An Interview With Jamey Jasta [Hatebreed]

An Interview With Jamey Jasta [Hatebreed]

2021 Note:  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….Yep. The Scream Queen got a bit giddy interviewing Jasta as she has seen Hatebreed 17 times over the years. #diehardfan

You released your JASTA album, this summer!

I did. I did in July [2011].

Yes! How would you say that you connected to JASTA more than you connected with Hatebreed because I know JASTA is more of a–

It’s just a different thing. I mean, Hatebreed, it’s a very, you know… (pauses) Kind of like aggressive, more I’m being; trying to be a drill sergeant to myself type of thing, where I want to kind of like crack the whip on myself so I can think, “Ok, what would try to– what would get me motivated if I had to make a song?”…”How do I like try to make motivation into a song?”

With the JASTA record, although there were a couple of songs like that, I had to say things that weren’t necessarily coming from a place of anger. So, all I did was just try to express whatever was naturally kind of coming out of me. So, people are like, “Oh well, you know–” Something You Should Know, for instance, that was the song I did with Phil [Labonte] from All That Remains; it’s probably the most melodic song I’ve ever sang on. That song was like super-inspired by Alice In Chains and bands like Helmet, like early Helmet, and Life Of Agony. But lyrically, you know, the music part was inspired by those bands, but lyrically that was trying to say something to myself without being aggressive, you know what I mean?

I was trying to just like have a mantra, but without having it be like Defeatist or Doomsayer or one of these really hard, heavy Destroy Everything [Hatebreed songs]. It was like, “Can I challenge myself to do a song that’s like saying something in a normal way, just in a repetitive way to remind myself, but not being aggressive.” But yeah, both are a good a connection. Both are, you know, equally I think, expressive, just in different ways.

How would you say you express your passion through your music whether it be with Hatebreed or anything else like Kingdom of Sorrow, etc?

Well, with Kingdom [Of Sorrow] it just was like I just want to pick up the guitar and “riff out” and there’s no kind of um, again like–

You play guitar??!!

Yeah, I do. I wrote probably sixty-percent of the first record and maybe sixty-five percent of the second record.

You know, that’s really interesting!!

Yeah, and that’s why I love it when people are like, “Oh Kirk [Windstein – Crowbar/Down/Kingdom Of Sorrow] wrote the best riffs!” and this and that, but it’s funny because it’s a compliment to me because I wrote the majority of the riffs. But Kirk would take some ideas that I had and we call it “Kirk-i-fying“. So I would say, “Here’s a riff I have, I’m having a trouble coming up with the second part or whatever,” and he would “Kirk-i-fy” it. But with that, I just was so, you know like, just driven to keep writing riffs and I would send him stuff. You know, for me it was fun to be able to write heavy stuff, with again without coming from such a place of aggression. That’s another thing that was more laid back.

But you know, with Hatebreed, I want this stuff to be driving, I want it to be fast, for the most part. We do have obviously slower parts and parts that are more kind of like “sing-a-long”, whereas with Kingdom [of Sorrow], it’s more just about the heaviness and the groove. But, I mean, I’m equally as passionate about any project, I just don’t have as much time to promote Kingdom [of Sorrow] or JASTA, you know? Because there’s just not enough days in the year. This tour’s like ten weeks, so it’s a long one…

Yeah, I know, that’s so crazy! I mean, you guys have just been on tour non-stop! That’s how I’ve seen you guys so many times! (laughs)

Yeah. Yeah. It’s been nuts, but it’s good because this record still has life in it. So, with the Hatebreed self-titled record [2009], I felt like, you know, lets do one more big US tour and give it like a real push towards the end, and then we’ll do our record next year [2012].

What’s going on with that?

Well, Chris [Beattie, bassist] has a lot of stuff written, I have a lot of stuff written. So, when we come together on it, it’s going to be great because we’ll have a lot of ideas, and we’ll be able to flush out a bunch of stuff early on; have demos. I would say we would probably do demos in January… January/February. So, once the demos are done and we figure out our label situation, I guess, we’ll go from there.

Label situation…?

Well, it’s Roadrunner for the rest of the world. You know, we’re up to talking to eOne [Entertainment] again, but right now, I think with the JASTA record–

So you guys are like free agents?

A little bit, I think. Yeah, I would have to check, but yeah.

You would have to check? (laughs)

(laughs) Yeah, we’d have to figure it out. I think we might have to do a live album still with eOne, which would be cool, I would do that. But we would have to make sure we book the show, you know?

Yeah. You reminded me earlier of a question I like to ask… How would you say that you bring life into your songs you write, how do you bring the depth to them?

Hmm… I just try to, like I said, I try to talk to myself like in the song, like try to tell myself something. I like a lot of repetition, so I kind of write from that standpoint where, you know… Me, I need a lot of repetition in my life, if I’m not told to do something like twenty times in a row, I won’t do it… So, like I need to be– I need to have the whip constantly cracked on like stuff so that I don’t let projects fall the wayside or whatever.

