Thu, 03 Dec 2009 13:21:17
There's nobody like Hatebreed.
After over a decade of aggression, the band built its most vicious, violent and vibrant record to date. Of course, there could only be one proper title for the quintet's fieriest fare, and that's, well, Hatebreed. This is no-bullshit heavy metal that goes straight for the throat and leaves nothing but a trail of broken bones and blood. Would frontman Jamey Jasta and Co. have it any other way? No, probably not…
Jamey Jasta sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino to talk Hatebreed, inspiration for his songs and what's happening with all of his plethora of other projects in this exclusive interview.
Hatebreed feels like an unofficial sequel to Perseverance in some ways.
I'm glad you think that! We just tried to combine all of our records. We listened back to our old albums and let them re-influence us. We took it from that point, adding little things here and there. There's nothing too crazy for us, but there are some new ingredients in there too.
It's more down and dirty at the same time.
Yeah, well Zeuss wanted to switch it up so we said, "Go for it!" We had to play it really safe with Supremacy. When we signed to Roadrunner, everybody said, "Oh, they're going to sound like Killswitch Engage." Everybody doubts us every record and then we just try to drop the hammer on them. This time around we thought, "Fuck it. Let's pick the catchiest songs and make the album as stripped-down, rockin' and memorable as possible." I think we achieved what we wanted.
Lyrically you've grown a lot too. Was there some sort of outside influence on that evolution?
It was a snapshot of the stuff I went through. I wasn't trying to do anything differently. I definitely wanted to have songs that can amp me up. I have to play them every night so I felt like, "Alright, let me sing something I'm going to say every night for the next three years"—especially because now we're already looking at four or five new songs in the set. People also want us to do "Hands of a Dying Man," "As Damaged As Me" and "Become the Fuse." I wanted to sing songs that would hype me up every night and get me motivated to sing. It's a cyclical power where if the crowd's into it and I feed off them, I get more into it. These songs happened to be really good for crowd participation.
The whole album is live-ready.
We tested out a couple of tunes, "Everyone Bleeds Now" and "Pollution of the Soul," for awhile and those were getting the crowd to go nuts. Now we have "In Ashes They Shall Reap" and "Merciless Tides" in the set too. It's good to see how the new songs translate live. This record feels like it's sinking in quicker than any other record before.
"In Ashes" is extremely anthemic. That could be like your "Walk."
Wow, thank you! We do it second now, so it's a cool song to come out of the gate with live. You always want to have one or two songs that lead the charge for the record. With that song, we felt it was different enough, but when you put it in, you know it's Hatebreed instantly. I'm really happy with the reaction to that song, especially with the record only being out for a little over a month now. It's nice to see it sink in that quickly because in the past, especially with The Rise of Brutality, it seemed like six months into it, "This Is Now" really clicked. With Supremacy, we were about a year into it before "Destroy Everything" exploded. It takes awhile for certain songs to sink in, but this record seems to be sinking in quicker, which I think will be good with the amount of touring we're going to do.
In the studio, do you feel like you were capturing those immediate moments? Did the album come together quicker than past releases?
There was just a really good vibe in the studio. There were no dramas of the past re-haunting us. I think with every record we've always had some sort of major drama going on in the studio that really thwarted the creative process or made us have to regroup because it was a struggle to really focus on the recording. On this album, there was none of that. It was all positive—all smiles. Everybody was having a good time and feeling really good about the material. We were feeling great about the sounds and tones we were achieving. There was a lot of preparation and pre-production. I think we did about 20 demos of finished songs with vocals and everything. We were able to really hash it out. That all made for a more pleasant experience.
Tracks like "Everyone Bleeds Now" are much more introspective. Were you looking inward more during the writing process?
Yeah, the whole thing with the lyrics on this record was I went back at the end and I said, "I don't have to put a novel into each song. I can take out the bulk of it and leave it open for people's interpretations." That way, it's complimentary to the song. In the past, with songs like "Perseverance," "A Call for Blood" and "Doomsayer," I wanted to fit so much in, tell these stories and paint these pictures. This time around, I really just tried to do what was right for the song. If it meant not baring everything in three paragraphs, that was fine, as long as the song benefited from it. Less is more on this record, especially during "Become the Fuse," "Hands of a Dying Man" and "In Ashes." I just wanted the songs to be catchy and memorable. I wasn't worried about painting such a vast picture.
You can conjure a lot more imagery by being a bit more vague, and it has more of a classic feel in that aspect.
I appreciate that. Kids come up to me every night at the signings and they say they've lost a family member to cancer or they were in Iraq in the armed services and they identify with "Hands of a Dying Man." That song is about me being there when my grandfather passed. There were a lot of other songs that were influenced by that whole situation—losing him to pancreatic cancer. I didn't have to tell the complete story. I just tell enough to where people can get something out of it that they need to get out of it. That's the beauty of music. There are songs that I like by bands that I thought were about something but when I read interviews or saw them talking about the songs, I found out the songs were about something completely different. It's just like a painting, a movie or any form of art where you get what you need to get out of it.
If this record were a movie, what would it be?
I don't know [Laughs]. Because of the content of this record, we can't really describe it. That's part of the reason it's self-titled. There's no saying or one theme that could describe the content on this album. Maybe Rambo? [Laughs] The misunderstood guy who just wants to be left alone lashing out…
Are you going to do another Kingdom of Sorrow record?
I am! I gave Kirk fifteen songs, and we're going to try to get that out next year. I'm excited about the new album. I did a lot of work during my down time and got a lot of songs finished. I'm hoping he can add to them. We're resigning to Relapse, so we're hoping to get something out next year.
What's happening on the Icepick front?
I have songs done. There are a lot more guest spots this time around and it's hard to coordinate with everyone, but that will be out next year too. You've got to stay creative and productive. If it's fun and you want to put it out there for the world to check out, then you've got to do it. There's no use in sitting on ideas. I'm trying to stay in a positive mental attitude and have fun with our music. I want to put out records people can pop in and get some entertainment from.
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…