Last time we've met was at the official listening session at the end of October at the Nuclear Blast-office in Donzdorf. So what have you been up to since then?
We just finished up the US tour with Lamb Of God and In Flames. Then we went home for a few days, and then I left for Germany, where I am right now.
So in what shape are you? Exhausted or ok?
I am ok, thanks. I am happy to be here. Nuclear Blast is doing such a good job, so I cannot complain about that.
Since I already talked to you in person in Donzdorf about the new album, I will restrict the amount of questions regarding 'The Divinity Of Purpose'. We'll be talking about different things today! I want to start with some questions about your existence as a touring musician. What are the practical daily routines during a tour? Showering, calling your family, certain time schedules?
Well, we've been very lucky with the last past tours, where everything was arranged very professionally. We were playing in big arena's and had personal dressing rooms and showers, which is of course very comfortable when being on tour. The good internet connections at such venues enable me to do some skyping with my daughter, which is important to me. Also, we weren't headlining so that gave us some space to do something on our own, which is nice. Some of us go to the gym often. For this last tour with Lamb Of God and In Flames, it was the same deal. So this time, I even went to Disney and to a Chicago Bears-match with Willie from Lamb Of God and Matt, our drummer. It was a good set-up, as far as having a good time together.
Are you, as a band, in the position to use all the preferable gear when you are touring, for instance, Asia or South America? Or are you sometimes facing places where the equipment is far below all required standards?
Well, we've been in South America with Lamb Of God. Again, with such big tours, the production is professional and well-organized. We did Chile, Argentina, Sao Paulo... In Asia, we were again lucky with good accommodations and equipment. We did a few shows in smaller venues, like Taiwan and Singapore, where you of course have to adapt to certain circumstances, but all in all, it was great and well-arranged. But then again, the big metal-tours we are doing are always very professional. Touring is much more comfortable when you don't have to be constantly concerned if everything will work properly (laughs).
So what are the similarities between the different members of Hatebreed? Do you share common hobby's or interests? You obviously spend a lot of time together, so how do you spend it?
The funny thing is that (I won't name any names) multiple bands we've toured with, say like: “You guys are so weird, you're actually hanging out with each other, liking each other!” (laughs) It comes down to a lot of touring experience. To me, being in a band is kinda like a marriage; you know all about the person or persons that you're involved with. We of course eat, talk, play and do other things together when being on tour. Apart from that, each of us has their own thing. Chris like to go to the gym, Frank is really into Nascar, Wayne is a huge basketball fan and Matt sleeps all day (laughs). It's a good thing, because everybody should be able to do their own thing and enjoy their time.
Do you (still) enjoy travelling the world? What are your favorite countries?
We've never been to South-Africa and we would love to do that next year! I also would love to see Iceland. Everybody keeps telling me how amazing that is. It seems that a sort of metalscene is establishing as well over there, so hopefully we will get the chance once to play there. But there are so many places where we haven't played yet; St. Petersburg, Estonia, for example.
To switch to a whole new topic: what is your view on the rise of the internet and its influence on the music industry? Do you think it has benefits for you and Hatebreed, or do you feel ii works against you?
That's difficult… Let me think. Well, like back in the days with LimeWire, there were a couple of hundreds of thousands of downloads of our album. That was sad, because we were close to a gold album with 'Perseverance'. LimeWire killed that dream. It's sad, because you put so much work in it. Then I would say that nine or ten bucks would not be too much to ask, for a year of putting hard work into a record.
But when you view it from a different perspective; let's say Hatebreed gains more interest of people through free online songs and consequently, these people start buying merchandise or tickets to the shows, do you still think the same?
Well, that's a complicated question, because it is of course a multi-layered issue. I am aware that the internet is able to give us lot of exposure, but we as a heavy band will never get a front add on YouTube or ITunes, for example. Still I realize that the internet might be a helpful tool to us, if a scenario like you described happens.
Besides Hatebreed, you did Kingdom Of Sorrow, Jasta, your clothing line, a record label… How do you decide what comes first, and how do you split your time?
With the label, I just did the Black Friday release. For the clothing line, there are two fighters that I sponsor. But for the label, like a lot of indie-owners will probably tell you; you got to have a lot passion and a strong will to keep it going, because it is a lot of work for minimum profits. It is not that I release albums on a monthly basis with it. In a the sense of time and priorities: I am lucky that I was able to move my grandmother, sister and her children close to me, so that I don't have to travel a lot in my free time also. This means that when I'm off work, I can really relax. I did so much touring for over the last ten years, that I'm very happy to be in this position right now.
Are there any things left you want to achieve as a musician?
Yes, there is always a purpose. There are always new people getting into hardcore and metal, so this means there are always new crowds and people to 'win', you know? That will always stay a challenge, I guess. Also, we have toured with a lot of great bands we love. But still; we haven't toured with Megadeth of Metallica, so there is always something on the wishlist! We also talked about a few countries we have never played so far. So in short, I would say there is always a new thing on the horizon that keeps it fresh and energizing for us.
During the listening session of 'The Divinity Of Purpose' in Donzdorf, I noticed that you've intensified the present metal influences in the total package. There were an Exodus-shirt as well as devil horns on the promotional bandpicture, the (beautiful) album cover looks very metal, and there is quite some thrash metal going on in the songs. Is there a direct link between your signing to Nuclear Blast and this?
No, I don't think so. We've always had that, ever since the beginning of the band. Some of our earlier shows were even with Machine Head and Napalm Death, for example. We always try to keep a right balance between the metal and hardcore genres- or scenes. The cover of the new album is a painting. We thought that it would be appropriate in this digital age to have a handcrafted piece of work, where someone has put a lot of time and effort in, as the album cover. Also because people spend their money on our records, we wanted to make it really worth it this time, in all possible ways.
The new album comes out in January. Am I right that you will be touring for a long time? What is your feeling about scheduled a long time ahead? Do you feel restricted?
No, not really, because I am very passionate in what I am doing. For the touring part; we will make sure that we have enough periods to be at home and recharge the batteries, so in that perspective, I don't 'fear' to the coming months. On the contrary: I look forward to incorporate songs from the new album into our setlist, go out and play!