Ahead of Underoath’s Rebirth Tour, we caught up with lead vocalist, Spencer Chamberlain to talk about the significance of the tour, the 10th anniversary of their album Define The Great Line and why you should not miss them live this May.
I’m sure I can speak for a lot of fans when I say we’re just as excited as you are about the Rebirth Tour. The tour, of course, came after the reunion, so what prompted the idea of getting back together?
“I think when you spend as much time together with anyone as we did as a band - working 300 days a year from the age of seventeen - you’ll get to a point where it feels like you need to walk away from it and that’s what half the band wanted to do at the time. We were exhausted from touring ten months a year, making a record every two years and having no time off. We did that for over a decade and people were worn out, they missed their homes and they wanted to have families. At the time we thought we were doing the right thing, but over time, we realised maybe we should’ve taken a hiatus instead of walking away from it.
Eventually, we started hanging out and jokingly said, ‘hey, we should play Define The Great Line front to back, because it’s about to turn ten’. That then turned into a more serious conversation and two days into practice we thought we may as well just get the band back together, because it’s really stupid that we’re not doing this.
We thought it would be really messed up if we only played one show and not a whole tour and by the time we finished the US leg of Rebirth, we decided to take the tour across the world before we did anything else. Mostly because we didn’t play farewell shows anywhere besides twelve cities in America and we wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to see us this time around, because this really is a special tour. Playing these two records back to back is something we’ll never do again and I think it’s just a great experience.”
Absolutely and I actually wanted to touch on the fact that you’ll be playing Define The Great Line along with another special album, They’re Only Chasing Safety. Why those two records together?
“Another joke, actually! Grant, our bass player, made a joke about how we should go out to play We’re Only Chasing Safety too, because we missed that anniversary when we were too busy being mad at each other and one of us said ‘I’ll do it if you do it’.
It’s not an easy task to pull off and it was a little intimidating, because it’s a lot of songs to play, but we all agreed to do it. In Underoath, we’re always going to try and outdo ourselves as well as each other - it’s kind of our inner band motivation, we’re constantly pushing each other.”
Of course, but judging by the content on your social media, you guys seem to be having a fantastic time. What’s it like being back on the road together?
“It feels very natural to me, it feels right - it felt so wrong walking away from the band. Our farewell tour sold out 24 hours after we announced it and it was the same with the reunion tour, selling out six months ahead of the actual tour, so there are a lot of people who care about this band.
We put a lot of hard work into it, we always have and we always will and I think we just hit a roadblock for a while. We weren’t running our business the right way, so we didn’t know what made sense for the band. I think playing on stage with these guys again makes sense, because it’s what we’ve been doing since we were teenagers – it really didn’t make sense NOT be doing it."
Just going back to the fact that you guys sold out the US leg of the tour, was it everything you hoped it would be in terms of how the fans responded?
“It was so much more than we even imagined it would be – it was crazy and we never experienced anything like it. People were really excited to have us back and you could see it.
The crowds at the US shows were so loud and half the audience were people who had never ever seen us before.
At every show, we’d ask how many first timers there were and half the crowd would raise their hands. That’s really awesome for us. Especially when I think about it as someone who’s gone to shows and played music their entire life; there are a lot of bands that I didn’t get to see before they broke up or someone died – sometimes they even broke up before I was born - but if they were still playing now, I would definitely go.”
Well, speaking for the UK fans, we’re all excited to have you. You last played O2 Academy Glasgow in 2010. What do you enjoy most about playing here?
“The UK has always been so good to us. I haven’t been back since 2014 when I toured with my solo project [Sleepwave] for three days. So it’s been a while, but I’m so excited to get over to Europe and the UK and really enjoy it.
For me, it’s even just fun waking up in a different country, walking around and seeing what each city has to offer. To be somewhere you’re not super comfortable - you don’t know where the right places to eat are or where to find the good coffee, so you just go and explore. I think that’s another fun element of being in the UK and obviously the shows are always exciting to play.”
When you guys first announced the tour, you were still uncertain of what that meant for the future of Underoath. Is it a bit more definitive now, or are you still just taking it day by day?
“The band is 100% a band. We’re not just doing Rebirth and going away. Despite not usually doing support tours, we actually just finished one in the US [The American Nightmare Tour with Bring Me The Horizon and Beartooth] and we’ve got a lot planned.
This is not the last time we’ll be in the UK, but I would really recommend going to the shows, because we won’t be doing something like this again. Although we’ll always be playing songs from this album, I think it’s really special seeing these records just the way they are.
If you’ve ever seen Underoath, you’ve never seen us like this. There’s chemistry and everyone has that excitement and passion to be on stage again, so there’s a whole new element to the band.”
We can’t wait! Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans in the UK?
“Just that we’re looking forward to being in the UK and we appreciate everyone who’s had a part in getting this band back together. All the comments online about how our fans missed the band and wanted us to come back, was a huge deciding factor in getting us back together.
Our fans are so die-hard and they never stopped talking about the band, which helped us to actually sit down and talk and even consider playing together again. We can never thank them all enough for it.”