Long Island crossover crew This is Hell bring a blisteringly fast, fierce knockout punch to this year’s Soundwave bill. Even on a bill as huge as this one, the band’s high-energy performances and fusion of thrash and hardcore appear well-positioned to win over new fans. Excitable guitarist Rick Jimenez gave Loud the lowdown.
Q: Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is your third trip to Australia I believe?
A: Yeah, it’s our third trip to Australia and our second time doing the Soundwave Festival. I’m kind of assuming that there’s going to be more people, being that it’s Metallica and sold out every day we play and the venues are larger. I’m expecting to watch Metallica five nights (laughs), and go nuts or something. I was saying to somebody earlier on, that if we got the offer to fly out to Soundwave this year and not even play, just to hang out for five days and watch the show, I’d be more than happy to do that. So the fact that we’re going over there to see the show every night, as well as play, is completely ridiculous. My expectations are to lose my mind every night.
Q: (Laughs) Aside from Metallica, who are you interested to check out at the festival?
A: If possible I’m going to try and watch Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Sick of it All, Madball and Vision of Disorder every single day. I want to catch Linkin Park, I want to catch Fozzy. Shit, who else? There’s so many bands I want to see this year. Oh, Killswitch is playing, I’m losing track. Polar Bear Club is playing. I will definitely watch Paramore a few times if I can. It’s actually going to be difficult, because it’s gonna be so hot and I’m gonna be in the playing a show mentality, but I’m also gonna be like, I want to see 75 bands every single night (laughs). I’m probably not going to able to make it happen, but like I said, I honestly might just go nuts every night anyway.
The logical way to think is that if you miss someone one day, you’ve got five days to see them at some point. That’s the logical way to think. But you know, afterwards it’ll be like, ‘you could have watched Slayer five times, but instead you only watched Slayer four times’ (laughs). That could be a really bad mistake. I’m sure it’ll be that I miss somebody that I really want to see, but hopefully that won’t happen, because later on I’ll be devastated. I remember one time I went to this festival show in the States, and it was like Snapcase, Buried Alive, Reach the Sky, Hatebreed, V.O.D and Stretch Arm Strong. There were all these bands that I wanted to see. So Hatebreed was playing last, and I was just so shot that I left before Hatebreed played. And especially now, like I shouldn’t care; I’ve seen Hatebreed a million times, we’ve played shows with Hatebreed. I still think back to that day and will be like, ‘Why would you leave before Hatebreed? That’s so stupid’ (laughs). That was in 1998, so I really think I should go out of my way to see every single band I want to see this time.
Q: You’re also touring here in support of a new EP.
A: Yeah, we have “The Enforcer” coming out, which will be available in Australia via 3Wise Records. Four songs, we’re psyched. We’re playing some of those songs live and we’ll probably do the same thing over there. We’re really excited; just a little taste of what we’ve got going on, what we’ll be recording on our next full-length. It’s another progression. Every This is Hell release has been a progression from the last one. This one is the same thing. There are no rules, as far as we go. When it gets time to start writing some songs, we just start writing songs. It’s not necessarily like, ‘hey, let’s write songs that are for This is Hell, so it’s got to fit in this little box’. It’s like, we just start writing songs and whatever comes out, if it’s good, to us, then that’s the next step in This is Hell.
Q: How far away is the next full-length release?
A: It’s hard to say. As of right now, we’re aiming for some time, possibly in the middle of this year, but nothing is set in stone. We have a lot of touring planned and some tentative stuff that we’re working on, and we want to make sure that our times match up with (producer) Zeuss, who we want to record the full-length with. He just did the recording for “The Enforcer”, and we got on real well with him. So we’re trying to make it work out so that the next full-length is with him as well.
Q: In addition to your four studio albums you’ve released several EPs and seven-inches as well. Is that a response to where you think the industry is headed, that bands should release a few tracks at a time instead of doing a full-length album, just to keep regular product out there?
