Hi Jamey, thanks for talking with me today. I was speaking with the guitarist of P.O.D. on Saturday. We were talking about how you are featured on the song "Eyez" off their new record. I asked him if he thought there was anything in particular I should ask you and he said "Since he is from Connecticut, how does he feel about what happened the other day with the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting?"
Jamey: Well you know I haven’t really fully wrapped my mind around it. I had just gotten my nephew off the bus. Someone called me and they were crying hysterically. I was like "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa slow down." When I pick my nephew up we always go and get a snack at this place and in this place they have a big TV on the wall. As I was walking in I saw this guy behind the counter who we always see when we go get our snacks and he just had his hand over his mouth. He was just glaring at the TV. I said "Are you alright?" He pointed at the TV and said "Luckily it was just a teacher that got shot and then the gunman turned the gun on himself." I left and was thinking that the story was pretty disturbing. My nephew asked me what had happened and I said "Oh it's okay. There was a shooting, but it seems like everything is okay." Then I got that call and I was like “What are you talking about?” The person was like "OMG all these kids got killed!" I was like "Calm down!" I told this person on the phone that I couldn't really talk because I had my nephew and I was going to pick my daughter up. When I had gotten to my daughter's school (not Sandy Hook Elementary) I saw that there were a lot of people visibly upset waiting for their kids and as the kids were coming out I saw a lot of parents embracing their kids and rushing them to their cars. I asked my daughter if she had heard about what was going on and she said "Yes." I guess they had put multiple schools in Connecticut within a thirty mile range on lock down. I guess twenty or thirty minutes prior they had locked all the doors in the school and had the announcement at the school. My other nephew goes to Newtown every Friday for one of his extra curricular activites and we were told that he wasn't going to be able to go and that the city was under intense lock down with police, state police and FBI. The details started coming out and are still coming out. Really I think the best way to help people in this case is to donate money, donate time and volunteer. I gave money towards art supplies this morning. There is going to be a lot of therapy and counseling needed. I am very close with my grandmother, my nieces, my nephews and my cousins and I cannot even imagine the grief and the mourning process of what these people are going to have to go through. The therapy that is going to be needed will probably span over hundreds of thousands of people. There is a site called www.mashable.com that put out a story about the five best ways to help. I guess there are links to donate in different ways, whether it is your time, volunteering or money. The link to the article is http://mashable.com/2012/12/14/help-sandy-hook-victims/. I think that is where people should probably focus their energy on. Like I said it is really hard for me to wrap my head around it right now. Today they are doing the first two funerals.
The Divinity of Purpose (Razor & Tie) is set to be released on January 29, 2013 in the U.S./Canada and on January 25th in the U.K./Europe (via Nuclear Blast). This is your sixth studio album. It’s been a couple years since the last release. What have you been doing?
Jamey: Yeah the last release came out in September of 2009 and we did a lot of touring on it. I have done two other records since then too. I did Kingdom of Sorrow’s Behind the Blackest Tears, where we did Mayhem Fest in support of that and I did a solo record called Jasta. We did a world tour with Hatebreed. We did a ten week U.S./Canada tour with Five Finger Death Punch. We toured with Cannibal Corpse and did a lot of stuff. It has been a very busy three years, but it has been productive, so that is nice. Now that I’ve been less busy with my label, it has kind of shifted my focus. I guess that is one of the silver linings of the record industry being in the dumps a little bit. Although I like helping younger bands and putting out records, it’s just insane to keep doing it, waste so much time, money and effort in doing it when people don't want to buy it.
So, you are not doing the label anymore?
Jamey: I put out one release last year and I will probably put out one or two things in 2013, but I pretty much shut everything down. I’m out of my distro deal and now I’m in a restructuring phase where it’s nice to not have to worry about that stuff. If people want to buy the Hatebreed record, then that’s great. If they make that choice to honor what we do by giving us an hour of their pay, then great, but for smaller bands it is really tough right now and I have to make sure my focus is directed on putting out a great Hatebreed record. I can’t waste thousands of dollars and have thousands of CD’s of smaller bands sitting in storage anymore. It is just really hard for me.
I understand what you are saying. You are still doing the Stillborn Fest though.
Jamey: I’m still doing that and those are two bands that I put out records for, actually there are three bands that I've had on the label in the past on the Festival. There’s Lionheart from California that I put a record out for in 2009, a band called Thy Will Be Done who I've put out records for in 2007 and in 2009 and then a band called The World We Knew who I put a record out for in 2009. They are actually breaking up so this is going to be their last couple of shows in this area. It will be fun. People have come to expect Hatebreed shows around the holidays. It's always been very hard for us not having that time to spend with our families, so this year we cut it down to two shows and then we will try to decompress before we leave for Europe.
So let's talk about the new record. Does this record have a theme or concept?
