The Set List

The Set List
By Brian Washburn
Bands can endure many hardships while attempting to climb to the big time. From labels, to touring, to losing band members, it can be a long journey. However, when a band that has already cemented itself in the national music scene has internal difficulties, it is almost certain the ride is over. But this proved to the opposite for Florida metalcore outfit Underoath.
Frontman Spencer Chamberlain’s substance abuse problems during the 2006 Warped Tour came to the forefront that summer. The band almost imploded from the problems. But they didn’t. They bounced back with “Lost In The Sound of Separation,” a personal, emotional album that took the band’s signature sound and made it heavier and more progressive, which most thought probably wasn’t possible.
“I always write about what’s going on in my life, what I do and feel. It’s what I know best,” Chamberlain said in a phone interview.
What Chamberlain knows best is being especially well liked and well received by fans. Underoath— Chamberlain, drummer and vocalist Aaron Gillespie, guitarists Tim McTague and James Smith, bassist Grant Brandell and keyboardist Chris Dudley—debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard charts for the second album in a row with “Separation.”
“It is awesome, especially with the way the industry is these days and people don’t buy records” Chamberlain said. “We couldn’t ask for much more.”
The sound of “Separation” takes from 2006’s “Define The Great Line” and simply progresses it, which is hard to do in a scene so cluttered with copycats.
“We are definitely raising the bar, working harder and thinking outside the spectrum with different types of music and a different approach on everything,” Chamberlain said.
However, it is hard to argue the band’s older sound (the one found on their breakthrough album “They’re Only Chasing Safety”) could have catapulted the band and sent them screaming, to radio success.
“We were just kind of sick of that [sound] when that record came out and it was before we were all working together really well. We put it together fast,” Chamberlain said. “We wanted to do something more fun that we enjoy more and we’ve been doing it ever since. We never wanted to be a radio band or another band that sounds like everyone else.”
In fact, the opposite can be said for the Florida sextet, as most bands in today’s music scene seem to be copying Underoath. But the catch is, now Underoath is playing the music they feel they were born to create.
“We want to write things that are fun to play and some of those songs are so simple and we don’t have fun playing them and that’s more important than anything,” Chamberlain said.
The band is having fun playing the songs now in their high energy live show. They have embarked on a national headlining tour (with a stop in Kansas City tonight with Saosin and The Devil Wears Prada) to showcase their new album. But while the band will be touring for the rest of the year and most of next year, don’t expect them to be writing for a new record any time soon.
“We normally try to put out a record every two years, which is generally how long it takes to write, finish touring and get something released,” Chamberlain said. “[Releasing an album] any sooner would be stupid because you spend money and then put out another album and it will overshadow what you just did.”
Final Thought: Even though fans might not hear new music from Underoath for a few more years, it is comforting to see the band progressing toward the music that the scene needs, and not what the scene wants at this point. Who knows? In two more years, Underoath might release an album more progressive than even “Separation,” to blow the minds of music critics, execs and fans alike.

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