A: You know what; it’s funny, because the answer to that is very much the answer to like almost everything. That comes from the fact that we’re selfish. It’s like, ‘what would be fun to do before doing another full-length? Hey, let’s put out a seven-inch’, because doing a seven-inch is fun. ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have another seven-inch for us to do?’ A lot of stuff we do is like that. Like a lot of the merch that we make is even from that. Someone in the band is like, ‘hey, I think patches are really cool’. ‘Well, how many patches are we gonna sell?’ ‘Having a This is Hell patch would be cool, so alright, let’s make one’. I think that’s the main reason why we decide to put out seven-inches and EPs in between almost every full-length. It’s kind of like, well, we have a couple of songs and we’re not ready to do a full-length, so let’s do a seven-inch. Or we’ll do a full-length and wind up with seven extra songs. ‘Okay, let’s do an EP instead of just writing two full-lengths at once’, you know what I mean? So that’s kinda always been the main motivation behind us doing that.
Q: Do you think bands need to release more music on a regular basis to remind fans that they’re still around though?
A: It’s hard to say. It kinda seems like that, because people’s attention spans are shorter. It almost seems like that if you think about someone as being from a smart marketing point of view, it’s almost better to put out two, three or four songs every six months, as opposed to putting out a full-length every two years or whatever. Especially with like the internet and pirating, everybody’s trying to find the right ways of making it more enticing for people to buy physical products. I guess that would make more sense, if it went that way.
For us, it’s kinda cool to do both. We’re an efficient band. If it was a thing where it was someone in the band brought up the idea of, ‘hey, we should do a full-length, and have it recorded in four months’, like we’re starting from nothing. Then I guess it’s like, ‘well, we’ll write a record in four months’. We don’t ever really do that because that’s not the way this band works. When we decided on our own, ‘hey, let’s start writing for a full-length’, the music started to be written and before we knew it we had ten songs; we’d decided we were going to do a ten-song full-length. But then an 11th song came, and also a 12th and 13th. Then the idea came to maybe do another seven-inch and do a full-length, because we had so many songs. Before we could even get to the studio to record the seven-inch, we had 17 songs. It’s like, ‘What the fuck were you thinking with 17 songs?’ (laughs). So as of right now, we did “The Enforcer”, which has three originals and a cover. We’re gonna do a ten-song full-length, and even at that point, who knows how many songs we’ll have? As of right now, we have too many songs for a ten-song full-length. So it’s hard to say what we’ll do, and it’s also hard to say whether what we do is the smart thing, or just kinda the This is Hell thing (laughs). I always do the opposite of smart; but it’s always (about) a thing that we want to do.
Q: Interesting. Now, we’re several weeks into the New Year already. What are some of your most anticipated new releases for 2013?
A: (Pauses) I know this might be a little selfish, but my good friends from home, a band called Incendiary have a new album coming out. That’s a record I’m looking forward to. The new Hatebreed record comes out real soon; we’ve done some shows with them and that should be rad. Our friends Stray from the Path have a new record coming out too, so that’s exciting. That new Jason Newsted record, or EP, that came out this year is awesome, so I’m still excited about it. I know Metallica’s going into the studio this year, so hopefully the record will be out next year. Obviously I’m way excited for that.
Q: Funny that you bring up Jason Newsted, as I was speaking to him earlier.
A: Oh man, too bad you didn’t talk to us first, then you could have been like, ‘hey, you should probably get your three-piece band to do a tour and take This is Hell on that tour’ (laughs). But yeah man, I love that EP. I bought that because it was Jason Newsted and I’m a huge fan of his. He’s become present on social media real quick, so he’s like, ‘hey, I’m doing an EP and it’s called Metal’. So it came out, I got it from iTunes and listened to it over and over and over again. I just think it’s so good. I’m really psyched that he’s doing the project that is, like… When I think of Jason Newsted, I think of Metallica-era Jason Newsted. So this sounds to me like that; to me it sounds like what he had to offer to Metallica, that they didn’t quite let him get across. And that’s awesome. The fact that he’s singing too; I always thought that his voice was awesome. The fact that he has his own band, fronting his own three-piece metal band is so sick.
Q: Well said. Any famous last words?
A: Just check us out; check out our new EP “The Enforcer” and keep your eyes out for a new full-length that we’ll be recording later on this year.
Brendan is Loud’s contributing editor. He also writes for TheMusic.com.au
This is Hell play the sold out Soundwave Festival in February/March.
You can also catch them with Anthrax and Fozzy at the following show-
28/2: The HiFi, Melbourne VIC
Failing that, you can also see them with Cancer Bats and Kingdom of Sorrow-
28/2: Reverence Hotel, Melbourne (18+) – tickets