by Slone Fox
Consisting of drummer and clean vocalist Aaron Gillespie, guitarist James Smith, guitarist Timothy McTague, bassist Grant Brendell, vocalist Spencer Chamberlain, and keyboardist Christopher Dudley, Underoath has continually thrived in the face of diversity. Have you ever thought about what it would feel like to prepare for a cross-country tour spanning over 30 tour dates?
“It’s not un-fun,” laughs Dudley between the rustling noises of general multitasking and the occasional thunk of packing instruments.
During his time in the band, Dudley has seen the band rise, fall, and rise again. Holding strong through member changes and a complete stylistic overhaul, the band has undoubtedly evolved since their last time in Western Canada more than six years ago.
“I think it’d be easier to point out the things that haven’t changed, rather than what has changed,” says Dudley. “I hate using the term ‘more mature,’ but I look at our band back then and just the way in which we dealt with each other. In hindsight, there was a lot of toxic stuff there. Not really knowing how to communicate and all that stuff eventually lead to us breaking up a few years back.”
While the personal dynamic of the band has shifted, the changes are also very apparent musically. Having officially opted to drop their title as a Christian band earlier this year, Underoath’s eighth album Erase Me hosts a slew of expletives for the first time in the band’s career. While this was an unwelcome shock to some fans initially, others felt as if it made the band more appealing. For Dudley, though, it’s really no big deal.
“I remember specifically having a conversation with Spencer before we started writing this album, and the sentiment was him saying: ‘If we’re going to do a record, I need it to be a thing where if this is the last piece of art I ever create, it is 100 per cent honest. I can’t think about what people are going to think about it or how it’s going to be perceived.’ And obviously I was like, ‘Dude, that’s the way it should be.’”
This lyrical honesty has apparently paid off, connecting Underoath to new fans in a way that transcends simply dropping the f-bomb.
“I think that overall it’s been a really good thing, breaking down barriers between us and people in general,” Dudley explains. “I don’t even think that it has anything to do with specific words that are said, I think it just has to do with the overall honesty of the record and that’s super important.”
With 20 years of experience as a band, it’s not surprising that everything to do with music would be complete muscle memory by now. According to Dudley, this level of mastery even extends to include live performances.
With a newfound momentum fuelled by their overhauled musical style, it’s likely that Underoath has a whole future of riser-rolling daydreams ahead of them, and a slew of new musical avenues to explore.
Underoath performs at the Vogue Theatre (Vancouver) on November 19.