ALL THAT REMAINS Guitarist: 'We've Kind Of Confused People Over The Years'
September 21, 2019
Prior to ALL THAT REMAINS's performance in New York City on September 15, guitarist Mike Martin spoke with Alex Haber of Heavy New York. The full conversation can be viewed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the fact that the group's albums rarely sound similar:
Mike: "It makes people mad sometimes, but it's just hard to [do] the same exact thing over and over and over again... There's always something that we want to show — 'This will be a little different' — and sometimes you go a little too far, and it comes out like... We have stuff that I don't like, but you've got five people. Not everyone's always going to agree on the same stuff. I'm sure everyone's got a different list of the order that they would put our records in, but you've got to take a little bit of a different approach you don't write the same exact record every time."
On the group's 2008 album, "Overcome":
Mike: "It's kind of like a one-song album, because 'Two Weeks' is still our biggest song and probably always will be... It's the one that people know and pay attention to. 'Chiron' gets some attention... That record, it kind of gets overshadowed by 'Two Weeks' because that song was so big for us. Still is — like, twice as big as the second-biggest song that we have. I don't know how many people are educated on the deep cuts on that album. I don't know if there's any of them. [Laughs]"
On being heavier than many of their active rock peers:
Mike: "We've done tours where we've been out with VOLBEAT and FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH — radio stuff. There was a span of time where we were wondering if we hurt ourselves by being so heavy on those radio tours. I know death metal fans are going to be, like, 'You're not heavy,' but if you stick us with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and we're playing older stuff — which back then, we were — it's heavy compared to what all those radio-rock people are used to. We were wondering, 'Man, did we confuse people all those years?'... Later on, it was easier to adjust the set. Back in the day, not so much — we had, like, two radio songs, so if we're out with FIVE FINGER like we were in 2011, we play our two or three radio songs, but the rest of them were really, really heavy. I think a lot of the crowd was, like, 'Why are they barking at me?'"
On the difference in "energy" when playing slower songs live:
Mike: "[Hit ballad] 'What If I Was Nothing' is obviously a completely different song than 'Fuck Love', but the crowd reaction is so good for it, that feels like a high-energy song to me. All the phones come out. People put up lighters or flashlights. The energy is so cool for that song. Even though it's a slow song, I feel like that one has one of the most energetic reactions. If it was a deep cut, there would be, like, 'Okay, this is weird now — you play a super-heavy song and people are beating each other up, and then we play a weird acoustic song'... We've kind of confused people over the years, and I get that. We don't feel bad for it... I've had friends I've known my whole life that sometimes they hear it and they're, like, 'What is happening?' They're just so confused. But we always go back to what works. It's kind of like a circle to try out and see what sticks."
On new guitarist Jason Richardson:
Mike: "I think for the old stuff, I would say, 'Keep it sounding the way it sounds.' [Late guitarist] Oli [Herbert] put so much time into those solos, and I think Jason wanted to learn them the way they are. Oli wrote so many cool solos over the years, so many cool riffs. And metal's not really an improv kind of thing anyways. Learn it the way it is, but obviously, when it comes time to do another album, and Jason's a part of it, we're not going to say, 'Hey, write like Oli.' We're not going to be DREAM THEATER on the next record, but we want him to add some of his stuff and mix it with our style. Hopefully something cool will come out of it."
Mike: "Oli was such a character. He loved guitar more than anyone I've ever seen in my life. He didn't do anything else. Everything else was just annoying to him. If he wasn't playing guitar, he probably hated it... Outside of sitting in a room playing guitar, he just didn't want to do anything else. He'd just play guitar all day until we went on stage, and I've seen him play guitar after we were done, too. Once he got excited and got on a roll, he was just nonstop... He got to tour for 15, 20 years, and he did get to live his actual dream. He lived off of guitar. After you were younger and you'd deliver pizza or you'd have your little starter jobs, he never had to do anything after that. I'm glad he got that."
ALL THAT REMAINS's latest album, "Victim Of The New Disease", was released in November via Fearless in North America and Eleven Seven in Europe.