MEB staffer Austin Gordon got the chance to talk to Aaron Gillespie of The Almost about his experiences with To Write Love On Her Arms and the massively successful self-help movement, as well as his band’s new record, fatherhood, and playing during Underoath’s final farewell show in Florida. Check out the interview below!
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MEB: So the reason we’re all here, is to celebrate this amazing event: the To Write Love On Her Arms “Heavy & Light” tour. Tell me about what this tour means to you and your experience with TWLOHA.
Aaron Gillespie: The tour started as a show, a few years ago. Jamie had an idea to do a thing called “Heavy & Light,” it’s such a showcase of hope. Such a show with a purpose. It’s more than just a concert. Tons of information. It’s a real positive thing that doesn’t happen a lot, especially in this genre. It’s a great thing.
So many kids come to be a part of this beautiful celebration of life because they feel that this is a community they can reach out to, to be accepted and understand that there is hope, and love all around them. They say that “love is the movement.” Expanding on that thought, what does love as a movement mean to you?
I think it means everything. I think God is love, love is life, I think that a lot of people don’t feel that; and I think that’s the point. We’re trying to show that that exists. It’s an outgoing thing.
The music industry is very fake, and at times entirely transparent. Every message can easily be misinterpreted, and that’s the reality of it. The absolute myriad of positivity of this tour is one thing though that can’t be replaced. How important is it that these entities like TWLOHA stay around?
I think in this day and age, people aren’t going to listen to anything else. You know? They’re going to listen to something like this and I think that it’s so important that we keep that around, so their voice can be heard. I don’t think a lot of people are going to do this on their own.
Now let’s talk about The Almost. So there are some very exciting things coming up; your new record Fear Inside Our Bones is up first. Tell me about the recording process with Marshall Altman and the attitude of taking everything live and more rock and roll this time around.
It was so fast, it was easy. It was easy in that way. We just rehearsed for a while and recorded the whole thing in four days!
Four days? Straight through.
Four days. We did all of the music and then I stayed afterwards to do vocals for a few weeks. It was a three or four-day thing man, we were in and out. I feel like when you’re writing and making music the first stuff is typically the best, so it just felt urgent; it was good.
What would you say the progression has been like since Monster, Monster? What was the mindset like whenever you guys were in the writing process?
You know, we just wanted to make honest songs. When you do that, whatever’s gonna come out is gonna come out. I’ve never been a fan of being the type of musician that’s like “I’m gonna make this type of record, or that type of record.” I’ve always just wanted to make records that are who I am at that time. We just went full boar into it and where we were at the time, and that’s what happened.
Honesty is the best policy right?
I usually ask people if their new record has an intended goal to describe it in five words or less, but I think this record might have more to say than what could be contained in five little words. So instead, I’ll just ask: if this record has an intended goal, or message, what is it?
It does. There’s hope and peace and grace, and it’s free for you. We’re all born into pain, into sin, and into a world that’s not exactly perfect but there’s hope.
That’s definitely more than five words.
I know, and I even kept it quick!
Tell me about how fatherhood has changed writing music for you and the place it comes from now.
It has changed everything in every way. I can’t even. It’s hard to expound on it because it’s just so surreal, you know? It’s just everything. Yes.
Let’s just go with yes.
Touring-wise, the idea with the upcoming tour is that you guys are sort of taking matters back into your own hands. Sweaty kids gathering around in a small club to rock and roll like you’re supposed to. Tell me about what spurred this thought of “roughing it out” rather than the more comfortable tour style people might expect?
We just did that, yeah. It’s super fun, [but] we all got sick, and that sucked just because we all were crammed in a van. We’re doing the Finch “What It Is to Burn” 10th Year Anniversary thing here in a few weeks; we’re stoked about that because it’s a little more cushy, so we’ll see.
That was actually what the next question was. Are you stoked about touring with Finch?
I am. I loved that record when I was younger. People are really receptive to that trip, so yeah.
Now, let’s talk about your solo stuff. Anthem Song was released to fantastic reception back in 2011, and now that you’re gearing up for more stuff from The Almost, this begs the question later down the road: is a possible new solo record in the works?
For sure. I kinda started working on it now, I just don’t know when. I don’t want to cross-contaminate the two. We’ll take some time later on down the road. I’m not sure of an actual time frame.
Are there any new collaborations with other artists you have in the works for 2013?
A little bit, but I can’t talk about it yet though.
Secret stuff! Sounds like fun.
Lastly, I’d like to talk about your recent performance with Underoath on the last date of their farewell tour. What led up to the idea of you joining them on stage for the final time, and what did the experience mean to you?
Dude, it was rad. We talked about it for months way before the tour started. It was just surreal, it was really cool. The final thing. I was in that band for 14 years. Closing that chapter was very strange. It was good man, amazing night. 5,000 people from 10 countries showed up.
Any particular reason why those songs were chosen?
Well we wanted to do the two drum-set thing on stage, and then “Reinventing Your Exit” was the first song that was written when the band started to do their thing.
Thank you so much for all of your time. Any last things you would like to say to all of your fans out there?
Thanks for reading, or listening. I don’t know what you’re doing.
Well thanks for reading and listening!
I’m Austin with MindEqualsBlown, thanks for listening!