UNDEROATH // Drawn Lines Indivisible

“It’s just something that had to happen,” says Underoath’s frontman Spencer Chamberlain, down the line from his St. Petersburg, Florida home. “Even though some of the worst years of my life would follow.”

MORE: Underoath Part I: Soul Remover—Behind Erase Me // Story Of The Year – Waking The Pack // Dead Of Winter Festival Drops Mammoth Second Line-Up // REVIEW: Erase Me

The breakup of Underoath in 2013 had to happen. After, our scraggly haired rock ‘n’ roller plunged into a haze of drugs, homelessness, and self-destruction. He clawed his way up out of that pit thanks to his new band Sleepwave.

“It seems like a lifetime ago, because so much has changed for all of us during that time. I feel like the band kind of had to go through that as individuals and as a unit.”

In the weeks and months of 2013, the unravelling of Underoath was such a tantalising yet perverse thing to watch.

“Our little family dispute was broadcasted across the world, the internet, and in magazines, and everyone had been watching us basically flip each other off and walk away,” Spencer says. “That feels like having your family life on reality TV show and everyone watching it fall apart.”

Standing under a spotlight, it’s hard to make out what’s in front of you. Faces are washed out in a blur of heat and white. You’d have to experience it yourself to drown yourself in those kind of illusions.

“A lot of people in bands don’t understand, and I think people on the outside don’t understand either. You are that guy, that dick, 24/7 to the public eye. Even when you realise that maybe something that weighs heavy on this work is something you should have realised sooner rather than later. And it’s kind of too late.”

When so many people insist you labour for their benefit, there’s no stopping the juggernaut.

Our little family dispute was broadcasted across the world, the internet, and in magazines, and everyone had been watching us basically flip each other off and walk away.

“People are giving you shit about every little thing that you do. You think everything that you do is a weird lifestyle, and it is. It affects everyone in some form or another. Depends on how you take it. You know, you see a lot of singers in bands that turn out to be cocky assholes or treat their fans poorly or act as if they’re a God. Fans come up to you and they say, so seriously, ‘oh my God, you saved my life.’ ‘You’re the best singer ever. You’re so hot.’

“If you really read that and believe it and then they take it so far and then you’ve got other people that think that this is really dumb, all the praise has made us weird. How do you even handle that?”

The band had an answer, but it wasn’t pretty.

“Aaron turned into a guy that was a hypochondriac who couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. Constantly going to the doctor, like ‘what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with me?’ Tim was eating out of dumpsters, and I was doing tonnes of drugs. So everyone went inward in different ways, but while we’re all doing this we don’t even realise why that’s happening. I don’t think any band does. Until you can step away from it.”

The story of Underoath is a lot like life. The best thing Underoath ever did was break up. We’ve done it ourselves. It could be a job, it could be a partner. We grow. What came before, decays. Through pain we find a new path, as hard as it is. We transform ourselves. Right now, we’re watching Underoath emerge renewed from the cocoon, about to spring from a leading edge of metamorphosis.

“At the end, we were definitely not in a place we needed to be as a band,” Spencer says. “I spent more time with these guys then I had my blood family.”

Keyboard player Chris Dudley, speaking mere miles away from Spencer, agrees.

“I think as far as us personally, we still felt like a family but we all were convinced back in 2013 that Underoath was done. That we were not planning at all on ever doing Underoath ever again.”


It only took three years, but Underoath was on its way back. A few shows planted the seed for a full reunion tour, which had the potential to flower into something more.

“Oh man, all this stuff that I got myself into, hit the soul, hit me hard,” Spencer says. “Everything has a reason, and after we pin certain things down in our personal lives and figure things out, we could forgive ourselves and each other and become friends. And that was really the most important part, everyone will tell you that all the time, ‘Are you guys making records? How are you guys writing? How are doing this? How are you doing that?’ We always were unclear about it because we didn’t put that pressure on such a fragile thing.

“For a while, that question was kind of like, ’Okay, the people that were pissed when Underoath broke up, and now we’re touring and kind of giving the thing to the whole world, they want a new record and are like really, really mad about us announcing new shows without announcing a record.’ But it’s like being in a relationship. You start dating someone and it’s going good but you don’t tell her you love her after a week, you know?”

Sorting out legal bullshit, planning a tour that wouldn’t exhaust them, getting a feel for writing and being among one another was a must. It had to feel right.

“For me it’s a lot more exciting because it’s not a grind anymore. That’s what it used to be,” says Chris. “Our mindset was always worried we’re going to do Underoath at a 100 percent or we’re not going to do it at all. And I think that we still have that mindset.”

Underoath is a lot of people’s favourite band. Once you get a taste, more people want to join you at the trough. Who cares how many bodies it threw against a wall pursuing a dollar? Who cares if sons and daughters go unseen, or birthdays breeze by like countryside through a tour bus window? Fuck it dude, we need those thumbs up. You eat, drink, and shit Underoath in chasing them. That’s who you are. Well, not any more.

For me it’s a lot more exciting because it’s not a grind anymore.

“We’ve all got families and kids and all that. In 2013 with everything coming to a head, we [said] we’re either going to tour nine or ten months a year or you can stay home and be with your kids. There’s no in-between. It’s different now because we’re able to tour less but those dates are way more, I think impactful and important.”

If it wasn’t all figured out—that Underoath could be Spencer, Chris, Aaron, Tim, James, and Grant as individuals who play in a band—it wouldn’t happen. Ever.

“So there were a lot of little steps to get there, and we wanted to make sure that it was right before we got where we are right now,” Spencer says. “Which is looking at a full year of touring, the record coming out, people arguing, not a lot of people like it, all that stuff. We just kind of took our time getting there for many reasons. That felt like the right thing to do.”

Catch up on Part I of our indepth Underoath interview delving into the making of Erase Me

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