With the huge buzz on the release of Lost in the Sound of Separation [out September 2, 2008 on Tooth and Nail/Solid State], and an ass-kicking performance at this past Rockstar Mayhem tour, it’s obvious that the six guys of Tampa, FL-based UNDEROATH--who’ve built a reputation of being both hardcore and innovative—are slamming us with their most artistically ambitious and accomplished disc to date.
It’d be easy to give them the crown as Kings of Christian Hardcore, as Underoath has never been shy about having the Big Man as inspiration. But Underoath, who’ve sold over one million copies of their last three albums, clearly have fans outside of the Christian realm and are basically peaking as hardcore superstars. But that’s not enough for these driven guys, they’re moving into the metalcore world now. Through non-stop touring and with a rep for ridiculously intense live shows—as well as a handful of DVDs chronicling their on and offstage lives, Underoath is a band with fans as committed as their faith.
At the 2008 Rockstar Mayhem tour, Nighttimes.com pulled aside Tim McTague (lead guitar/backing vocals) to say hello and get a sense of what it’s been like moving into a new world of sound.
NT: You guys usually headline festivals like this, but at Rockstar Mayhem you’re kind of being reintroduced to a whole new crowd. So compared to every tour you guys have done, how has this one been? I’m sure that the fans here today for bands like Slipknot aren’t going to be ready to hear you guys.
Tim: Oh yeah, it’s been different, but we knew exactly what we were getting into. We knew that kids might not know us. [But it seems that they] might now like us, which we really like because we had to go out there every day and earn it.
NT: I know what happened a couple years ago with NOFX. Have any bands on this tour given you guys trouble for being a Christian band?
Tim: No, not at all.
NT: So what is it like going back to these outdoor fests --after having now played so many indoor venues?
Tim: Oh, well I love the outdoor fests, but the headlining shows are always fun. Everyone gets a better experience with lights, and obviously a longer set. But it’s nice giving back to the people who support us so much.
NT: So do you guys think that being on a tour like this, with so many different kinds of bands, that you are all making a new fanbase?
Tim: Yeah definitely! We’ve seen it in record sales. Our record has gone up 50% this week.
NT: The hardcore scene today is pretty over-saturated, with so much of the same and almost nothing sounds original. But you guys keep your own sound. How do you break away from that trend of writing the same music everyone else does?
Tim: We just sit down when we write, and think, where are we today? Where is music today?
Well, maybe Tim’s not giving away any songwriting secrets just yet. And really, why should they? They still have a few more genres to dominate. But, with a huge world-tour on the calendar (and lots of US dates in the fall) it looks like they’ll be doing it in no time…
Catch Underoath at Pop’s on Sunday, November 2nd.