Underoath's Chris Dudley Details Band's New Self-Produced, Ghostemane-Featured LP 'Voyeurist' [Q&A]
Photos: Moe Horta
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Fresh off the release of their brand new, self-produced album Voyeurist, scene staples Underoath have hit the road on a full US headliner with support from Spiritbox, Bad Omens, and Stray From The Path.
During a recent stop in Phoenix, AZ, The Noise sat down with the influential act for a quick polaroid session and discussion about their hard-hitting ninth full-length album.
To see what keyboardist and programmer Chris Dudley had to say about scoring soundtracks, working on the new record, collaborating with Ghostemane and more, be sure to see below. Afterward, make sure to grab tickets to see Underoath on the remaining dates of the Voyeurist tour here.
The Noise: While working on Voyeurist, the band was coming off your comeback record Erase Me which received many mixed reviews. Can you explain how it felt to be nominated for a Grammy yet, at the same time, have such divided reviews amongst your fan base? Did that at all change your approach when it came time to write and record this new album?
Chris Dudley: I mean, for us, other than the Grammy stuff, it really was nothing different since I feel like every album we put out is either the best or the worst one we have ever done depending on which comments you are reading. We really try to not pay too much attention to all of that and focus more on how the songs feel live; that's the real key in telling how songs are connecting. The response to any album never really dictates what we do on the next one because we are always just writing whatever is exciting us at that time.
For fans that might not understand the magnitude of self-producing this album, can you explain how that process differed from your previous albums and give some examples of things you had to learn for the first time?
It definitely was an undertaking. The only thing we had to do for the first time was trust one another 100% creatively. There was no third-party producer coming in and giving an overarching opinion of any part or song; the buck stopped with us and we all had to be comfortable taking and giving the best criticism possible. Myself, Tim, Aaron, and Spencer have done so much writing/production outside of our band since Erase Me came out that on the technical end, we were a lot more comfortable; it was really just us trusting ourselves enough to say "we can do this."
Did you miss having that outside perspective of a producer when it was all said and done or would you like to self-produce again?
There were times when an outside voice would have been nice but I definitely see us doing whatever we do next ourselves. It was liberating in a lot of ways and we couldn't be more pumped with how it turned out. Not to say that we would never go with a producer again, but at least knowing we are able to do it ourselves if we choose to, is great.
With you scoring movies and soundtracks, do you feel that could inevitably cross over into Underoath more than it already has? For example, could you see Underoath doing some sort of movie or visual project different from the livestreams?
We are always looking to do things that are new and exciting to us, so I definitely wouldn't count out any ideas. I've talked with a couple directors over the past year or so who have ideas about doing something with our band and I would absolutely love to experiment in that realm with Underoath.
On the Making of Voyeurist series, Aaron brought up The Beatles' Get Back series and mentioned something along the lines of "All you're trying to do is capture Hey Jude on a room mic." Not even 30 minutes earlier, he explained how he added those last minute vocals to the bridge of "Hallelujah" on a shitty $20 mic. Do you think Underoath had your own "Beatles moment" without even realizing it?
I think there's been so many moments like that over the years, but the thing is, you don't realize they are happening until you look back on it. In a way, I wish there was a camera rolling for every minute of every recording we've done so we could go back and see the genesis of these ideas that have defined some of our favorite moments. Most of the time it's just someone saying "hey, what if we did this thing instead?" then it turns into something rad, but it's not caught on tape so it's stuck in our dumb memories haha.
On Voyeurist, you guys collaborated with Ghostemane. Were any other rappers considered as well? Are there any other artists you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
Yeah, working with Ghostemane was awesome! We had tossed around the idea of doing something with Run The Jewels but ended up with Ghost and he absolutely slayed it. There are a lot of artists we have thrown around about potentially working with; I think that's one of the great things about what we do and the state of the technology making collaborating on things so much easier. [However] so many ideas, so little time.
Lastly, does this new album feel like a rebirth for Underoath?
I wouldn't say it is a rebirth, necessarily. I always knew that we were capable of this because of our chemistry…something we've been living in forever. This isn't me trying to say that we're the greatest or anything, but no matter what you think about the band or the album, I think the album stands on its own and we're damn proud of it. I hope people love it and I'm excited for what we're going to create next, together.