As I Lay Dying
is a major player in the Metal scene. The band, which has released four studio albums, never seems to fade to the background when it comes to being on the cutting edge of heavy music. As I Lay Dying
, who is currently performing on the No Fear
tour with Lamb Of God
and Children Of Bodom
, is currently supporting their latest release, a DVD, This Is Who We Are
. Recently, Ultimate-Guitar caught up with As I Lay Dying
guitarist, Nick Hipa
to chat about their latest release, their new tour, and the status of As I Lay Dying
UG: How did AILD end up on this current tour with Lamb of God?
Lamb of God asked us to be a part of their tour, and we happily accepted. We were already friends from past tours/shows together, plus they're an insanely awesome band, so the tour was something we were genuinely looking forward to.
Of all the bands on this tour, which band are you most stoked about playing with?
I am equally excited to play with all of these bands for a lot of the same reasons. Primarily, there are a plethora of great musicians and great dudes to hang out with.
What's the title of the upcoming DVD and where will the new DVD be sold?
The DVD is called This Is Who We Are and should be available at all normal music retail outlets/record stores.
Where and when was it filmed?
The DVD was filmed in many locations, over many years, by many people. The majority of the footage was obtained by Denise Korycki, who is responsible for the entire documentary as well as recording the Seacoast, Jumping Turtle, and Grove shows that are in the live performance section of the DVD. She accompanied us for several days on practically every tour we have done since early 2004.
Who's idea was it to film a DVD?
"The tour was something we were genuinely looking forward to."
I would have to say ultimately it was our label's idea to put the DVD out, but the overall sentiment amongst everyone involved in this band was that it was about time as well.
Is there a moment on the DVD that was captured that you love to watch over and over?
There are actually several documented points in the band's history that I enjoyed watching when I first saw the DVD. In the documentary portion, one of the most brutal touring experiences we've ever had (being marooned in the desert) is definitely one of them. The "Crew" Section on the Bonus Disc is also another personal favorite, seeing as the majority of people who came out with us as techs are friends first.
Is the band currently writing or working with any new material?
Currently we are in the "personal demo-ing of ideas" stage of songwriting. Basically, all of us are recording demos and riffs on our own, which we will begin hashing out in the rehearsal room this summer when we are home from tour.
Will there be a new record in the near future? If so, what producer will you be working with?
So far it looks like the album is due for an early 2010 release, which means we will be hitting the studio at the end of the year. We don't know exactly who will be producing the album, but we have a solid list of people who will be speaking with soon.
What are some key elements and influences that have shaped the band over the years?
Touring has probably been the biggest influence on this band over the years. For example, we learn a lot about how songs we write in a small room actually translates in a live setting. Its very interesting how sometimes the coolest or most technical riffs aren't as powerful live as a solid, driving groove. I'm not speaking in the "what-the-crowd-likes" mentality either, its how we feel about playing the songs we wrote live. Another perk of being on the road is learning tips, riffs, techniques, licks and licks, from other musicians whom we respect. Apart from actually playing guitar, learning how bands run their production and gear is something I enjoy learning as well.
Have your influences changed since your first record?
Definitely. I always go through phases of being really stoked on particular bands/players and listen to them almost exclusively for months. Last year I couldn't stop listening to Ratt haha. Warren DeMartini rips!
Where did you learn to play guitar? Did you take lessons or teach yourself?
"Currently we are in the "personal demo-ing of ideas" stage of songwriting."
I did the same thing a lot of my friends did when we started playing guitar. I took beginner lessons where dudes were trying to teach me Nirvana songs, and soon after stopped because I wanted to shred like Randy Rhoads. I started improving most when I just sat in my room and made myself figure stuff out. When I was a little older however, I did take lessons from a dude named Mark Bond from my area. At that time he was the best guitar player/teacher I had ever known!
What advice do you have for a beginner guitar player that wants to take their guitar playing abilities to the next level?
I would encourage every guitar player at every level to never get bummed out on themselves. Guitar playing is entirely in your mind, and if you care enough about it, you can patiently work towards whatever goal it is you have with your instrument. It just takes time.
What's your favorite piece of gear that you own?
My custom Ibanez ART's are my favorite guitars. The play so well and sound killer!
What advice do you have for young hardcore/metalcore bands that are trying to make it in the music industry?
Never stop aspiring and don't sweat the small stuff.
Interview by Brandon Weiss