Interview with All Else Fails
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My friend group in my early teens was all really into music, specifically Grunge, Metal, Industrial, and Alternative. We all bonded over the music, and many of us picked up instruments so that we could play the songs we liked. Music is the strongest force in my life, I can’t imagine what I would do with most of my time if it wasn’t for playing, performing, and writing.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Until recently I traveled a lot. I read once that travel is the cure for prejudice, and I completely agree. My experiences across the globe deeply influence my writing and the themes that I believe are important. I’m also a big gamer, which has deepened my appreciation for imaginative interpretations of common events.
How long has your band been around?
We have been an active band for 16 years, since 2006.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are based in Edmonton, Alberta. Growing up here, there was very little to do in the winter so I spent a lot of time playing guitar with my friends and writing music. Our first shows were house parties, and lunchtime shows at our school.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The name All Else Fails is about being true to one’s artistic self in the face of unlikely monetary gains. “If All Else Fails, write music you actually like” was the line one of us spoke that sparked the name.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We played a massive festival in Guwahati, India a few years ago that is the absolute standout. The insane amount of love we received from the people, the shocking amount of fans that knew our songs, and the beautiful warmth of the culture will live with me forever. The other most memorable was a bar show in Yorkton Saskatchewan. At one point the bartender went for a smoke and we were the only people not only in the venue, but in the whole building.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I don’t really have a favorite, though broadly, I adore outdoor festival stages. I would love to play more of those across the world. Being able to disappear into the crowd for a weekend and talk to fans is immensely rewarding for me.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I’d love to play with Metallica. They were my favorite band growing up, and still put on one of the best shows in the world. How crazy would that be?
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Be authentic. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to write what is popular or attempting to follow fads, but the truth is that no truly great music has ever been created that way. In addition, be cool to yourself. One doesn't need to be perfect or write the greatest song of all time, just make music you love. Set real goals that you actually want. Would you really want to be so famous you’d have to spend 250 days a year on the road? Maybe, but make sure it’s for the right reasons, from there, take the risks you need to take to make it happen, fortune favours the bold.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
The above, but also to spend a little less time giving a shit about what others think of us, listening to critics has never done anything but slow us down.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
It would be I, Defiler, from our upcoming album. It's as personal as I've ever written, and it hurts my heart to hear it.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
We have always gotten a lot of requests for both Antimartyr and Obsidian Walls. Both songs I love, but as we are in a new phase of the band, we have retired our back catalogue live.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Every album has been different over the years. In the past, it has been a mix of collaboration between members, and individual writing. Our upcoming release "The Incident at Black Lake" is a collaboration, with many of the songs being sparked by our guitarist John.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I used to sing a lot about social issues, things I was pissed off about that I experienced usually secondhand through friends, family, or people around me. This album is different, it is completely about the last few years of my life. I have been struggling a lot with some very serious mental issues, so it deals a lot with Suicide, dissociating from reality, drug use, and depression.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We actually all get along really well. There are minor disagreements, but in the past three years with our current lineup, I can't say we have run across anything serious enough that a small amount of compromise couldn't resolve. In the past, I've had blowouts with members that lead to firing or quitting, but never really anything overly dramatic.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We release our new album "The Incident at Black Lake" on Sept 30th, and our first single "Flesh /Excess /Wealth" is out now, pretty much everywhere. We put over 2 years of work into this one, and I can say honestly that it is our best work.
Visualizer - Flesh/Excess/Wealth -
Music Video - I, Defiler -