As I Lay Dying: 'Never Stop Aspiring And Don't Sweat The Small Stuff'

UG caught up with As I Lay Dying guitarrist, Nick Hipa to chat about their latest release, their new tour, and the status of the band.

As I Lay Dying: 'Never Stop Aspiring And Don't Sweat The Small Stuff'
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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? Nick Hipa: 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.

"The tour was something we were genuinely looking forward to."

Who's idea was it to film a DVD? 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!

"Currently we are in the "personal demo-ing of ideas" stage of songwriting."

Where did you learn to play guitar? Did you take lessons or teach yourself? 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 Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2009

80 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    HxCida
    Awsome, I love As I Lay Dying! great interview, very inspiring.
    Scourge441
    Checked. As I Lay Dying seem like a cool bunch of guys, but their music just doesn't do anything for me.
    xXChimairaXx
    I want his guitar so bad. IBanez should make it an artist series because it is so awesome all around. Heavy as heck though. I saw him playing the destroyer before they brought it back. Hopefully they'll make his for the public.
    Cannibal Koala
    You know what pisses me off? Little kids who just screw up things because they don't like a certain thing, or just don't like that... Guys just get a life. Btw, AISD is an insane band, Love 'em! Good Luck on the No Fear Tour dudes!
    Kmaster_MXC
    lol @ the in flames fanboy trying to be elitist. epic fail, same goes for all the *****s who come here trying to look cool bashing metalcore bands. if you don't like them just don't post shit. and btw listening to in flames and all that melodeath shit doesn't make you a "real" metalhead so just shut the **** up.
    LordWorm420
    cobainAnselmo wrote: although i don't really like "metalcore" this band is really talented.. their musical work is awesome and lambesis is one of the heaviest metal vocalist... just listen to an ocean between us...and you'll know what i mean...
    heaviest metal vocalist? oh god, the ignorance
    I.Crossfire.I
    Oblivoath666 wrote: Wow ....im sorry AILD fans but...these guys suck.....their riffs sound exactly the same on every song, and the singer makes absoulutely no sense...it kinda sounds like hes throwing up.
    btw, you spent 6 minutes listening to the band. I'm glad that you can listen to 3 albums worth of music and make a statement like that.
    cobainAnselmo
    although i don't really like "metalcore" this band is really talented.. their musical work is awesome and lambesis is one of the heaviest metal vocalist... just listen to an ocean between us...and you'll know what i mean...
    BSM123456789
    romencer17 wrote: I love how mad as i lay dying fangirls get when you make fun of this band
    haha me too
    LordWorm420
    beckyb89 wrote: ok so Lamb of God is METAL As I Lay Dying METAL Slipknot METAL who the f*ck cares about which genre of metal everyone is putting them in nowadays and unless the people ripping on ANY of these bands can get on stage and play note for note with them they can't say shit. As I Lay Dying has some wicked guitarists I went to see them play, was standing right in front of the guitarists the entire time and dude he can f*ckin rip. Not to mention I would love to see the people who think they can rip like them come out with an entire album with songs that are half as decent as theirs hope the pussies quit ripping on guys that have the talent to make it and just enjoy playing and listening to their music, if you don't enjoy it don't listen to it just don't bitch!
    first off, we care about genres cause we don't want aild fanboys thinking they know anything about extreme metal. second, their guitar parts are very simple and repetetive. I've tried learning them and it wsa the most boring shit ever. Third, obviously a lot of people could make music just like this, since almost every metalcore band is a replica of this one.
    guitarsftw
    in my opinion, AILD did great things for kids just getting into metal. i think the reason people don't like them is that they didn't progress in extreme music at the rate that the kids they inspired did, who are probably now into bands much more intense and masculine than AILD. AILD, in my mind, are milking the same recipe that made them good and its making them suck (to me). I'm not much of a metalcore fan anymore, but i believe that bands like Atreyu, Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, etc., progressed at least a little bit, and provided their listeners with new stuff, rather than the old stuff. AILD had trouble getting over the "just another metalcore band" label, and are still struggling with it. they have enough writing ability and inspiration to be able to overcome it, but they need an extra boost.
    Unforgiven87
    maiden666pwns wrote: AILD= only good metalcore band( with trivium ) 'nuff said
    AILD and Trivium are like the most hated bands ever but theyre both ****ing amazing. Trivium's musicianship has increased so much from ascendancy to Shogun. I Can't wait for Triv's new CD to come out after their tour.
    Unforgiven87
