First check out “Paralyzed”, a song off As I Lay Dying’s new album Decas.
Then, read the interview and check out the photos from the show!
(EM!) Bob: Ok, start recording this conversation that’s already underway. So as we were walking in here I heard you talking about how you were about to hit the gym before you play tonight… which led me to ask you about going to the gym when you are on tour.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Ok, right. So it’s pretty simple. Our tour manager just called a gym that’s close by and explained the situation and the dude was like “Oh ok, we’ll give you a free 3 day pass”.
(EM!) Bob: Oh really?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Yeah, you gotta have someone that’s good with words and a lot of times they’ll want to trade gym passes for tickets. And it’s really that easy haha.
(EM!) Bob: So, what kind of routine do you normally do at the gym?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Well, normally when I’m at home I’ll CrossFit…
(EM!) Bob: Ha, that’s why I asked because I had a feeling you were going to say that and I know a lot of people that are into the CrossFit community.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Oh sweet, so you CrossFit?!
(EM!) Bob: Yeah I like to but it’s been a minute – I’m not gonna lie haha
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Nice! Right now I’m gonna go and do a straight up “gym” session. I’m probably gonna do some isolated muscle group stuff just so I don’t lose any of the strength aspects, maybe some light olympic lifting. That’s awesome though. I always get stoked when I meet other CrossFitters.
(EM!) Bob: I actually did the website for the CrossFit gym near me… and in return they offered to let me go whenever I want… which ended up working in their favor haha. But still they are awesome people. Sometimes I’ll go over and take photos of them working out. Shout outs to Mark and John over at CrossFit Prime!
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Dude, that rules! What a great compromise.
(EM!) Bob: Yeah of course now I gotta give a shout out to my girl Krista along with Erin and Jessie who opened a CrossFit in Mantua, NJ too haha
Actually random thing, I was actually back stage at a New Found Glory show maybe a month ago and their guitarist Chad (who was also in Shai Hulud) was doing double unders with a stage cable and I made a comment to him about it and I’m pretty sure he was like “who the hell is this dude” haha.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Oh, I didn’t know he CrossFitted too
(EM!) Bob: Yeah, he’s really big into MMA shit too… but anyway back on topic for the interview. First question, what were some of the bands you listened to growing up?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): When I was growing up I was first influenced by my parents taste in music which was either classic rock or 80′s pop. I don’t really think 80′s pop music is anything bad… I mean whether it’s Genesis or Cyndi Lauper… there was some great stuff and some not so great stuff. That was a lot of the stuff my mom would listen to… and through both of them I was exposed to bands like Pink Flyod, Ledd Zeppelin, Van Halen, and that stuff.
But, when I started developing my own musical taste it was immediately all the big metal bands. Pantera, Metallica, ummm… Ozzy was one of my favorites… and you just start getting into guitar, and learn more and more metal… and start finding more extreme versions of it. You know, you always have friends that are like “You think that band’s heavy… listen to these guys”. Then all of a sudden you’re listening to death metal or even bands like Meshuggah.
So when I was a kid it was always the usual suspects for metal and then that slowly led me down the track to less accessible, more brutal underground music. But it’s not even really that underground when you think about bands like In Flames or Soilwork… those are pretty big bands, but back in the day not everyone knew about them.
(EM!) Bob: Oh totally. In Flames is actually playing in a few weeks here and I tried so hard to get an interview with those guys and/or press passes and it was just impossible.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Dude, were gonna be off the tour at that point and I’m gonna go to the LA show. Their album that they recently put out is my favorite album. It’s SO good.
(EM!) Bob: Definitely. So, you said that are into 80′s music… do you find that taste kind of translating to some of these newer indie bands that kind of have that similar vibe? Almost how music kind of skips a generation and now there is this whole electronic/dance craze going on.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Well not really, but I listen to a lot of everything… it’s funny because when we were a young band it was the Saddle Creek bands that were really huge. You’d have bands like Bright Eyes and Cursive but the “indie” bands that we thought were doing well were bands like The Faint. The Faint was huge… and then there was Hot Hot Heat that came about. Bands like that we kind of considered that electro/indie type of music.
