Interview: In This Moment
Thu, 07 Nov 2013 10:43:02
In This Moment have spilled quite a bit of Blood in the past year on the road.
Right now, they're headlining the Hell Pop tour, and they're bringing a whole new live experience to their rabid fan base across the United States. Most importantly though, they're still riding high on last year's phenomenal Blood album. It's a shining example of the group's evolution with its perfect marriage of succinct, slick heaviness and malevolently catchy melodies. Bood is keeping great hard rock alive…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, In This Moment guitarist Chris Howorth talks Blood, the Hell Pop tour, and so much more.
Blood flows like one whole piece.
I agree. The way that record was made was different than any other record we've done because our manager dropped us and a couple of our band members left. We had to regroup and come together. It was just Maria Brink, Kevin Churko, and I writing all of the songs. I don't know. We were in this special moment in time, and everything fueled it. I really like some of our old albums like The Dream, but there are some songs I'll go right past. I can listen to every song on Blood. I'm super stoked. It was that magical combination of things that made it special, and everyone unanimously agrees out there as far as how well it's doing, and people out there are still liking it. It's changed our career dramatically. We couldn't be happier.
What are the musical threads connecting it?
I'm always open to something different. Every album has always been different from the last as far as the guitar playing, the sound, and the production. Going into this album, instead of having everything written and laying down all the drum tracks and the bass parts and building it that way, we went one song at a time. We basically worked on a song until we felt it was developed enough to put it aside and move to another song. We'd develop it up with guitars, drums, bass, and everything. It was a completely different approach. I went from the angle of whatever was best for the song, keeping the heavy tone in there and the metal parts, but it was about what worked best for the song. I'm not a greedy guy who's like, "I've got to have this riff in here! I've got to play this riff as fast as I can!" It's whatever feels best for the song. Having it come together and be a great song is the reward.
What's the story behind "11:11"?
That's something Maria and Kevin have wanted to do since we first started working with Kevin back in 2008. It's a song that's all vocals. It's nothing but vocals. Even the thumping beat is Maria pounding on her chest with her hand. Everything else is her vocal layering to make the musical parts. It's something that's been in their minds. They came up with the whole thing. I was sitting on the sidelines like, "Go guys!" Obviously, I'm not singing on it [Laughs].
How did "Blood Legion" come together?
That is something we did with Mitch Marlow and Kevin. We met Mitch while he was playing with Filter in Europe. We were approaching this album like, "Let's look into doing some co-writing with people. Let's see how it goes". We met with a bunch of different people and some big name writers. Nothing panned out that we liked. With Mitch, we had a chemistry, we loved his style of the programming, keys, and what we call "Technology Parts". We did "Blood Legion" with him, and we ended up doing "Burn" and "Adrenalize". Those have his touch as well as Maria, Kevin, and mine.
What songs speak to you the most from the album?
Honestly, "Scarlet" and "From the Ashes" are still my favorites. We don't even play them live. I love the emotion in "Scarlet". "From the Ashes" is almost like old In This Moment, and I like it for that reason. It ties in with Blood, but it's a little different. For "Scarlet", we wanted to make a dark and eerie song. We started with acoustic guitars and came up with the main chord progression. Once Maria hears a musical piece, she comes up with all of these ideas. We record it all. Then, we'll go back and listen to it and piece together parts. She'll work on the lyrics and come up with the concepts. We just wrote in the studio, and it was a cool way to do it.
Was the amplified visual element something you always wanted to achieve?
I'm a huge fan of Kiss and Alice Cooper. I've always loved that stuff. Maria is really into Madonna and artists who have big production. She always wanted to do that too but we were a bit scared or others were scared it wouldn't be cool. When we went into this whole new phase of the band after management dropped us and the guys left, we were like, "Let's not be afraid anymore. Let's step it up in every way. Let's step up the look, the show, and everything". With the album, we wanted to make sure everything tied together. It started out really organically like, "Let's try a little of this and that". Maria has had all of these ideas visually with her outfits. It's built and built. Maria has always used a handheld wireless mic. Our tour manager bought her a headset mic. She was afraid to try it. She just tried it and was like, "I'm free. I can do anything I want!" Now, she has props she uses in her hands and she's doing all of this different stuff. It's been an organic progression, and we're going crazy with it. On our Hell Pop tour, which is our first real headliner for Blood, we're going all out and putting on a big show with a lot of different elements. It's not just a bunch of guys up there playing music. There are a lot of different elements.
What are you most excited about?
I'm just excited to see how the whole thing goes. We're only five shows in now. There's a lot of pressure when you're the headliner. We've had great opportunities this whole album cycle. We've supported Shinedown a bunch and all of our favorite bands. Now, the pressure is on. We're playing bigger places we've never played before. It's been great so far. The bulk of it is ahead of us.
What have you been listening to?
I usually listen to older music when I'm getting ready for the show. We start pumping up with hardcore like Hatebreed and Bury Your Dead. It's music you might not expect. Recently, Maria was singing "Stuck On You". I looked it up, and I bought Lionel Richie's Greatest Hits. I love every single song! I'm a Lionel Richie fan too. The new DevilDriver album is really cool. I think Asking Alexandria really stepped it up.
If Blood were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
That's a good question. Maria and I always talk about soundtracks. Blood has a ton of music that could be on soundtracks. I think of movies like Underworld or dark things. It'd be like sci-fi or horror.
What's your favorite In This Moment song?