16 April 2018


Jamey Jasta (chant)

Torhout (Belgium) – Friday January 26, 2018

“When we come back for Helfest, it will be like a 20th anniversary show of our first album”


How has this tour (Persistence Tour 2018) been so far?

The tour has been great, no complaints. All the bands got a good response. Really good crowd, really energetic. We’re doing a much different set than we were doing in the States. But it ended up actually being really good. We have 3 more shows and then we come back in June.


The Concrete Confessional (2016) already belongs to the past or are you still waving its flag?

The setlist is kinda more nostalgic but last night we threw in 2 new songs. Tonight we will probably do one. But when we come back in June, we will probably do 3. People wanna hear more, like people yell for new songs but this is more of a nostalgia tour so we’re trying to do more material from the first two albums because we never do those songs. We like to switch it up though. When we come back for Helfest, it will be like a 20th anniversary show of our first album because we’re doing a smaller stage. So we want to make it more of a hardcore set.


This is a full house tonight like every night on that tour. Do you think that nowadays the heart of hardcore punk is pulsing in Europe rather than in the States?

I’d say in some of the big cities in America, like Philly, New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Austin or Chicago and mostly in all the cities in Europe. In America, it’s more spread out. Here, even in a small city, there might be a small scene with 400 kids who want to go to every show whereas in America it’s so big, there’s so much space that you can do Minneapolis and then go 18 hours to Denver, drive and there’s not a lot of places in between you can play. I mean, there are some and we’re doing them in March, like we’re going to Nebraska and a bunch of different spots… I think as far as a more concentrated base for all sorts of heavy music, there are so many great cities in Europe that have such deep roots for heavy music, like Scandinavia or the UK, for sure…


Tonight’s three headliners (Hatebreed, Madball, Terror) are all signed with Nuclear Blast. Is there a process of “metal-isation” of the hardcore scene going on these days?

No. I mean, there are bands that are really doing their own thing like Trash Talk in the States: they have their own label through a hip-hop guy, this guy from Odd Future Records (Tyler, The Creator) and they’re considered a hardcore band. And there are bands like more sort of punk hardcore who have their own labels. There’s this whole No Sleep Records scene. They’re just different fractions, all different subgenres… For Nuclear Blast, it’s more metallic hardcore. They have punk bands like The Exploited, Discharge… They really have a large roster of bands now. But we try to play with everybody. Like we can play with Trash Talk, Terror, Accept or Judas Priest. At Full Force, we’re playing right below Judas Priest and Judas Priest played an arena in our home town and they asked us to play with them. We always look forward to bringing people together. There are less differences than people think in hardcore and metal.


Has the close link, the brotherhood between hardcore and hip-hop, faded away somehow?

I would say that some bands are flying the flag for the mixture of sounds. If you look at Prophets Of Rage: they’re doing well in the States and are getting played on a mass of radio stations and we played with them in Southern America. They are more bringing a mainstream rock with rap but people who like that sound, they might find Powerflo who has members of Biohazard and Cypress Hill or they might find Stray From The Path – kind of Rage Against The Machine-influenced- or a band like Attila who is metalcore but also has rap and like really heavy death metal parts and electronic parts too. It depends what subgenres you’re talking about as there are so many now. There are hundreds and hundreds of genres that incorporate other styles of music.


Despite your young age, you are some kind of a veteran to many. Your words count, you are a role model. Can it become some kind of a burden sometimes, to have the responsibility to find the right words to express yourself?

You know, I forget who it was but I think it was Paul Mc Cartney – he said: “A good songwriter will find a way to say the same thing a hundred ways”. And I try that sometimes but it really has to come naturally. If people really know the words and really read the words, get them tattooed on them and live by them, then that’s an honour for me. That’s really high praise from fans – because there’s a lot of music right there to choose here are a lot of bands around like Hatebreed and we’ve been really honoured to have people still interested, reading the lyrics, buying the vinyls and supporting the tours.


Do you thing that America has become “great again” over the last twelve months?

When I look at the news… I try to watch a little bit of each network I definitely think that in some ways it’s polarised people so to the extent where they hit rock bottom and now they have to find common grounds. Otherwise what is the answer? The answer would just be civil war and that’s not really a good idea and that’s not happening. So what started as his huge divide has now become a weird way like it’s starting to bring people together. So I think we’re over the bump of like this intense arguing and now people are dialling back a little bit and saying “OK, there’s more common ground here than we think” I think that any bad leader can do that. Like a bad leader can bring people together in a weird way.  Really, what’s happening now is just… When I was a kid, it was like : « OK, these guys run the country for 8 years, then it’s these people running the country for 8 years ». And it wasn’t really different. What was different was the taxes. My roads are still fucked up, the schools still serve shitty food to the kids, there’s no music program. We don’t get any help on the radio, no one pays for our tour bus expect us. So for a musician, we kind of live in an isolated world. We get outside the country, we know everybody hates it, we get it. And we already dealt with it with Bush, same thing. Actually I think people hated Bush more, to be honest with you. As musicians, we’re kind of lucky that we live sort of isolated lives, where we can do creative things, travel the world and we don’t see the world like someone who hasn’t left their town i the middle of America. So for those who got a big tax break, those who feel like their side won, I’m sure they feel it’s great, you know. But I’m not one of these people. I don’t subscribe to thin binary thinking. The 2 party system is very foolish if you think about it. It’s very foolish to have one person in any sort of high place of political power.


This is gonna be your 6th appearance at Hellfest. How does it feel to be asked to play every second year?

It feels great. It’s always a great show and we’re looking forward to it. It’s cool that we get to do a different stage this time because we can just focus on the nostalgia for the day and this is it. It’s gonna be the last time we do the first record in full. Because we really got to look forward. You know, for us, the first record holds a separate place in a lot of people’s hearts. For me, it’s old, it’s tired and I’m thinking in the future. But I can’t be selfish and not give the fans what they want. To play with the hardcore bands on the hardcore stage and play the first album will be fun.


When you played there in 2007, you used Van Halen’s “I’llWait” as your intro tape. As far as I know, you haven’t used it since that period. Why not using it again?

I think we just did it that tour… I wanted to do “Yankee Rose” from the David Lee Roth solo album but… Fans really like “Bad Boys” so that’s been our intro for the last… We did “Kill Bill” as well as a bunch of different ones but “Bad Boys is the one people really like and they know it’s the one we’re gonna come out to so we try to keep it the same. But who knows? Maybe at Hellfest we will switch it up?! (laughter)


Some words about the bands playing on the Warzone on the same day than you?

Madball and Terror are two of the best hardcore bands in my opinion. Cro Mags: Age Of Quarrel is a classic album and they usually play everything of Age Of Quarrel so it’s always fun to see Cro-Mags. Turnstile is one of the best upcoming bands. Really cool sound and different from everybody else. Knocked Loose is a great live band. They had an awesome reaction from the crowd at the Warped Tour and they’re gonna have a great time at Hellfest as people are going to love Knocked Loose.


So as to conclude, could you finish that sentence for me: “I’ve never told that story before and I probably shouldn’t but…”

I do that in my podcast every week! And I always get in trouble. I usually have to change the names and then people go: “Are you talking about this person?”. And then I have to deny it. So everybody who wants to hear me say that sentence: just listen to my podcast every week. Sometimes, we have to edit it out. But not if it’s Dino from Fear Factory. He’s like: “Tell the story, I don’t care!”, so… (laughter)


Interview: Wombat

Many thanks to Valérie (JMT Consulting for Nuclear Blast) and Marcus (tour manager).