Seven studio albums, more than a million records sold, and All That Remains co-founder and guitarist Oli Herbert still just wants to play music.
“I just want to play. My goal is to just play my best every day, hopefully not suck too much, and for people to come out and have a good time. That’s all I really want out of life,” Herbert said.
And that’s a very realistic goal, considering the band has more than 50 dates lined up across the U.S., Canada and Europe just in the first half of 2015. The first of those dates, including a stop at Houston’s Scout Bar on Monday, February 16, come just before the long-awaited release of the group’s new album “The Order of Things,” which drops on February 24.
The new release was produced by Josh Wilbur, whose resume includes work with Lamb of God and Gojira. The band’s previous five albums were all produced by Killswitch Engage’s Adam Dutkiewicz. However, Herbert quickly dispelled any thought that the change in producer might result in any major change in the band’s sound or the music on the new album.
“We’re the ones writing the songs. The producer has his hand in things, but it’s still the band,” he said, describing the process for putting this album together as being similar to the group’s recent releases — including the use of all new material, written just for this album.
“We always start with fresh material,” he said, noting that the band’s experience with trying to use ‘holdover’ material just wasn’t satisfying. “We wanted to make an album we were all really happy with. And seeing that we’re five completely different people, that’s almost impossible, but I think we did a good job. Everyone is happy with the album, and it has — I think — a very good variety of the things that we do on it.”
That doesn’t mean the process of recording hasn’t changed. Herbert said that one major change in producing “The Order of Things” was that the group tracked the drums last, instead of first — as on the last few releases.
“Basically, in the past, we would get everyone in one room, and that way you can get scratch tracks [baseline recordings that won’t be used in the final production] so the drummer can lay down his tracks (for the album),” said Herbert. “But this time we decided to do the drums last. So we actually started with the guitars.”
The technology of record has changed a lot, which Herbert says is just one of the reasons so many bands just starting out can put out quality albums.
“When we started working on our first album in 2001, it was all analog, so we played every single note together, and if you messed up, you had to do it again,” he explained. “I think ‘The Fall of Ideals’ was the first time we went digital, and it was a little bit easier. (It allows) you to pinpoint areas. I remember that I was always ahead of the beat by a 128th note — which is very infinitesimal — but he was like ‘you’re off by this much consistently… you’re anticipating the beat, so I’m just going to scoot you back.’”
“It’s not like I’m not playing it, but it’s a matter that there are always little imperfections that can be cleared up. That’s why everyone sounds perfect (in recordings these days). It’s not because everyone is suddenly that much better… the technology allows us to get it right.”
Despite the improvements in technology, and the fact that making a solid recording is easier, Herbert says that it’s still extremely important to stay focused on recording good music that can be replicated live — which is where the real connection with fans happens.
“(Recording) is a lot easier (now), so that’s why you hear a lot better recordings from everybody. It’s just because the technology allows them to do that. The key of course, is when you play it live. (You don’t want to record) stuff that’s so out of hand that you just can’t replicate it or even come close.”
For all the success the band has seen, the band’s performance at Scout Bar was a very intimate affair. A completely packed house felt every beat and sang along with every word, as the band reeled through fan favorites and new tunes alike. It was obvious that they still love playing live, and for any musician today, that’s one of the truest tests.
Buy “The Order of Things”: iTunes
Photo Gallery from the Show at Scout Bar