Jamey Jasta: New Hatebreed Album ‘In Realm’ of ‘Perseverance’ Era
Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The singer previewed what fans can expect from Hatebreed's follow-up to 2016's The Concrete Confessional and spoke further about his guest-filled Jasta collection, The Lost Chapters, Vol. 2, which is out now.
In the interview, Jasta revealed he was going for a playlist-like effect with the new solo album and admitted to taking a newfound liking to streaming in recent years.
As for what's on deck for Hatebreed, it's shaping up to have a touch of the band's sound heard early in their career, but not without some of the modern elements on their latest record.
Elsewhere, Jasta reflected on Metallica frontman James Hetfield's return to rehab. Hetfield and the singer have a special connection as he was able to help Jasta achieve sobriety during the times he was struggling with alcohol abuse and dependence.
Read the full interview below.
Quite a few people performed on this record. Did you write with specific people's talent in mind or was it a case of matching a completed song with someone particularly suited to express it?
I did write a bunch of stuff with different vocalists in mind. I thought, "Okay, if this one can't do it or if there's red tape, or if this person's schedule doesn't line up with my schedule, I will just try someone else who's kind of in the same realm." I think, as for the 11 tracks that have guest vocalists, pretty much, my first choice, on every one of them, got done, which I was really happy with.
I want to say the one I did with [Crowbar's] Kirk [Windstein], I originally had written that for a female vocalist for her record. I won't say who, but she didn't use it for her record. It was sludgy and doomy, and it just fit Kirk's voice perfectly. We were like, "Wow." Once we sang on it, it kind of sounded like a Kingdom of Sorrow song, anyways, so we're hoping that that will one drum up some new interest in our other side project.
Everything came together really well. I'm really happy with it. I have made it so that it was going to feel like a compilation and feel like a playlist, so to speak. It's not a typical album, in that fashion — I feel like every song's different and has its own identity and dynamics.
You're already working on the next Hatebreed album. What effect does creative overlap like that have on your productivity?
It's helped me stay inspired and stay strong as far as all my vocal takes. When I finished the Jasta record a few months back, I kept tracking demos and kept tracking vocal ideas, just to keep my voice fresh. Then, when I got in for the Hatebreed record, I got all that other stuff out of my system — the really metallic, really heavy, really "melodic-meets-heavy" stuff out of my system.
Hatebreed can be very pure, straightforward hardcore, more in the realm of the Perseverance/Rise of Brutality era, with a little bit of the self-titled or and a little bit of Concrete Confessional in there. I think that helps to just keep the ideas flowing.
If I had something that was a fast hardcore part, I just put that in my folder filed under the new Hatebreed [material]. This way, I'm not trying to infuse any melody. I'm not trying to write these soaring hooks for Howard Jones, Dee Snider, Matt Heafy or Jesse Leach. It's very meat and potatoes, East Coast hardcore that's going to be on this new Hatebreed album, which I think is the best approach.
You're a real connoisseur of metal. Different eras, different genres... what do you foresee that makes you enthusiastic about the way metal is evolving?
I just love that we can be down, but we're never out. I love that there are peaks and valleys. The ebb and flow of things are exciting because we've always played with different subgenres, and we've seen the trends come and go.
The bands that last, that we tour with, and the new bands that come up and have their moment, we always try to be inspired by both. The thrash resurgence over the last 10 years — I remember when going to see Flotsam And Jetsam, Overkill, some of these bands for 100 people.
Now, you come in the club or the theater and it's packed — 1,000 people, 2,000 people for Testament, for Exodus. Slayer [went] out on a high note. It's the same with hardcore, same with deathcore. I'm always excited when different stuff is bubbling up. You're seeing a lot of bands get back together, now that we're hitting a peak, and it's fun. It makes for interesting lineups and for interesting shows. I love seeing bands up there, jamming together, having a good time. It's why we do it.
At the end of the day, we do it for the music. If I didn't like the music that I was getting to perform every night, I wouldn't do it. If I didn't like going into the studio and creating — finding that hook, finding that line or that lyric that's gonna be the next anthem. It's a cyclical power; when I see someone in Indonesia singing that or going on YouTube and playing the riff that I wrote on the cover, and they're getting excited about it, that's amazing.
