With Underøath releasing a stellar new album in Erase Me – you can check out the review here – we sat down to ask founding member Aaron Gillespie about their new album, their faith, and the future of Underøath.
How does it feel to be back in the studio after so many years, do you feel the scene is ready for what you’re about to unleash?
I don’t know, I keep telling people that this is surreal to make a record 10 years later and there’s a lot of weight in that statement. I don’t know much about the scene or what the scene is interested in, but I do know that we’ve made a record that kind of feels true to who we are and what we’re doing, and I feel good about it.
On April 6th, Erase Me is available worldwide through Fearless Records, what can you tell us about the creative process in the studio and the inspiration that came into play when writing and recording?
It took us a while to really figure out what an Underøath record even would look like in 2018, we spent two years and got back together playing our largest albums all over the world and we were down there with Australia for a couple of weeks, and what we really wanted to do was be true to who we are now. We’re all in our 30s and inspiration looks different than it did in our 20s. I think that for any individual it’s going to happen. 10 years ago I did a lot of different things than I do now, so the studio for us was different this time, because we wrote separately. For years we always wrote together in a jam space, this time, Spencer and I wrote together for about 18 months and then the others wrote together for about the same time and then we all came to the studio and put it all together. We realised then that we still had some holes but we needed to keep going, so we just kept writing in the studio and we got to what you will hear now. We didn’t want to end up in a situation where we just shooting in the dark, so it is been a bit of a journey, but it’s also a really neat time. I didn’t even believe it was possible and didn’t know what it would look like, but I’m really proud of it and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
What have the reactions been to your latest singles so far, were they what you expected?
I feel like it’s really interesting that this many years later, people still care enough to even complain, even the negative comments are enjoyable to read because it means that this many years later people still care. To me, that’s like a huge deal and it would’ve scared me if every comment was “I love it”, I like the fact that they’re questioning it. Our biggest records, people hated it at the beginning -when we first started releasing the singles- and I feel like that’s the key, the comments have been really interesting. A lot of people don’t like them but more people do like them. I feel like thats winning and that’s the goal. Some of my favorite bands put out records that I don’t understand, like Dave Grohl is my hero and he does stuff that makes me think “this is bullshit” but then after a month I think it’s some of the greatest stuff he’s ever put out. To me, that’s kind of how I’ve looked at the single releases.
You’ve worked in a lot of musical projects yourself in your career, do you believe it’s healthy to spread yourself out into a number of different projects?
I think that if you’re a creative person, you should always create. If you’re creative musically, you should always keep going, and I think there’s death in sitting still, especially for an artist.
How do you view your band now as opposed to when you started and how do you feel the scene has changed?
It feels very different from when it started because it’s our life now, we all have children and families and it’s hard to believe that we did it all with this band,we afforded our living and our children form money we’ve made from making music, that in itself is fucking crazy, so I never thought that would happen. I also feel the same, in the respect that Underøath still feels very punk rock to me, and there are things that we do that are very not corporate, at the same time it’s different and it is a large operation. There’s hundreds of people involved, when we tour it’s not just the six of us there’s 25 people. As far as the scene goes, I don’t know much about the scene anymore, when we started there was no internet and the internet wasn’t the key to being in a band, it was about playing live and proving yourself on stage and with your music. I believe we still have that motive, we still go out there and kill ourselves on stage. These days the internet is such a big player which is really cool- but I don’t know if we’ve caught up on that as much as we should.
We read recently that you no longer identify as a Christian band, what do you think this changes for the hopes and future of Underøath?
I think when you put a label on a band, whether that be a ‘vegan band’ or a ‘Christian band’ or a ‘satanic band’ or a ‘Muslim band’ or whatever, not that any of those things are wrong, but you make it for a specific group of people. People that adhere to that faith or that diet or movement, they feel like that music is for them, but for the people that don’t [adhere to these things] think that they can’t enjoy it. I don’t like that idea. Music is art and should be available for anyone that likes it. I prefer to pick music based on genre, like jazz, pop, rock n’ roll and metal, I feel like that’s a better way to go to a store and purchase music, rather than going online, searching and streaming a particular ideal of music. I just don’t think that’s a good idea at all. If you don’t listen to Marilyn Manson, for example, because you don’t agree with his beliefs, you’re missing out on some great music. I don’t think, as an artist and a consumer, that it’s smart to wake up in the morning and decide to listen to music based on its ideals, you listen to music because it’s fucking good or it’s confusing or you want to learn more about it. For me, I just think exclusion is probably the worst thing in humanity, there’s obviously way worse things but exclusion a lot of times is the beginning of a lot of bad things.
Agreed, never judge a book by it’s cover. Do you have any parting words for your Aussie fans?
I can’t wait to get back down to Australia and we’re excited for you all to hear our new album.
Interview – Robbie Tannous