Exclusive: Zoltan Bathory of Five Finger Death Punch Talks "BandFuse"
Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:57:53
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As far as 21st century heavy metal and hard rock are concerned, Five Finger Death Punch remain the kings. They've ascended to the throne over the past six years via a combination of relentless touring and flawless songwriting. The Las Vegas quintet also boasts two of the genre's best guitar players, hands-down. Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook fire off riffs that are equally incendiary and irresistible and jaw-dropping solos left and right. The band's newest offering, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 2 [Out November 19] practically explodes on impact from all of the fret-burning.
Given their prowess, it's no surprise that Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook have been tapped by Realta's revolutionary BandFuse: Rock Legends [Get it here!] video game as in-game legends. Now, this incredible Xbox 360 and PS3 title incorporates real instrumentation like no video game in history, allowing players to actually learn how to shred like Zoltan and Jason with real tablature and immersive features. The game hits shelves the same day—November 19—as Five Finger Death Punch's new offering.
So ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino spoke to Zoltan Bathory of Five Finger Death Punch about the game and so much more in this exclusive interview.
What attracted you to the BandFuse: Rock Legends video game?
It was basically the whole idea that you actually acquire a real skill. If I'm looking at Guitar Hero or any of the other games that are about instruments, the interface is not a real instrumental. The skill you acquire is fictional. With BandFuse, the skill you acquire is actually a skill. You learn how to play guitar for real. If you unplug from the game, you'll still be able to play guitar. My whole life is a video game. I do all of those things like Call of Duty in real life [Laughs]. For me, it's always important. I end up car racing. Every possible game there is, I usually end up doing that in real life so it's the same thing with BandFuse. I f I play something, I want to acquire some sort of skill, you know what I mean? That's absolutely the number one part of it. I don't feel like I'm wasting my time. I feel like I'm actually learning something and acquiring a skill.
Was the game interface intuitive for you as a veteran?
I play guitar. It's the same thing with instrument. If you have this big rig with all of these midi switchers and crazy shit, there's some sort of a delayed time between your manual input and the actual sound your guitar makes. It really depends on how much shit you have in your line of signal. That goes for any amplifier too. There are certain amplifiers that are a little bit lazier. They're not exactly on time like let's say a solid state amplifier would be. You have to learn those things. You must have a feel for when the actual sound happens. That's pretty much it. The game is fairly fast. You just have to get used to it. It would be the same thing if you have a new amplifier. A solid state amplifier is much faster than an old tube amp. It's just the feel. You have to learn the feel of it. The first time you play it, you're like, "Okay!" Once you get used to it, you understand the timing.
Do you feel like it's a great gateway for kids to learn the instrument?
Yeah, because the focus of today's generation is different. Their focus is on these video games and computers. It is a tool today. That's where the attention goes. It's much more common for someone of a young age to start playing video games than it is to start playing an instrument. That's just today's generation. If you give them a way to play a game, while they're learning something, they'll probably learn easier and faster. In my time, it wasn't available for us. It's as simple as that. If it was, it'd probably be my way too because it's easier. You're not fucking around [Laughs]. You're playing something. You can actually see it on screen too. That fact is cool too. Back in the day, I had to figure out the tablature and what means what. This is way more intuitive. You can understand what's what. I'd say this absolutely a good way to the young generation to learn. The game is so visual. You can see what to do.
How did you first learn how to play guitar?
In my country, Hungary, to acquire a guitar was nearly impossible. The average person was making a hundred dollars per month, maybe. Imagine for me to get a decent guitar how difficult it would be. Regardless of the fact I'm living in a different country, to get a guitar it's the same price as it is in America. It's even more expensive as an import. To get a guitar that costs my parents' entire income for a whole year is fucking impossible [Laughs]. I was a guitarist in my head for many years before I actually had a guitar. I was an imaginary guitarist. I was an "air guitar" hero. It was the will. I was in love with the instrument. Once or twice I put my hand on one, and I was like, "Oh my God, this is what I want to do". It took me years and years to actually get a guitar. My first guitar was a self-made instrument. I cut it out of a coffee table and used parts of some second-hand thrown out guitar I found. That was my first guitar. My approach pretty much was, "Let me see what I can do with this thing". I never actually went to any kind of school. It was a feel thing. The common instrument all humans have is our ear. Once you learn how to actually tune the guitar, that's the first thing you should and have to learn. The guitar is in tune now. Going back to that common instrument, the ear, it either sounds good to me or it doesn't. Basically, I try to find things on the guitar that sounded good. If you put your little finger in different places, you're like, "Okay, that sounds like shit! Not good!" You find things that sound good. That's pretty much how I went about it [Laughs].
As guitarists, have you and Jason Hooked locked in together more than ever on The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 2?
Absolutely! This situation gave us an interesting angle for two reasons. Firstly, the fourth record is always a very bizarre place for a band to be. The first album is your ticket of admission. You put your feet in the store. Secondly, if the debut is successful, on the sophomore album it's like, "Let's see if it was a fluke. Can you do this again?" If your second record is successful, you prove that you have the right to be here. The third record comes, and the question is, "Okay, do you have anything else to say?" If you make a third album and did, then you're going to probably be a band that will stay around for a while. On the fourth, you have to jump that magical hurdle. Fans have three previous albums to choose from. If you do the same thing, the fans will say, "Hey man, I have three of these records already. I heard this three times." If you change towards more lighter and melodic music, it's like, "Oh, these guys sold out! They're all about the money." If you get heavier, they cry, "These guys lost their touch with the songs and the audience." Whatever the fuck you do, you're damned.
What's your favorite Five Finger Death Punch song?
Get BandFuse here!
See our review of "Battle Born" here!
See our exclusive interview between Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch and Aaron Nordstrom of Gemini Syndrome here!