Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed Talks "The Divinity of Purpose"
Fri, 25 Jan 2013 08:04:01
Hatebreed are like heavy metal terminators.
Nothing can slow them down. Nothing can stop them. Every time they roll through town, they leave a wake of cathartic destruction. Not to mention, they get heavier and more heartfelt with every subsequent album.
In many ways, The Divinity of Purpose is their masterpiece to date. The anthemic grooves, pummeling riffs, and unbridled anger are preserved, but the songs stand out as more focused and fiery than ever. If you're a metal, hardcore, or heavy music fan, this is beyond essential listening.
ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino sat down with Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta in this exclusive interview about The Divinity of Purpose. Jasta talks the record, his dream tours, and so much more.
It feels like all of the other Hatebreed albums have led up to The Divinity of Purpose. It codifies everything you've done, while opening up the door to the next chapter.
I agree. We have enough experimentation on this to where it sounds natural, and it's a natural progression. There's enough borrowing from our self as well, which I think fans expect now. It's one thing to borrow from other bands. I think if we keep our sound similar to other records, that's good.
You built a sound on Satisfaction is the Death of Desire that was always malleable to evolution.
The crossover was always there from the beginning. Even when we put out Satisfaction, we were touring with Entombed and playing shows with Machine Head, Napalm Death, and a lot of different metal bands. We started playing with Strife, Earth Crisis, Snapcase, Agnostic Front, Madball, and bands like that too, but we enjoyed playing both kinds of shows and that affected the sound from the beginning. We're still on that path. We still do both. I think that's a good thing because we want the music to continually bring people together. There's no reason it should be so separate. With the way the internet is, it's created all of these little factions of scenes. A lot of bands aren't really comfortable going outside of their scene. That's their prerogative. They can that all they want. I think they're limiting themselves, whereas we want to expand our horizons.
What's your take on The Divinity of Purpose as a whole?
I just enjoy it. I wanted to put out a record that I wanted to play every song off of. I can't say that about the last album or maybe The Rise of Brutality. We've pretty much played all of those songs on Supremacy and Perseverance at some point. There are no songs we wouldn't rehearse. I think the only song we don't play off Perseverance is "Blood Soaked Memories" because it's so slow. With this record, there isn't a song like that. I'd look forward to jamming any one of these songs. They all feel pretty much timeless to me. That's a good sign. That's all you want. As an artist, you want to have a better record than your last. Already, I feel like this is a better record, and that's a good feeling to have.
Was this is a particularly creative period?
Yeah, because there was no pressure to do a record, we waited two-and-a-half years and we didn't really have a label in place. We funded the record ourselves. We had a very D.I.Y. ethic, and we just worked on stuff when it was a good working environment and we were inspired and motivated. Once there was interest, it was very similar to when we were getting ready to do Perseverance.At that time, we were shopping demos, and a bidding war had started. We ended up signing with Universal. This time, we had songs, and people had heard certain songs. Again, a bidding war happened. We were like, "It's cool to be in this position again and have this interest from the label still so deep in our career". The same thing happened for Europe. We had a lot of labels interested. It gave us confidence in the fact that if all of these labels are fighting over us we should really have an awesome record. Having that interest helped us have a better outlook on everything.
Was there a moment in the studio when you felt everything came together?
Well, there was a turning point. Once we got out of pre-production and we began working with Zeuss, I felt like out of the 17 tracks we could shave it down to about 12 tracks and really have a nice solid selection of songs. That feeling clicked in. Initially, I wasn't really into "Put It to the Torch" and "Dead Man Breathing". There was a point even where I thought "Idolized And Vilified" might not make the record. Once I started working with Josh Wilbur, they took on new life, and he helped me work through the vocals. I wasn't feeling "Bitter Truth". I liked the arrangement and the riffs. I went back with Josh and pretty much changed the whole thing and added a little bit of melody. We made it a really cool and different song for us. When people from labels heard it, they were like, "This sounds like Hatebreed, but it's like you have this new life". That helped the whole mental process and made the working environment better.
What's your favorite song right now?
Last night, I flew back from Las Vegas. I decided to listen to the record while I was on the flight so I could focus on nothing but that. The first five songs just hit me like a ton of breaks. I thought, "Wow, this is great". When it got past before "Before the Fight Ends You", I had forgotten a bunch of those songs. By the time I got to "Boundless (Time to Murder It)", which is currently my favorite song off the record, I felt like we had some bangers on the album and it was really solid. That and "The Language" are my two favorites as of yesterday.
Where were "Boundless (Time to Murder It)" and "Idolized And Vilified" come from?
Originally, we were going to have "Dead Man Breathing" in that second to last spot. It was actually Chris's idea to switch that and "Boundless". I think it was better that way now that I listen to the record sequenced. "Dead Man Breathing" has this driving, bouncy Slayer feel. It's a great momentum shift in the record, whereas "Boundless (Time to Murder It)" is a simplistic song that'll get the crowd riled up. Lyrically, it also stays with something Hatebreed has always touched on, which is overcoming demons or enemies inside your mind. That's a nice sentiment to leave at the end of the record. "Idolized And Vilified" is a topic we touched on a bit with "No Halos for the Heartless" on the last album. It almost has more relevance now three years later when you look at the state of our society with addiction and the way we give celebrity to people who have such problems and really don't need to be under spotlight. It was a good way to close out the record. Lyrically, it says a lot about our view on things.
Where do you feel like you're at now as a writer?
I think about the live show and touring. When I'm writing lyrics, I think, "I'm going to have to sing these every night. They need to be something I'm going to look forward to screaming my head off about". The different topics we touch on in this record are all important to me. If I can keep finding things to sing about, I'm going to do so, write them, and sing them. I already feel like we could follow this record up quick with another one. There's no shortage of topics that I want to express myself on. There's no shortage of stories that need to be told either. I'm in that place where I'm happy to be creative.
If you were to compare The Divinity of Purpose to a movie or a combination of movies what would you compare it to?
Maybe The Shawshank Redemption or Field of Dreams…something with a good message that also shows the darker side of man or humanity.
Have you been working on any JASTA or Kingdom of Sorrow music?
I've been so busy planning out the year and some stuff into 2014 with Hatebreed that I haven't really had the focus to work on anything. I've written some riffs and lyrics. What I've written will probably be used for another JASTA record. There is a lot of interest in Kingdom of Sorrow right now. That's something which could happen but probably only into late 2014 because my focus is with Hatebreed right now.
What are you looking forward to this year music-wise?
You're going to have a new Slayer record. There's going to be a new DevilDriver. It's going to be really cool. Maybe Metallica will finally take Hatebreed on tour. That would be a dream come true—Metallica and Megadeth for sure. Kingdom of Sorrow did the Mayhem Fest with Megadeth and I got to watch them every day. I got to talk to David Ellefson a couple of times and say hey to Dave Mustaine. That's still one of those bands I always wanted to tour with Kingdom or Hatebreed.
Get The Divinity of Purpose on Tuesday January 29!
What's your favorite Hatebreed song?