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Interview with Trevor Phipps of Unearth

dU: Our magazine is called defy Unlearn because we strive to defy labels and want people to “unlearn” what they have been taught. What does “defy Unlearn” mean to you?

Trevor: (I handed him a sticker prior to the interview) Well, judging from your sticker...”not underground..not mainstream...just a pulse” …I think what you’re saying is, no matter what style of music it is, if it’s real and you like it, then enjoy it, don’t try to classify it like “I like pop music” or “I like underground”, you just love music…that what I get from it.

dU: When doing interviews is there a question you hate being asked?

Trevor: (laughs) There are a couple…first being, “what the craziest thing that’s ever happened on tour?”, that’s kind of a weird question we get all the time, I mean, so many things happen on tour, but nothing really crazy, not like we’re not shooting heroin or anything like that.

Also, I can understand getting asked about Adam D (Adam Dutkiewicz from Killswitch Engage) who produced our last 3 records..which I don’t mind getting…but we get asked about it every single interview.

dU: How about a question you wish someone would ask

Trevor: That’s a good question…that question right there!

Some fun questions that I’d want to know about bands I like are, “what was your first concert?”
That’s where you started from, going to shows and that’s what you do now for a living and how you make your living.

dU: So what was your first concert?

Trevor: “Clash of the Titans”, I was pretty lucky, I was 11 or 12, Alice in chains opened, Megadeath, Slayer then Anthrax. It was awesome! Anthrax and Megadeth were my favorite bands at the time, my dad took me and my girlfriend/best friend at the time, it was a great start.

dU: What kind of role did music play in your life when you were growing up?

Trevor: I think I owe a lot of my like for music to my dad because he’s a big music fan, I listened to a lot of rock and roll, the Rolling Stones, Beatles, The Who…I grew up in a house where there was a lot of record playing, so I can appreciate rock and roll music. I got into it myself, and the older I got, the more records I bought or cd’s or tapes…I’m 27 now, so it was mostly tapes.

dU: Do you have any siblings?

Trevor: Two younger ones, but they are not actively in music like I am. I started as a kid, putting on shows for my parents, it was cool.

dU: What kind of music are you listening to now? And which bands?

Trevor: Well last night was New York and tonight is a local show (Worcester, MA), so I didn’t pack my CD’s yet but I’m going to bring the new Killswitch, the new Shadows Fall and the new Lamb of God, they are all great bands I think. I really love the new Lamb of God, it’s a great record, they really tune into what they are doing.

dU: Which of your songs would you like to see a cover version of and who would you like to see do it?

Trevor: Wow that’s a loaded question! Someone I look up to, definitely, like Testament, who was a big influence on me. As for the song, any song off our latest album, I’d love to hear Chuck’s interpretation of how the vocals should go.

dU: What song do you like to perform the most live?

Trevor: A couple of favorites…The Great Dividers, This Lying World, actually, I enjoy playing all the new songs from our last record (Oncoming Storm) because they are new. Our last one was three and a half yrs ago and I love the songs still, but we’ve played them so many times and now these new songs are fresh and plus the fact I think they are better songs.

dU: Can you tell me one thing that makes a really good audience?

Trevor: Energy, that’s where we get our energy from. Moshing, dancing, crowd surfing, when they sing along, even if they are just banging their head or rocking the stage or the barrier, if they have energy and have fun, then we have fun.

dU: Now here comes the Tour Interview part of our interview where we ask you to think back to the beginning of one of your tours, Ozzfest in this case, and give me

a comedic moment:

Trevor: Definitely the S.O.C. The “shirts off crew”. All the bands on the second stage would take off their shirts, at least one or 2 members from the band anyhow. Basically, we’d take off our shirts when the sun went down and run around in the parking lot chanting “olé, olé, olé”…(Suddenly the door opens and Ken Susi pokes his head in and yells out: “WWWHAYYYYYY! That’s my penguin impression!” and he shuts the door and leaves. Laughter ensues)

See, shit like that… Anyhow, back to the S.O.C., one night we stormed the main stage when Black Sabbath was playing and we were doing a circle pit for Black Sabbath, chanting “olé, olé, olé” and the next night we were all playing dodgeball in the parking lot & Ozzy started chanting “olé, olé, olé” and it was kinda funny for us because the night before we sorta got flack from security and that it was a bad idea and we shouldn’t do it again but then Ozzy was chanting, calling for us, so it was pretty cool…

dU: a moment of perfection or beauty:

Trevor: I was on the side of the stage during Judas Priest, this was in San Francisco, Chuck Billy and James Hatfield who are from there, were there. James was right in front of me, Chuck was right next to me and then Rob Halford came and sang right next to us, that was a moment of beauty and perfection right there, I was surrounded by three amazing vocalists.

dU: a moment of ugliness:

Trevor: It was in Cleveland, there were a bunch of ugly moments there. It rained all day long, everything and everyone was soaking wet, the bands, the crowd, that didn’t make for a fun Ozzfest day. Another ugly moment was our first tour bus breaking down, it happened four times, we even had to miss an Ozzfest because of it and that was our first tour with the bus and we expected it was going to be fun. We were excited about getting a bus, because we’ve always vanned it, and we are still vanning it now, but it broke down way more than our van ever did, but to miss an Ozzfest, that was pretty ugly.

dU: a cliché:

Trevor: Getting drunk, we’re not alcoholics, but we drink on tour. There’s not much to do on tour, you work out, check your email, but a whole day to do nothing, you have time to drink, but we all stay away from drugs…it’s just alcohol.

dU: a moment of gratitude:

Trevor: Just being on Ozzfest in general, the whole second stage were bands that grew up listening to bands on the main stage and admiring them. To be picked this year..was simply amazing!

dU:Well thanks a lot Trevor! It was great talking to you!

Trevor: Nice meeting you and talking to you too!

Interview by: Carina

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