For this generation a lot of self-esteem comes from the phone or a picture like on Instagram. A Facebook comment. Since we didn’t have that when I was a kid we would talk about bands, shows, ideas. So I try to get back to that with my daughter or my circle of friends. – Jamey Jasta.
It’s always a pleasure to interview Hatebreed as one of the most consistently heavy, scowling bands in the world are actually some of the most down to Earth and grateful dudes in the business. Hatebreed are a band whose (cough) perseverance makes me never believe haters or doubters in my own life who say things can’t be
accomplished, the worm-tongue types or divider who will whisper negative mantras or lazy couch warriors who give up too soon for want of trying rather than take a hard
fucking look at why they are such losers.
New album The Concrete Confessional proves this unkillable band never settle for living in the past or resting on their laurels. It is a barrage of meaningful and
impactful tunes that will earn more praise and respect from anyone worth a shit. There are some bad ass pre-order packages up HERE.
Album deets from the press release:
The Concrete Confessional was recorded in Connecticut, produced by long-time collaborator Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel), and mixed by Josh Wilbur(Lamb of God, Megadeth). Artwork was created by Marcelo Vasco (Slayer). The new music is crushing and heavy with provocative lyrics that touch upon a number of topics that have become front-and-center in today’s New Normal: the rise of terrorism, police brutality, moral decay, greed and betrayal, increased divisiveness, and the fading promise of the American Dream, potently covered on the track “A.D.”
Read more below.
Jasta: Hi, Morgan. How are you?
Good, man. Haven’t talked to you in awhile. How’s things?
Today’s my dad’s bday and he passed away last year but I’m actually in a decent mood. Sort of thankful for life, know what I mean?
JJ: Right on, man. That’s the way to be. Attitude of gratitude.
Yeah, man. And your albums are always motivating. I did like three spinkicks to this one in my living room. That’s more than the Modern Life Is War re-release
JJ: (laughs) Right on. I appreciate it.
So shit, man. This is a good time for a new Hatebreed record. The empowerment angle. Society has so many illusions. “Looking Down The Barrel Of Today”, that song is a
beast. The world moves so fast nowadays. How do you enjoy the moment but not get overwhelmed by all the negativity?
JJ: You’ve got to get back to basics, really. I’ve been out and about just trying to weekend it with nature. Leave the phone at home. Leave the computer and visit my sister’s kids, my daughter, my grandmother. Do things that are fulfilling that don’t involve social media platforms. It’s been fun. I’ll go to my sisters house and shoot hoops with the kids. Next thing you know two hours have gone by. They need a break from it too. I feel it creates more attention issues, constantly needing to
look at the iPad or Phone. This generation a lot of self-esteem comes from the phone or a picture like on Instagram. A Facebook comment. Since we didn’t have that when I was a kid we would talk about bands, shows, ideas. So I try to get back to that with my daughter or my circle of friends.
God forbid, accomplishments!
JJ: We talk about ideas and things we are trying to do. Not just about people or events, which is what you see in the media.
That’s awesome you said that. “Oh, shit. Let’s try to put on a show and promote it and make it crazier!” That’s how it used to be. Now it is, “Only 12 people liked my photo. I better show my ass!” (laughing) No disrespect to the IG models out there, but you know what I mean.
JJ: (chuckles) Yeah. I just feel like…it’s so empty right now. Things exist to be lost in the ether in a world of its own. If you turn it off it really doesn’t exist. I know so many kids who are so hurt by things people say. I even see it in m own comments. That’s why I don’t do Instagram that much. It became a place where my fans would argue over dumb shit (laughing). Ok, you post a crowd of 400,000 people. “Thank You Woodstock in Poland for such a great show! We hope to come back soon”.
You read the comments and it’s like ,“Fuck Barricades!” (chuckling) Like, really? Ok. What are you gonna do? Not have a barricade with 400,000 people?
There’s some nice people out there too. But it seems like such an exercise in narcissism sometimes. I need to take a minute from it. I like Snapchat. You can put up your stuff, it’s not permanent. If you misspell something you don’t have a bunch of grammar nazis or if you post a picture you don’t have a bunch of idiots talking about what t-shirt is in the background laying on the floor. That’s the new thing, a competition to see what is in the background. If it keeps kids off the streets or from stalking people in REAL life, maybe that’s ok.
