Philadelphia’s A Life Once Lost are frickin’ heavy… Think Meshuggah with a slightly more Hardcore tinge. Since 1999, the quartet has been bulldozing their crowds with a sick blend of punctuated rhythm, technical riffage, and tortured vocals. It’s really fun to watch in concert.

Sharing stages and touring with some of the greatest metal acts of our generation, their sound appeals to a wide range of metal enthusiasts, from the Headbangers to Karate Kids. ALOL is one of those bands that eats other bands’ lunches for them… Shit’s heavy, son.

Anyways, if you like metal, you should probably make it a point to check them out when they hit your city or town. Prior to their Rochester, NY gig on June 29th, I got a chance to speak with vocalist Bob Meadows to discuss their upcoming album, their approach to live performance, and life on the road.

Interview:

G- What’s going on and thank you for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! I’m glad you guys are headed back to Rochester in June… How have you guys been doing?

B- It has been going very well. We’re in the midst of trying to get this record done… finally. Enjoying life, pretty much. It’s been pretty quiet on the ALOL front, minus getting this record ready.

G- Yea I’m sure you’ve been busy with that. Since ALOL is currently in the process of recording a new album, how are the tracks coming along and what is it like working with Andreas Magnussan?

B- Andreas is a pretty awesome dude. He has been in the scene and knows the scene. With this record, we’ve tried to approach shit a little differently than the previous records. We still have that signature ALOL sound, but it also has darker elements of the 70’s psychedelic scene. It’s pretty progressive as well, but it’s progressive in a different sense. It doesn’t have that same “Djent” sound. This record is kind of separating ourselves from that scene.

I feel like the (Djent) scene is overplayed and over done, and it’s just running its course.  We’re trying to open another door in heavy music… To expose something that hasn’t been done yet.

G- That goes right into my next question… ALOL first got started in 1999, just as the hardcore and metal scenes really seemed to be gaining traction in the commercial marketplace. How do you feel about the current state of affairs in the metalcore scene?

B- I think that there is good shit going on. Don’t get me wrong… Not everything out there is trash, but there’s not a lot of originality anymore within this music scene. That’s been the one thing to kill it.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, when punk and hardcore started coming around, you didn’t really have anyone to challenge you as far as your sound went. Fast-forward almost 30 years, and now the introduction of technology and as far as that goes, it’s in every subgenre of music. You’re really… You’re not pulling out anything cool anymore.

G- Well, just keep doing the ALOL stuff, and I’ll be happy with that. You guys have done a great deal of touring… Can you give us a glimpse of what it’s like to be on the road with ALOL? What’s it like when you’re in between shows or traveling to gigs?

B- Um, we’re pretty chill dudes. We haven’t toured in a long time, but even when we did those few dates with Hatebreed and those few little runs with Rosetta and Fight Amp, we’re pretty quiet and mellow.  We’re not trying to prove anything anymore as far as the road aspect goes.

Even when we were touring supporting the other records, the only thing we were trying to prove is that we were a heavy, fucking tight band… That you couldn’t touch us back in 2003. That was our attitude then, and it’s still our attitude, but we’re getting older. We like to drink beer and eat food like any other metal band out there. We’re not into sacrificing animals or anything, or burying our stage clothes in dirt and putting them back on. What you see on the outside is what you’re gonna get. We’re gonna deliver what we can deliver.

G- (laughs) That’s great! How is the scene in Philly these days? Do you guys make it back to your hometown a lot? Any other groups that we should keep on our radar?

B- Um, Philly is a weird scene. I unfortunately haven’t been as much a part of it as I have been in the past. Just the hours I work, and I don’t live in Philly… I live right outside of the city. But as far as bands to keep on your radar, you have bands like Fight Amp and Rosetta that always seem to be making news in the scene, and you have a lot of talented musicians in the area. Balance and Composure and what they are doing is really impressive… I wish those guys the best of luck. If you want to talk hardcore, you’ve got Rock Bottom. Those guys are just so pissed and so heavy. Again, good dudes. You have so many musicians and so many bands that call Philly home, that there’s something for everybody, if you’re willing to look.

G- Getting back to the album, you said you’re going to be injecting a bit of psychedelia in the album, can you tell us a bit about the tunes and what your writing process like? Who in the band typically comes up new music?

B- Everything is written prior to going into the studio. We try to get a lot of the structure together beforehand to make the studio go a little smoother. Unfortunately, it’s not the case all the time. We have put together some structure in the studio, and we leave a song or two for that… Just to be able to carry over the vibe from the other songs we have and are recording, to see what kind of magic turns out.

It’s been forever since we’ve put a record out, and we have a broader influence through our path. Whether it’s been the kraut-progressive music scene of Europe, Germany, and England, or the tribal, rhythmic funk that comes out of Africa, or the dark, psychedelic stoner drone that comes out of Japan…  Whatever music we got into, you’re going to hear a bit of it on this record. But we could be shooting ourselves in the foot, too.

I’m just trying to play music cuz I enjoy it, and I don’t need to try to fit in anymore. I want to do a record that I’m proud of and can call my own. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished, and I feel that it will make us a more lethal force in the music scene.

G- Right on! I’m excited to hear the record! Will Ferret Records be releasing the record, and will there be any fun package deals, vinyl, special editions we should look forward to when it drops?

B- We signed to Season of Mist out of France and Philly, home of Dillinger Escape Plan, Kylesa, Morbid Angel…

G- Yea man, good label!

B- Yea great label. I just met the owner and he’s an awesome dude… Very honest. We’re trying to do some crazy stuff with it. I know that we have a lot of ideas on the table. There’ll hopefully be a gatefold vinyl on top of some stuff with some kind of cd packaging layout… Some kind of special thing.

What we have going on right now, we’re in such a great place with the people working with us…. We really can’t complain. Being give this opportunity to go back out on the road and do something that I’ve done before, now knowing all the mistakes I’ve made, and re-approaching this to make this more enjoyable for myself and everyone else involved, I’m gonna do that.

G- Awesome man! I’m glad everything is working out well for you guys and am pumped for the record! Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands out here in Syracuse, in NYS, and everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?

B- It’s fuckin’ tough. It’s better to earn something like this because you’ll appreciate the musicians that play alongside you and share the stage with you. You can’t go in thinking that this is gonna be a cash cow or an easy way out.

It’s not the image that sells it… It’s your soul, your heart,  and the music. You have to be honest with yourself, with your music, and with everyone else.