But now when I think of an indie band, I almost automatically associate it with a hipster band… you know? Like a new band that sounds really really old. Dudes with super gross beards… almost like when Mumford and Sons came around everyone was like “oh I’m gonna do this… I’m gonna be a 25 year old that looks like a 40 year old”.
(EM!) Bob: Haha for better or for worse that’s pretty much like all Philly is anymore.
(Hahaha Young Prince Of Trevose)
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Oh yeah, I bet.
(EM!) Bob: Haha, alright so what is the last set of songs you put on your iPod?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Ummmm… geez. I can’t remember. I’m always messing around with that stuff. What I’ve been listening to a lot on my iPod, we already talked about that In Flames record, as far as other heavy releases are concerned… the newest Decapitated album “Carnival Is Forever”.
Its an album I really got into… and on the flip side of that I’ve been listening to a lot of Yeasayer…
and this band called Delta Spirit…
… they are that textbook new band that sounds old. And their music is AWESOME. And it’s funny, two of the guys that are in As I Lay Dying used to be in that band… and the musical direction of both bands is just so different.
That and Brandon Flowers, the singer for the Killers, put out a really good solo album called “Flamingo” and that was another album I really enjoyed.
So I think I haven’t really been listening to a lot of music as of lately because I’ve been so busy but when I do I usually listen to stuff like that.
(EM!) Bob: So once of our friends is stationed over in Germany and he was saying that a lot of bands over in Europe will actually sing in english just in hopes of drawing a broader audience. Being in a band that has toured all around the world probably multiple times… are their any bands you can think of off the top of your head that you’ve thought “man I really feel like people in America would love them if only they knew about them”?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Hmmm, ummm… no.
(EM!) Bob: Hahahaha
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): I don’t think so… I’ve seen bands for the first time that I’ve already heard of and thought, holy crap this band is amazing but some people know of them. Like you ever hear of the band Kvelertak?
(EM!) Bob: Haha actually no… see…
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Well you know why a lot of people don’t know them is because they’re from Norway and they sing entirely in Norwegian. But they are always popping up in headlines on various metal websites… but I guess even that is really a small audience that I just happen to be a part of. But I just assume that everyone knows about who that is because everyone must frequent the same sites I do haha.
We played a show with them in the Czech Republic and they were killer. Such an energetic and fierce band, and I kept thinking I’ve seen this name so many times and now I finally get to see them live since they rarely tour the states.
I think another band who is actually from England, who are a band not many people have heard of simply because they haven’t played here are Sylosis. They also happen to be on this tour.
Those dudes rip. And I mean a lot of the way you build your band name is just playing for as many new people as possible and I’ve felt that I’ve discovered a lot of bands just from them playing on our tour and I’d be kind of a captive audience since we were also playing. And that sort of thing is a really big asset to a bands growth. Being able to have that chance to play for all these new people.
(EM!) Bob: Oh man, I know I personally have discovered a shit load of music ever since I started up Electric Mariachi… and I’ll take photos for a lot of these bands coming through Philly and in doing so I also make sure to show up to see the bands before them and take photos for them as well… because, first off I know that a lot of opening bands really appreciate that attention and also because I personally have found a lot of really cool music for myself.
So what is the last show that you attended that was not one of your own?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Hmmm… let’s see. I feel like I’ve been to a couple recently. It really might actually be Steel Panther.
(EM!) Bob: Haha really? I can’t picture that being a bad time.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Yeah… I guess haha. Well cause they play in LA every Monday… and I’ve seen them play 100 times. So I’d be with my girlfriend and be like “Hey you wanna see Steel Panther?” and you’d think, might as well there isn’t anything else going on. They’re definitely a great live band.
