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At All Cost interview

By Drew Ailes
Sat, November 1, 2008 4:50 PM PT5,858 views

Given the recent developments (i.e. hardships) within the At All Cost camp, Drew Ailes thought it would be a good time to check in with At All Cost singer and keyboardist Andrew Collins


At All Cost is a band that's put in an incredible amount of effort and endured a number of harsh situations, that's now been pushed into a period of inactivity. As an artist and a musician, going out there every night and playing the songs that you strongly about, how did you personally handle the disappointment of these shows and tours?

The band as individuals, and as a collective, could always find some silver lining no matter how bad the tours got. Granted, that silver lining was green most of the time, but I always managed to write or make music while "out" that could never be replicated at home, so that was rewarding. In the end, us just being out was far better than working or doing school, so there was always reason to give thanks. But after awhile, that blind optimism just seemed to bottom out, and each tour was just barely worth justifying.

I have to ask, why did you take these tours? Why did you go out with bands like Dead To Fall, Hatebreed, and Today is the Day when your band is so radically different?

Most of the time, it was because we didn't have another option. Before the majority of those tours even started we knew that it wasn't going to hit like it should, but like I said before, it was either that, or being home, so we always took what we could. In the end, it was our booking agents who tried as hard as they could, but were always coming up empty-handed. "Not enough scans" or some other catch 22 bullshit. Also, we just loved the idea of spearheading what we sought to change, straight at the source, where the battlegrounds were hot. The challenge took it to another level: if you play something different, play it harder, faster, louder than anyone else that night. Prove it to them their way.

At All Cost was dropped recently from Century Media. How did you end up on that label? Were there other offers?

Shitty manager making shitty deals with shitty labels. Others were interested, but not enough to put up a contract.

Did the relationship with the label start out being fairly positive?

Uhh, sure. I mean we got signed, that obviously must be a good time for a band and its label. They were into us enough to give us some money to make music, but it's novelty quickly diminished. We were part of a massive label, swallowed up with more and more shitty bands. It's funny to think now how we must have sucked, if by association alone.

We were talking once, and you were telling me about how you van had been broken into once, and had two trailers stolen. I asked you if you ever played with the notion that maybe this was a sign that this band was doomed. Do you feel like you're being pushed to give-up, or take it as an indication to work harder?

Always. Truthfully, after every major event that changed that band, I always told myself "this is the last test, just get through this and you're gonna make it." I pieced each step of our history into semi-fictional schema, in which the world or some unknown overlord in a room somewhere was testing us, testing our character, our guts, and our drive. Every time we would rise to the occasion, I always expected to get a phone call saying "you did it, congratulations" and then life would take flight. I guess I'm still waiting. Point being, the things that you go through are what it is that makes you. The hardships that we live are the lessons life gives.

Your band is comparatively small for having had an actual "manager" working with you guys. How do you feel about managers? Do they help a band of you stature?

I don't know, there are obviously people out there who bust their ass for bands and really hustle to get them exposure. We had nothing of the sort. Maybe we just had bad luck, but I fucking hate managers - especially ones who don't do shit and still collect a check.

It's Time To Decide caught the attention of a lot of people and generated a number of fans for At All Cost. What was it that caused the interest in the band to die-down a bit after Circle of Demons was released? Lack of promotion? The alteration of music styles? Changing trends in music?

Well for starters, Trey left the band shortly after Circle of Demons came out. He was the brains and hustle of the operation. After he left, there was lack of incentive and direction outside of the music itself. Lack of promotion is another reason and poor choice of tours...there are lots of excuses. Maybe we just took it too far for anyone to still be with it from the It's Time To Decide times.

A lot of people don't know that At All Cost used to be a very different band with far more of a direct hardcore influence. You weren't always the guy with the torn up clothes, mustache, and hair down to his chest. If I'm not mistaken, some of the older songs were actually about being straight edge. What happened?

Let's see...as we began to play hardcore music, there had to be some sort of foundation to build on. By that I mean playing really generic shit. That's why its generic - because everyone starting out needs to learn to walk before they can run. Part of emulating that crossed over into being straight edge. It was never a crew thing or a dogmatic boast, but something that my brother and I found identity in from our parents' alcohol abuse and eventual divorce. I always tolerated others' choices anyways. Eventually, I drank a vodka and red bull the night we were signed to Combat. It was more about a relationship I was going through, but at an important crossroads nevertheless. I never really took to drinking like others and I eventually started smoking grass, which for some reason I still cant find a reason to not do. What followed was a metamorphosis from ignorant hopeful cub, to a wise and skeptical king of the cosmic jungle. That was a dumb analogy.

On stage, you're a pretty fierce and aggressive guy. It's not uncommon for you to fuck with kids who are on their sidekicks, or directly call people out who aren't paying attention. Where are you coming from when you're doing things like that, and how are you as reserved as you are off-stage?

