INTERVIEW: Jamey Jasta (HATEBREED)
Levi: You've got a new album coming out in two weeks time. It's called The Concrete Confessional. Can you tell us a bit about the album?
Jamey: Yeah, we recorded it back like October, November, we worked with Zeus again. He did a great job. he's been working with us since Perseverance. He engineered Perseverance and Supremacy and we trust him. He's a guy who can say, “okay this sucks”, or “this isn't great” or “do this again” without like being too much of a dick, but being just enough of a dick where you want to do right. I think we were able to make another solid record that heavy, and the same time some new ingredients, but not too “left of centre” of anything we've done. It has the big songs, has the stuff that's going to resonate with people, has the rifts and the beats that will really give you a charge. I think that's what people want out of a great record, they want something that's going to slam and I really feel like it's pretty slamming all throughout.
Levi: I'm a big fan of the documentary filmmaker Sam Dunn. He did Metal: A Headbanger's Journey. He also new section on his YouTube channel where he categorizes bands and apparently you guys are the most Hardcore/Metalcore band of all time. I'm not sure if you saw that? Do you feel complimented that you represent everything about the genre and its traditional sense?
Jamey: I have an immense respect for that guy and all the work that he's done and the support of everything. We need more people like that, especially putting out quality products and putting out well thought out stuff with an editorial process, but also visually with sound, that's important to me. What was the one he did with Iron Maiden?
Levi: He did the Flight 666 documentary…
Jamey: Yeah, I was just like, man this, not only did this take discipline, and passion, but it really took knowledge of visual technology as far as the camera, and then sound design, I mean, I really thought it was just well done. The little animations and the little added things in there, everything was great. That means a lot to me. I think we need to be more supportive of every aspect of heavy metal and hardcore music and everything that goes into it, whether it's the magazines, the radio shows, the podcast, the documentaries, the books. It's all a medium for us to have our art and our stuff out there.
We need to be less decisive, more inclusive and the more opportunities we get, the better the final product is going to be. I would love to see a 13 year old kid see something that Sam has done and go, “wow, I want to do that”. The more YouTube channels, the more documentaries, the more books, the more radio shows we get, the less we are going to be looked at as the “kill your mother music” and the outsiders and the things like that. Music that's actually written by people, together, and art that's created for these albums and for these backdrops and the design for the stage shows, all this stuff is done by such creative, intelligent people, yet we get very little love from mainstream media and very little acceptance from mainstream society, which is a shame.
I think everything post-glam metal, like glam metal was the closest to heavy music being accepted on a massive scale and that's kind of sad if you think about it because that selling of that lifestyle of the sex, drugs, and rock and roll was, it was kind of a façade in a way. The average person was never going to achieve that. But the average person can start a punk rock band. You would think that punk rock or hardcore would be more prestigious because the people could ... it actually is accessible. But for whatever reason, a lot of people just want to have this celebrity worship or this fame and money worship, the stuff that, never really resonated with me.
Levi: Yeah, for sure. I'm one of those people that work a day job and we have to listen to commercial radio all day, and it completely sucks and there's a part of me that thinks metal has its own ‘scene’ and we don't want anything to do with the mainstream, but at the same time, when you've got to listen to Lady Gaga for 8 hours straight, you're like it would be really cool if they put some Slayer or Metallica alongside these songs. Would you like to be more accepted by the mainstream? or do you think it's better off just having metal as its own separate group?
Jamey: Yeah, it's like for me to be my authentic self and do be doing interviews and to have, to be in the public eye and to have a small amount of fame, I realize that my words carry weight. To make sure that my words aren't taken out of context, and to make sure that I'm understood. It's not that I want to be played alongside Lady Gaga or that I want to be considered the same type of artist. I have an immense amount of respect for her. I have ... there are pop and mainstream artists that I feel are doing something valuable with their voice. It's just that I want to turn on a film or turn on the TV and see a commercial, why do I hear dub-step in every fucking thing? It's because dub-step or whatever, EDM is popular. EDM is trendy. EDM sells. Whatever happened to actually exposing music to new people and, regardless of the commerce, regardless of the sales?
