Latest release: Hatebreed (Roadrunner)
Band site: www.hatebreed.com
Regular visitors to our shores, US metal/hardcore stars Hatebreed will return to Australia for Soundwave 2012. Vocalist and all-round heavy music renaissance-man Jamey Jasta spoke to Loud about the creation of the next Hatebreed record, the state of the music industry, plans for another solo album, Kingdom of Sorrow and more.
Q: Jamey, how are you doing?
A: Good, I’m just back at home in Connecticut. We’re writing for a new Hatebreed album.
Q: What’s the latest on that record?
A: It’s going good, we got a lot of ideas and I’d say we’ll probably get into the studio right when we get back from Australia.
Q: Where do you envision the next album going – heavier? Faster? More melodic?
A: Well, there probably won’t be any melody whatsoever (laughs). It’ll be fast, heavy, I would say very reminiscent of the last record’s faster, heavier songs like “Merciless Tide” and “Hands of a Dying Man”.
Q: You have such a well-established sound. Is it still the same crop of bands that inspire the Hatebreed style, or are there newer influences creeping in as well?
A: Well, for me I guess a “newer” band that I enjoy would be someone like As I Lay Dying. They’re not a new band even (laughs), they’ve been doing it for years. But maybe Amon Amarth, and I mean again, that’s not really a new band. But our influences have always been like New York hardcore bands and then bands like Sepultura, Slayer and Entombed. As far as new bands, who else do I like who I guess you would consider newer? (Pauses) I don’t know (laughs).
Q: On the topic of recent music, we’re now in 2012. What were some of your favourite releases of last year?
A: Some of my favourite albums from 2011? I found myself listening to the new Anthrax record a bunch. That one stuck with me I think a little bit more than other records. I did like the Megadeth record; I just didn’t find myself going back to it as much as I was going back to the Anthrax record. I really liked Staind’s album. What else did I like? Let me look at my iTunes here and see what I listened to the most (laughs, than pauses to have a look). Well, Crowbar, I listened to that a lot, but that was technically 2010 I think; that was Sever the Wicked Hand. I listened to that 111 times (laughs), so that’s a good one. I mean, the Iron Maiden record I listened to a lot, but was that 2011?
Q: That was 2010 actually, but another good album nonetheless.
A: Maybe it was. I listened to Machine Head, Weekend Nachos – a band on Relapse, I think that was 2011. Skeletonwitch’s Forever Abomination – that was 2011. (Pauses) That’s pretty much about it, as far as heavy stuff.
Q: Interesting. Back to the Hatebreed record for a moment – do you have any idea of a tentative release date for that perhaps?
A: I don’t know, we were talking about that the other day and we were thinking about whether we should put something out in October, or should we try to maybe just wait until next January and tour more on the Perseverance ten-year anniversary tour. Because originally we thought about doing some dates and just doing the whole Perseverance album. But then we scrapped that idea and decided we were going to tour all of Europe and all of the festivals in the summer, and then promoters asked us to come to other places and we’re going to do some more touring. So I don’t know, I’m not sure yet.
Q: Any possibility of road-testing some new material when you’re here for Soundwave?
A: No, no. We thought about maybe doing some songs that we haven’t done live yet, but Frank’s (Novinec, guitars) down in Florida and I’m not sure if we’re going to get a chance to rehearse before we go.
Q: Who are you excited about seeing or just hanging out with at the festival?
A: Oh, I’m looking forward to seeing Dez (Fafara) and Coal Chamber, just ‘cause we haven’t played with them since like 1999, 2000, so that’ll be cool. I’m looking forward to seeing Lamb of God play new material from the new album, which I just got and I listened to it this morning on my run, it’s really good. Four Year Strong, looking forward to seeing them – we did some shows together over the holidays last year, but I wasn’t able to catch their set, so I’m looking forward to catching their set. There’s so many good bands; I looked at the lineup the other day. I’m psyched to see Slipknot, System of a Down, but yeah, it’s going to be a great time.
Q: I’m envisioning you running frantically from stage to stage to catch all of those bands when you’re not playing (laughs).
A: (Laughs) Yeah, I think so. Depending on the schedule; I know we have two shows booked, one’s in Newcastle and one’s in Melbourne. So hopefully we won’t have to leave after we play to do the travelling, we’ll be able to stay for the full show and see the bands.
Q: Hatebreed aside, you released your solo record (Jasta) last year, which seemed to be well-received. Are you planning to do some more solo material or maybe a new Kingdom of Sorrow record in the near future?
