Underoath fans rejoice! The Christian post-hardcore heroes are hitting our shores in 2017, bringing with them not one but two entire albums. In celebration of ten years’ passing since Define the Great Line and They’re Only Chasing Safety, and everything the band has achieved since, Underoath are performing both albums in their entirety. Music Injection spoke to frontman Spencer Chamberlain to get the lowdown on how this epic tour came to be.
MI: You’re bringing Underoath over to Australia next year we hear, are you excited? What have your experiences been like before with Australia?
Spencer: We’ve always had awesome experiences with Australia! It’s one of our favourite countries to be in, the country itself is beautiful, even when we came over in wintertime. And the shows have always been awesome for us there! Coming back is really exciting. I’ve been once with my other band, Sleepwave, since Underoath was there last time, and it’s been a while for Underoath. Sleepwaves was there on the last Soundwave so it’s been two or three years for me but it’s been very exciting. It’s a shame Soundwave doesn’t happen anymore though.
MI: You plan on playing Define the Great Line and They’re Only Chasing Safety in their entirety, what was behind the decision to do that?
Spencer: Originally we tried to get back together for a ten-year anniversary of Define the Great Line and the idea was that we weren’t sure if we were going to continue to be a band, but we knew that we wanted to tour that record to give something back to our fans because every day they were begging us to get back together and play, and that never really died down which was crazy. We knew they missed Underoath bad, and half of us never wanted to break it off in the first place. When the other guys that wanted to break up decided they wanted to tour, we thought “well, we missed the ten-year anniversary of Chasing Safety so why not play both records?” as a big thankyou to our fans. We wanted to give them the best Underoath show they could imagine. Immediately after two or three practices we knew we wanted to be back together, so after that first U.S. tour, before we did something else, we wanted to tour across the world because we have fans everywhere.
MI: According to the internet, which you can’t always trust, these albums were written very close together, does that change how you look back at them and how they relate to each other?
Spencer: Uhh, no! (laughs) They weren’t written close together at all, we wrote They’re Only Chasing Safety in 2003 and Define the Great Line in late 2005 to early 2006. They were written apart so there was a totally different mindset for the writing of them. I think when we wrote Chasing Safety we were only kids, and it was the first record with the six members on it that formed the lineup that people know as Underoath today. Three people were left over from the first record, myself included, and James and Grant. I think we were young, and we just wanted to do some songs and didn’t know what would happen. We were still playing for under a hundred kids every night when we made that record, we weren’t a big band at all. But that record took off, as we were touring our asses off. But that record didn’t reflect how we sounded live; we were a lot more energetic, a lot more grungey and violent live, and I think that mindspace went into writing Define the Great Line. That’s what made that record so different I think, we wanted to write a record that captured how we sounded and felt how we feel live. We wanted to put that on tape, and that’s what we did, and we’ve carried out that way of writing for the rest of our career. I feel that [They’re Only Chasing Safety] was an experiment or a bit of a question mark, and I think when Define the Great Line happened we were more of a team, and moving forward was a lot easier because we were all playing on the same team and we really worked hard for the same goal, as opposed to Only Chasing Safety, which we wrote just as kids.
MI: As you said, it’s been roughly ten years since these albums came out, has revisiting that time in your lives been a positive experience for you guys?
Spencer: Yeah, absolutely! Even some some songs that we’ve played and will always play. Like, if you go and see Metallica, you’ll hear songs that came out before you were born. Does that make them a nostalgia band? I don’t think so. I think that’s what they do. I think bands have records that connect with people and bands reckon that they’re their favourite, and I think that it’s important unless you plan on changing the band or being different. It hasn’t been that long since we’ve played those songs, and there’s been a handful, I’d say only two, that we have never played live off of Chasing Safety. It was a bit funny re-learning a song that we wrote so long ago, but now that we’ve done a full U.S. tour and some summer festivals it seems normal now, but most of those songs we’ve played after they were written throughout our career.
MI: You’ve stated before that between the two albums, you’ve had to change your vocals quite a bit to get that grungier sound, how do you feel about where your vocals are at today?
Spencer: Every year as an artist you should be progressing. It’s something that I try to do as a guitar player, a piano player and a singer. It’s something I try to do whether it’s writing songs, or in the studio, or playing an instrument, or on stage. I’m constantly making music, it’s what I’ve done my whole life since I was a kid. I was in elementary school when I started playing music, and writing shortly after I learnt how to play anything. I just think that it’s a constant goal, and it’s a cool thing with records that you can see people progress, and I think it’s a natural human way of doing things, or at least I feel that it should be for anyone, no matter what your craft, passion or skill. You should be constantly striving to be better at it, and that’s just the kind of person I am. If I was a professional surfer instead of a singer I’d want to be better every time I got on the board y’know? I think it’s a pretty common way to go about things, and vocally I’ve been trained most of my life, I was in chorus at school and I’d take guitar lessons and jazz bass when I was a little kid, and my whole life has been about music so I think my vocals are evolving and progressing. I know I can sing a lot better than I ever could before, and I’ll probably say that every year you talk to me. I’m not trying to sound cocky, that’s not at all what I want to portray, I’m just trying to say that I’m constantly trying to better my craft.
