San Diego natives As I Lay Dying have been the frontrunners for American metalcore ever since the release of their Metal Blade debut 'Frail Words Collapse'. With three albums charting on the U.S Billboard charts, the latest 'An Ocean Between Us' charting at an impressive #8, the band is more driven than ever.
With the recent release of the bands first ever DVD 'This Is Who We Are', guitarist Phil Sgrosso was kind enough to chat to us about all things metal...
Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview…
Can we start by grabbing your name, what you do in AILD and your favorite Mexican dish?
My name is Phil and I play guitar. California burrito.
What is AILD up to right now?
We are trying to relax a little bit before we begin the writing sessions for our next record.
Your first DVD ‘This Is Who We are’ has just been released and from all reports is selling extremely well. Can you let us know how this all came about? Is this something you have wanted to do for a long time but just haven’t had the time/money?
Denise Korycki filmed pretty much all the footage for the past 4 or so years. It took a long time to get all the right footage for the DVD. We’ve been so busy the past few years so there were always more and more opportunities that could be filmed for the it. In the end it made sense to release it towards the end of our AOBU record cycle. Hopefully it can hold the fans over a little before we get our next record out.
You guys were nominated for a Grammy Award for "Best Metal Performance" for the song "Nothing Left". What was it like to receive that kind of recognition and share the category with some of the biggest bands in the world like Slayer, Megadeth and King Diamond?
It was a cool experience but we don’t put too much focus on stuff like that. It’s cool to be recognized for what you do but I’m sure there aren’t too many people on the grammy board that give a damn about metal.
The band have stated on more than one occasion that you are all Christian. What are your thoughts on bands who use their religion to sell records?
I think only good music should be used to sell records.
Bass player Clint Norris left the band in 2006. Apparently you guys tried out a bunch of guys but to no avail. Did you ever reach a stage were you were worried about replacing him?
Not really. We knew there was somebody out there and eventually we would find the right one. It was a little annoying having to show 15 different people the bass parts during tryouts but that’s how it goes.
Your new bass player Josh Gilbert does all the clean vocals on your latest album ‘An Ocean Between Us’ – which was much more melodic (vocally) than 2005’s ‘Shadows Are Security’. Did Josh influence the writing of that album in any way?
No. Josh joined at the end of the writing process right before going into the studio. I met up with Josh multiple times before going into the studio to show him bass parts I had already come up with during pre-production. Josh is a very talented musician so he will contribute on the next record. FYI, Tim contributed his melodic vocals on 2 songs for the record.
When can we expect a new AILD record?
What else is on the horizon?
I’m going to relax for the first summer in 6 years. We have only 4 scheduled shows the rest of the year. I’m sure something else will come up though.
When you are not touring, writing and recording what do you like to do?
I have a couple of other side projects I try to work on whenever possible. I like going to the beach, the gym, and I play in a mens softball league with some of my buddies.
What have been some of your favorite bands to tour with?
Killswitch Engage, Unearth, In Flames, August Burns Red. They’re some of the best dudes to tour and hang out with.
Most embarrassing moment on stage?
I fell off it once right into the barrier in Milwaukee. I got back up somehow and was able to finish the rest of the last song. Stuff like that happens all the time to at least one of us. We’re trying to run around as much as possible, someone’s going to fall or trip on something.
Did you guys enjoy your last visit to Australia and can we expect another one anytime soon?
We love Australia, most of us would like to live there someday but we’ll see what happens. Hopefully we’ll be back there early on our next record cycle. Maybe we’ll do Soundwave again. That was a good time.
That’s about it. Any parting words for your hordes of fans down here?
Don’t be a bogan!
As I Lay Dying‘s new DVD ‘This Is Who We Are‘ is out now via Riot Entertainment. For more information head to the labels official website.