The last time Metal Insider ran into As I Lay Dying, it was a pretty raucous affair. They had just finished playing the New England Metalfest, and earlier in the day, a triumphant first East Coast performance from frontman Tim Lambesis’ Schwarzennegger-inspired side project, Austrian Death Machine, destroyed the Palladium. So the band celebrated with friends on their tour bus by bringing a smoke machine and strobe light onto their bus and blasting Pantera in what became a mass singalong. This time, there was no Pantera dance party, just Lambesis, who spoke to MI about the band’s new triple-disc DVD, This Is Who We Are, the choices of the tours they’ve done, and a second Austrian Death Machine album.
A three disc DVD is a pretty ambitious undertaking.
We wanted a history of the band from our perspective. It’s been such a long journey to get where we are. The second disc is all live performances, and the third disc is music videos and all the behind the scenes type of stuff. Those were all the things we wanted to include , but we never thought that each section would turn out to be as long as it did, but we’ve been a band for eight years, and [director] Denise (Korycki) has been collecting footage of us for at least five years.
You’ve been touring behind An Ocean Between Us for two years now. Is this finally the end of the touring cycle?
Yes. That was the timing of releasing the DVD, as something to hold people over until we finish writing songs when this tour’s over. Once we get into the writing process, we get pretty intense and do everything within a few months, so we’re hoping to record before the end of the year for an early 2010 release.
You’ve done a variety of different tours over the past few years. Is that diversity intentional?
We’re very calculated about it. We did Ozzfest one year, and we wanted to do something that was a little more part of our scene, so we did Sounds of the Underground the next year. Then we figured that Warped Tour would reach a new audience, so we did that the following Summer. Now we’re out with the Lamb of God tour, and we realized that with all the Warped Tour-like stuff we’ve done, even though we’re a metal band, we surprisingly forgot to play for the true die-hard metal fans. Everyone on this tour is very clearly a metal band.
Do you notice a difference in playing for those audiences?
The Warped Tour crowd is a little younger, which reminds me of where I was at when I wanted to play in a band. I was younger, and really liked heavier music, but wasn’t exposed to a lot of it yet. I think it’s a good way to open the door for our genre, and particularly for our band, for new fans.
Your last album debuted in the Billboard top ten sales chart. Is there any pressure to try to improve on that?
There is pressure, and I know it exists, but I try my best to ignore it. What’s gotten us to this point is being true to ourselves as far as what keeps us passionate and excited about playing this music. As long as we keep that passion and keep writing songs that all five of us like, I assume our fans will like it as well.
How does it feel being in the home stretch of the last tour of the album?
When the tour kicked off, we were really having a blast. We’re still having a good time, but at this point it kind of trails off a little bit. Not that we don’t appreciate what we have, but we look forward to being home. You go home and you get energized so the next time you go out on the road, you look forward to it and are excited again.
I hear you’ve written new Austrian Death Machine songs?
I’ve written all the songs, but since I’ve been on the road, I can’t record them how I like to record. I have a studio at my house, so I’ll be able to get really picky and make sure everything’s perfect. Right when I get home, I’m going to record the Austrian Death Machine songs and that should be out before the end of the year. The first album was Total Brutal, and this will be Double Brutal because it’s a double disc.
A double disc? And it’s coming out before the next AILD album?
Being a one person band, you don’t have the whole process of consulting with the other guys. If I write a guitar riff, normally, I would have to teach it to two guitar players before we record it. With Austrian Death Machine, as long as I know what it is in my head, I record it, bring it to the guys in my studio, and we pump out a better, more polished version.
I was surprised how good the live show was, considering that you’re not actually touring with that band.
I do Austrian Death Machine to remind people that metal can be fun and lighthearted, and Arnold deserves his spotlight in the metal scene. But that show was a little stressful and out of the ordinary because it was impossible to rehearse. I was on tour, and the other guys were doing their thing, so we all just learned our parts and hoped when we got on stage, it would work. I think it was great, given the circumstances, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
How many shows has Austrian Death Machine done?
We’ve played about five shows so far, but the Metalfest performance was our first East Coast show. At some point, I have to come out for a weekend or play five shows on the East Coast.