Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta Talks ‘Concrete Confessional,’ Touring, State of Metal + More
Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta is having a blast this year, getting to spend time with DevilDriver and Devil You Know on a tour that has proved successful enough to get multiple legs. All this has come while promoting the band's more politically-minded album, The Concrete Confession. We recently spoke with Jasta at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest about the album, touring with old friends Dez Fafara and Howard Jones and got his thoughts on the current state of metal. Check out the chat below.
You've just got in your set. How was it out there today?
Yeah, it was fun. Aside from inhaling all the dirt, the crowd was great and the show was great. It's always good in Southern California, and I'll probably go out on the lawn later and cry when Sabbath is playing.
With The Concrete Confessional, did you have an idea of what you wanted to do going into the recording of the disc?
Yeah, we knew we wanted to do stuff that was more political just because it's timely with everything that's going on. A lot of thrash and hardcore and punk also had social issues, so I was like we've done the positive stuff, we've done the empowering stuff, so let's do some social stuff. So that was cool, and the rest of it, we just really wanted to connect with that adrenaline again. We wanted to make an album that really fires you up and we did two new songs today right out of the gate and the crowd was going crazy, so I think we made the right choice.
You obviously went in with the idea to approach some of the issues facing people today, but even since the disc has come out, it's like the world has gone a bit crazy, at least on the political side.
Yeah, it's crazy. I'm at the point now where, it's just frustrating that they won't let Gary Johnson or Jill Stein into the debates, which really shows you how corrupt and f--ked up things really are. And then with everything that's being put out in the press and various media outlets, it's disheartening for the country, because you think it would be great if there was somebody you felt was a really good option. I don't care who gets in. I just hope they bring music back into the schools and I hope that we don't have veterans who are homeless and can't get the proper care, the proper treatment. I hope that you're not seeing people evicted from their houses and all this stuff that we've seen in the last eight years, but we'll see what happens. There were some things that happened throughout the Obama administration that were okay, like my mother and grandmother benefitted insurance-wise, but we'll see. It really depends on what issues are important to you and it depends, for a lot of people, what tax bracket you're in. So we'll see what happens.
For this album, was it a different approach for you because of the nature of the subject matter? Was it a little more personal in what you put out there?
Well, you know, in the past I think I just kept it a little more vague and tried to make it where anyone could relate, but this time, I just felt like I wanted to speak to certain situations that the song calls for. Sometimes you've just got to let the song do its thing. Like "Something's Off" and "Seven Enemies," those songs they were just doing their thing anyways and I just happened to have the story that fit perfectly over them, at least I felt it fit perfectly. But some of the stuff, whether people can relate to it or not, they can just bang their head or hit the pit or dive off the stage, I'm happy with it. As long as it elicits some kind of response.
Great tour you've put together with the two "devil" bands -- DevilDriver and Devil You Know. If you can share your thoughts on your tour mates and the history there.
Well Dez [Fafara] I've known since the Coal Chamber days and Howard [Jones] I've known since even before he was in Killswitch [Engage]. I feel like both of those guys, as frontmen, they're stars. That's something you don't see a lot, and especially metalcore gets this tag of it sounding all the same and the bands are interchangeable, but I disagree. I feel that all three of us frontmen on this tour are in our own right, and we've carved out our own little lanes throughout the last 20 years. It's something that people enjoy and they come to the show. The first night in Cleveland on the last tour, when Howard walked out onstage and everyone was smiling and cheering, I was like, "Alright, we did the right thing." So it's nice just to see that these three bands can do another leg just based off what the first tour did.
You've long been a champion of metal. I'm just curious your thoughts on the current metal scene and all the different subgenres that have branched off.
It's good. Everything in metal is having a nice little resurgence, even some of the black metal stuff and stoner rock stuff and some of the more extreme stuff. I work closely with the label Season of Mist and they're putting out this great band called Anciients and they did this awesome record with this band Barishi from Vermont and they did another killer record from a band called Weedeater and it just shows when a label like that is doing well with such an eclectic roster, it shows that fans aren't so close minded. We do like other stuff, whether it's death metal or hardcore or grindcore or whatever.
I'm happy that people are still buying records. We got told today that our record went back in the Top 5 on iTunes, which is great. So I'm just happy that the fans are so supportive cause it really helps us stay out there doing what we love.
I know you have a podcast which has done very well. Being on the other side of things, do you have a favorite interview that you've done on the Jasta Show podcast?
I always love having Devin Townsend on. I'd have him on a ton if I could. I love having Dino [Cazares] on, and Duff McKagan is great. Ice-T is amazing and there are so many. It's been fun. I mean, I've been pretty introverted over the last five years, so it helps me lose some of the social anxiety and be conversational, listen, which is an important thing as a dad that I need to do more. So you listen, you learn. And people like being a fly on the wall. I had a guy say some really nice things to me at a signing over the Monster booth and he says, "I just love listening cause I feel like I'm there with you guys," so that's really nice to hear. If anybody's interested and they want to sign up, it's Gasdigitalnetwork.com. The current eight episodes are always free, but Gas Digital Network, you can get the whole 200-plus episode archive is in there.
As far as Hatebreed and the rest of the year, what's the schedule?
Just this tour and that's it. Then we've gotta regroup. But there's a lot of meat on the bone. Promoters in a lot of cities wanted this tour and we weren't able to do it. I've got some family obligations. My daughter's going to college and I'm going to be visiting colleges and stuff and we could only do a month, but we'll see. The way that our agent was talking, we might be able to add a third leg, which would be really cool. We'll see.
I know "Something's Off" has been out there, but any talk of going deeper with another song off the album?
Yeah, we've been talking about doing "Seven Enemies," because that lyric video did well, but I'd like to do a video for "Slaughtered in Their Dreams" or I'd like to do a video for "Us Against Us," since it's a fast, hardcore banger. So, we'll see. I think YouTube is not what it used to be as far as making an impact and getting people excited. We did a lot of dates before the record came out and the response was good, and the record was just like icing on the cake. But I don't know if people are too concerned with our videos, it's more about the album.
Our thanks to Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta for the interview. You can pick up 'The Concrete Confessional' album via Amazon and iTunes and look for the band on tour at these stops. Plus, as Jamey stated, you can find 'The Jasta Show' podcast at this location.
Jamey Jasta Talks The Concrete Confessional + Addiction