As I Lay Dying is currently spreading their seeds of metal across the land in support of their newest (and some say overall best) release The Powerless Rise. Punknews interviewer Jason Epstein went backstage on the 2nd night of two sold out shows at NYC's Gramercy Theater for an interview with drummer Jordan Mancino. They talked about new As I Lay Dying music on the horizon, the band's strange link to Jimmy Eat World and more.
The new video of "Anodyne Sea" is really and almost literally, "in your face", making the viewer feel like they're one of the characters. How did that idea come up?
The concept was actually brought to us by Ian and Mike the directors. We decided it'd be kind of cool to be part of the concept of the video, not just be performers in the video. So this gives us a shot and we had a blast doing it. I had an easy task âcuz I really just had to be there for a couple hours and that was it just to do a couple of shots. But, yeah it was a great experience. It's weird…just different strokes…trying to act. But, yeah that was cool and the video came out great.
Do you remember how it felt the first time you heard yourself being played on the radio?
Yeah, actually. It wasn't the first time we were played on the radio, but the first time I actually heard it myself was when I was driving around and Jimmy Eat World was on the radio guest DJ-ing and they're like, "OK there's this band, As I Lay Dying and I want to play one of their songs." I was like, "Whoa"! I was stoked they were playing us on the radio, but I was also stoked that Jimmy Eat World chose us to be one of the songs they were playing, that was so cool.
Ah, well you guys should open up for them on tour sometime.
That would be a tour for the bands, âcuz I'm sure we'd have a blast hanging out, watching each other play, but the fans…I don't know if that would work.
It would be very strange. Do you feel that the longer amount of time spent writing The Powerless Rise contributed to its quality?
Yeah, I think so. It just gave us more time to get everything done. It's funny…after going through the whole process and progressively taking longer to write each album I think we kind of started to want to go back to the way we used to do it…almost write as fast as we can and not think about things too much…but it definitely made for an extremely polished record. We did so many little things on it…especially when it came down to mixing. Certain songs there's a snare head that's turned up a little bit and obviously you can't really tell but-
-it's the overall impact.
Yeah, little, tiny nuances like that, they're just all over the place on our record. And yeah, I think it really shows in the production. I don't think we're gonna take that long to write this next record.
When you say this next record, and not the next record do you mean that there's something being written already?
Well, actually I won't be talking about the next full-length release. But, we did just finish tracking songs for an EP that we're gonna be putting up I guess in celebration of our 10 year anniversary. It's gonna be pretty awesome. The songs are coming together really nicely. We have three originals we're putting on there; one you could kind of consider a B-side from The Powerless Rise session. Then we recorded two more originals, then we recorded three cover songs that we're gonna put on there.
Are they metal cover songs?
Yeah, yeah. Definitely some metal covers. We're not [telling] which covers they are yet but they definitely pay tribute to some pretty awesome bands. So I think our fans will be stoked and I think fans of those bands will be stoked to hear what we do with the songs too.
What emotion do you find yourself tapping into the most when you write, record or play live?
There wouldn't necessarily be an emotion; it's more of a passion, which I think can encompass almost any emotion at any moment. It can be anger, it can be joy, it can be anything, but I think it's the passion that drives us to do what we do. I think most of that stuff comes out in our music and also comes out in our live performance. That's where we're really able to show the intensity of what we're doing. You can't really see the expression on somebody's face when they're playing, but we have the ability to express ourselvesâ¦visually.
Is As I Lay Dying an all-encompassing part of your life or can there be days when you don't think about it?
I don't know if there's necessarily a day where I don't think about it because it's such a huge part of all of our lives, but there's days where I don't really do anything that relates to As I Lay Dying. Like if I'm out golfing or hanging out, I'm not really thinking about the band too much. There's almost something every day. It's rare that there's a day that there's not, you know, an e-mail I have to respond to regarding the band or some aspect of the business…you know, there's always something. It's got many aspects of a full time job, you know, it keeps us pretty busy. I never realized how busy being in a full-time band really is. It keeps you going for sure.
If you weren't playing the type of music that As I Lay Dying plays, what would you be playing?
Honestly, anything just aggressive. Rock. I just like aggressive music. Music with energy. Obviously metal is a passion and I love being in a metal band and I want to play metal for the rest of my life. I would also have fun playing in a rock band….I'd enjoy playing drums with some kind of energetic rock. And it would probably be more relaxing. It wouldn't be as busy.
Yeah, you'd get a little breathing space. So, what's the worst interview question you've ever been asked?
Any question that's on our FAQs on our site. I did this one interview and the guy was just a joke. He had to get into this alter-ego personality before he could start interviewing me…it was super early in the morning too. I was like…what is this, this is so weird… He started asking me a bunch of questions like, "What do you play in the band? How long have you been in the band? What's your next tour?" And I'm like, "That's stuff you can find on the website, ask me stuff you can't find on the website." I wasn't trying to be a jerk at that point I was saying that that stuff is on the website and fans can check it out whenever they want. Then he started asking me really stupid questions like, "Have you ever hit people with your drum sticks," and I'm like, "Alright, I'm done." It was getting ridiculous. We don't take ourselves so seriously that we can't joke around and have fun but if someone's blatantly just like doesn't know who they're talking to or just don't care then that's kind of frustrating. Obviously we care about what we do and when we do an interview it's always nice for the person interviewing us to also care about what they're doing.