I think we're going to see that it's going to grow even more now with India getting shows, with China getting shows, with all of southeast Asia, eastern Europe and Russia now. We've started to play in new countries we've never played before. So, to see it growing on this global scale and just to see this massive impact of the songs, it's really exciting.
Hatebreed started out playing house parties and small clubs. Now it's not uncommon to see you play an arena and big festivals. What's the biggest challenge in making both worlds coincide?
The biggest challenge is just connecting with somebody. I always look for someone who's got good energy. I'll find that kid up in the nosebleeds, and I'll point to them, and I'll keep pointing. And they'll realize that it's them [I'm pointing to]. That's the energy I can feed off of and really try to improve my performance and make it better. And I do the same thing at a small club or a bar or a pub. You want your performance to give someone a spark.
You want it to be memorable. You want someone to leave and feel cleansed of all their B.S. that they've got to deal with at work at home at school or whatever.You want that experience to feel like a connection. And that's what I loved about shows that I would go to where I would see a performer just really lay it all on the line. The ones that do that the best are the ones that you see they're still doing it because they provide value.
I went and saw Guns N' Roses in Charlotte. We were on the Dropkick Murphys tour and we played at the amphitheater and they played at the arena. I went over there and everybody is just firing on all cylinders and connecting with the audience.
It proved to me that this is why they can do this at this level. Obviously, the excitement was for Duff [McKagan] and Slash begin back with Axl [Rose] as well. But seeing them all happy onstage smiling, enjoying performing with each other — that stuff matters.
This lineup with Hatebreed has been together for the last 10-11 years and we're about to go on this tour with Parkway Drive, which is doing some arenas in Europe and Australia. We'll see if we end up adding South America or the U.S. or Canada. I want to bring my A-game and make sure I'm connected with everybody in the front row and at the back of the venue.
James Hetfield has been a guiding influence on your sobriety. What responsibility do you feel in terms of paying it forward within a community fraught with substance abuse?
I tell people there are so many free resources online. There are programs that are free. There are meetings that you can go to. For me, I just try to put out positivity. I try to be there for the people I can be there for. I try to show that you can be in social situations where people are drinking, and you can still abstain and it's okay. Some people may not think you're the life of the party anymore, but that's going to happen.
We would rather have our peers and our friends and acquaintances around and not be the life of the party than be dead, in jail or whatever. It's unfortunate, especially with alcohol, that's the outcome for a lot of people.
There's this singer that I had heard — I wasn't too familiar with her music. I knew one song that I heard on the radio when my daughter was a little, but I was talking about how she had passed away — her name was Amy Winehouse. There's a documentary and I said, "If we could turn back time, people would say, 'Don't go on tour. Don't be in these situations. Go get help.'" It's hard because the machines are always rolling.
I really commend James for postponing the dates that he needed to postpone and for [focusing on] his health and continuing to show that, "Look, it's not the destination, it's the journey."
You can have these slip-ups. You can have these times where you have to stop and you need that support, you need people rallying behind you and so that's why I spoke about it publicly. When I was on Headbangers Ball, I never thought I could take a plane five hours across the country, shoot a show, and then take another plane back, play my show, go back on tour. I never thought I could do that without booze.
But seeing James do his travel and his schedule and be at such a higher level and be able to do it sober was a real inspiration for me. So, I commend him and anybody trying to get help and doing their best to not drink, stay strong, stay at it, and it does get better with time. And you'll be better because of it.
Jamey, great to catch up with you and hope to see you again soon.
You too, Jackie, thank you so much for all you do and for heavy music and I really appreciate you supporting the new Jasta album.
I'm really kind of focusing on just having it available online. I really like streaming now and I'm a supporter of all the streaming services, I really changed my outlook on streaming. But if anybody is a diehard physical product collector, it is available at martyrstore.net and I will sign every single copy. I've already signed 1,500 and I'm doing another batch.
Thanks to Jamey Jasta for the interview. Follow the singer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and do the same for Hatebreed (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Get your copy of 'The Lost Chapters, Vol. 2' here and find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.
See Hatebreed in 2020's Most Anticipated Rock + Metal Albums