    AILD is amazing live. They're basically perfect, except the singer tosses in some random brees now and then. And im like that one guy who posted saying, I went from green day to death metal. same here but i was sum41.
    JagerSlushy
    GenerationKILL wrote: Oblivoath666 wrote: Wow ....im sorry AILD fans but...these guys suck.....their riffs sound exactly the same on every song, and the singer makes absoulutely no sense...it kinda sounds like hes throwing up. Your post before this one was about you inquiring about these guys and saying you'd check them out, obviously, after only listening to perhaps 30 seconds of each song you came to this lame conclusion. Opinions are like *****s, everyones got them, and they all stink, yours esspecially considering you're not doing anything better with your own life, instead you're sitting around in some forum running your mouth like some 15 year old girl. And FYI: As I Lay Dying are a christian metal band, so you and your trendy "666" tag in your screen name should just piss off anyway. PS: The rest of you should just agree to disagree and shut the **** up, every thread for every piece of news on this website is filled with pointless arguments from abunch of morons who are too naive to give anything other than what they know a chance, we all like different things, thats one of the great things about having an individual personality, so quit trying to cram your half-assed opinions down other peoples' throats. have a nice day, internet-losers.
    +1
    GenerationKILL
    Oblivoath666 wrote: Wow ....im sorry AILD fans but...these guys suck.....their riffs sound exactly the same on every song, and the singer makes absoulutely no sense...it kinda sounds like hes throwing up.
    Your post before this one was about you inquiring about these guys and saying you'd check them out, obviously, after only listening to perhaps 30 seconds of each song you came to this lame conclusion. Opinions are like *****s, everyones got them, and they all stink, yours esspecially considering you're not doing anything better with your own life, instead you're sitting around in some forum running your mouth like some 15 year old girl. And FYI: As I Lay Dying are a christian metal band, so you and your trendy "666" tag in your screen name should just piss off anyway. PS: The rest of you should just agree to disagree and shut the **** up, every thread for every piece of news on this website is filled with pointless arguments from abunch of morons who are too naive to give anything other than what they know a chance, we all like different things, thats one of the great things about having an individual personality, so quit trying to cram your half-assed opinions down other peoples' throats. have a nice day, internet-losers.
    Oblivoath666
    I doubt anyone will read this, but I would like to apologize for any stupid comments I made regarding this band. Going to a page anywhere about a certain band you know you don't like or don't give a chance to like and disrespecting them like I did is unacceptable. Also I actually like AILD now.
    RMNT
    I love AILD. Nick is one of my favorite guitarists, his style and humor offstage is amazing I'm not a christian or really anything at the moment, but i love the fact that a metalcore band such as AILD can incorperate such christianity into their music!
    sexclamation
    I hate it when dumbasses have to turn everything into an arguement on something that encourages individual opinions. It is true that As I Lay Dying can have similar sounds in songs that they have written but everyone sometimes does that when making music over a long period of time (even people who are trying to be original). It's true that pretty much any band can join the metalcore genre by pickin up a couple tricks from other metalcore bands but those few tricks don't define the basis of metalcore. I've heard metalcore that was the most interesting music I've ever heard. It's all about the ways you expand upon the concept. Who gives a shit about genres anyways people. Just listen to good music!
    screamsoftly
    romencer17 wrote: I love how mad as i lay dying fangirls get when you make fun of this band
    I love how arrogant internet tough guys get when people question their decision to be *****s. You've posted about four comments here. Go troll somewhere else. This was one of the first metal bands whose songs I could actually play, so I kind of appreciate them for that. That said, the clean vocals always bug me and the riffs are pretty repetitive. Doing the same thing over and over and writing it off as being part of the genre just doesn't cut it as an excuse for me.
    izhar
    After watching the DVD, I'm kind of surprised he didn't mention anything as being "crucial" or "completely legit." lol
    RockOnZeppelin
    I'm not a big fan of these guys (I'm not really a metalhead at all to be honest) but he conducts himself well in this interview. Good to know their are musicians of this caliber in all genres
    guitargod13456
    this is the first scream band i listened to and a first didnt like them but now i like them alot i like songs like i never wanted and nothing left
    LordWorm420
