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Interview: Hatebreed (HTF Exclusive)

We met up with Hatebreed guitarist Frank Novinec before the first show of their UK and European tour. Check it out here!

2At the dawn of a two year tour starting in the UK and visiting thirteen European countries, we met up with Frank Novinec, guitarist of hardcore band Hatebreed before their show at Brighton’s Concorde 2, to talk about his thoughts on touring, their new album ‘The Divinity Of Purpose‘ and how it feels to play shows without a setlist.

You can find out more about Hatebreed via their official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hatebreed

HTF: How are you?  How have you found the UK so far?

Frank:  I love touring the UK, a lot of my favourite bands are from the UK.  We tried to get Peter from Peter and the test-tube babies out tonight, so we’ll see.

HTF:  Do you get much of a chance to get out and about and see things, I noticed on Twitter you were visiting a classic car show earlier today?

F: Yeah it was right down the street here.  We can get out if we want to, we’re usually in town early enough if we’re playing to go out and venture if that’s what we want to do.

HTF: And how was Groezrock?

F: Incredible. We must’ve played in front of at least 20,000 people yesterday.

HTF: Do you find it hard to leave those places once you’ve spent time there?

F: Well, it’s summer festival season here in Europe so we’ll plenty of it and we’re doing five more trips to Europe between now and September.  So we’ll be back and we’ll bring that energy back to the smaller clubs on this run.  We’ll go home though between each run, there’s five trips to Europe and we fly back between all of them.

HTF:  I hear you guys don’t use a setlist?

F: No never.

HTF: Not once?

F: Well a couple of times maybe because someone was new to the band.  Basically, what happens is Jamey (Jasta – Hatebreed Vocals) has a list of songs on stage, and he’s the only one who has the list and there’s about fifty songs and he just shouts out any one of those fifty songs and we have to play it.  We play a different setlist every night no matter what.  It’s fun, it keeps it fresh for us because we’re not playing the same shit every night and you have the fans who really enjoy it.

HTF: So do you just feed off that?

F: I think maybe Jamey figures what song he needs to do to get the crowd to do this, or maybe he thinks they don’t know this record so much so let’s drop a couple of songs of a different record.  At the end of the day it’s a mix of many songs off all of our records, so it’s a win win situation for us and anyone involved.

HTF:  You must have an idea how you’ll end a set though?

F:  Not so much.  We’ll end with maybe three of our most popular songs we have so I think that then everybody knows that we’re not gonna come out and play something else!!  We’re not the type to do big encores or anything like that, it’s a hardcore thing, we’re not rockstars by any means.

HTF: Well I don’t know about that!  It must be quite interesting though to play one song that you would often play last and just throw it out at the start to see how people react?

F:  We’re fortunate that we have so many songs now, that if you don’t know the last two, you’ll probably know the third.  And with six albums out now, we’ve got a lot of songs that we’re gonna play no matter what.  There are some songs we HAVE to play!

HTF:  So you’ve no idea what we can expect from tonight then?  Surely a lot of stuff from the new album?

F: Maybe three or four at most from the new record, but we’ll do twenty-five songs tonight.

HTF:  And it’s been such a while since you’ve been over here that there is a few albums worth of stuff that you just haven’t played over ever before?

F:  Yeah it should be good, we haven’t been here specifically (Concorde 2) since about 2007 I think.

HTF:  And so the new album!  I’ve been listening to it front to back for a while now, and it’s brilliant.

F:  Yeah thanks, we love it.  We think it’s the greatest.  We’re really happy with it and had the blessing of spending a lot of time making it, which we’ve never really had in the past.  The reviews have been awesome, the feedback has been awesome.  It’s the highest charting album we’ve ever had in America, and it’s been perceived very well by everybody.  We’re about to drop a second video for ‘Honor Never Dies’ so that’ll be good, and we’re starting up this two year tour for it.  Maybe that’s why it takes us three years to put a record out!

HTF:  There always seems to be a theme to each album depending on where you guys are at at the time.  Is that something you’re aware of or do you notice it once the album has been written?

F:  The themes of our music and our lyrics is always positive obviously, we deal with real life situations, struggles and things that people deal with every day.  We try to incorporate that with the fans and make them feel more connected with the band compared with other bands that might sing about other things and are negative.  For us, no matter if there’s a theme or not, we’re always going to have that personal connection with the fans which I think a lot of people can relate to.  It’s quite rare, so when kids got listening to Hatebreed, that connection was attractive to them, because they can feel at one with us, more than they could with some other bands.  We meet people who have Hatebreed tattoos, and tell us our lyrics got them through hard times, whether they were struggling with addiction, or had a family member they lost in the war or somebody who is just going through hard times and it’s really gratifying to have them tell us that our music got them through.  It makes what we do that much more special.

HTF:  Yeah that’s incredible.  It feels as though there’s a real mix of styles to this new album.  Some have a more punkier sound?

F:  Some of the songs yeah.  If you listen to a song like ‘Indivisible’, it sounds like The Exploited to me, but ‘Dead Man Breathing’ is full on Slayer.  We make it all work.  To me it’s like now that we’ve broken into the punk and metal and hardcore rock scene, we have so many more people who like our band and it’s much more challenging to keep all these people happy now and still sound fresh, rather than just change our style and just become some other band that we’re not.

HTF:  Have you enjoyed playing the new stuff live?

F:  It’s fun to be out and playing new songs live.  It’s been three years.  It’s fresh and it makes me feel like you guys have waited long enough,  so now here it is.

Interviewer: Chris Van Praag

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