Inside The Almost: A Candid Interview with Aaron Gillespie

thealmost12013_375xLife has been eventful for Aaron Gillespie, front man of The Almost, since the release of their previous album Monster Monster in 2009. After departing from the immensely influential Underoath in 2010, a band where we was the sole original member at the point, Gillespie would find himself participating in their final show a few years later. Inspired by a trip to Africa, Gillespie would record a solo album of spiritual based tunes entitled Anthem Song. And now The Almost has returned with the glorious Fear Inside Our Bones, an exciting magnum opus presenting heartfelt rock and roll at its most honest and inspiring. Here is a recent interview Highwire Daze conducted with Aaron Gillespie while he were on the road on an acoustic tour to find out more about the dynamic new The Almost album, his time with Underoath and his feelings about the breakup, how Aaron really felt about an appearance The Almost did on Jimmy Kimmel, and other topics of interest. Read on…

It’s been three years since the last Almost album? How frustrating has it been to wait that long?
I don’t know – it doesn’t feel like it took that long. I don’t feel frustrated by it. I think it just took that long because I was trying to achieve a certain thing with this record. The band, I felt, had to grow to a certain place so we could record.

Is this any story or concept behind the title Fear Inside Our Bones?
It’s kind of about the idea that people – I think that every person in their life – whether it’s in their birth, in relationships or whatever it is – every person experiences pain. Every person has a moment of fear in their lives and it kind of ties together, so that’s kind of the whole thing.

Select two songs from the new album and what inspired the lyrics.
I love the song Ghost a lot. We just released it and that is song is cool cuz it talks about us as people – how we need to question ourselves as opposed to going blindly into something. We need to question ourselves and say “is this right for us?” or “is the wrong for us?” before you make a definitive decision. And then there’s a tune called The Florida Sun, and it’s like a career spanning song for me. It talks about everything that I’ve done and getting back to what my heart really is – and it kind of uses the idea of the place of Florida.

How does this new album compare to Southern Weather and Monster Monster?
I think it’s totally different in a sense that we did the record live – we recorded it all in the same room – and it’s very gritty and raw in that way. And it just feels urgent to me. Those records – I do love them – but I do feel that this is “the one” I think. This really captures what The Almost is about.

fear_inside_our_bones_coverAt this point in your career, would you consider The Almost to be a Christian band or a ministry? Why or why not?
I would, because I feel that whatever your passions are come out in your life – and if they don’t then you’re not really being honest. So yeah, I would.

What was your experience like playing the Jimmy Kimmel show?
We went into it and I thought we sounded great – and then I watched it and we sounded terrible – and it was just a really emotional experience for me, because everyone knows like, “Oh, what a great show! What a great show!” And you watch it on television and you’re like, “Wow, I sound like an idiot!” So I didn’t love it very much, man. I would like to go back – and if we ever get a chance, I’ll do better – if they ever let us back… (Laughter)

Do you think sometimes you are overcritical of yourself and music?
Uh, I think sometimes, but I think the public felt that one sucked too…

What was it like performing at the final Underoath show? How was that for you?
That was awesome! It was really cool! People from ten countries came to that show – flew in from Russia, Europe – all over the place. It was really cool –it was kind of an emotional experience for all of us – I don’t think we planned on it being that, but it was. It was a great night!

How surprised were you when Underoath decided to break up, and what did you think of the fan reaction towards it?
I wasn’t really surprised – I kind of knew it was coming. I knew it was coming years ago to be honest. I think that people loved that band and I was grateful to be a part of it.

When you look back on the first two Underoath albums (Act Of Depression and Cries Of The Past), what do you think of them now when you listen to them?
I think they’re terrible!

Really?
The first Underoath album was an EP we recorded in ’98 and the other one was recorded in ’99. And they’re like black metal, so they don’t really have anything to do with the band now. They are very separated from all of that. So yeah, I think they’re terrible.

One of them has an eleven minute song on it, or something like that.
Someone gave them to me the other day, and you can’t really get them – they’re like super expensive. There was only actually 4,000 of them each produced, but I think they’re pretty terrible.

I got my copies at Furnacefest many, many years ago. I think that was also the first time I ever saw Underoath too…
Oh that’s cool!

Do you think you’ll be doing an Anthem Song Part 2 or another solo record?
I think so, yeah. I’m not sure of the time frame. We just started talking about it, so we’ll see what happens.

Is there any place in the world where you haven’t been that you’d like to go?
I’d like to go to India. I’ve never been there. That was some place I was talking about the other day that comes to mind.

That would be cool – kinda scary, but cool!
Nah, not scary. All of those places you think are scary never really are. I’ve been to all the places I thought were going to scary – like Africa and Columbia – Russia. Well Russia was kind of scary, but for the most part, they’re not really as scary as you think they’re gonna be.

How do you feel about fans who really enjoy your music but may not necessarily be Christian?
I feel great about it. I’m going to be honest with people either way, and I think if you respect people then they’ll respect you. And I’m grateful that anyone who likes my music likes it! It’s a wonderful thing for me.

What were your memories of the first show you did with The Almost at Chain Reaction in December of 2006?
Sweat. It was like the sweatiest night of my life. It was SOOO HOT! I think they put 600 people in there that night. I was so flattered that people would show up to something that they didn’t even really know what it was. We had released one song online – but I thought it was amazing that people came!

Do you have any messages for The Almost fans out here in the Los Angeles / Orange County area?
Thanks for listening. I love you, we respect you. Thank you!

The Almost is:
Aaron Gillespie – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, percussion
Dusty Redmon – lead guitar, backing vocals
Jay Vilardi – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Joe Musten – drums, percussion
Jon Thompson – bass guitar

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

The Almost on Facebook

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