(EM!) Brad: Haha I think they played here yesterday…
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Oh, they did?!
(EM!) Brad: It was for some benefit thing sponsored by the radio station around here.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Well, they’re really talented dudes. As cheesy as it may be, I always go to watch Russ (Satchel)… he’s such a good guitar player. I’m a sucker for dudes that just rip and he’s definitely awesome.
(EM!) Bob: Totally. Ok, what is the last movie that you saw?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Last movie I saw… well the last movie I was forced to see is Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes…
… we were flying back from Europe and that was our in-flight movie. It actually wasn’t that bad… I thought the CGI was incredible. It was a pretty decent in-flight movie.
As for a movie in the theater was probably the Lion King 3D haha
(EM!) Brad: Hahaha I was gonna say “Don’t say Twilight”…
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Haha, oh definitely not. We’ve been in Europe for the last 7 weeks so we haven’t really seen any movies lately.
(EM!) Bob: Alright another random question, what is the most memorable Christmas present you’ve ever received?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): You know what’s funny… I always think of one thing, and it’s not a specific present but more a style of present. It’s a shirt that you get that is always way too big. Like my extended family always thinks I’m going to appreciate a super extra large shirt. So Christmas always comes around and it’s like here is your present and you just think “alright here it comes”. But then you have to act surprised… and you appreciate the thought of the gift but it’s a ridiculously huge shirt. I have a box of extra large shirts at home that I’ll probably never wear.
(EM!) Brad: Hahaha they’re there for when you’re ready to let yourself go… they’re planning ahead for you…
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Haha yeah… “one day you’re really gonna thank me for getting you all of these”…
(EM!) Bob: Or you ever get one of those super weird KMart flanels that the pattern is all fucked up and the shirt is cut super weird on top of the fact is a triple XL…
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Hahaha what’s funny about most of those types of gifts is if there wasn’t something off about it it would almost be passable. Like if it had a slightly better pattern of flanel you’d think “oh maybe I would wear this”… but there is always that one thing that makes it worthless.
(EM!) Bob: So when you give a Christmas present are you the kind of person that does a themed present where everything goes together… or do you just buy a bunch of random stuff you know the person wants?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Hahaha there is no theme. We pretty much do the gift card frenzy. At least for my brother and sister that’s always easiest… and for like my Mom and Fiancé its always something a little more thoughtful. Because we’ll talk a lot so it’s easier to gauge out what they really really want.
(EM!) Bob: Me and Brad used to buy each other a the same game as a gift and then when we got out of the store we’d hand them to each other and be like “Here, I got you this” haha.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Hahaha
(EM!) Bob: Alright, so what was the first job that you ever had?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): My first job I was actually a bad boy at the Hickam Commissary in Honolulu Hawaii.
I just bagged groceries and I would take them to peoples’ car. But since it was on an air base, the system they had there is that you’d tip the bag boys so I’d work for tips everyday. It was actually awesome because usually I’d get 2 or 3 bucks per cart but sometimes you’d get some general’s wife and she’d give you $20 for two carts. I started working when I was 15 and coming home with $40 to $50 per day for a few hours of work was really awesome. I was so diligent about saving my money too… I’d take half and put it away for a savings… and then take half of whats left and put that towards saving for guitar gear I wanted. I’d try to work as much as I could because it was only a few hour shift… and when you’re 15 you never had much else to do. I did that for multiple summers all through high school.
(EM!) Bob: So then what was your first car since you were breaking the bank?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): My first car was a Ford Bronco… an OJ Bronco hahaha
(EM!) Brad: Hahaha was it white?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): I had an OJ Bronco the whole time I was in High School… it was red and black. I loved it. I’ve been playing music since I was 12 and I knew once I started driving I was going to need something to haul my equipment around. That was the sweetest compromise… because it was practical but I thought it looked so cool.
(EM!) Bob: Alright, another random question… when was the last time you wore a tie?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): …last time I wore a tie… September 13th, 2010, and that was my friends wedding.