And a lot of times that’s how I finish a project. You know, like with the first Kingdom of Sorrow [self-titled] record. Kirk [Windstein] was like, “What are we going to do? When are we going to do it?” Although we recorded it in 2005, it didn’t come out in 2008!

You know, with Hatebreed, sometimes I’ll be writing and I’ll have an idea and I’ll be like, “Alright, I want to repeat this a bunch of times in the song so that it gets a good crowd reaction,” but then I also want to be able to come back to it and still want to hear it. So, there’s a fine line in there that I draw because you don’t want it to be too repetitive where you’re like, “I’m so tired of hearing Destroy Everything ninety times in a row!” But you want it to be, you want the crowd to get involved.

So I try to like, walk that line with Hatebreed where I’m saying something that I want to hear and I want to play… Because at the end of the day I do have to play it like, sometimes two or three-hundred times in times a year. So, two-hundred/three-hundred days of the year, if I’m going to say something, I want it to really hit home, and really, you know– and luckily, there’s really no songs that I’m tired of playing. So, that’s good. That’s a good thing!

That’s good. Yeah. I heard last year, actually, when I was at your Connecticut show [December 30, 2010], your tour manager told me that you guys don’t use a set list…?

Yeah. (laughs) Yeah. People think we’re crazy because of that. I think we’re the only band that doesn’t do that.

Yeah, because I was asking for one! (laughs)

Yeah. You know, I just… I want to keep it fresh. These guys like to be on their toes. I mean, they’re such great musicians that they– I can just call it out, and boom, they know it. So, we’re not the most technical band. And like I said, I write songs that are kind of repetitive, but that’s how I like it. And you know, these guys should get way more credit than they get just because they are pulling like that; they don’t need a setlist. They can just have, I mean, Hatebreed has over a hundred songs. So, to call out from a catalog like that and to have and them know it, is pretty good, you know?

Yeah. You’ve been doing Hatebreed for a while, I mean I’ve been listening to you guys for a long time.

Yeah, I’ve been doing Hatebreed for seventeen years, Wayne [Lozinak, guitarist] told me this today.

I saw your Tweet!!

Yeah. He’s like, “You should Twitter that we’ve been together for seventeen years!” I was like, “Yeah, you’re right, that is good.”

Awesome!! Yeah, as I was asking you about your passion earlier… Are there ever times where that passion, it just gets really hard to keep the flame lit? Or… How do you keep it lit?

I guess, I just try to branch out and jam with as many people as possible, you know? I think that that’s a good way to keep things fresh because when we do come back and Hatebreed all gets in a room together, it’s pretty great. I mean, we all have families at home that we try to see when we can, but the band has monopolized a lot of our time for the last, especially the last ten years. But, you know, every time you do a tour like this [Share the Welt Tour] we really kind of, it really…

It really kind of re-ignites the flame because then you go out and you’re just like– this tour reminds me a lot of when we toured with Slipknot in 2000. Their record [Slipknot/Self-Titled] had just come out and they started to get like MTV and radio [air time], and we were playing arenas with them, and we had been on tour for three years in support of one album. So, we were over it; “God, how many times can we play these songs?!” Three years and we had done six-hundred and something shows!

…My GOSH!

Yeah. [Three years touring] On the first album. But this tour reminds me of that because once we got on that Slipknot tour, nobody had seen us before! We were like, “How have they not see us?! We’ve been town with DanzigSoulflySepulturaMotorheadDropkick MurphysEarth Crisis!” We had been to town so many times!! In all these places like Sioux Falls and North Dakota and Montana and Iowa, and we were like, “Holy shit there are so many people out there!!” So, that gave us kind of this new found excitement for it. That is what this tour has done. We went to Medford, Oregon. We’ve never played in Medford, Oregon. There were three-thousand people going crazy and everybody’s at our meet and greet like, “We’ve never seen you before!” So, it’s cool!!

You guys played Grand Junction, too!

Yeah, yeah. That was insane. That was an amazing show! People were going crazy. So, it’s almost like they keep us young, they keep us feeling like it’s, you know, a fresh new thing. Because it is, it is new to them, which is hard to believe, but it’s cool.

Not new to me!!

No, not new to you! (laughs)

What have been some of the most significant things that have happened to you that impacted you as an artist?

I would say probably, meeting Metallica; or having Metallica play the Perseverance video. That’s significant because at the end of the Perseverance album cycle, Metallica actually played the Hatebreed Perseverance video on Headbanger’s Ball, which I think… Not only helped me get the job as host, but really also got us out to a new audience that hadn’t seen us prior to Perseverance.

But, other than that… I mean, hooking up with Slipknot in 1999, before their album blew up. They gave them me demo tape and I listened to it, and I told Paul [Gray] and, Klown, and probably Joey [Jordison] too, I was like “If this blows up and you guys sell millions of records, please take us on tour!” And they did! Which was really, really super cool.

