Interview with vocalist Phil Labonte | By Brandon Ringo | Photo by PR Brown
Fun fact: though the NEMHF has featured numerous bands multiple times, no band has played the festival more than All That Remains. This year the band plays the festival for a record eighth time, which means they’ve played literally half of the NEMHF’s held over its history. With their impressive following worldwide it makes sense that they would play the festival so much and even be a headliner, but year after year it’s their impressive live show that has kept the pit moving. In this exclusive chat with vocalist Phil Labonte, he details what they love about the NEMHF, as well as how it feels headlining such a huge festival.
It’s been roughly a year and a half or so since your last album A War You Cannot Win came out, what have you guys been up to since the release of that album?
Mostly tour! We hit North America pretty hard, went to Europe, South America and Japan. So we’ve spent a ton of time on the road supporting the disc.
Are there any plans for a new record in the works yet?
We’re actually working on one now. We’re a bit more spread out geographically these days. So the winter weather lately has been doing a job on us, but we’re working away.
With your performance at this year’s NEMHF, you guy will have officially played the fest 8 out of the last 16 years. What are some of your favorite things about the festival and what do you feel separates it from other festivals in the US that try and incorporate the same type of bands?
Well we’ve been friends with Scott Lee for ages and he’s really the heart and soul of the fest. He doesn’t screw bands. He tells ya like it is. He’s just an all-around good dude who loves what he does. And that shows in the fest. Bands, crews and fans tend to leave very happy over and over, year after year.
When you’re the headliner at a festival like this, do you ever feel nervous performing after so many awesome bands or does it motivate you even more to go all out?
A little, we’ve grown and changed over the years and we often go into it thinking “Do kids still dig us?” But every year we play it’s a great hometown show. So it’s all good.
Alongside bands like Killswitch, Shadows Fall, and Lamb Of God, you guys helped usher in the “New Wave of American Metal”. What are your thoughts on the way the US metal scene has exploded and evolved over the past 15 years or so?
It’s interesting. It, in my opinion, boils down to a few people [both] in bands and not in bands. I mentioned Scott Lee earlier, but there are a lot of people that have come and gone from the Northeast music scene that contributed to it being something special. That’s a cool thing.
All That Remains will be headlining the NEMHF on April 17th. Go here for tickets & more info.