[Feature Interview] Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain


A rebirth has been brewing over in the States and in February 2017, we’ll witness it first hand as Underoath will be touring Australia, performing both 2004’s breakthrough record, ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety‘ & 2006’s seminal ‘Define The Great Line‘ in full.

Dreams really do come true.

As one can imagine, Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain, he’s been a very busy man as of late. Fronting both his latest project Sleepwave and once again sharing the vocal helm of Underoath now means doing two of everything.

“I’ve had one of the busiest years of my life this year”, Chamberlain tells me over the phone, during some rare downtime in his busy schedule. “With two bands going, it’s double the touring, double the writing, and double the interviews. I’m okay with it all but I haven’t had much time off. I hate doing nothing but with being so busy this year when I can relax I really kick back”.

However, while his two bands are indeed two separate entities, they do share some strong similarities. But these comparisons will apparently become less apparent over time as Chamberlain now has more freedom to unhinge Sleepwave from Underoath’s musical shadow since the reunion.

“Now that Underoath is back together, I can be much more free with Sleepwave’s music. The Underoath similarities you’ve heard on the first record [Broken Compass] were because I was unsure of myself; I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I kept my foot in one door and trying to be in another one at the same time. But the next Sleepwave record that I’ve just finished writing and demoing, which will be out soon, is a completely different side of the band; it’s more freeing. Now that I have Underoath, if you want to hear me do that, just listen to Underoath because I can now do what I really want with Sleepwave. It’s really refreshing”

But while the vocalist enjoys his down time and looks to revitalising Sleepwave, he’ll soon be thrown through the ringer with Underoath as they continue their triumphant return to the international touring circuit – Australia now included, thankfully.

This Rebirth tour has seen the six-piece performing their longest sets to date in order to play through arguably their two biggest records, of which helped introduce countless people to the sheer gloriousness that is Underoath’s music. If you couldn’t tell I was a fan before, you sure can now. It really goes without saying that this tour is going to be a very special occasion for the Aussie fans, and like any humble artist, Chamberlain owes the world to their fans, both Australian and those abroad.

“Our fans never once stopped talking about us online and that’s what helped get us as a band talking once again. So I will always thank the fans because my life would be totally different now without this band and their love”.

That love, that sense of family among Underoath’s music and their fans is perhaps what makes the group so special, or at the very least, what has helped cement their near-legendary standing is the heavy music scene. Either way, it’s seemingly everlasting as these two albums came out ten and twelve years ago respectively and people still care as passionately as ever. That’s a long time, for anything, really, as will be the five-year gap since the band’s last Australian appearance come 2017’s tour.

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Having seen the band live twice myself – once with A Day To Remember in 2011 and again at Soundwave 2012 – I doubt that I am the only one in Australia who thought that they’d never see older songs like ‘I’m Content With Losing’ performed live, but come February next year, that song will most certainly get a look in.

“You know, it’s funny, we never played that song until this tour”, he states. “That’s actually only one of the songs that we’ve never played live, and two of those came off They’re Only Chasing Safety; Down, Set, Go and I’m Content With Losing. We immediately started shifting our sound by the time that album came out and we never played some of those songs. I really do enjoy playing them now and it’s very cool to see how the fans react to the songs that we never played.”

An album is a snapshot in time, and back in ’04 and ’06, Underoath’s snapshots were of a popular Warped Tour post-hardcore sound with ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety‘ and a heavier, darker metalcore outing with ‘Define The Great Line‘, which is often lauded as their best release (with very good reason). But as you should hopefully know, they grew into a far heavier sound with their following two releases, ‘Lost In The Sound Of Separation‘ and the sorely underrated ‘Disambiguation‘. While those latter two albums aren’t getting a look in here, the band is playing these two older albums as they originally stand, despite the heavier sonic tendencies they developed after the fact. However, there will be two exceptions here.

“We’re playing the songs as they were but there are also some interlude jams that we do in the set. We also re-wrote all of Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape, minus the lyrics and it’s really cool now. We’ve made it eerier and far more heartbreaking as it transitions that set into Define The Great Line. I feel it’s a lot better now than it is on the record and it’s a treat for this tour, as it marks the end of the first half of the show.”

It’s moments like that, like the choral section ‘It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door‘ or the opening riff of ‘In Regards To Myself‘, that will be truly spellbinding moments live. Also, on their live shows, the singer confidentially asserts that right now is the best time to see Underoath live.

“Our band is healthier than ever and we get along with each other so well; we understand what’s happening as men and not as little kids anymore. There’s a whole new fire to us now and there’s…something happening with our chemistry now. That’s something that can’t be bought or taught, and I am so, so happy that I can get up on stage with these guys again. This is my family, I’ve spent more time with those five dudes than anyone else in my life.”

But even with each member of the band back on the same page, I’ve often thought that new music from Underoath would just be wishful thinking. So with the chance to hear it from the horse’s mouth, I ask Chamberlain about the prospect of new music, and he remains tight-lipped about it, but one must read between the lines I feel.

“I’m not capable of speaking freely about that right now. But look, we’re not going anywhere now; we’re a band and bands make music,” he states rather matter of factly, before saying that “Underoath has never been the kind of band that just stands around; we go as hard as we can. Our mentality of going until we pass out it still holds true now in everything that we do.”

That rings true, because what was apparent from early on in their career was that Underoath never phoned it in. Whether it be their writing, their recording, their live shows or their individual personalities; they gave it 110% all of the time. They never backtracked in that regard, not prior to their breakup and definitely not now. If you’ve seen the band live or spoken with either of the members, you’ll know this to be true. Come 2017’s headline tour, the band still won’t be doing anything by half-measures and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Destroy All Lines, Chugg Entertainment, & Killyourstereo.com present Underoath’s ‘Rebirth’ tour, with the band performing in their entirety both ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’ and ‘Define The Great Line’.  Tickets go on sale Monday, 17th at 9am local time through Destroy All Lines. Get in quick or lose out!

Friday, February 10th – Eatons Hill, Brisbane, Lic/AA

Saturday, February 11th – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Lic/AA

Sunday, February 12th – 170 Russell, Melbourne, 18+

Wednesday, February 15th – Governor Hindmarsh, Adelaide, Lic/AA

Thursday, February 16th – Metropolis, Perth, 18+


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