Underoath - Hallelujah!
It’s been a long time since I looked forward like I did to Tuesday the 31st of October 2006. I felt excited like a young boy the night before his birthday! And why? Because I once had the honor again to interview one of my favorites. This time I talked with Timmy (guitar) and Chris (keys) from the one and only Underoath.
To come straight to the point: you recently cancelled the Warped Tour because of personal reasons. I’ve read in a newspost that you (Timmy) wrote, that this one (Taste Of Chaos) has been one of the greatest tours so far. We’re a month later now. How are thing going?
‘Great. I still think this is my favorite tour that I’ve been on. The bands and people were with, they’re all great. And we’re getting to see all these different countries we’ve never been to. I just got nothing bad to say about it.’
What did this break do to you as a band? What has changed after that?
‘It did a lot. It was like a reflection of what happened in the past. It made you think about the direct and long term consequences. Before that we never had the chance to get in everyone’s head and truly understand each other. We needed it to know where things are. Like a full circle re-analyzation. Things are not perfect now but they are definitely in a spot were everyone is knowledgeable of situations that happened and try to not let them get to that point again. Personal situations but also for the group.’
You needed to get things clear again.
‘Yeah, it’s human not to worry about anything until it’s too far gone and broke. But that’s not right. Maybe a typical scenario but we were able to pull it back on the road. Now we know how we got to where we were and try not to get there again.’
Do you think, in this kind of scenario, it’s an advantage to be in a six headed group?
‘It has positive and negative sides. The odds of somebody going through something you’re going through are better over five then two. It’s sure easier for us to find somebody in our band that’s going through something then it is for Blink 182. They only have two guys left then, you know. But we’re six dudes and have six different stories. So in that way it kinda helps.’
In situations like, for example Underoath leaving the Warped Tour, media is on top of it right away. Media can be very powerful. In a positive way but it also can be killing. How do you feel about that?
‘I don’t know. I don’t know if it was really good or bad. I think it was probably good. In a sense that kids sort of knew why we left and… Sure everybody’s going to talk and spread all kinds of stuff around. There’s really not much you can do about that. But also in the same note, when we decided to get back on the road again, we were able to use it to our advantage. To let people know what was going on and that we’re doing much better now.’
Okay then. Well, it’s no secret you’re all Christians. But what came first: did you start as a band and then found out you all were religious? Or what?
‘Since I’ve known of the band that has been our main focus. We always said; whenever we became not about that, then we would just break up. I don’t necessarily think that you have to play music, and all music, for a Christian purpose. But I feel like this band is. If it ever became not, then were out there just doing something else.’
I once read in a journal that you (Timmy) had met a homeless guy. You had a chat about life, God and more. For me a totally understandable conversation. Even I as a non religious dude, could follow it and understand. But to come to the point, what are for you the basics of religion? Could you explain that in a few words that shows the core for you?
‘For me I don’t think there’s much religion involved. It’s more the knowledge. I don’t think you can really look out at life, or look at someone, or feel something towards someone and feel that that’s just something that we as humans have just made up. Like, I don’t think you can really look at the sky or mountains, trees or another person and think that we’re here by chance. Everyone has this knowledge of something greater. For me personally, and all of us in different ways, we all have seen that in God. And have seen that in Christianity. There are a lot of other religions that have a lot of really good things to say. And have a lot of positive influences in people. But in the end of the day I don’t feel like Jesus and God have created earth, created you and me, created humans and everything and then just be done with it. He created us to interact with us. And that’s where Buddhism and all these other religions kind of fall short. Here I feel like there’s a constant interaction with the creation and the creator. For me it’s more about the spiritual aspect and seeing God work in different ways. It’s more like feeling it and seeking it.’
Like the whole journal though your life.
‘Yeah, exactly. Like that guy in Cologne said, the time for just wondering is over. We need to start maturing and need to start knowing. That’s the whole thing. The purpose is to constantly know God more, know yourself more and know your purpose on this earth more. Know that there’s more then just a paycheck, a cell phone bill and three meals a day. There’s got to be more than that. More than life. Because if that’s all life is, I don’t want to be here. Cause it would be the end of the cycle.’
Does it make you appreciate things more?
‘I think it makes you take the good as this is not as good as it gets. This is just a glimpse at what true love or true goodness is. That we one day will see what we feel when we kiss a woman, or when we’re hugging our friend, or see someone cry. It’s just a snap out of something greater. And when bad things happen I think it’s the same. But there’s always a light in the end of the tunnel. And that is just super encouraging out of both aspects for me.’
Does this touring and everything make it difficult for you to be or get there where you want?
‘It makes it easier a lot of times. Doing what we do makes us able to get in contact with so many people I would’ve otherwise never been able to get in contact with. I learn things that I would not learn by sitting at home. There comes a lot of trouble with doing what we do, like missing home or things of that nature. But as a whole, doing what we do is beneficial to me.’
Maybe I ask you this too late, but do you think this religion subject is getting out of context?
‘Oh no, not at all. The thing is, just like we said before, we’re a band, we get together to have fun and to play music. But the reason why we do what we do is because of what we believe.’
Alright, I just wanted to be sure. Don’t want to bore you with lame questions.
‘Haha, no it’s cool.’
When you go back in time, think of Act Of Depression and The Changing Of Times, the genre you played back then could be put next to Death Metal artists who are often satanic freaks. How do you think about the audience who just likes your music but is not Christian or into another religion? Or not even religious.
‘That don’t changes anything for me. I mean, we’ve had Christians coming up to us saying this song or this record really helped them out doing this and it changed their lives. And then we have people who aren’t Christian saying the same thing. There are also people who come to us because they just like our heaviness and there are people who come to us because they can interact on a more extensive level. No matter what you believe or why you listen to us or why you don’t listen to us doesn’t really matter. The biggest walls we have culturally, and between religions or different races and believes, is that we don’t respect other people. We get afraid and we get stereotyped as if you’re this and you’re that. We don’t even give the person the time or day to explain why they believe what they believe and then turn just ignorant and blind. And then end up in just hating and judging each other. That’s one thing we all have seen in ourselves as well as against us and as have done it to other people. Everyday we’re learning more and more of that open-mindedness. Accepting everyone for what they believe or not believe is the only way to get on.’
Is your music a reflection of how you see the world? Because Define The Great Line sounds very dark and almost evil. Does that mean the world is so far gone?
‘I don’t see it as deep as that. We just make the kind of music we like. It’s not like a declaration of how we see the world. But lyrically, that would be on a completely different plane. Spencer writes the majority of lyrics. A lot of it is really personal to him as where he is going through, you know.’
Allright, I’ll wrap it up now. Thanks a lot for your time and enjoy the tour!
‘Thank you man!’
Later that night they gave one of the best shows that I have ever seen! Whereas Saosin and Senses Fail had some trouble with the audience, Underoath managed to get them going wild as animals. And rightly so! Cause that’s passion what I saw! Even though I’m not a religious person, this is totally worth a hallelujah.