Interview: All That Remains
Mon, 20 May 2013 10:38:36
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"I think it's cool for an album as a whole to have dynamics as well as an individual song," says All That Remains guitarist Mike Martin. "It's more like a journey than a pile of songs. "
That's precisely what A War You Cannot Win is. All That Remains' latest album is locked and loaded with their most dynamic and diverse songs to date. It's crushing at points, but it's always catchy—not an easy feat to accomplish mind you. All That Remains will be slaying the road throughout the rest of the year so this War is only just starting to rage.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, All That Remains guitarist Mike Martin opens up about A War You Cannot Win and so much more.
You've really got to listen to the album from beginning to end. What ties A War You Cannot Win together?
It's weird to hear somebody say, "I want to hear it from beginning to end because that doesn't happen anymore" [Laughs]. It's refreshing to know somebody actually still does that. Sometimes, it seems frustrating when you're writing twelve or fourteen songs for a record. After all these years, you start to believe people are only going to pay attention to two or three of the songs. I was the happiest I've been with the outcome of the album when it was finally done. In the past, we've finished some records and, because of time constraints, I felt some things could've been fleshed out more. I've wished we had more time with certain things. When this was finished, I was really happy with it as a whole. It's a very complete album, and it's a great representation of everything we can do as a band.
Every element seems amped up.
I agree. People were more confident. It's nice to kind of feel like you know what you're doing. Music's always a crapshoot. You get older, and younger kids are listening to the newer bands you don't know much about. You start to wonder, "Do we not know what's cool anymore?" Throughout the whole time we were writing the album, we were confident it was going to end up great, and it did—in our opinion.
How did the title track come together?
Oli definitely writes the most music for the band, as far as parts go. He's a music machine. He came in, and it was fully arranged right away. A lot of times, we'll hear things, and everybody will collectively pick it apart. We'll tweak everything to make everybody happy. Oli came in with the title track, and everybody loved the whole thing right away. We played through, and we didn't want to change any of it.
What songs speak to you the most?
I think "Sing for Liberty" was one of my favorites. It's funny because it's the heaviest song on the record. I was also really excited about "Not Fading". It will change as time passes.
How did "Not Fading" come together?
I had the verse, the pre-chorus, and the chorus written. I came in with those parts. It was a pretty simple one. Oli came up with the bridge. It was fairly easy to come together. Vocals and melodies get added in the studio because Phil's a last-minute crammer. He helps with the music, but he doesn't worry about vocals until the studio. He likes to put the pressure on himself and do it all at once. Then you hear the vocals, and it's like, "Wow!" The song came out exactly how I wanted to hear it. We did it in Japan recently. We had three shows there. They don't have packages in Japan. In America, you'll see four or five bands in one night. We showed up in Japan a couple of years ago the first time we ever headlined there, and they were like, "It's just you. You've got to play for ninety minutes". We were like, "What?!" It's very rare we even have ninety minutes rehearsed and ready to go live. This time, we went in knowing we had to play a long set.
If you were to compare the album to a movie or a combination of movies what would you compare it to?
That's hilarious! I have no idea. I've got to give you credit for asking that. It's the most original question I've ever heard. That was a good one. I don't even have an answer. The only movies I do watch are the most moronic idiotic comedies ever [Laughs].
What are you listening to now?
That's a good question. I love the new Killswitch Engage album. I live with Adam D. so I was actually listening to him record the whole thing in the house [Laughs]. I love the new Hatebreed. As far as stuff I'm not supposed to listen to, I like the new Fall Out Boy album a lot. I like Aaron Lewis's country album too. I don't know if that's acceptable either, but I love it. He's so frickin' good at what he does. That guy's awesome. I really like the new Sevendust too.
What's your favorite All That Remains song?