MI: Do you have a rough idea of where it is you want to be heading or do you base your progress on what you see behind you?
Spencer: I just try to… I Just think it’s a natural progression. The more you’re singing and practicing and warming up before shows and practicing in studio sessions and performing, the easier it gets. We’re playing a two-hour long set now and when I was twenty-two years old I would never have been able to do that. It’s just amazing to see how stuff like that becomes. I remember when Underoath started to headline it was like, wow, how are we going to play longer than thirty minutes? And that just comes with time, and with everyone in the band constantly improving.
MI: What’s next for Underoath?
Spencer: Underoath is not planning on stopping. We’ve burnt the candle at both ends, no pun intended, and we were so young when it started that there wasn’t a chance in hell that we could’ve made it through without breaking up at one point. You can’t be that young, and we weren’t well travelled. You become a man on the road, and I think when you’re a boy and you’re in a group of friends, whatever your clique is, you all have the same taste, the same bands, the same clothes, and that’s probably why you started the band in the first place. And then life happens, and the road happens, and you grow up. You become an individual. That is what was really tough for Underoath; we became different from each other, and that’s totally healthy but when you’re trapped on a bus or a plane, not so much. We really over-toured, and you can’t tour that way when you’re headlining. Y’know, you can’t show up three or four times to the same city, it’s not good for your career or the band. We didn’t have time to see things clearly because of this, and we really drove the nail all the way down until we had to walk away but luckily three and a half years apart allowed a lot of time for healing and seeing things with clear eyes. We had to take a step back before we could take a step or ten steps forward, and Underoath is a much healthier band than when we were 17 years old. We get along better now, we respect each other, we are all grown men that know how life works and understand each other’s differences, and it’s a really healthy relationship right now. That’s pretty unstoppable, because as a band that was what always held us back, and I’m sure you’ll see that on stage live; you can see the love and respect everyone has for each other and how excited they are to be there again, and that hasn’t happened in so long. You can’t teach that, or fake that kind of fire or passion, so to have that back is pretty incredible. I can honestly say, speaking for all my friends in the band, that we honestly have that back. We drove that [nail] down so hard and became the band that hated each other and hated doing what we loved the most, but when reality set in that when we’re done, and the band is over and we’ll never play those songs again, that we’ll never share those songs that so many fans connected to, we realised how lucky we were and how much we appreciated what we had. Australia will get to see this newer, better, healthier Underoath.
MI: Thank you so much for your time Spencer, any last words or thoughts you’d like to share?
Spencer: I can’t wait to get down to Australia and I’m very thankful for our fans down under that I see so very often on twitter or Instagram! I saw them asking us, “come to Australia!” the whole time we were on the North America Rebirth tour, and we’re so happy to finally announce it. We’ve known for so long and it has been hurting me inside keeping it a secret. I think this is the first time since 2010, I think that was the last time, but it’s been a while. We can’t wait to get back and hang out, see the beautiful cities and beaches, and play some rad shows!
Interview by Jordan Sibberas
When your favourite band goes on their farewell tour, you go. It doesn’t matter how far you have to drive; you just go. UNDEROATH’s farewell show is a chance to remember, a chance to re-live, and a chance to be excited again. These nights are about the shared experience of over a decade’s worth of music. That even a fraction of that experience can be witnessed in one night, is a wonder in itself.
Dubbed the Rebirth Tour, UNDEROATH will be playing the classic albums ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’ and ‘Define The Great Line’ in their entirety. The recent USA Tour saw every show sell out in advance with fans and media alike in absolute unison with their thoughts:
“They nailed it front to back, performing like they’ve steadily been on tour since the hiatus, the audience singing along to just about every chorus and hook”. – Punk News
“Underoath is giving diehard fans exactly what they want, and from the sound of it, they’ve never believed in these songs more than they do now.” – Enfocus Magazine
“They were soaked in sweat by the third song, and playing as passionately on their last as they did on their first. You’d swear they’d be dying up there, if only they didn’t look so alive”. – Tampa Bay.com St. Petersburg
“Once on stage, with a near perfect timed explosion of light, music and fan screams, it was clear that Underoath was back. Their hiatus had no effect on their ability to move their devoted fans, and move they did; with hands pumping, fans jumping and a waterfall of surfers flowing over the front barricades into the pit” – Rock Paper Rock
Australian fans your tickets go on sale Monday 17 October at 9am through www.tickets.destroyalllines.com
Friday 10 February – Eatons Hill, Brisbane – Lic AA
Saturday 11 February – Enmore Theatre, Sydney – Lic AA
Sunday 12 February – 170 Russell, Melbourne – 18+
Wednesday 15 February – The Gov, Adelaide – Lic AA
Thursday 16 February – Metropolis, Fremantle – 18+