Right after Hatebreed’s show in Athens, Metalpaths met the members in the hotel lobby where we had a conversation with the frontman Jamey Jasta, speaking about the new album, the covers record, Headbangers Ball and also about the straight edge movement and his personal aspects.
Video Interview Part 1:
Video Interview Part 2:
Hello this is Rena from Metalpaths, we are back at the Hatebreed hostel after an amazing show and I think there is no need for any introductions here, we have the honor to host Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed, hello, welcome!
Thank you, thanks for everything!
There has been a couple of years since you have lately visited our country, what took you so long?
Yeah it’s been a lot! We had three years in between the records, we did three years of touring a lot with “Supremacy”, we did a dvd and then the covers record, so there was a lot of work being done and it took time to come back. We even almost didn’t make it this time so we’ll make sure to schedule that in, because everybody was saying to come back. But it was a great welcome back, a great show, I wish we could have done one more song but these guys were sick. We were going to come out and do one more but they were all throwing up and we barely made it through, but it was a great response.
You have recently released your cover album “For The Lions”. Could you tell us a few things about the recording process, like which is the song you’ve enjoyed more rehearsing or recording?
My favorite one to record was actually Suicidal Tendencies. We did it in the studio after the fact (Sean’s breakaway). There were four songs we wanted to go back and do – A Slayer, a Suicidal Tendencies, a Black Flag and Bad Brains, but there were the hardest ones because we had to do the leads and everything, so when Sean quit we didn’t know what to do, if the record was going to come out, or we thought “Should we finish it or should we put it out as it is?”, so we ended up going back on him and that is when we tackled the songs. Those were the hardest songs to do so, for example Bad Brains was hard, i did my best to try it but it was tough.
But you are used to play the Black Flag song in almost every show.
Yeah, yeah we were playing that on this tour but also we did the Slayer cover. I don’t know Black Flag goes over better for some reason, I think we’re just more in the hardcore/punk audiences.
Yeah the crowd seems to enjoy it more.
Yeah but on the next tour maybe we’ll do the Suicidal or I would like to do the Misfits but it might be hard for me to pull of singing, I have to scream in for so much.
What really surprised me in “For The Lions” is the fact that you didn’t choose the mainstream songs of these bands, for example you played “Escape” from Metallica or it was “Ghosts Of War” from Slayer. It’s not that I would like to listen “Nothing Else Matters” from Hatebreed but…
We wanted to do songs that were a little deeper in the catalog but also songs that we liked. We used to ask Slayer to play “Ghosts Of War” but on seven tours that we did, they never played it so we thought that would be cool to do. “Escape” – Metallica is never played live so that was another one that we thought all right, it’s not the obvious choice.
You have also released a video clip for the Slayer cover of “For The Lions”. Why this one ?
Yeah, with Paul Booth we did the art direction and Kevin Custer filmed a live dvd from Detroit so it was cool to have two people working on it. Paul did the story and the concept, as far as the dark twisted-kinda scenario of the sick doctor experimenting on that patient and the psycho nurse and it was cool. We have two other videos, we did a video for the Black Flag and we did a video for Metallica’s song, so those are be coming out.
You had an announcement in which you were giving the chance to the Hatebreed fans to pre-buy their tickets and have a “meet & greed” with the band but when I logged in to check this out a bit, I saw that this is only for the shows in the States. Are you planning to do something similar for the rest of the shows, or even for the festivals ?
For the festivals it’s just too hard with the schedule. Today we flew in Berlin and then we got here. We traveled from Bratislava to Vienna, slept for like two hours, got up and then we flew here, so it’s too crazy with the schedule or the flying to each shows here but i would like to do it in a different way. If we could get the drives to be short, we can all get to the venue on time and then maybe we could, we’ll see you never know.
You have made quite a few appearances in many bands for example Napalm Death or Necro, Sepultura but we are not really used to listening to other guest appearances to Hatebreed’s albums.
We had Kerry King on Perseverance, he did a solo on a song called “Final Prayer” and that was the one guest that we ever liked. This is awesome for us cause Slayer helped us so much in our time frame, we have done so many tours but for the label records, I don’t know, we do our thing and we don’t really veer from the formula. I guess I did that with my Icepick record and Kingdom Of Sorrow, I’ll do that on my other records but with Hatebreed we’re just kinda standard.
Speaking about Icepick & Kingdom Of Sorrow, how are things going with those bands ?
We have other records coming out next year, I have been writing a lot and I’ve been recording a lot. It’s gonna happen, I actually saw Kirk at Download and we ended up talking about next year, i think we are going to resign on Relapse which is cool.
Shall we expect any show with Icepick in Greece ?
No that’s just a studio band but with Kingdom Of Sorrow you never know.
What is actually happening with all these co-operations and guest appearances? Are they the ones who approach you?
Throughout the years different bands approach me and it’s an honor, especially with Sepultura and Napalm it was a cool collaboration, with a lot of people and it was different for me. I try to just do what I think it’s fun and different like with Napalm we went a way out in the woods and…
You were used to book shows for Napalm Death, right ?
I booked them to some really small and crazy bars. When I used to promote shows I did a lot of stuff and that’s how I know a lot of bands, from the early years, from booking shows, doing my label and my booking industry.
