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A Great Awakening 

For screamo sensations Blessthefall, a little stability has gone a long way

Because the Phoenix-based Christian hardcore group Blessthefall has been through some lineup changes since forming in 2003, every CD the group puts out feels like its debut. Their 2007 debut, His Last Walk, was so well received it got the band onto the Warped Tour for the entire summer after its release. Then, after a bit of drama, original singer Craig Mabbitt left the band to form Escape the Fate, and Blessthefall soldiered on without him, first enlisting bassist Jared Warth to sing lead vocals and then recruiting former Take the Crown lead singer Beau Bokan to be its permanent lead singer and forming what's arguably their strongest lineup to date. Currently on what they're calling the Nut Up or Shut Up tour, the band has plans to follow up 2009's Witness and 2011's Awakening with an album in 2013. The stability has been a good thing, too. As guitarist Eric Lambert puts it, "we will finally have the same lineup two times in a row; it's like a sophomore album!" He recently phoned in to talk about everything from touring Russia to playing pranks on his bandmates.

How's the tour going?

It's good, but a lot colder than I thought it was going to be; it's like four degrees in Rochester right now, with snow on the ground. But as far as the shows go, they've been awesome. Really great so far.

Fans are expecting a CD next year. What can they look forward to?

I'm expecting a new CD next year, too. We just started writing it. We're about six or seven songs into it right now. It's awesome; I'm really stoked on it. It's definitely a more mature sound for us. We're trying to take three steps forward instead of baby steps like we're used to. We're trying to experiment a lot; it should be some good things. Right now our goal is to have it out late summer, maybe a single out before we're done touring.

The video you released last month for the song "40 Days," which includes footage from a fictional swamp gas explosion that turns your singer into a flesh-eating zombie, was hilarious. Where'd the idea for it come from?

All my dudes love The Walking Dead, and [singer] Beau [Bokan] is just the biggest cheeseball in the world. We like older horror flicks like Brainwaves, cheesy and corny but still kind of scary and funny. We have like an obsession with zombies and corny horror movies, and Beau came up with the concept and it worked, because the song is about his wife and it was pretty cool that [Canadian electro-pop singer] Lights got to be a part of it. It worked out nicely and played out pretty well.

How was filming?

It was a long day. We didn't really have to do anything until the end. If anything, Beau had to sit in the makeup chair a lot that day; he kept sweating off the zombie makeup. But all of our friends came out, and we shot it in Southern California.

You guys always seem like you're having fun with everything you do. What's been the funniest band moment?

There's so many. This probably isn't the funniest one we've had, but the most recent one happened today. Our bassist, Jared, was trying to send a picture of himself with this big coat on that he said made him look like a puff; he wanted to send it to his girlfriend, but he really sent it to our drummer Matt [Traynor]. We were all sitting down eating, but Jared [Warth] wasn't there, so then we blasted it all over the Internet and put it on Instagram that Jared sent flirty texts to Matt. We mess with each other so much; we don't take anything too seriously.

How would fans prepare for their first Blessthefall show?

Prepare for the best night of your life, because nothing is going to beat it. No, but really, put on some sneakers, get ready to face dive, maybe wear a bathing suit, because we like to throw water on everyone and everyone likes to have a good time. It's really more like a party than a concert, like a high school sitcom or Animal House.

What is the craziest experience you've had on any tour?

I guess the last time we went to Russia. It wasn't exactly crazy, but it was like a gaga moment for us. We were the only band that played this spot in Moscow one night, and it sold out. All these crazy kids showed up loud and screaming like we've never heard live. We were like, how did our music even get this far? They barely knew English, but they knew all the words to our songs; it was gnarly.

You guys have toured with what seems like every band, so in terms of bands, who is blessthefall's BFF?

It used to be a shoo-in, and now I'm having a hard time. I'm going to have to say our best friend is August Burns Red. We've shared buses with them, and toured, like, five continents with them. They are like our best friends. Them, and Pierce the Veil, I think those two bands. They're like real friends. You can just hang out with them and not be talking about music constantly. We can just be normal dudes, talk about sports and just hang out.

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