"There's no such thing as the underground scene anymore" - In Conversation with Pallbearer
Pallbearer may be a name we've only just come to hear about in the UK but you might be surprised to hear that the Doom Metal outfit have been together for a very respectful ten years. Hardly an overnight sensation then, the band have grafted hard over that decade and are finally getting the recognition they deserve with their latest album Heartless. We chatted with vocalist and guitarist Brett Campbell about their upcoming UK tour.
How has Pallbearer's 2018 gone so far?
We have been touring a lot which is typical for us, we've recorded a few new songs. One which has been released already and the others should be released in the next two or three months.
With the music industry in the position it's in do you feel more creatively fulfilled with EP and single releases or are you still very much an album band?
I really like the process of making an album. It's a better body of work, with our albums we like to make a more definitive musical statement. The musical relationships we are trying to achieve on albums are different to what we produce as an EP or single release. But it is creatively freeing when we record just a single because it doesn't match up to anything else. Sometimes it's nice to experiment and mess around in the studio.
I grew up listening to albums though and I can really appreciate a creative album with a story. Culturally we've moved back to the 50's or 60's where the single was key. It's kinda sad but metal fans in general still buy records and a lot of other genres don't have that.
Pallbearer have been together for a decade at this point, do you ever mark milestones like that?
It's a mixture of both, we have been thinking about the milestone. I still remember when we were forming the band and the first rehearsals. It's the middle bit that gets fuzzy! (laughs) The last four or five years have been pretty busy though, before we would just sit around and drink, but now we get to tour the world. Back in the day we would get the cops called on us all the time as we always played too loud at whoever's house we played at. Since Foundations has come out its been a lot more creatively fulfilling and freeing.
Do you feel that bands have to tour more nowadays to make it more worthwhile financially?
There's always a good and a bad side to things, it's good for the scene that bands are touring more. On the other hand we are only human and we have private family lives and touring can be hard because you are on the road and away from the places and people you love. Writing for me is why I'm in this band at all, I love writing and making music, my thrills are out of composing. We release an album, then we tour it for two years and then we go back in and make another one. It would be nice to spend more time writing, that's a small complaint.
You're coming to the UK shortly. Do you still enjoy the touring life?
Some tours we can have a really good time, there are so many different factors, professionalism of different venues, bands we tour with, so many different factors. We have had some good luck along with the bad. In real life I like my solitary time, I'm no hermit, but touring life is having people around you all of the time. It's hard to find time for you. It's a blessing, we travel the world and we get to see friends we have scattered all over the place.
You recently released a new song, 'Dropout', in conjunction with adult:swim, how did that collaboration come about?
It was last spring I think, they wanted us to do it for their 'Singles Club' they do, we all watch adult:swim and they paid for our studio time. The song was written around the start of the year and it turned out great.
In 2017 you named Best Underground Band at that year's Golden Gods. In this day and age of streaming music and accessibility to everything, all the time, do you feel that the word 'Underground' is still valid?
That is a really good point I've never really thought about that. There is no such things as the underground these days. I think you're right. Name any obscure band or genre and you can find it on your phone. There are probably some obscure electronics genre no one has heard of, bands like Sleep are not really underground anymore. Underground to me is more about touring smaller touring circuits etc. Underground today is probably a band who doesn't have their music on streaming services!
Pallbearer will be touring the UK from July 16th - 19th and will be playing Bloodstock on 12th August. Their latest album Heartless is out now. You can like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and get their music wherever music is sold.