Interview with:
Nick Hipa
Interview by:
Carlos Rodríguez
December, 2005
Special Thankx to:
Michelle Ferraro

Metalcore has been invading the minds and hearts of many metal heads around the world for quite some time now, yet they find in the more traditional metal fan a little resistance, but there is no doubt that this metalcore phenomenon based mainly in the United States (for the great amount of bands) has managed to unite two worlds, by bringing the metal fans and the hardcore fans closer together.
Formed in early 2001 as a trio, the band decided to face the world with their music with the record “Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes” released that June by Pluto Records, soon after the release of this first ever material by the band, Pluto Records found a new best-selling release in Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes. But this was just not enough for the band and decided to hit the road given then credibility and respect as a live act.
As I Lay Dying is one of the bands that carries the metalcore genre and style of playing to a higher level; with their latest material they have follow a more metal pattern but this Californian band doesn’t forget its roots that easily, and you can still hear their hardcore influences in every record.
With a very busy year promoting their latest material “Shadows are Security” released by Metal Blade records, As I Lay Dying has confirmed us that they are here to stay.
Frail words Collapse
Beneath the encasing of ashes
Line up
Jordan Mancino - Drums | Clint Norris - Bass | Nick Hipa - Guitar | Tim Lambesis - Vocals | Phil Sgrosso - Guitar

Pic courtesy of: Stephanie DePaolis
"Touring is what I would consider the “fruits of our work.” It is the time where we just go out, have fun, play shows, see the world. Being at home is definitely something I enjoy"
CR: A pleasure to have you in our magazine, how are you?
Nick Hipa:
I am doing very well thank you.

CR: You guys where just in Europe promoting the new record, how was it? And what memories did you guys brought back home?
Nick Hipa:
The Hell On Earth Tour went over well and it was a very fun experience. Everyone involved in the tour (crew, bands, etc.) were extremely laid-back and fun, while the shows themselves were something to remember as well. As for memories, I remember playing fooseball more than I ever had at any other time of my life.

CR: More tours, more gigs, more bands to play with, aren’t you tired? A tour with Slipknot and Unearth, and right after that the Winter Headline Tour, when are you going to rest and enjoy the fruits of your work?
Nick Hipa:
Touring is what I would consider the “fruits of our work.” It is the time where we just go out, have fun, play shows, see the world. Being at home is definitely something I enjoy, but after a while I start getting antsy and want to go out again.

CR: Why don’t you talked to us about the new album Shadows are Security? Give us a couple of details from the recording room, what was different this time around compare to your previous release?
Nick Hipa:
There are a number of things that were different this time around with “Shadows are Security” For one, the string section of this band is entirely different than with ‘Frail Words Collapse,’ the songs are a bit more metal, and Andy Sneap was the man behind the mixing board. All these new variables I feel lended to the more mature metal sound on this album.

CR: In this new album the drums are very powerful, was that what you where looking for?
Nick Hipa:
The entire record is more aggressive thanks to them; our goal with the drums was to have them sound very big, clean, and most importantly natural. The drums on our previous album sounded very machine-like, which made the songs lack a certain feeling of aggression and emotion. This time around we knew exactly what we were going for and Andy helped us obtained that sound.

CR: Shadows are Security is a faster more frenetic album, how was it received by your fans?
Nick Hipa:
Our fans received this album very well from what I know. We didn’t venture to far off from the sound we call our own. We are all for experimenting and trying new things, but we don’t want to stray to far off from the sound we are collectively going for with this band…. That’s what side projects are for.

CR: Your genre of music, Metalcore, is very controversial between metal fans (meaning some love it and some hate it), why do you think this is?
Nick Hipa:
I can understand the metal purists hating this form of music because it appears to be a “trend” in the music world. Something that is currently popular, and because of that, viewed as lacking any substantial worth. In my opinion metal is always progressing. In the height of popularity for the current form of metal, a sub-genre title will be applied to it but in the end it will still be metal. I use this logic when thinking about how bands like Metallica, Megadeth, and Testament were considered thrash in the early 80’s because they were venturing off from the traditional forms of metal that bands like Sabbath and Maiden were doing. NOW, those “thrash” bands are revered as iconic metal bands, right in the same group as Sabbath and Maiden. So I don’t look at this music now as a fad or trend for our band, it may be for other bands; but for us it is our attempt of taking the music we live and breath and trying to take it to a different level.

