Interview: As I Lay Dying Says Ozzfest, Warped Tour Among Band’s Greatest Shows

As I Lay Dying, Courtesy Photo

As I Lay Dying Make Faith-Based Metal-Hardcore

When the guys of metal-hardcore group As I Lay Dying have time off from designing wacky apparel, they still plug away at what they do best: make brutal, colossal grind-core with lyrics that move the soul.

The San Diego outfit’s latest LP, The Powerless Rise, shot to No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart last year. The 11-track disc packs extreme tracks like “Parallels” and “Anodyne Sea,” with dramatic dynamics and riff-heavy passages that give way to breakneck thrashing.

Guitarist Nick Hipa checked in with Audio Ink Radio to name his favorite guitar players, talk about the band’s Christian faith and reminisce about As I Lay Dying’s greatest shows.

Audio Ink: What’s the first album you bought?

Hipa: The first album was probably the Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads tribute album. Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon was a big one, too. Metallica’s Black Album was the first album where I was like, “Wow,” and was blown away by the sweet metal guitar playing.

Audio Ink: Your guitar playing seems heavily influenced by ’80s metal players. What guitarists do you look up to most?

Hipa: Randy Rhodes is always a favorite. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Dimebag Darrell. But my favorite guitar player you would probably never guess: John Frusciante [formerly] from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. With everything he’s done for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and all the solo stuff, he knows how to move my soul. On the shredder angle, Eddie Van Halen and George Lynch (of Dokken).

Audio Ink: What do you listen to on the road?

Hipa: I listen to everything. As a guitarist, I’ve always been drawn to more traditional forms of heavy metal: old school stuff like the Randy Rhoads era of Ozzy Osbourne. That’s my favorite type of guitar-based music, and I find myself playing that all the time when I’m at home. The Scorpions are another metal band that aren’t as brutal and aggressive and are more feel-good. There’s not a whole lot of that.

Audio Ink: As I Lay Dying have played some prestigious gigs: Taste of Chaos, Ozzfest, Sounds of the Underground. What show sticks out most?

Hipa: They all stick out, but for different reasons. Some fests like Ozzfest stick out more, because we were so stoked to be on tour with Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Mastadon and Arch Enemy. Those are all bands we really look up to. On Warped Tour, I remember hanging out with so many cool bands. All of the shows have their place in my heart.

One that was all-encompassing was Soundwave in 2008 in Australia. Playing with Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Alexis on Fire and Incubus and having a few days off in a random city Australia; you can’t beat that.

Audio Ink: Why do you think it is you’re one of the few Christian bands who have been accepted by mainstream metal fans?

Hipa: I think a lot of it is because we don’t highlight that members of the band are Christian. Anyone who has seen the band knows that when they leave the show, they remember the show in the live sense. Everyone’s beliefs are an aspect of them, but there isn’t an agenda behind the band as in being an evangelical band that’s trying to spread a certain message to you. That’s not the intent when we step on stage. We want to have a solid show and have fun playing and ripping on guitar. Our love of music and passion for doing what we do is the same as any other band out there.

On tour: As I Lay Dying kicks off a European tour early August. Find tour dates on the band’s official website.

Watch As I Lay Dying Perform ‘Through Struggle’

Anne Erickson

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