In today’s show there were about to play 3 supporting acts, actually there were 2 cause the ones canceled afterwards. I know it’s difficult for you to check out all those bands because you play in everyday shows, but do you ever get the chance to check something of those bands?
Oh yeah I get the chance a lot. You know the traveling has been crazy, landing, getting in the car, go on venue, get on stage, that’s been crazy but the times that I do have, an hour to spare I’ll check out some of those bands, we played with All That Remains, they opened for us and also we did a show in the beginning part of the tour where I checked out the two local bands I don’t know how the name is called in Germany, there were a bunch of girls in the band and it was cool so I check some stuff out when I can.
Judging by your lyrics and the whole identity of Hatebreed, I guess you were never actually the guys who would really struggle for fame or the top positions so I’d like to ask you what does it mean for you a “Grammy Nomination”?
That was crazy. We were recognized by people who are really familiar with heavy music or hardcore music so that was crazy, we appreciate it. There were very few people from our area that have ever been nominated for a Grammy so that got us a lot like local press and stuff so it’s just all too crazy, it’s all surreal to me. Even still, just playing the shows that we play, even just the headline shows like tonight, to have that welcome, to have that enthusiasm, its amazing. To have someone recognize it outside here it is cool.
Going back in time, particularly in the “Under The Knife” era, which are the differences that you remark ?
The only difference now is that the crowds are bigger.
I mean in the band, what improvements do you see…
Well we’re better players, better performers, we put on a better show. You know when someone pays money to come to see your band you want to give them the best show, you want to give them the value, you want them to walk away and say “Those guys play their asses off, scream their asses off!”, so that’s the main difference i think. In the past, partying and being drunk, being hangover and doing shows it was just like we were not really meaning it. Now every night we’re on fire and it means more now because we’ve been able to maintain throughout the years.
I remember reading in an interview that there are some people out there who were telling about Hatebreed “finally someone plays real metal” and from the other hand there were some others who were asking you to play more like Avenged Sevenfold stuffs. Well ok the last one was a bit too much but do you take the fans comments into consideration ?
I think that if people knew that “behind the scene” stuff, they would see how we’re really stuck to our music and our message. Throughout the years, we have been offered different major label deals and different sound check opportunities and commercials but we’re really stuck to what we believe it’s right to do as a band. You can’t sit here and explain it all and hope that people understand that we do what we just feel it’s real. I think that when you do something that’s real, the world feels it so what people think or what people say it’s really not any of my business. It’s their reality, they’re living it, it really has nothing to do with me. When we did this new studio record which is coming out on September, I just did what I felt was right to me. Fortunately in the past what felt completely right to me has had a major impact and hopefully we will keep having the impact. But if we don’t, at least I stay true to myself and I can listen to the record and say “I did what i wanted to do”.
What is your opinion about the straight edge lifestyle ?
I think it’s great. I don’t do drugs or drink or smoke. It works for me, it helps me focus on what I want to do, it helps me be a better parent. I remember being in really hangover and taking pills and taking different drugs…
How would you react if your kid would choose a totally different way of lifestyle ?
I don’t know, I have to cross that bridge that I came to I guess. I’m more “in the moment” person, I don’t really think about what really happened or might happen, I just think about now.
A couple of days ago in the Rockwave festival, there was an MTV casting about the host position of the Greek Headbangers ball giving the chance to simple fans to have an opportunity to maybe be one of the future hosts of Headbangers and this is I think a job that every metalhead would want. How did you decide to quit?
I didn’t quit, they just downsized. I am actually hosting an episode in September or I just did some stuff for them. I still do some stuff occasionally but you know it was so hard, trying to do both really took it all in my life. I already have the best job in the world so to try to have two of the best jobs in the world was like trying to do too much. But it was so much fun, good luck to whoever it gets it, the program is great, you feel it is a good thing to bring Headbangers Ball back, cause you need to get the outlet to get the videos played so that’s really cool and I hope that whoever gets that job will play some Hatebreed videos!
I’m sure they will! About the new album that is going to be released in the late September or early October. Could you tell us a few things about that for example any possible title ?
No title, self-titled, 14-15 songs. I just want to let the music do the talking.
Is it going to be something like “Supremacy” ?
I don’t know, I don’t know how to describe it. The label said we need a quote to describe the music but I was like ” I don;t know, I don’t know!” I just want to let the music do the talking.
The songs are already recorded right ?
Oh yeah, it’s all recorded and it’s getting mixed right now. I’ve just heard some mixes this morning, it sounds great! I think it’s a hard record.
Next question is something I’ve always wanted to ask but was never coming to my mind, so here’s my chance! Are you bored while being interviewed ?
I have been the interviewer so many times and I’ve had interviews where they didn’t want to be there so I don’t want to do that. I just try to treat people the way I want to be treated. I had people that didn’t want to be in the interview and I don’t want to be that type of person.
Thank god, I liked your answer! So I understand that you must be very tired so I won’t keep you any longer, it was very nice talking to you!
I’m sorry that it took so long to try to arrange it.
No, no I’m sorry that we didn’t leave you to get some rest at the evening!
Thanks for traveling from so far for the show!
Interview by: Rena Koutsou
Filmed and edited by: Nondas Sapides