CR: You guys have tour with so many amazing bands, which ones remain as amazing memories, and which ones as bad?
Nick Hipa:
We are fortunate enough to have toured with every band under the sun and found each to be full of great dudes. The guys in Killswitch we look at as brothers. They are one of the bands we instantly clicked with and have had a great time with on the 3 or 4 tours we’ve done together.

Pic courtesy of: Return to the Pit
"We’ve always been a band that has written albums and toured to promote them until it was time to write the next one"

CR: In an interview I read online, you guys where talking about the gig with Behemoth and Six Feet Under, and you said that things didn’t came out as good as the promoters expected, are the shows with nu metal bands like Slipknot is the one that fit better for As I lay Dying?
Nick Hipa:
The Slipknot tour was amazing. The shows were gigantic, the biggest shows we’ve probably ever played in our career, and yet the vibe was very laid-back and personal. Slipknot band and crew are great people. As far as types of tours that we “fit,” I think maybe we are in a comfortable place regarding who we can tour with. For instance, we just did a tour with Slipknot, and in a few months we will be going out with Deftones and Thrice. I think there are elements of our music that fans of each of these bands could possibly be into.

CR: I have read that your style and others like Killswitch Engage are the new wave of the U.S.A metal sound, do you think in Europe Metalcore will grow as fast as it has in the States?
Nick Hipa:
Anything is possible if a band is good enough and has the right work ethics.

CR: Why don’t we talked about Frail words Collapse, the promotion in terms of gigs was amazing, what was so different for you as a band then in comparison to the promotion for this record Shadows are Security?
Nick Hipa:
There isn’t much of a difference honestly. We’ve always been a band that has written albums and toured to promote them until it was time to write the next one. Our approach is very traditional in the punk/hardcore scene, and I don’t see that approach changing any time soon.

CR: Frail words Collapse is faster and heavier than your first cd (Beneath the Encasing of Ashes), it seems to me that in every record you guys get closer to traditional death metal, and farther for your hardcore influences.
Nick Hipa:
Well the reason for that is we keep progressing as musicians, and I don’t mean that to come cocky in any way. What I mean is we are always trying to write energetic, brutal and aggressive music and as we become better at our instruments we get a bit more technical, which is a staple of heavy metal.

CR: Your first record was with Pluto records, and this last two with Metal Blade, I’m sure there is a huge difference between them, how did you guys got the contract?
Nick Hipa:
We contacted Metal Blade, they came to a show, liked what they saw, and the deal was done….. I think.

CR: Please explain this to me why that split cd with American Tragedy?
Nick Hipa:
They were friends and we needed to fulfill obligations to Pluto Records at the time.

CR: You guys played in Ozzfest this year how was it? And please, please if you know anything or have any comments about the whole Sharon Ozzborne vs. Bruce Dickinson incident, tell us?
Nick Hipa:
Ozzfest was an experience I will never forget. Aside from playing to thousands of people every day, hanging out with all 10-12 bands on the side stage was incredible. There were many strange fits of mischief and senseless acts of boredom that made that summer worthwhile. As for the Sharon vs. Bruce thing, I can’t offer too many comments because I do not know the full details. I do know that I was bummed to watch a sabotaged Maiden set.

Pic courtesy of: Stephanie DePaolis
"The essence of As I Lay Dying is that we are 5 dudes who love playing this type of music, and we are as equally passionate about the things we sing about"

CR: If you had to explain the essence and the reasons why As I lay Dying was born, what will you said? And what record will you recommend to someone that wants to hear you guys for the first time?
Nick Hipa:
The essence of As I Lay Dying is that we are 5 dudes who love playing this type of music, and we are as equally passionate about the things we sing about. This band is very honest and we are not doing this to be cool or popular, we were doing this when absolutely no one cared because we believe in every aspect of this band very strongly. I would tell someone to pick up Shadows are Security.

CR: What do you think of music trading person to person, and of the music trading via internet do you think it could be another way of promoting your band all over the world?
Nick Hipa:
I say listen to all the music you can, and those artists that you fall in love with, support them. Go to a show, buy their merch, and get their album. I’ve always supported bands that I felt were worth supporting.

CR: And finally, would you guys consider playing a concert in Costa Rica? What have you guys heard of our country?
Nick Hipa:
I would love to play Costa Rica; I heard it is a land of unparallel beauty rich in culture and experience. Hopefully we will be there soon.

Thank you for your time, I hope everything goes as plan for you guys!

Design by Carlos Rodríguez