Ibanez: How is the Warped Tour going for you guys so far?
Nick: The Warped Tour was sick! We were one of the heavier bands on the bill, but that ended up working out in our favor. I think a lot of the kids were eager to hear something that they could get crazy to. I think between us and some of the other heavy bands on the bill, like Throwdown and Killswitch Engage, we gave that to them.
Ibanez: Have there been any shows that really stood out?
Nick: We played a show in Montreal, and the way the Warped Tour works is that you never know when you're gonna play until the day of the show. So we found out in Montreal that we were going to be the absolute last band. We were kind of bummed, because normally by the end of the night kids are pretty tapped out. They don't really feel like going crazy for you. I guess kids were just waiting for us and chilling in the hills, because it felt like a headlining show. The kids were awesome that night. There was also a show that we played at the Gorge in Seattle, and that was awesome. It's such a glorious venue.
Ibanez: What was the recording process like for the new album, "An Ocean Between Us"?
Nick: For this album, Adam D flew in from Massachusetts to produce. He tracked the drumming at Big Fish Studios, and we did all the guitar, bass, and vocal tracking at Tim's house. We spent the first 5 or 6 hours of the day recording guitars, and then at night Tim would come do his vocals. It was great, man.
Ibanez: Did you take any different kind of approach to the guitars this time around?
Nick: This was the first time we really had someone pushing us with our playing. I noticed that there were a lot of things that I would normally have settled for, but Adam D would just be like, "Nope!" I guess the difference this time was having that other musician, who really could discern good takes from bad takes and good takes from great takes. He made sure that we only got great takes.
Ibanez: What is the writing process like within the band?
Nick: For this album, Tim, Phil, or I would usually come to practice with a basic rough idea for a song. Tim and I usually record stuff into Garage Band and program drums. I'll have like 2 minutes of a song and say, "Hey, here's something that I've got." If it gets the thumbs up, then we work on the parts that everyone likes together as a band. It becomes everyone's at the end of the process. It's a pretty organic and natural process with all of us.
Ibanez: Why were you drawn to the Ibanez ART?
Nick: I've always been a fan of sick single cutaway guitars, and that guitar definitely sparked my interest. When I first started playing guitar, I was very much an Ibanez guy. I had an S, and I've got a JEM and a 7-string. I always thought Ibanez guitars were well-made, and players that I liked were playing them, too. As I got older, I became more of a single cutaway guy. So when I found out that Ibanez was making the ART and I already had a relationship with them, it just made sense.
Ibanez: What are you guys up to for the rest of the year?
Nick: In a week, we're going to Europe for a headlining tour. Then, we're doing a show in Thailand and Japan. Then, we come back and do a headlining tour of the US with All That Remains, Haste the Day, and Through the Eyes of the Dead. That¡Çs the rest of our year so far. There's already a lot of talk about what we¡Çre going to be doing early next year. So it's just going to be a lot of touring for the next 2 years now that the album is out.
Ibanez: Do you have any advice for young musicians based on your experience?
Nick: If I could offer any advice to anyone, it would just be to keep a very open mind about music in general. Make it your own. Just because you can't shred or do anything insane starting off doesn't mean that you can't write a powerful piece of music. Don't limit your playing by what you can or can't do technically. I guess just use your head and go for it. Never stop aspiring.