A: Kingdom of Sorrow’s going to be on hiatus for a while, just because we did the Mayhem Fest tour and we felt like we ended on a high note and we were able to support that record, Behind the Blackest Tears that came out on Relapse in 2010. So we thought, you know what, let’s end it on a high note, take a hiatus, maybe a year or two, maybe three, who knows? Down is mixing a new EP right now and they’re going to start touring again and then Kirk (Windstein) is going to start working on a new Crowbar record. So Kingdom definitely won’t be recording anything anytime soon, but there is a chance we might do some festivals or something; maybe not this summer, but next summer. As far as another Jasta record, I would love to do that, but my main priority is Hatebreed and I’m probably going to do this Hatebreed record and then tour on the record for at least a year-and-a-half to two years.
Q: The solo record sounds like it was a lot of fun to write and record.
A: Oh yeah, totally. It’s cool that it’s actually sold some copies in the US, especially now with the state of the record industry. I was really happy that people actually bought it. That totally helps me, being an indie artist and having a good indie deal, every copy sold really benefits me and helps me pay for my recordings and gives the guests a little something as well. I was so lucky to get Zakk Wylde on the record and Randy (Blythe), Phil (Labonte) from All That Remains, Tim (Lambesis) from As I Lay Dying, and Mark (Morton) from Lamb of God. I had Mike Vallely, who’s like a skateboarding legend; he sang a song with me. If people keep buying the record over the next year, I’ll be able to record and self-produce another one, which would be great. I did have so much fun doing it, because there’s no pressure. I guess there might be a little bit of pressure for the next one now that this one’s been received okay and it sold decently, so we’ll see what happens.
Q: You mentioned the state of the music industry there. Obviously you have your own label (Stillborn Records), but does the current industry climate affect a label like yours as much?
A: Oh yeah, absolutely. I took the whole year off last year, from putting out records, because the state of my distribution, and the state of the record industry. I’m at the point where I have to focus my efforts on stuff that’s fun. Unfortunately, putting out records can be a major drag; especially when you get stuck with thousands of CDs, bills, red tape with the distributors and things of that nature. But I just put out a band called Defiler and this band, it’s funny man, they have over a million views on their video already on YouTube. They’re just a young band, young kids, they’re really hungry. I had Zeuss, who produced Hatebreed and a bunch of other bands remix and remaster their record. We put it out just on the mail order; we didn’t put it in stores, we didn’t even put it on iTunes or anything yet. The band has their old version of it on iTunes, but we just pressed our copies and we’re sending them to people directly from our webstore. We just totally did it DIY-style, you know? If you got a PayPal or a credit card, you just go to the store or the Facebook and you can order their CD and the band directly benefits from every CD sold.
Q: In what direction do you see the industry headed in the future? Will CDs become obsolete sooner rather than later?
A: (Pauses) I’m not sure just yet. I still want to own CDs, I like the packaging, I have like my library of CDs in my CD cases. But I do like when something isn’t released physically, if it’s just on vinyl I do like to get the digital copy and I have my iTunes pretty organised. I can’t speak for the younger generation; all I can speak for is myself and I like to own vinyl and CDs and I like have them stick around for a while. But we’ll see what happens. I mean, vinyl’s made a little bit of a comeback, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Q: I remember that thrill in your early teens when you saved for weeks to buy that one album you want, but there’s just so much easily available at people’s fingertips these days.
A: Yeah, it’s kind of taken the special feeling out of it, especially because people don’t give things a chance as much. They have so much available to them that they download stuff and don’t even listen to it (laughs). I’ve sent things to people to listen to and they’re like, “I’ve got a thousand other CDs I want to listen to”. I’m like, “wow, where did you get them?” And they say, “oh, this blog, it had 5000 CDs for free”, and I just go, “oh my God”. There’s a lot of content; the universe that we live in is a very fast-moving place now. It’s not like it was when I was a kid, when you had one tape and you listened to that tape in your Walkman while you skated or while you were on the bus to school or whatever. Now, you have thousands of people’s discographies at your fingertips, you can stream it on your cell phone.
Q: Tom from Hellyeah made a good point when I interviewed him recently. He said many people today have shorter attention spans, but their expectations of bands have become even greater.
A: Wow, that’s a good point – I can see that being true. Yeah, people have all sorts of opinions when it comes to bands and now they have the Internet to express that. I know from being on social media that the expectations are greater.
Q: Any famous last words?
A: Just thank you so much to all the awesome metal and hardcore fans in Australia. We’re looking forward to coming back and having a great tour. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and all that stuff and say hey.
Hatebreed will be touring with Soundwave 2012 on the following dates-
25/2: Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD (SOLD OUT)
26/2: Sydney Showground, Sydney NSW (SOLD OUT)
2/3: Melbourne Showground, Melbourne VIC (SOLD OUT)
3/3: Bonython Park, Adelaide SA
5/3: Claremont Showgrounds, Perth WA
You can also catch them with Biohazard, Raised Fist and Cro-Mags on the following dates-
28/2: Panthers, Newcastle NSW (A/A)
29/2: HiFi Bar, Melbourne VIC