5 Questions With All That Remains’ Phil Labonte: Punk Rock vs. Democratic Party, New Album + More
Although All That Remains are hard at work on their new album, we had the opportunity to sit down with frontman Phil Labonte to talk about their last album, brand new music tentatively due out early next year, politics and more. Leave it up to him to always give you his honest opinion on just about anything. Check out our interview with All That Remains singer Phil Labonte below:
The Order of Things has been out for over a year, the latest single is titled ”Criticism and Self-Realization.” Can you talk about the track musically and lyrically?
It was kind of a two part song, the chorus was kind of someone in a position of power reflecting on what happens and the verses are more like the people saying, “These are the problems that we see and why aren’t you fixing it.” It’s not specific to anything but it’s more about power structures and the way politicians and government -- and it’s not just the U.S. government, it’s power structures in any country and how they will tell the people what they think they want but often people are like, “No, that’s not what we want.”
When writing, is there a particular theme that you always find yourself going back to?
I think that I have noticed in the past few records, things pop up without me really noticing it. I don’t intend to write a song a certain way but I’ll just get a vibe on something, a line that’s cool and I’ll go with it. It tends to be a lot on confronting power, people in power or confronting social norm -- I mean nowadays, as much as punk rock people would hate to admit it, if you’re a democrat you’re not punk rock anymore. [Laughs] If you’re a democrat, you’re straight up mainstream, you’re doing the safe thing, what you’re supposed to be doing and that’s not punk rock. Punk rock is supposed to be against social norms and push the boundaries, don’t tell me that you’re punk rock and you’re a Hillary [Clinton] supporter, I ain’t buying it, there’s nothing punk rock about that.
Have there been ideas floating around for new material?
Oh yeah, we’re writing heavily, we’ll record and have something out in the first quarter of next year, January or February. Nothing is set in stone, those are kind of loose plans but we’re hoping to have a new single out in the fall and a tour in the fall supporting. We like to put them out every two years so if we can get one out in January, it’s kind of the plan. We have some stuff together, we’re working with a new producer, we’re doing things very differently. I went out and worked with some other people and other writers to come up with different ideas. With All That Remains, the three primary writers are all guitar players, me, Oli [Herbert] and Mike [Martin] and we wanted to do something different, which we try to do every record – so we were like if we want to really do something different we have to change things up. I went out came up with some ideas with some other guys, brought them back to the band and they wrote riffs for them. Basically we came up with some core progressions and they went ahead and wrote riffs around them and made them All That Remains songs.
How was the lyrical collaboration for you?
It was cool, the last record was the first time we had anyone else involved in writing lyrics – I think up until The Order of Things it was all me. I find myself getting really guarded about repeating myself when I’m doing it alone, when I was working on the last record with Josh [Wilbur] there were a lot of ideas he had that I would have never come up with. I would take them and shape them and make them my own but it was another perspective and this is our eighth record that we’re working on? I think after being in a band 15 or 16 years, you have to do something to try to make it fresh and different or else you’re just going to keep putting out the same stuff. There are some bands that put out really similar sounding stuff and their next record sounds like their last one and that’s just not something that we do.
What does the rest of the year have in store for All That Remains?
Recording mostly, we hope that we can get everything squared away so we can get on a support tour in the fall and probably do a headliner in January or February, when the record actually comes out. We got some plans.
Our thanks to Phil Labonte of All That Remains for the interview!
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