Can you briefly tell us the genesis of Pallbearer, how the band was formed and what you set out to do when the band first started?
Brett and I formed the band in 2008, concurrent with another project we had going called SPORTS. Eventually, Devin joined us after we had worked on a few early compositions, and even later, Mark became a part of the band. We didn’t really have any particular goals early on, apart from wanting to have a band that was our own contribution to what we recognize as the Arkansas underground heavy music scene.
What is the band’s purpose in this world for you guys? Is it a vessel or conduit for the release of any kind of specific emotion?
It has always been a cathartic experience for us. It covers a broad range of emotions that tend to lean more heavily towards the darker end of the spectrum, but often with an element of hope in spite of that.
Given how “Foundations of Burden” came out, it looks like you are trying to create a bridge between classic rock and doom, is that accurate to say?
Foundations of Burden is an amalgam of our own interpretation of our many influences and loves, one of which is definitely classic rock.
Do you think the band will keep evolving on this path to develop its melodic and technical side, or can you see yourselves reverting back to heavier and darker doom in the future?
I think we’ll continue to evolve, but that’s not to say that we might not get heavier and darker, too. It’s hard to say at this point in time; ideas are still being incubated.
In “Foundations of Burden” it sounds like more emphasis was given to the progressive traits: soloing, vocal styles and a tendency to cover a lot of stylistic ground – do you agree?
I’d say that’s accurate.
Who would you say are Pallbearer’s biggest influences?
Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Robin Trower, King Crimson, Kansas. My Dying Bride, Type O Negative, and a multitude of others that would take forever to list. Sometimes I feel like I’m more influenced by particular songs or even parts of songs than artists’ whole catalogues.
How do you guys write music? Can you tell us how Pallbearer songs are born?
Generally Brett and I work on compositions separately, then bring them to the band and work from there.
And in regards to the recording and production aspects, how did the album come together?
I think that’s a bit to complex to address as an answer to a single question. We worked feverishly with Billy Anderson for an entire month, and down to the wire in terms of time to finish. According to Billy, it was the most involved and layered amount of guitars on any album of his career. It was a bit harrowing to make, and I think we all came out of the session pretty mentally and emotionally drained.
“Foundations of Burden” – why this title, what themes does the album cover and what is it about?
I can’t answer the question of the title, I didn’t create it. The album is intended to be up for individual interpretation, but it does lend itself heavily to the concept of letting go of regret.
Can you tell us about the unusual artwork the album bears?
It was created by our on-going visual collaborator ANIMETALPHYSICAL, and is yet another manifestation of the themes in the album that should be interpreted individually and not made be concrete by any one person.
What do you think are the major differences between “Foundations of Burden” and “Sorrow and Extinction”? Which work are you more fond of?
I think Foundations of Burden is a more realized and mature album, and a more concentrated amalgam of what makes up the Pallbearer sound. I prefer it to Sorrow and Extinction, even though I am proud of that album as well.
The partnership with Profound Lore continues, how did it happen and how would you deem the collaboration so far, and do you see it continuing?
Working with Chris Bruni at Profound Lore has been great. He approached us years ago about releasing Sorrow and Extinction, and we have had a great relationship with the label so far. I can’t predict what directions we might take in the future.
Are you happy how this record came out or are there things you think could have been better and that you would change?
Of course there are small things that I would like to go back and adjust, I think that’s natural.
Do you think Pallbearer is a band that is a vessel for experimentation for you guys, and that your sound might change and evolve in the future, or do you think it’s just a conduit for you to play doom metal and that it is not destined to change much?
I don’t really feel like what we’re doing now is strictly doom metal anymore. I’m sure it will continue to evolve.
You have been around for some time now, but not for too long, yet you are an already affirmed and successful band. What do you think is the key to being “good” at what you do and being “successful” in your environment of reference, and what would you say has been the absolute highlight of the band’s career so far?
We have been lucky to have very supportive people that have helped us along the way, and we try to always improve and never stop learning. It’s hard to say an absolute highlight, because there have been many. Playing Roadburn 2013 still stands out, because it was our first show in Europe, and at that point in time our largest audience. I will definitely never forget it.
What are the band’s plans for the immediate future?
We’re touring Australia for the first time in June, and North America in support of High On Fire in July and August.
Which bands have you enjoyed listening to lately?
Sharon Van Etten, Strand of Oaks, Ben Frost, Vallenfyre, Martyrdod.
Pallbearer Australian Tour Dates:
High On Fire/Pallbearer North American Tour:
30-Jul-15 – San Diego, CA – The Casbah
31-Jul-15 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echoplex
1-Aug-15 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
3-Aug-15 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater
4-Aug-15 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw
5-Aug-15 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
7-Aug-15 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
8-Aug-15 – Denver, CO – The Gothic
10-Aug-15 – Minneapolis, MN – Mill City Nights
11-Aug-15 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
12-Aug-15 – Ferndale, MI – The Loving Touch
13-Aug-15 – Toronto, ON – Opera House
14-Aug-15 – Syracuse, NY – Lost Horizon
15-Aug-15 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
17-Aug-15 – Boston, MA – Royale
18-Aug-15 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
19-Aug-15 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts
20-Aug-15 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Sound Stage
21-Aug-15 – Winston-Salem, NC – Ziggy’s
22-Aug-15 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
23-Aug-15 – New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jack’s