Yeah,sometimes you need to unplug though. Interview cycles. Media oversaturation. It’s good to be informed but it gets toxic. I saw Matt your drummer was up here hiking with Mike Score from All Out War the other day (in Upstate, NY). Maybe us metal dudes are sensitive cuz we soak up so much anger and we need to get back to nature (laughing). Harnessing that intense energy.
JJ: I agree. You have loud amps in your face all the time and it’s so different when you can go hear a river running or birds in the trees and things like that. When I was growing up I heard pigeons and domestic violence next door. Gunshot and sirens. Now I have a real appreciation for when I can go to nature and not hear the Fire Dept, Police, people arguing and shit like that (laughing).
Yeah then you get Stockholm Syndrome and live by the airport but can’t sleep elsewhere without the sound of planes taking off.
JJ: Right? Yeah, my grandmother was joking around with me the other day. She remembers when I first went to Coventry, CT to have my first sleepover. Um…she said I went outside to where they were watching tv in the front room and I told them there was a crazy noise bothering me. “That’s crickets!” (laughing) I was like ,“what the
fuck is that?!!”
They sound crazy. And cicadas. Forget about it.
JJ: I didn’t hear them growing up in New Haven.
I love old samurai movies or reading about stillness and chi. Without getting too philosophical, kind of learning to harness that stillness to brace for facing whatever comes or finding your center. Self control in the more frantic parts of your life.
JJ: Oh yeah, totally. Especially when you’re younger and get money and a little fame. Then you just can go off the rails so easily. For me I’ve got a casino an hour down the road. One post on social media you can get drugs, girls, booze. I need to not be doing any of that stuff. Be accountable and responsible for my family and my
family life. When it comes time to write a record and tour I’ve got to go into it and not be on some destructive pattern.
Or just stay on the bus and eat donuts, man.
JJ: Yeah, right? We’ve got Neil’s Donuts in Connecticut if anyone wants to stop and represent. I reccomend it. But that can also be destructive. Start eating those every day and the live show starts to go downhill. (laughing)
(laughing) I feel you. Just had to fire my band GET OUT.’s whole fucking rhythm section for something similar. Too much low end, literally.
I didn’t know that was what you were talking about in “Serve Your Masters”. Actually serving calories.
JJ: Exactly. Gluttony. There’s all different interpretations of the seven sins on this record. Gluttony can definitely be one of them. That’s for sure.
But you keep grinding. Parts of this record…it almost reminds me of “Started From The Bottom” by Drake. You’ve been through so much. It’s got to be weird. You don’t HAVE to put out any new albums if you don’t want to. You’re already a legacy hardcore band. But you are in it for the music.
JJ: Yeah, totally. We don’t want to rest. Nostalgia is ok. Revisit here and there. But the best times are now so why paint yourself in a corner to be one of those bands that can only do the first two records? We’re not one of those bands. I mean, some of our biggest songs are on our later records. If we had a chance with those records than why don’t we have a chance now? I also feel like…there’s a nostalgia focus right now. It’s ok to go play a record from twenty years ago start to finish
but if you do that too much, that loses its luster. So you wanna have something new to bring to the table. These guys are better players than ever, so why not showcase that. We can have some drum fills and technical guitars. It’s funny when people say to me ,“The first record is your best and a classic”. Thank you, but really? There’s not even one drum fill on the entire record! Some people like that. I like playing those songs but it’s such a snapshot in time from such a long time ago. I’m
more concerned with what we’re doing now.
Yeah , man. You could tour Satisfaction… to death but I like that you have this new song “Something’s Off” on here. It is a great example of Hatebreed mattering in 2016. Really motivating, has a lot of groove like “Destroy Everything”, rolling and crushing and huge. This is fucking awesome where even some bands like Merauder who
have been around forever are breaking up. Bands are having a hard time surviving. So, I understand some of the nostalgia tours for that purpose. But I’m more into it like when Anthrax did Among The Living in full at NEMHC Fest a couple years ago. It ruled but then they now went and wrote For All Kings and it is one of the best records they’ve ever made! I just went to the NJ listening party with Matt Slater and it ruled. Don’t get lazy.
JJ: Yeah. Totally. It doesn’t take away from their old albums and then you hear one or two new jams in the set and it’s totally not a bum out. Like, it’ almost like a perceived thing that’s gotten discussed so much in the metal media because Iron Maiden did their whole new record in its entirety. Because they are so much at the forefront and one of the biggest metal bands in the world.
