Aaron Gillespie, Spencer Chamberlain talk Underoath reunion: “The hiatus is off”
At this time last year, the thought of an Underoath reunion was nothing more than a fantasy. There was hope thanks to multiple members confirming willingness to one day reconvene and the release of Tired Violence, a documentary about their farewell tour, sparked rumors. Finally, on July 31, a mysterious sound clip and image that read “rebirth is coming” was shared via the band’s social media. News started to spread, but it remained unclear what exactly was going on with Underoath.
At last, following endless rumors and speculation, AltPress can officially announce that Underoath will reunite to take the stage at Self Help Fest in San Bernardino, California. Performing that night will be Aaron Gillespie (vocals/drums), Spencer Chamberlain (vocals), Tim McTague and James Smith (guitars), Grant Brandell (bass) and Chris Dudley (keyboards/programming). AP's Tyler Sharp recently spoke with Aaron and Spencer to discuss the show’s specifics and what the future holds for Underoath.
Be sure to pick up a copy of AP #327 for more exclusive information on the Underoath reunion.
Why did you choose to play Self Help?
GILLESPIE: It was offered to us. It’s such a rad festival and it seems like a lot of the bands that have come up after us are playing it. I feel like it’s just a great place to get everyone together. A Day To Remember started in the same town that Underoath started in, so I think it’s going to be dope. I’m really excited.
Are you going to be playing your records front-to-back from this incartation of the band?
CHAMBERLAIN: Yeah, it’ll probably be [Define The Great Line in full] and then, depending on how much time we have, some songs off of They’re Only Chasing Safety and some songs off Lost In The Sound [Of Separation]. We haven’t worked on the set for it yet, but I’ve talked about doing it like that with Tim, because 2016 will be 10 years [since] Define The Great Line. That way we wouldn’t go too far over on time. [Laughs.] I’d play every record front-to-back if I could!
In the band’s farewell documentary, Tired Violence, the concept of Underoath being a Christian band is discussed and ultimately put to rest. When you take the stage in 2016, where will that ethos lie?
GILLESPIE: My personal belief is that I don’t think it’s right for Underoath to put a label on what it is. It’s something separately to each one of us and I think it’s something separate to every single person who bought those records. For some people, it is a Christian thing and for some it isn’t. There are definitely Christian themes in our music, but we all have different belief systems now. That’s not to say any of us believe in sacrificing goats under a tree. I’m definitely a Christian, but I don’t think Underoath should be a “Christian band.” I think it needs to be something that’s ambiguous enough that anyone can latch onto it and find what they want to find. And I think that’s the beauty of what Underoath is. It took on a life of its own and became something that we couldn’t even control—or understand. For me, whatever [someone] gets out of Underoath, I just hope it furthers their life, their intellect and their souls, regardless of what belief system that may be.
Is this gig just a one-off reunion? Surely there’s something more in store beyond one show.
CHAMBERLAIN: I would absolutely love to celebrate that record with our fans across the world if I could. The opportunities we’ve had as Underoath came from those fans, so I would love to play for them and the ones that we missed [on the farewell tour].
Would you ever rule out writing new music together again?
CHAMBERLAIN: I want to leave things open-ended. I don’t think we’re ever going to be a full-time band again, but I don’t like the idea of being so closed off to things. That’s what was so hard about the farewell tour, because it could’ve been that we were going on an indefinite hiatus. And I think now, the idea is the hiatus is off. Are we writing? I don’t know until we get in a room together. Are we going to do another tour? I don’t know. Like, everyone has their schedules to work around, but maybe we when get home, we decide we could squeeze in Europe or Australia, if the stars align. I feel like when bands get older, they only do one or two tours a year, or every other year. Maybe that will be Underoath. I just don’t know. Like I said, I’m open to it, but I still have to keep focused on what’s next for me and how my future is going to pan out. I can’t depend on my past for my future’s sake. I’ve gotta stay focused on what’s ahead. If that’s another Underoath record, then I’ll put every single ounce of my energy into it. Like, will we ever write another song? Maybe. You just never know. I haven’t been in a room with those guys in a long time, but we might get together and practice and be like, “Holy shit, we just wrote three songs.” I just don’t want to force anything.
GILLESPIE: I would never rule that out, but for me, I don’t know that it’s possible. I’m so busy: I own a studio, I’ve been playing for Paramore, I’m doing my solo thing and we all have families, etc. Is it feasible with what everyone has going on? That’s the main part of the situation. alt