Phil Labonte of All That Remains Talks "A War You Cannot Win", Books, Movies, and More
Fri, 09 Nov 2012 09:10:57
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"My job is to write songs that entertain people," declares All That Remains singer Phil Labonte. "If you don't like what I do, that's fine. You don't have to listen to."
However, you're going to want to listen to the band's new album, A War You Cannot Win, and very loudly for that matter. The gloves come off, and All That Remains are hitting harder than ever before. Preserving their intricate and impressive metallic fury, while expanding their hooks more than ever, the album is not only the group's best to date, it's one of the year's best metal records. That's just a fact. You'll be entertained for sure, but it also might make you think a little bit. Don't all of the best records?
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, All That Remains singer Phil Labonte talks A War You Cannot Win, movies, books, and more.
Do you tend read a lot?
I listen to a lot of audio books. My wife lives eight hours away from me. She lives in Virginia, and I live in New Hampshire so I'm constantly driving to Virginia. I also live an hour and fifteen minutes away from where the band practices so when I have to go to practice, it's a good long drive. I pretty much live an hour away from everyone I'm connected to other than my roommates. I listen to a ton of audio books.
What authors do you come back to?
I like Tom Woods. I'm listening to a book called Liberal Fascism right now. Adam Carolla from Loveline put out a book a couple of years ago that's hilarious. He has another one I haven't downloaded yet. I can't wait to though! It's called Not Taco Bell Material. I'm trying to get through the books I downloaded. Sebastien Junger released a book called WAR. He spent almost a year, like five trips, in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan and documented it. The book is basically the life of one person. I've got a couple of books by Ron Paul. It's mostly politics and ideas. I've got a few straight-up entertainment books though. There's also material by Milton Friedman. I pay attention to Libertarian free market stuff.
If you were to compare A War You Cannot Win to a movie or combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
I'd say Atlas Shrugged mixed with Terminator: Salvation. The underlying opinions of the record would apply to Atlas Shrugged. The possible ending would be what happens in Terminator Salvation. God, that was a great movie!
It was very underrated.
It was totally fun! People are so concerned about whether or not a movie is life-changing. They think the same crap about music. It's like, "Hey, why don't you go ahead and take a step back. Stop trying to compare it to a life-changing experience." Ask, "Was I entertained listening to this record or watching this movie?" That's the important part. That's the reason people make movies, records, or whatever. It's about entertaining the audience. People criticize movies. The idea of a B-movie is ridiculous to me. It somehow doesn't meet your criteria of an A-grade movie. Were you entertained though? Were you brought into the movie? When you were watching, did you think, "Man, I should check my Facebook"? If you weren't thinking about that stuff and you were entertained, how was the movie or record bad? TV is filled with sitcoms because they're easily digestible and they entertain people. Movies, TV, and music are entertainment. If you want to make a political statement or have some kind of impactful discussion, you shouldn't be making sitcoms
What other action movies do you come back to?
There are so many good action movies! I grew up on Star Wars. As much as there are people out there who hate on the prequels, they still entertained me. They didn't live up to what the first three were, but the first three affected me when I was a child. I saw the first Star Wars when I was three-years-old. I saw it at a drive-in. My mom and dad brought me to see it when I was basically a baby. I was a small child. That movie affected me for most of single-digit years and most of my double-digit years. That shaped me. It had a massive effect on me. The first three Indiana Jones movies did as well, as far as entertainment goes. I grew up in the '80s, and E.T. did as well. This year has been great for movies. The Avengers was ridiculously phenomenal. All of the new Batman movies with Christian Bale were wonderful pieces of entertainment. That's what they are.
It's easy to end up humming "Asking Too Much" and "Not Fading".
That's why we write records and songs. We're not the band that wants to write math problems. We don't want to write songs people have to try and figure out. That's just horseshit in my opinion. It's about writing songs people enjoy. They like music when they can remember the tune. How many times have you heard someone singing along to a song without knowing lyrics? The point is the melody. That's what makes a song good not how many time signatures you can go through or parts you can cram into a song.
What's your favorite All That Remains song?
See our review of the record here!