratulations!

UO: Thanks. And then we’ll be on tour in the winter.

UV: Who are your influences?

UO: I like At The Drive In, Isis...more those live bands but I listen to a lot of stuff outside of that.

UV: What do you want people to know about Underoath that they may not already know?

UO: That we’re respectful and loving dudes, not angry, stereotypical Christians.


UV: Would you say that your faith largely affects your lyrics?

UO: Yeah, definitely. It’s a big part of every one of our lives; I think naturally that’s just going to come through. And then it’s also something we feel so passionately about that we want it to come through.

UV: What’s been your proudest moment in Underoath?

UO: I don’t know….I’ve been blown away since about five years ago with everything we’ve been able to accomplish.  From a dude who used to play around in bands around Tampa to being able to tour full time is just amazing. I have all of my bills taken care of by just playing music, music I like to play, like that […] just being able to do that through all the years is amazing; I feel very blessed, very fortunate.

UV: Cool. How does Lost In The Sound Of Separation differ from your past albums?

UO: It’s just…we pushed the boundaries more; for us, we made our heavy stuff heavier.

UV: It seems more experimental.

UO: Yeah. The experimental stuff [...]; naturally we’ve become a little bit better players so we pushed ourselves on every level.

(at this point, the crash of thunder threatened to drown James out)

UV: One of your songs, ‘Desperate Times, Desperate Measures’ is on Rock Band 2. How did that happen? Did you choose which song went into the game?

UO: They, I think, chose it for us. And it’s cool because I think it’s a downloadable track but we got the opportunity to play it but I failed so…

UV: Oh, really?

UO: Yeah, I didn’t do so good.

UV: What instrument did you play? Were you the guitarist there as well?

UO: I mean, yeah, I played guitar for that. I don’t really play Rock Band all that much. I’m more into sports games like baseball.

UV: If you were introducing someone to your music, what album would you suggest they listen to first?

UO: The newest one because it’s the most accurate depiction of where our band is right now and where we’re headed. The old albums are great, you could always go back and see but I think you always want the newest version of a band so…instead of the old version and get disappointed by the newer stuff.

UV: My favorite song would have to be “Too bright to see, too loud to hear”, the lyrics are so powerful. How did that song come about?

UO: The guitar riff was the first thing that came about and we just built around that. And everything just kind of came together in the studio. Keyboards were always going to be a big part of it and I think it came out quite well.

UV: And how do you guys put the album together? Do you work on songs on the road or…?

UO: We’ll often write on the road. Usually it all starts with a riff that someone has and all of us kind of assemble it and put it all together.

UV: Do you have any album plans for the near future?

UO: Yeah, we’re starting to think about it. Probably won’t be until next year that we go to Florida and…probably fall of next year for the album.

UV: What motivates you to keep doing what you’re doing?

UO: I love it, it’s awesome.

UV: I won’t keep you since the rest of your band mates are heading out but is there anything else you want to say to your fans?

UO: Thanks to those who care.

Too Bright To See Too Loud To Hear

Writing On The Walls

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

For more Underoath, check out their Official website, their Twitter account, and their MySpace page.

Underoath is: Spencer Chamberlain (unclean vocals, additional guitars), Timothy McTague (guitar, backing vocals), Grant Brandell (bass guitar), James Smith (rhythm guitar), Christopher Dudley (keyboards, synthesizers), and Aaron Gillespie (clean vocals, drums).

Check out UpVenue's exclusive Underoath photos from Warped Tour 2009.

Related Topics

Warped Tour