    BurningTheLives wrote: Wow, after reading through some of the comments on here, I think comments shouldn't be allowed on these news stories, because it seems to attract close minded *****s. The people talking shit about the band prove themselves as being close minded, because if you weren't, you would be able to understand the fact that maybe you just don't have an ear for this type of music, or more specifically, this band. So to the people talking about how their riffs sound the same, they don't to the people that actually listen to this music and this band.
    So you're admitting the people who enjoy this band are too ignorant to realize how generic this band is?
    BurningTheLives
    Wow, after reading through some of the comments on here, I think comments shouldn't be allowed on these news stories, because it seems to attract close minded *****s. The people talking shit about the band prove themselves as being close minded, because if you weren't, you would be able to understand the fact that maybe you just don't have an ear for this type of music, or more specifically, this band. So to the people talking about how their riffs sound the same, they don't to the people that actually listen to this music and this band.
    BurningTheLives
    Awesome interview. This band is very talented. An Ocean Between Us is one of my favorite albums of all time, every song on it is awesome.
    AILDistheBEST
    Ok this is one thing i dont understand, if you dont like this band, why do u even read the article?? Let alone negatively comment on why u dont like said band with less than legit reasoning and just piss people off. those that complain about the triplet breakdowns need to realize that that goes with the genre of music. Besides, u gotta admit that nick freakin' shreds!!
    vanthemetalman
    the floor in Houston was BRUTAL! when AILD and Lamb whent on!!! i love both bands and recomend them to anyone interested in talented metal acts
    Shredder Guitar
    ]
    jetfuel495 wrote: Jester InFlames wrote: Slow_N_Low wrote: Basic interview, but he sounds cool. And AILD were the band that got me to transition into extreme music. They are definitely on teh forefront. extrme music???...THIS????... Don't be like that, man. You know he meant that this band is what helped him get into heavier music genres. Anyway, I used to be really into this band. It was the first band I listened to which used mostly screams. Before these guys I hated screams. Loved growls, but hated the hell out of screams. But I liked the way Tim did them.
    definitely man, same here. i never used to like highs that much either..now Beneath the Sky is one of my favorite bands. go figure. lol
    jackblackyeah17
    I'm sorry, I'll admit that 94 hours and behind me lies another fallen soldier are original. every other song I have heard by them sounds like the same simple open 6th string alternating 5th and 4th string progressions and basic breakdowns with lots of triplets. isn't that what metalcore is about? not trying to be an *****, but I think ever metalcore band uses those kinds of riff.
    romencer17
    Skimp wrote: romencer17 wrote: justinb904 wrote: romencer17 wrote: **** this band. way to play the same riff and breakdown for a few minutes and call it a song. way to flame without making a legit point or showing any knowledge of what you're talking about maybe if you actually read what I wrote you would see I did make a point. every single song sounds exactly the same. Umm so your saying that 94 hours, through struggle , or even forsaken sound alike they have different tones and feelings in there songs but I can say they might sound alike in some areas since they do play in the same key or around they same notes... They still rock out though!! Not many bands that I have seen rock as hard as them live. Great band.
    I'm sorry, I'll admit that 94 hours and behind me lies another fallen soldier are original. every other song I have heard by them sounds like the same simple open 6th string alternating 5th and 4th string progressions and basic breakdowns with lots of triplets.
    Skimp
    romencer17 wrote: justinb904 wrote: romencer17 wrote: **** this band. way to play the same riff and breakdown for a few minutes and call it a song. way to flame without making a legit point or showing any knowledge of what you're talking about maybe if you actually read what I wrote you would see I did make a point. every single song sounds exactly the same.
    Umm so your saying that 94 hours, through struggle , or even forsaken sound alike they have different tones and feelings in there songs but I can say they might sound alike in some areas since they do play in the same key or around they same notes... They still rock out though!! Not many bands that I have seen rock as hard as them live. Great band.
    romencer17
    justinb904 wrote: romencer17 wrote: **** this band. way to play the same riff and breakdown for a few minutes and call it a song. way to flame without making a legit point or showing any knowledge of what you're talking about
    maybe if you actually read what I wrote you would see I did make a point. every single song sounds exactly the same.
    gregory_h_42
    hehe "What advice do you have for young hardcore/metalcore bands that are trying to make it in the music industry?" find a new style :p i love metalcore but its getting stale quick.
    jakewynnrocks
    too bad the interview wasnt more involved. still havent been able to get the new dvd yet, but most definately will soon....