Bubbling up from the Northeast, from Massachusetts, in particular, All That Remains are carving their place as leaders in a scene where bands are a dime a dozen. After departing from Shadow's Fall, vocalist Phil Labonte channeled his musical ability and passion into All That Remains. Metal Update had a chance to speak with Phil about the band that Labonte says, "consumes all of [his] time. [He doesn't] have much of a life outside of the band. But that's okay, because it's a labor of love."
Interview with Phil Labonte on 2/11/05.
Metal Update: What is the band all about? Describe for the layperson, and let's say that this is any random person waiting at a bus stop, what drives All That Remains.
Phil Labonte: We're just about honesty. What you see is what you get. I'm not going to make fun of a band that might use makeup or a light show, but all we care about connecting with the fans and doing our thing...straight from the heart. Now, the layperson might not like us, because metal's not for everyone, but that's a different story.
MU: I'm assuming then, that the approach translates through the lyrics.
PL: Of course. I mean, I just write from my heart. I write about what I'm feeling, for better or worse. I try to be as honest as possible. I try to be honest with myself, and believe it or not, that can be kind of hard at times. People don't like to look inside. It's not always as pretty as you want it to be.
MU: You don't need to rehash any dirty laundry, but are you on good terms with your old band?
PL: We really weren't in the same place, musically. So I don't think I ever had a beef with them. We just weren't on the same page. That's fine. I'm totally cool with them. They're a great band. I love Shad. I'm in a great band. We've played together. And I really think they have a lot to offer the scene. I mean that on a couple of levels. Their music is great, and they're also a band that wants to carry the scene forward.
MU: If you were writing a press release, how would you describe the band?
PL: Good question. We include influences of old school metal, like Iron Maiden. And we love old Metallica. You can hear some of the Swedish melodic death metal influences, of course. Death metal is a part of our sound. Modern hardcore. We all love Hatebreed.
MU: How did you become a "band guy," so to speak?
PL: I always loved music, and in my mid-teens being in a band made sense because I loved playing the guitar. That's kind of hard to answer because it's all that I know, and it almost seems like that's all I've ever known. Vocals came later.
MU: Since the vocals came later, have they been more of a challenge?
PL: In the beginning it was. But then like anything, the more I did it, and I'm talking about a lot, a lot, a lot of practice...I just kind of got better. I suppose doing more melodic vocals can be a challenge. I really like Aaron from Staind. He's a great singer. There are tons of heavy hitters I could name. Jamey from Hatebreed is amazing. I like to try out the low death metal vocals to change things up.
MU: How is the Massachusetts scene? I'm crazy about Isis. There's a lot of bands there, and I'm assuming it's a vibrant scene where shows are always happening.
PL: There are always local shows, and there are always bands coming in. It's great. And I think there's a lot of great underground diversity. And I'm talking underground heavy shit like black metal to punk.
MU: Is there some stupid posturing and scene politics that comes along with a scene that has a lot going on?
PL: Of course, man. Like, you can see some black metal guy and a hardcore guy who...it's like if you had a notepad with a list of criteria, everything gets a checkmark. Some of these people think they're so individualistic, but they fit the stereotype to a T. For the most part, everyone, well, most people get along. But you'll always find assholes. That's like anything. You'll find that at work.
MU: In all seriousness, how long do you think you'll keep doing the band thing? At least in the form of All That Remains?
PL: You can't read the future. But I plan on doing this over the long haul. I'd like for us to be a band that has longevity. Only time will tell. But we wouldn't have made it this far if we didn't follow our hearts and keep trucking.
ALL THAT REMAINS
METAL JUDGMENT - Review of Behind the Silence and Solitude
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