In our next band spotlight, we chat to Alan Robert, bassist for legendary US hardcore act, Life Of Agony. Here, we talk about
S] How do you look back on the legacy of Life Of Agony now?
Alan Robert] For over 25 years now, this band has been helping people cope with dark times in their lives. It’s a cathartic release for a lot of our listeners because they feel like they’re not alone. I think we’re all pretty proud that we’ve been able to make such a positive impact on so many troubled souls. Our songs have always come from a true and honest place and I think that’s why we’ve been able to make such a strong emotional connection with generations of fans. It’s been an amazing journey for us, and we’ve achieved many highs and have overcame many lows in our career. For this band to continue to be active and touring in 2017 and about to release our 5th studio album “A Place Where There’s No More Pain” is truly an amazing accomplishment for all of us.
S] Even as a successful metal act, what would you say the biggest challenges are for you guys right now?
AR] After doing this for so many years, we finally figured out how to do it on our own terms without compromising. We’re very hands-on with everything this band does and we decided awhile back that we all need to agree on an idea or we don’t do it. We stripped out all of the drama of tour life by eliminating the big entourage of people we used to travel with. We really just keep it simple these days. That’s the biggest challenge…keeping things simple and on our own terms while doing big events where sometimes you need a lot of help to get the job done.
S] What’s keeping you guys passionate about creating, outside of music, think people, places and things?
AR] We all have our passions outside of LOA. Mina has done several solo albums, Joey produces bands and fronts Zire’s War, Sal has written & recorded two albums with A Pale Horse Named Death, and I continue to write and illustrate horror graphic novels for IDW Publishing (Killogy, Crawl to Me, and Wire Hangers). My latest, The Beauty of Horror coloring book is an Amazon #1 bestseller. I’m hard at work on Volume 2, which hits stores this September: http://www.thebeautyofhorror.
S] Talk us through the inspirations behind, ‘World Gone Mad’?
AR] “World Gone Mad” is about facing the madness in this world head-on. People are more divided than ever. The world is busting at the seams. If we choose to ignore it, we will continue to head down a very dangerous path.
S] Also, ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ – what was the writing process for that one like?
AR] Every song came together in different ways. If I remember this one correctly, Sal had written this fantastic piece of music and sent it over to me. I immediately loved the riffs and the grooves. I was inspired to write lyrics and melodies over it right away. For me, it came together like a puzzle – figuring out what made the most sense arrangement-wise as a verse and what felt natural as the chorus, etc. After the demo stage, once we started recording the album, Mina really brought the idea to life with her layered harmonies and phenomenal vocal performance. Joey Z records guitars like a frigg’n machine. He always blows me away with how precise he can make 6 guitar tracks sound like one fluid performance. His placement of the guitar lead inspired us to change up the arrangement a bit, making the song more compact.
In the end, it’s just this driving groove all the way through. The chorus lyric really summed up the message for the entire record too, so ultimately the song became the title track.
S] How has your attitude to success changed over the years?
AR] Success to me has always been more about the process and the journey of developing a raw idea into something real and tangible than any kind of monetary reward type of thing. Whether it’s a book idea scribbled on a napkin or a song melody hummed into my phone, it’s seeing those ideas through to the end is what keeps me satisfied as an artist. It’s always been about the creation of something from nothing. Even if this album only sells one copy, I feel like it’s already a success because we accomplished exactly what we set out to do.