Jamey: Yeah the overall theme is purpose. I think I speak for everyone in the band, our purpose has been music and throughout our lives, our purposes have changed, whether it is because we became parents or things in our personal lives change. It is almost like a divine experience when you find your purpose and your life takes a turn in a good direction. This record is about starting that thought and creating a new thought. I think with past records we have always wanted to spark a thought and have it be more than just headbanging, moshing and going crazy in the pit. Our records always have some sort of meaning behind them. Perseverance was about the struggle that lead up to that record. The Rise of Brutality was followed up within a year and that was a very violent time in the world. There was a lot of crazy stuff that we saw doing that World Tour. Supremacy was about having supremacy over inner demons, anxiety and depression. The self titled record was all different stuff throughout the record and didn’t really have a concept so to speak because it was all different topics. With this record, every song is very meaningful. I look forward to playing every song on this record and the overall theme of it is that we need to spark a new thought.
All bands grow and progress musically. Would you say that this is your best album to date?
Jamey: It is one of the better ones. I think it is up there with The Rise of Brutality and Supremacy. Those two have the most songs right now in the set. On the last tour we were probably playing six or seven songs from Satisfaction as well. I can see with this record us playing probably seven or eight of these songs, which is a good feeling to have.
Did writing this album come easily for you?
Jamey: Yes, definitely, it was a good working environment. We had a really good team production wise and all the guys did a good job. They are all pros in the studio and the working environment was pretty much stress free, which was nice. It kept the focus on the creative side of things. We played to the strengths, whereas on the last record we tried to branch out a little too far. On this record we reeled it back in a little bit and kept it with where the strengths are.
The Divinity Of Purpose was co-produced by Hatebreed, Zeuss and Josh Wilbur. Zuess has worked on every record since The Rise of Brutality. It is obvious that you have a lot of faith in his abilities. What is it that makes him the perfect fit for Hatebreed records?
Jamey: I think just having him play that sixth member role where if we are doing something a little too outside of the box he can reel it in. When you get success, you travel all over the world and people put you on a different level, it is sometimes hard for people to say no to you when you are presenting ideas. He is a good guy to kind of just keep it in Hatebreed world because we don't want to change up that recipe. As much as we want to grow and progress as artists, we can do that in other projects. We don't want to do that with Hatebreed. We can keep the formula the way the fans want it. I would say Zeuss contributed a lot on this record as far as riffs and songwriting ideas, but he definitely kind of helped me shift the focus from certain songs. Instead of trying to have more songs just to make the songs that we had already, we wanted to make them better. Zeuss and Josh played a big role in that. I think for Hatebreed, it is one thing to have a great riff, but we are more of a sing-a-long band. People know the lyrics to almost all of our songs. People even have the lyrics tattooed on them because they find a lot of meaning in them. It was good for me to focus on that and make sure every song not only was meaningful lyrically, but they have the hooks and memorable vocals as well.
The album cover is beautiful. It is a painting right?
Jamey: Yes, thank you. I agree with you. It is a piece of art. It is by Eliran Kantor. We both worked on the concept together. I sent little sketches and things. There is a main character in the center of what could be interpreted as a tug of war. There is a dark, demonic figure in one corner and almost like a guardian angel type of figure in the other corner. It is such a really cool piece of art. I wanted it to be a piece of art where if you bought the vinyl or CD you are actually supporting someone who took hours and hours of work and put it into this. That's important. Right now we don't have a choice in what the fans do. We just put out our music regardless. When you put out your art and your music, if someone wants to honor that and give their $10, then I just wanted to have that value or more. To me, it is worth way more than that, especially if people knew how much work went into it. I think they would agree. It is important that at this point in our career we are doing something of value. Having a painting as a cover has definitely changed my thinking. We have never had that before. It's nice because it made me feel like a kid again getting the old Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica albums where it was really a piece of art.
I heard that you were a big support to Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) when he was going through his ordeal. I think it is really awesome of you to give him the support that you did when he was going through all of that.
Jamey: Thank you. I know that Randy is innocent and I've played hundreds of shows with Lamb of God. This is someone who would never want to see one of his fans injured let alone killed. Having seen a massive amount of violence at shows even long before Lamb of God was doing things, I've been through it and named in lawsuits. It's a scary thing because now you realize that someone's freedom can be taken away over something that should have been prevented. All I can do is what I’ve always done, which if anyone has ever seen Hatebreed or heard a live recording, is tell people to respect each other. The security has to respect the audience, the audience has to respect security, and everybody in the audience needs to respect each other. If somebody falls, pick them up. If somebody dives, make sure you catch them. If you don't want to catch them, then don’t stand by the stage. All of these things are important. People need to accept that when you go to a show you are going there to get a positive experience that you are going to remember. You shouldn’t feel alienated, you shouldn't feel unwelcomed or that it is going to end in a bad way. Yeah, the pit might be rough and the crowd might be rough around the edges, but all in all I want people to feel safe. It's okay to leave with a couple bruises or scratches. That is going to happen and you are going to feel sore the next day, but you shouldn’t be hospitalized.