The Massachusetts metal scene has spawned Killswitch Engage, All That Remains and so many others. How has the Massachusetts metal scene progressed?
Nowadays, we see each other more on the road than we do back at home. We criss cross the earth and run into each other on the road. Like I just got back from England where I saw Unearth and KsE. We used to play VFWs and tiny places with these bands so it’s awesome to see them out on the road.
Why did you choose to have the album produced by Nick Raskulinecz?
Nick is an old school metal guy and has been working with rock bands for a long time. He worked with Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver, and just did the new Rush album as well. He has a great rock sensibility, but he already had the metal background and he grew up listening to thrash metal. So there didn’t have to be any education as to what we were all about.
He understood it right from the beginning. He has been talking to us for a while, we just never had a chance to work together. So once this all worked out with his schedule and ours, we headed out to L.A., recorded it at the Studio 606 out in the valley, where Nick is based. It was an amazing experience.
Before this, Zeuss did all your production. Why the change?
Yeah, Zeuss mixed the record this time around again too because he knows our sound better than anyone else. And with Nick to kinda get a new perspective while we were working on actual songs. This time we were able to go to L.A. and get out of our comfort zone and have a new experience and new input, but still be able to bring it back home to finish it off and work with someone who has helped us craft our sound from the beginning.
What was it like working with a new producer?
It was pretty smooth because we’ve hung out with Nick a bunch; he came to our practice space and we got to know each other. We are in the studio for hours, and we have to be comfortable, and he was someone we knew we would get along with.
What’s the response you’re getting from fans on the new record?
I don’t think we shocked anyone by doing anything drastically different. We didn’t have a horn section or anything [laughs], but we definitely progressed and really showed some of our old school rock and roll roots on this record.
The response has been great, we’ve been playing a lot of the new songs on the last few tours and that’s really where the ultimate test comes. Kids were rocking out to them. You’re always gonna get people who love your last record better, but everyone’s guilty of that. I’m guilty of that myself all the time.
So far it’s been a pretty amazing response. But if you get only good reviews you feel like you didn’t do something that’s challenging.
Every now and then you’re gonna get people who are not into the more melodic side and think you went too far in that direction if they’re not into the heavier stuff. People take this stuff personal, so you’re gonna get so many different types of responses. That’s what makes it exciting and personal; that you’re able to look at it from your own perspective—it’s filtered through all of your influences and your personality. It’s such a subjective thing. You never get mad at someone for not liking your music. That’s what’s great about it, that it’s a personal thing.
With MySpace, websites, blogs and the information superhighway, how do you communicate with your fans?
We’re one of the band’s that probably hangs out more at shows with everyone who’s there rather than spend time online. I check our MySpace occasionally and answer some stuff directly. I definitely put updates and blogs to keep people posted. But we’d rather be at the bar hanging out, one on one.
When we’re on tour, we don’t hide on the tour bus or the dressing room. We’re most likely at a local bar that’s close to the venue or at the actual bar at the venue. We’re not too hard to find or communicate with.
What’s it like playing the metro area?
Jersey has always been kind to us, even the whole tri-state area, and New England has always felt like home.
We’ve been playing so many shows there for over a decade now. It’s always amazing. Whether it’s Hellfest when it was in Jersey. We played that WSOU show at the baseball stadium [in 2001, Riverfront Rampage], we’ve just had so many big and great shows like that in Jersey that make Jersey that special place.
Plus the kids there definitely go off. It’s an active crowd and I’m looking forward to that at Sounds. And I wish there was gonna be more of Testament than just that one show.
And now for the hair question! How much longer will you let it go?
I never really thought about it much, but I’m running into logistic issues where like, I’m playing tennis and I stepped on it. I skateboarded a mini ramp, and I rolled over it. And I realized it may lead to injury. I haven’t even trimmed a single piece in like 14 years. I just can’t imagine doing it, but I might need to figure out a plan b or maybe I’ll start wrapping it up and curling it around. It’s not that heavy really, just when it’s wet.
Photo Credit: Chapman Baehler