See, I think that’s cool and would rather hear weird new shit or rare shit than “The Trooper” ever again (laughing)
JJ: Maybe it’ more prevalent in the metal media to point out a fan vs band thing where they point out that fans want to hear classics. And maybe some of that has bled down into the sub genres. But, I was never that dude. I like Earth Crisis Slither! It’s a good record! You didn’t like it because you didn’t have a mind of your own. “Southbound” by V.O.D. is not like their first record but it’s a rockin’ song. Now if they played a show that song would be a jam in their setlist. Especially with these new bands out now, I hope the kids realize how lucky they are to have new bands out they can support and so many shows regionally and locally. Otherwise it’ll be like my era of bands where those bands come every ten years around now. Or they are totally broken up.
Yeah, like it is special that Burn is playing again because you actively felt their absence.
JJ: Right, or someone like Candiria who people should’ve kept supporting even if one album was a departure. The early 2000’s were so oversaturated with bands and people grew up and moved on and are now coming back. We’ve been continuing throughout.
I wanted to ask you about the “This dream can’t be what it used to be ever again” vocal near the top of the record. I was like ,“Oh shit. He means business.”
JJ: Yeah (laughing). I grew up and there are remnants of that sort of picture perfect life idea with the house, dog, car, wife. You graduate college and get married. Now you are gonna be paying off student loans forever. Marriages end in divorce. It doesn’t seem like a viable dream anymore. The new dream needs to be to experience life. If you don’t have the funds to get out of your community then experience your local community. Try food and try to travel. Read books and educate yourself. There’s so many free resources but everyone is trying to one up each other on social media. So obsessed with celebrity worship and spiritually bankrupt people with money who had to step on people to get stuff. Really? That’s your pedestal? You could go to the library and learn so much but you’re on the fucking phone looking at someone’s car and dissing someone who doesn’t have that life. Obsession with living outside your means and one upping the neighbor.
I almost felt bad for 50 Cent. No disrespect to him, but he told a judge recently he posts fake money on IG because he has to appear rich for his brand or fans feel discouraged. How about a deeper conversation about root causes?
JJ: That’s a perfect example. He was the American Dream. Someone who survived extreme poverty and violence. Made a lot of money through good business ventures. He was even providing money for clean water in Africa and providing part of his fortune to charity. Things like that. But that’s not what you’ll see in the media. You’ll see the collapse of his empire and fall from grace to generate clicks and ad revenue. I just want to shut that stuff off. The dream of being a career musician…that might be dead as well but I don’t want to discourage people. That’s why at the end of the song I say “So one day it can mean something real again”. The music industry does reflect society.
JJ: It’s very cliquey. A lot of competition. And the have everythings and have nothings. Not a lot of working class rockers. Even with the small amount of mainstream success we have had…none of us in twenty years have had to work a day job but we don’t live outside our means and aren’t materialistic, flashy people.
You can ride a tourbus but keep it so real with your fans because you make them feel ok about going back to their day job, like ,”Yknow what? I just saw the fuckin’ awesomest show last night.” They feel like they are your homies.
JJ: Right. We try to keep it very realistic. You never know when the bottom will fall out. Our last record they said we’d be lucky to sell 25,000. “There’s no more stores. No more venues”. Well, we did I think 60-70,000 wordwide and over 50 in just the States. So to see that…this is something they’ve been saying every record since Rise Of Brutality. “Universal is firing their staff. You’ll be lucky to hit top 40.” But we did it. And so there’s this black cloud that follows the music industry. We’ll see what happens and wont deny the impact of Spotify or Apple music. You have to tour more and roll with the punches somehow. But it would be nice and mean a lot to see the fans go out and buy this record and prove everybody wrong. It’s nice bragging rights to tell mom you made Billboard.
Are you worried with the album title you’ll have to fight E Town Concrete. “Naw, man. We have “Concrete” down on lock”.
JJ: (laughing) I was just talking about E Town with believe it or not Asking Alexandria. They are an example of the American Dream. The one kid grew up in Dubai and started from nothing. Saw business and people of different ethnicities and backgrounds going there. He saw a festial in Dubai with Machine Head and Chimera and all that. He decided to go to the USA and start a band. And where do they move? Fuckin’ Elizabeth, NJ! And they become one of the biggest, most successful modern screamo/hard rock bands. I said ,” Dude, you can’t live where you live and not know about E Town Concrete!” (laughing) And he said ,”No, I do. I get that. I haven’t really heard them.”
Someone will eventually try to fight you.
JJ: (laughing) You will be tested on the streets of E Town if you don’t respect E Town Concrete.