All That Remains
Interview and photography by Rob Kern.Interview with vocalist Philip Labontee
With the Sounds Of The Underground tour hitting the US and Canada, founder and vocalist of All That Remains Philip Labonte took a few minutes to chat with From Out Of Nowhere editor Rob Kern about the recent departure of bassist Matt Deis and what to expect from Sounds Of The Underground.
FOON: Let’s get right to it and talk about All That Remains part in Sounds Of The Underground.
Philip Labonte: There are tiers of rotating bands and we’re going to be playing the first tier, the first really big tour that we’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of. We’re really excited, just to be on the stage with the bands that have worked so hard. Bands like Lamb Of God or Unearth, Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, Throwdown. The list goes on and on, Clutch, a band who have been around for so long, Gwar is another. All these bands that have been out there busting their asses and are part of this, it’s really cool that we are able to be on the tour.
FOON: How long of a set are you playing?
PL: About 20-25 minutes. We’ll be able to pack about 6 or 7 songs in there, we play them pretty quick, there’s not a lot of bullshit, I don’t run my face too much.
FOON: At 25 minutes do you have any concerns about shortening your set to fit it into the allotted time?
PL: Not really, most of the time we do a half an hour to thirty minutes. Anywhere from 25-35 minutes, there are a couple of songs we’ll throw away unless we get a longer set. We know pretty much what we are gonna do, we recently shot a 3rd video so we’ll do the three songs we have videos for; people probably know those the best. Then we’ve got some of the fan favorites for the kids that already know us and have bought the record, we’ll probably do “Focus Shall Not Fail”. I can’t imagine us not doing “For Salvation”, we’ll probably throw “Vicious Betrayal” in there, we’ll do most of the record, there’s only ten songs on This Darkened Heart and one of them is an instrumental anyway. So we can pack most of them in, it won’t be a problem.
FOON: Sounds Of The Underground seems to have less of a corporate feel than some of the other package tours hitting the road; they seem to place a lot of focus on getting the acts that the fans want to see.
PL: I guess I would agree, I mean there are different levels of “big time”. Lamb Of God is a big time band to us but they are really not a big time band when you consider Metallica. For us, everybody on the tour is big (laughs), for us Killswitch Engage is big, they’re from our area; Shadows Fall is big to us and I used to be in that band. It feels huge to me, there’s gonna be crew that are there that aren’t dudes from down the street that help the promoter load the bands in. It doesn’t have the corporate smell as in some of the machines that have been put together that have the big, big bands but to me it’s still a big deal.
FOON: What’s one band on the bill that is your “I can’t miss this set”?
PL: One band, no. There are a handful that I can pick and say “Yeah, I’m gonna see these guys a lot the first 2-3 weeks.” I’m gonna see Unearth a lot, I love watching those guys play. I’m gonna see Clutch, I’m a huge fan, I’m gonna see Every Time I Die because I’m a huge fan of them too. I’ll probably see Opeth a good deal because they’re crazy, they’re a fucking great band. So I don’t know that there is one particular band but there’s a bunch of bands that I’m gonna be catching a whole lot of their sets.
FOON: All That Remains have been filming some shows lately, any plans for a DVD?
PL: We’ve got some material that we’ve been working on. We’re hoping to have enough stuff to put out a DVD in the fall or maybe January.
FOON: Something to keep the fans ready for the next studio release?
PL: Yeah, we go ahead and go in January so kind of keep the name out there and say, “Hey, don’t forget about us, we’ll be back real soon.”
FOON: You’ve got a new bass player for this tour too…
PL: New bass player and a new drummer (Shannon Lucas). Matt (bass) came to us and told us that he was looking to do some other stuff. I think he got an offer from a bigger band, nothing has been announced so I’m not going to say anything, I’ve heard rumors and I think I know what is going on. But because he hasn’t announced it and they haven’t announced it, it’s not my place to say. We started auditions, we called up a friend of ours, Josh Ven, and said, “Look, Matt quit, we want you to come try out.” He was actually in the band before, during the writing process of This Darkened Heart. Josh had some home issues that he had to take care of, so we had to let him go. But he was with us writing at least half the record, at least four or five songs. Actually there are a couple of riffs on This Darkened Heart that Josh actually wrote, he’s got at least as much input on the record as Matt did, realistically. It’s not going to change the sound of the band a whole lot but it’s something that we are psyched about. It’s good to have someone that we know and are comfortable with.
FOON: Musically, you are probably more than ready for this tour; you’ve been touring pretty heavily over the past couple of years.
PL: Yeah, we try to stay out there as much as we can, it’s a lot of work, Prosthetic Records isn’t Sony, where they can call MTV and say, “I want to put this band on TRL tomorrow and it happens.” It’s one of those where you go out and put in the work, tour as much as you can kind of labels. We want to be out there and get our music to as many people as we can.
FOON: Can you pick one “Rock and Roll” moment from the last year or so of touring?
PL: Absolutely, we were fortunate enough to be one of the rotating bands on the Slipknot/Lamb Of God/Shadows Fall tour. The last show we were on, we played three shows, the last one was in Atlanta, Georgia. It was full, early; there were like 7,000 people there when we went on. It was a packed show, which was the biggest crowd we had ever played to. We get done, we hang out a little backstage and then I run into Randy Blythe (vocalist for Lamb Of God) and he says, “C’mon, we’re going to a strip club.” So me, Randy, a couple of his buddies and a girl who had done an interview with us earlier that day hop into a limo that she pays for and we go to a strip club. I can’t think of anything that is more rock and roll than that, playing an arena show and then leaving in a limo to a strip club (laughs).
FOON: Anything else you would like to add?
PL: Check out our website, www.allthatremains.cc listen to our songs, check out our message board, I’m on there fairly often, so anyone that wants to come and talk crap, I can talk crap back, that’s cool.