It's about respect. We took the time to drive hours and hours and go through all kinds of shit to be there at that moment in time, and to have someone write that off with something so trivial as eye-raping a sidekick at a show...well that's just depressing. I'd rather actively flip depression into anger. That way I pour rage unto those heartless souls, feeding them the same bad energy they had given me and thus relieving any hang-ups or regrets of being victimized by their shittiness.

The song, "Eating Lightning, Pt. III" is a continuation of two songs from The JonBenet. Where were you when you wrote that song, and what is it about?

I was outside, in a chair on the lawn, knowing everything I wanted to write about, but needed a way to centralize its idea. I called Mike and said "You know how when we and The JonBenet get together, everything clicks, and no one gives a fuck for all the right reasons. We pillage and drink and rock and just have fun, what is that called?" And he goes, "Blowin shit up dude, Eating Lightning." It made perfect sense. I tried to reinterpret the meaning so as eating was injesting and lightning was the catalyst. For me, its about mushrooms, and mind trips, but the metaphor serves the greater idea.

Is this more of a forced hiatus or a collective decision? It sounded like you feel still willing to get out, but maybe still searching for a proper place in the music world.

Hmm. I never really thought about that. I think everyone kind of knew we weren't moving, so no one really knew what we were doing. I just felt like "hiatus" keeps our existence relevant and at the same time describes our absence. Call it what you want, were just taking time to breathe and figure out things after such a long road.

Where is your proper place in the so-called "scene"? Is there even one?

We don't have one, not that I'm aware of. We're outcasts of some sorts, that's for sure. I don't care, quote Refused: "I'd rather be forgotten than remembered for giving in."

With guitarist Mike Theobold having joined Darkest Hour, what will the fate of the new songs be?

Mike joining Darkest Hour is amazing for everyone, but it does put a hinder on any steps we might want to take with At All Cost. I know that outside this new venture of his, he is always willing to jam, and that's important, because he still believes in it. He's just got other priorities now. We haven't played in so long, but we had already written some new songs before all the Darkest Hour news happened, so I couldn't tell you. Mike is gonna be busy writing a new record with Darkest Hour, but I know when we get together again, shit will click like it always has.

You also have an electronic project, L.A.X. - how are things doing on that front?

It's always been something I do for fun, for enjoyment, and when I was in town off tour with At All Cost. So now, its become my (and AAC's drummer, OZ's) sole stage outlet, which is kinda shitty. While its good to have fun and we love playing music, Cost has depth. It has real emotion and it has a high that cant be replicated by doing dance music. But I love it and will always make music in hopes that one day someone will give some overdue credit.

Anything else you care to say to anyone out there reading?

Have faith that one day we will play again and reclaim the crown in this Kingdom of Shit.




17 comments

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anonymous 11/1/2008 4:56:01 PM

who gives a shit


zero_x_potential_ 11/1/2008 5:14:34 PM

Why?


anonymous 11/1/2008 5:16:08 PM

people listen to this band?


tony_stewart_ 11/1/2008 7:35:13 PM

They should just start over instead of going on with aac. The band will never sound the same again, and why even try.


bastardmaker_ 11/1/2008 8:25:47 PM

touring with bands like hatebreed, titd, and such are not hardships. most bands would be able to capitalize on such an opertunity. anyhow, I love AAC


chas_ 11/1/2008 9:31:01 PM

its time to decide was a good record. and their live show is fun. best of luck to these guys.


drew_ 11/2/2008 11:30:09 AM

tour with hatebreed and titd as at all cost, then you can make statements out of whether or not they're hardships.


shit_spasm_ 11/2/2008 3:27:34 PM

ok so what i got from this interview was "boooo my penis.."


anonymous 11/2/2008 6:52:31 PM

pack of wolves >


sdg_ 11/3/2008 12:46:08 AM

wow this dudes really f*cking bent. don't cry about it in a f*cking interview you pssy.


slickdick_ 11/3/2008 5:31:06 PM

f*ck century media and more importantly f*ck pack of wolves f*ck


@@@_ 11/3/2008 6:11:48 PM

summary: WWWAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH


drew_ 11/3/2008 6:30:35 PM

in andrew's defense, a lot of the questions are probing for negativity. so suck dcks


nike_ 11/4/2008 3:57:19 PM

the streets are alive...>>>>>


faggot_ 11/4/2008 4:35:14 PM

this band has been busting their asses for years, haters can suck my dckkkkk.


to_ 11/6/2008 3:44:32 AM

most bands bust their ass gay, this is nothing new.


turtle_ 6/18/2009 1:33:32 AM

if anyone wants a hoodie from this band circa 2003 (?) email me @ xturtlex@gmail.com