I just saw Klown in– I just saw Klown at the Revolver [Golden GodsAwards this past year [2011], but I always thank him, I always tell him that was a big deal for us because Slipknot, like, re-invented the game, and they really blew it up crazy. And that’s why this tour reminds me of this because I remember when Slipknot took out Slayer and people were like, “Holy shit! That’s crazy!” That’s what this feels like. Five Finger Death Punch, to me, they’re like the next Slipknot, they’ve really blown up huge. You know, so it’s cool, it’s really cool that they took us on this tour. 

I heard you guys are going to do an even bigger tour after this one…….

I don’t know……Ohhhh….Ohhhh yeah…. There were some rumors…..I don’t know… I don’t know…. I don’t know what’s going to happen… (laughs) We’ll see.

(laughs) Alright. You said Slipknot re-invented the wheel… How would you say that Hatebreed has?

We’re just like the “meat and potato” band, you know what I mean? We’re just like a solid band; that we don’t really change our sound or our message every record. I believe that people like rituals. I believe that rituals go back further than, if you go back in time with humanity, it’s like rituals kind of dictate a lot of people’s life-style and whatever, however you want to call it. But, to me, like every Hatebreed record, it’s like a ritual where we don’t want it to stray too much, we don’t want it to stray too much, you know what I mean? It’s just like the same reason why people watch wrestling…


I’m a die hard wrestling fan!

See!! Or, you know, watch like, UFC, or something. Even though it’s different people fighting, they’re doing the same thing, it’s just different characters. So, with Hatebreed records, we try to do that. Like have different stuff on the record, but it’s still the same thing; you want that identity to be there, so if you put it in, you can say, “That’s Hatebreed!” You know, you don’t want to put it in and say, “What the fuck is this?” You know, you want to have that identity.

The journey you’ve been on as an artist over the last year, or last several years, what has that journey been like, like what really has progressed?

It’s just been crazy, we’re lucky to have good people around us that we keep getting good opportunities. I really feel like, with the way the record industry is and with the way the economy is, you really have to go out and work twice as hard.

So, luckily we have a great road crew and all the labels that we’ve worked with are great, and all the people; various different publicists and people behind the scenes, that really helps us to do just what we do. And you know, like, an opportunity like this is huge because we’ve done Mayhem Festival, where you saw us as the headliner on the mainstage; we’ve done our own headlining tours… In 2008 we took out Type O’ Negative, in 2009 we took out Cannibal [Corpse], so we took out bands that we loved growing up, and we’ve tried, like I guess you know, to give back.

So, I guess that’s been a lot of the journey, kind of giving back and feeling like when you do something good, it comes back to you tenfold. So, and I really do feel like that, I feel like we keep getting opportunities because we do try to do good things.

[Tour manager comes in for the 5000th time saying to wrap it up… One more question… (Note: Grrrrrrr!)]

A lot of artists say that they have a certain feeling when they go on stage. When you go on stage, do you ever feel that “on fire” feeling? Or how would you describe that? I mean, every time I’ve seen you live, the energy you have is incredible.

Just try to… (pauses) I don’t know, I just try to like connect with the crowd beforehand, like if the crowd is chanting “Hatebreed,” I’ll go behind the stage, I’ll do pushups, do jumping jacks, whatever, and during the first song is when I try to connect with everyone.

I don’t really think about the feeling beforehand, I guess when I did my solo shows, I did a weekend of solo shows, I flew out to Phoenix [Arizona], and I flew out to the Indian reservation, and I did a hometown show– that was probably the first time where I was actually nervous because I had never sang those songs live, and they were ok, but I was a little rusty. But it was good to have nerves because I felt like– and it was different because like I can’t move around as much because when you move around, you can’t sing like that. So, it’s a good challenge, it’s a good, different experience.

So, I guess it’s different with HatebreedKingdom [of Sorrow], and JASTA. With Kingdom, I would just be like, “Ummm, I hope some people know who we are!”

But how does it feel when you’re on stage though…

It’s great when they’re responsive [the fans]. Like the Mayhem Fest was great for us because it made us [Kingdom of Sorrow] feel like a real band. Now, a lot of people wrote us off as like a side-project. So, I guess before the show, the feeling is just like, “Let’s go out there and prove that we’re a real band, and we’re a tight unit, and we can throw the fuck down with all these other bands.” You know? And we did, and it was great! (laughs)

But the feeling before hand, sometimes it changes up, some days, on this last European tour, like Summerbreeze [Germany] was like 40,000 people, Hatebreed was headlining, we had pyro. Like, I’m telling myself, “Don’t get burned!! Don’t walk in fucking– get fucking blown up by a mortar or a fireball, or something!” It changes, it kind of depends on the setting.

Well, then you’d really be on fire!! (laughs)

Yeah. (laughs) Exactly, then I’d be a use to no one!

Well, I guess since we’re out of time… Would you like to say anything else?

Thank you to everybody and thank you to you for the interview!

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