Hatebreed defy the stereotypes of all that may be “hardcore”, seamlessly fusing brutal metal riffage with stomping beat downs and consistently deeper lyrical content than most bands could collectively muster into one chorus.
Now they’re back with a new album and axe (of positivity) to grind. musicOMH caught up with frontman and presenter of MTV Headbanger’s Ball, Jamey Jasta, as the band prepared to rock London.
musicOMH is ushered into a tiny room deep within the bowels of London’s Astoria by a flustered press person who has been trying to locate a frontman gone AWOL. Eventually discovered a full 40 minutes later, fresh from obtaining nourishment among the finest take-away emporia Soho has to offer, Mr Jasta is very cheery and amenable, particularly after being congratulated on what is undoubtedly Hatebreed’s best album to date:
“Thanks! I think the response to our new record has been awesome. We put our heart and soul into it, and had a blast making it. We wanted to make a record that would please our fans, and I think we did that!”
“That said, it’s my nature to try to nit pick, and I’m my own worse critic but this time all over Europe when I look out to the crowd, everyone knows the new material, everyone’s singing it.
Tonight Hatebreed are supporting those heavy metal stalwarts, Anthrax. It seems that there is literally no-one (good) whom Hatebreed have yet to share a stage with:
“Well except Metallica, although we managed to do that at Download – well technically anyway! Without a doubt, they’re still the best – the best band in the world! I don’t care who you think you are, if you talk s**t on Metallica then, well, you might as well just not be into metal you know?”
“You look at the charts, where bands like Slipknot are… beating Avril Lavigne… in sales. To me that’s a victory.” – Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta revels in the rise of heavy music in the US.
Moving away from the endless praise that Mr Jasta is quick to give everyone except himself, we discuss the concept that if there is a contradiction within Hatebreed’s existence it must be that their much emulated brand of uplifting hardcore seems to breed anything but hate, with many of the lyrics addressing issues such as motivation, perseverance and overcoming difficulty:
“It’s the Ying and the Yang. You can’t have one with out the other. I try to make it even as far as positive and negative lyrics. Songs like Beholder Of Justice or Doomsayer have a pretty negative, questioning outlook whereas Live For This and I Will Be Heard are much more uplifting anthems. We use all the hate inside to breed positive conclusions and solutions to the problems in life, even if it’s just going to a show and screaming your head off. That’s what I did when I was a kid. I waited all week to go to a show, and I would go crazy, sing along and dive off the stage, go in the pit and it was a community you know. That’s what we’re trying to do – bring our music to a massive community.”
“I go to too many shows where it’s, “F**k Everything!” But I don’t and won’t live my life that way.” – Jamey Jasta on what makes Hatebreed different to the Slipknots of this world.
Jamey Jasta is a man with much experience of the extremities of both love and hate, but which of the two win in life’s mosh pit?
“Well it depends whose body you’re in and whose life you’re living. At the end of the day I would say that I believe good does overcome, but it’s hard when you look at the world today. And that’s the theme of the new record really – there’s a lot of disease, war, poverty and corruption. There are a lot of bad things happening to good people, but that’s nothing new, it’s been going on since the dawn of time, and maybe it’s our dynamic (pauses for some reflection)… Maybe that’s what we need to survive as humans, maybe we need the conflict.”
“But I just think as the world gets more brutal, so does the music, and so does the passion for the music. You know, heavy music is bigger now than it ever was, especially in the States. You look at the charts, where bands like Slipknot are coming out and beating Avril Lavigne and Pop Idols in sales. To me that’s a victory.”
“I’m just trying to treat people the way I wanna be treated. After all, if you can’t better yourself, then you can’t better the world around you.” – Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta sums up his inspirational stance.
Jasta may be pleased at Slipknot’s success but he is also keen to maintain a distance. After all, Hatebreed seem to know how to channel their anger into something that offers much more hope, integrity and longevity than the nihilistic philosophy adopted by the aforementioned multi-platinum metallers and their ilk:
“Even from the very beginning, when we were putting out our first demos, I always said I didn’t want the negativity to be aimless. I go to too many shows where it’s, “F**k Everything! My life sucks, so f**k you!” But I don’t and won’t live my life that way.”
“I can’t deal with people like that, I think, ‘Stop complaining, and take action!’ If I tried to impose anything on anybody else’s life it would be… getting off your ass, and making a change in your own life.”
Which is clearly something Mr Jasta has done, having “had problems with alcoholism and my weight”. Nowhere is the struggle highlighted more than on the blistering anthem Live For This, but what does Jamey Jasta live for?
“Right now I’m all about keeping everything in my family, my friends, and my life important. My grandmother just got out of hospital, my daughter is five now, so I’m just trying to treat people the way I wanna be treated. After all, if you can’t better yourself, then you can’t better the world around you.”
And for those of you who have been to a Hatebreed show, you know to do exactly as you’re told!