Interview with Jordan Mancino from As I Lay Dying

Few bands that have reached their centenary have been as influential and powerful in a genre or metal come to that as Californian metalcore band As I Lay Dying. To celebrate the band has released Decas, a twelve track release of original material, covers and remixes, a gift to the fans and themselves to enjoy the occasion. We had the pleasure of asking drummer Jordan Mancino about the release and of course As I lay Dying and their ten years as a band.

Hi and thank you for taking time to chat with us here at The RingMaster Review.

We will start with the obvious question how does it feel to be celebrating your centenary as a band?

It definitely feels good knowing that we’ve made it as a band this long.  Of course, we attribute much of our longevity to our amazing fans. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to do this.

Obviously one hopes their band will be one that lasts and finds success in some degree, but what were your initial hopes when starting out or was it just a case of living the moment as a band?

The only thing that was on our mind when we started this band was to play heavy music and tour whenever and wherever we could.  We didn’t think this far ahead.  We try not to dwell on the future or the past too much as a band, which is why I think we’ve been able to stay relevant all these years in a constantly changing genre of music.

As I Lay Dying has obviously grown as a band over the past decade but what would you say is the biggest change?

I think the biggest changes have been on an individual level.  Getting to travel the world and experience life as we do has allowed us to learn quite bit about the world and who we are as people.  I know for a fact that we feel so fortunate to be playing music that we love and sharing it with people across the globe.  

How has the music world itself changed in your time as a band in its attitude and support?

A TON!  But, what industry doesn’t change?  Surviving for these past 10 years we’ve developed the ability to adapt to certain circumstances and sometimes change or make your own rules. Who knows what the industry will be like in another 10 years, but the fact will always remain that people need and want good music and to see that music performed in a live setting. You can’t replace that.

Looking back is there anything that you would have changed either musically or in other aspects involved in being in a band?

Of course.  Hindsight is always 20/20, right? But, we’ve been pretty lucky over the years and haven’t made too many decisions that result in constant regret. Overall we are quite happy with the way we’ve done things as a band in every aspect.  We’ve always stayed true to what this band was from the get go, that is writing and bringing heavy music to the masses.

How has the songwriting changed as a band and individually?

We are constantly growing as individuals and as musicians and songwriters.  In the earlier years we had many member changes, which of course kept the songwriting progressing

Your new EP Decas marks the centenary and I hope this comes over as meant haha but have you approached it more as a celebration release with the covers and remixes than a landmark in the band’s productivity?

I think it’s more of a celebration for our fans and us and I definitely don’t take offense to that.  The content of this record isn’t typical of our band, which is why it is a special release and not to be viewed as a normal full length.  It’s supposed to enjoyable, fun, interesting, heavy, etc. while showing another side of this band; hence the covers, and remixes and extreme originals.

The three original songs ‘Paralysed’, ‘From Shapeless to Breakable’, and ‘Moving Forward’ are typically immense and striking, are they a taste of what is to come on the next album?

Thanks!  Well, I would say a taste, but that’s as far as I can take it ‘cause we haven’t written anything yet for the new record.  All I know is we are going to push the elements and characteristics of our sound more and more with every record we put out. I guess it would get boring if we kept putting out the same record for our fans and us.

The covers of songs by Slayer, Judas Priest, and the Descendents (which your version we adore here) give homage to your influences. Were these the main three bands that make a mark on your musical lives or just the songs that worked best from an array of influences?

I think you nailed it with the “array of influences”

Who now of contemporary bands gives you food for thought when it comes to writing songs?

It’s hard to say.  I wouldn’t say I’m stuck in the past as far as my influences go, but the reality is that most of the bands I derive influence from are older bands.  There are older bands that are putting out new records that I really like, if that’s considered contemporary.  (Testament, Machine Head, Fear Factory, Slayer, etc.)

I have to be honest and admit remixes are a bugbear here at the review, still trying to understand their need anywhere generally. So have to ask why did you include them on the EP? Was it your idea from the start or was it they (the people remixing the songs) who approached you?

It’s what a lot of our fans requested. It isn’t typical for us or a metal band to go the remix route, but, hey, we asked our fans what they wanted to hear and it was a common request.  They’re on the record to be listened to by those that want to listen.  For those that don’t enjoy that stuff, there’s a mechanism called a stop button on most audio players…  Sorry for the sarcasm. Haha.  We did it for our fans!  They keep us and this scene alive and deserve some respect and that was our way of showing it.

What is next for As I Lay Dying, tours, album?

We are currently finishing up a Euro tour with Amon Amarth then head straight to our US headliner, A Decade of Destruction Tour, then after that it’s back in to the studio for another record.  We aren’t going to travelling the world supporting Decas other than this tour.  It’s supposed to be something special and we didn’t want it to seem as if we were trying to push this as a new full length original record.

Over the ten years of the band what is the one moment that has made the biggest impact and been the most satisfying?

It’s hard to say because there have been so many great moments.  Any time my family gets to be at one of shows always means a lot.  The amount of support I received from them is mind blowing and I wouldn’t be here without them.

A great many thanks for talking to us, it has been a pleasure. Would you like to leave with a word to your fans and metal lovers everywhere?

Thank you!  You questions were thoughtful and I enjoyed answering them.
We will be back on the road with a new record in 2012, that is if the world doesn’t end…

Decas is available now via Metal Blade Records.

For more information on the release and the band http://asilaydying.com/

 

Read the Decas review @http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/as-i-lay-dying-%E2%80%93-decas/

RingMaster 03/11/2011

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