It's like, I've always wanted to have a song in WWE. But now, WWE realizes that in order to have the widest reach to the widest audience, to the most demographics, they need the music that speaks to the widest artist. Naturally, they're going to go with a country artist, or a hip hop artist or a pop artist. But metal, we are not excluding people. We're not trying to be exclusive. We're trying to be inclusive, but if we don't have the exposure, how can we be more inclusive? It's like we need some of these bigger companies to take a risk on us and maybe open the gate. It's Revolution Pictures. Do you know how many people said to me, "I didn't even know what hardcore heavy metal was until I saw the movie xXx"?
Universal did a great thing with their synergy, with their films, with Godsmack and The Scorpion King and with xXx. There was a lot of other stuff. Roadrunner did a great job too with the synergy between Freddie vs. Jason and Killswitch Engage and El Nino, and us and then we all did The Punisher.
I would love to turn on Netflix and have a Hatebreed song appear in Jessica Jones, or Daredevil, or Orange in the New Black, or any of these Netflix shows... and I would give the song for free. I would sign gratis rights for them to use the song. But, you have to create that opportunity. You have to be able to network. In order to network with people, you have to take meetings. You say, "hey, I'm the guy from Hatebreed to some executive", they're like "what, that sounds scary." You have to get in the door first, and then you have to be able to make these things happen, so it's going to take more than just me.
Levi: Yeah for sure. You're actually the host of Headbangers Ball for a good five years. Does that show still exist? I don't really ever watch MTV but do they play music videos at all now? What was that experience like, representing a big company like MTV?
Jamey: It was great. It was great. I don't think my podcast would have had the success if it wasn't for that. It opened up a lot of doors. It created, I feel like it really created careers. I don't think Avenged Sevenfold or As I Lay Dying or Killswitch or Lamb of God or Shadow's Fall or Atreyu or a lot of these bands, I don't think they would have had a trajectory without a show like that. It's not on anymore, I don't think MTV 2 even plays music any more. I think it's a lot of scripted reality shows like Teenage and Pregnant or I don't really know, I haven't checked it in a while.
But, we'll see. We'll see what happens. I think the relationship between TV and music, it's a tough one the way that the publishing has to be paid out, the way the administration has to be done. The idea that people want to watch music videos a la' carte on YouTube, is pretty sunken in now. Unless you have an editorial voice or a host that was a real what's the word, taste-maker? Like if you have a Dave Grohl. Like if Dave Grohl gives somebody a nod of approval, that carries a lot of weight. If somebody like Dave Grohl wanted to host like a new version of Headbanger's Ball, it could probably work, but I just, other than that, I really don't know. I don't know if it would be possible to ever do it again.
Levi:I guess we'll see what happens. Some more news that been going around the internet in the last week and it looks like it could be true is Axl Rose is going to be fronting AC/DC for a few shows. I love both those bands, I'm just wondering what you think of it. Would you watch it? Do you think it’s a good idea?
Jamey: Yeah, I'll check it out. I really, I want to say that I wish Brian Johnson the best. I've been going to the ear nose and throat doctor since like 2010 and I'm due for another check up. I think it's kind of every singers like worst fear. Singer, screamer, broadcaster, anybody voice over talent, anybody who's doing anything where their business and their livelihood is their voice. It's always in the back of your head. I really hope he makes a full recovery, I hope he's okay and I hope that the drama and the click-bait and the stuff that we're seeing online, I hope it's not as bad as what it seems.
As far as actually singing for AC/DC, it doesn't have the excitement as like if a Mark Tornillo or somebody who is more of an underdog, I think it would be more excited about. I don't know. Somebody, I would have liked to see a rags to riches type of story rather than a bunch of millionaires kind of doing AC/DC covers, or I don't know. I respect Axl, I like his voice, I think his voice will be fine for AC/DC songs. I want to check it out. But I'm not jumping out of my seat. If you told me Mark from Accept got the gig, I would be losing my mind. I would be so freaking happy because I love those, I love the last three Accept records. They're fucking great! Stalingrad! and Blind Rage is pretty good. I like an underdog story.
Listen to the full interview here...