(EM!) Bob: I was gonna say, that’s a crazy specific answer haha
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Um, you know the band Every Time I Die?
(EM!) Bob: Yeah, I took photos of them the other night with GWAR and Warbeast
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Haha, oh really?! Jordan their guitar player… it was his wedding. I was one of the groomsman and we all had these special outfits. It was funny because he didn’t know how to tie a tie so I had to put it around my neck, tie it for him and then give it to him.
(EM!) Brad: Sounds familiar…
(EM!) Bob: Haha, Brad just got married and I was the best man in the wedding. He hid all my clothes from me until the day of the wedding because he knew somehow I would fuck it up. He even got my pants hemmed for me. The day of the wedding I had a panic attack because I couldn’t find any of my shit to wear… I thought I somehow lost it until I called him and he was like “dude it’s all at my house I have it ironed for you”.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Hahahahaha
(EM!) Bob: I had to give a speech at the wedding… it was hell.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): I’m right there with you! My best friend got married and I was the best man… I’ve played for stadiums of people, huge festivals, you name it… and I had never been more nervous about doing anything in my life.
(EM!) Brad: Oh yeah… it’s all family and people you have to interact with later
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): What got to me was thinking “Man, this is my best friend. This is a huge moment in his life. I would rather play a show for 30,000 people and do what I feel comfortable with than speak and be sincere… and you always feel like you have to be kind of funny… and I was just so terrified. And you don’t want to try too hard and I don’t want to say the wrong thing… I over thought it but it ended up being good. I totally understand your pain.
(EM!) Bob: And the entire time leading up to your speech people come up to you and make small talk and all you can think about is man I have 49 minutes and 56 seconds until I have to talk. I felt sick to my stomach haha
Alright, I’ll do two more questions… do you have any hobbies and/or do you collect anything excluding playing guitar or having guitar equipment?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): I feel like I have more hobbies than I can even keep track of. Aside from music related stuff like practicing and recording things at home… non-music things would be Crossfitting… which we spoke earlier about…
(EM!) Bob: What Crossfit gym do you go to?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): I go to CrossFit 760 in Carlsbad, CA.
It’s really good… and the dude that owns it, he’s a hardcore kid from San Francisco. We kind of come from the same place and when we met it kind of clicked. I really like that place. The actual team for CrossFit760 finished in the top 10 for the CrossFit games regionals. We were all pretty stoked on that.
I also do a lot of surfing. Surfing is a huge part of my life at home, I try to go almost every day there are waves.
So I have music, CrossFit, surfing, I’m into fantasy football.
(EM!) Bob: How is your team doing this year?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): It’s funny. Phil and I (the other guitarist in the band) are actually in the playoffs against each other right now. I’m actually in two leagues… in my other league I was killing it and then I lost the first round of playoffs. But that’s not the league that matters, it’s this one that does.
(EM!) Bob: Ah, that sucks haha. Alright, should we end it there… I dont’ want to keep you…
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Lets do one or two more
(EM!) Bob: Awesome, ok then… what is the last poster that you’ve pinned to your wall?
For me growing up I covered my entire bedroom walls with pictures of skateboarding.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): For me it was probably when I was in college… I started getting into different type of music. It was either a Portishead poster or a Aphex Twin poster
(Note: this may not be the actual poster – I just wanted to have some sort of illustration)
I had that phase in college where I was just trying to listen to weird music. I had tons of weird posters in my dorm.
(EM!) Bob: Ok and last question… Tattoos. Who do you get your work done by? Maybe you wanna give them a shout out too?
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Yeah, actually. Tod Bane did my chest and my arm.
He actually tattooed three of us. He’s a great guy and a great artist.
(EM!) Bob: Alright man, thanks so much for doing this… it’s going to turn out to be an awesome interview. I can already tell.
Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying): Thanks… I really enjoyed those questions.
Photos from the show at the Trocadero