METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello, Ben. So, glad to be catching up with you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us here at Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it. So, how are you?
BEN SAVAGE: I'm doing well, just enjoying some downtime at home after a hectic 2018.
MPAP: We’ll talk more about your new release, titled The Valley, here in a moment, but I wanted to say this first before anything else, I think Whitechapel is going to own the year 2019! You have a killer new album and a massive tour coming up; it can’t get any better than that right?
BEN: Haha I don't believe it can. We're extremely proud with how the songs, sound, and artwork turned out for the album and looking forward to releasing it to the fans.
MPAP: Let’s keep that momentum rolling and jump right into the interview then, shall we?
BEN: Let's go!
MPAP: Hell yeah, but let’s first introduce everyone to your band why don’t we? Whitechapel is an American deathcore band from Knoxville, Tennessee. The band is named after the Whitechapel district in East London, England, referencing the series of murders committed by Jack the Ripper. The group comprises of vocalist Phil Bozeman, guitarists Ben Savage, Alex Wade, and Zach Householder, and bassist Gabe Crisp. Is there anything else you’d like to add to that to that?
BEN: I don't think the term deathcore really encompasses our sound at this stage, but other than that you have all our names right haha.
MPAP: We won’t spend a lot of time on this, but Ben Harclerode, who was your drummer for six years, exited the band in August 2017, and following his exit you had Navene Koperweis, currently of Entheos, sit in during the recording session of your current release. Is there anyone permanent behind the skins yet?
BEN: No, not yet, we like to think of it as 'dating around' after the breakup between our last drummer. We have played with a handful of drummers since Harclerode left but nothing permanent.
MPAP: Now that we are all caught up to date let’s talk about your new release, your 7th one to be exact, titled The Valley, that’s going to hit the streets March 29th courtesy of Metal Blade Records. It's been almost three years since your previous release, Mark Of The Blade, so, what can your fans expect on The Valley?
BEN:The Valley is more of an accelerated evolution from MOTB. Our last record felt like more of a transitional album to experiment and learn from. By adding singing and more melody we were able to see what we could get away with. It turned out we got away with a lot more than we thought.
MPAP: A few songs from The Valley have already been released, "Black Bear," "Brimstone," "Third Depth," and then just recently, "When A Demon Defiles A Witch." Just those songs alone, and the video for "When A Demon Defiles A Witch" is already a knockout punch, and there are still six songs left yet to be heard on the album. So, which song, that we haven’t heard yet will be that song that knocks out or teeth? What song is going to send us to the mat beaten, bloodied and broken? Of course, you’re saving the best for last I'm sure, right?
BEN: Thank you, it's hard to say because I'm a fan of all the songs on the record. Each one stands on its own and has its own personality. As far as songs you haven't heard yet I'm a fan of "Hickory Creek" and "The Other Side."
MPAP: For just a moment, can you go into more details for everyone what the 'based on true events' is about on The Valley? I’m assuming Phil opened lyrically on this one, more than ever before?
BEN: It’s based on Phil’s life growing up in the Tennessee Valley. The album gives it a way by showing a single perspective having a bird’s eye view of his past. Each song tells a different story, some true and some from his thoughts he was having as a child.
MPAP: On your previous release, Mark Of The Blade, some people’s heads turned when they heard clean vocals from Phil. And on The Valley, there are a few songs with clean vocals that I’m sure will turn even more heads. There will be a few fans out there that are against this, but I seriously think it has opened more doors on what this band can do and accomplish, right? Am I correct?
BEN: Yes, you are right, we want to continue doing this and by adding more colors to our palate it keeps up our longevity and keeps the songwriting process interesting. We waited this long incorporating singing because we wanted the songs to be the best they could before we went forward with that style.
MPAP: Whitechapel has been with Metal Blade Records since it’s 2nd release, This Is Exile in 2008. Not too many bands can say they’ve been with the same label for over ten years. They’ve been a great company to have in your corner, haven’t they?
BEN: Yes, we believe they are the most respected label in Metal and have always had our backs. So, don't fix what isn't broken right?
MPAP: Yes so true! We are looking forward to the March 29th release date. And hopefully, everyone is going to catch you playing somewhere when you co-headline The Chaos And Carnage Tour with Dying Fetus starting April18th in Sayreville, New Jersey at the Starland Ballroom. It’s been mentioned that on this upcoming tour, you’ll of course, be playing some new music, as well as some songs from your discography you have never played live before. You have quite the catalog of songs to choose from? What can we expect, is there anything you can reveal here for us?
BEN: We're playing a few songs that have never been heard live before excluding the new songs we're playing from The Valley. I can't say too much, but it will be a fun and energetic set!
MPAP: Moving forward, I just asked Hyro The Hero this question, but I want you to be the next one. This was taken from a recent headline, and I thought it might be interesting to ask you. The headline is: 'Robbie Williams wins pool planning victory over Jimmy Page.' I guess Robbie Williams is an English singer-songwriter and was once in a group called Take That, and of course, Jimmy Page is the guitarist and founding member of the heavy metal group Led Zeppelin. I guess the two have been battling it out for five years or so now because Jimmy didn’t want Robbie building an underground pool so close to his house in fear it might do some damage to his mansion that was built in 1781. Long story short, at some point during all this Robbie began blasting Black Sabbath, and various other bands, knowing it would upset the Led Zeppelin star. So, my question to you is, if you had a neighbor that was causing you some problems; would band would you blast out loud to piss them off? And, just so everyone knows, Hyro’s was "Alpha Omega" by King 810. Can you top that?
BEN: I wouldn't blast loud music to piss anyone off. I have no respect for Robbie Williams and is an asshole for doing that. Jimmy Page was just trying to preserve a beautiful piece of history. That being said, I think blasting Black Sabbath in the comfort of your own home is amazing and everyone should do that.
MPAP: I see your point on perserving a beautiful piece of history. Alright, let’s see what you say to this question? If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared today, what would be the most challenging thing to explain to them about your music you love to play for your fans worldwide?
BEN: I would say we're trying to capture an energy and feeling that couldn't be played in any other style than the one they heard. It's classical music on with distortion.
MPAP: Very nice. Recently, Phil Demmel, formerly of Machine Head, helped Garry Holt out when he had to leave Slayer’s Final Tour early, and former Megadeth, current Act of Defiance guitarist Chris Broderick is filling in for Niclas Engelin while he sits out In Flames North America tour. So, if you could step in for a band, any band, that needed some help, who would you love to help?
BEN: Opeth for sure, it may take some time learning the guitar solos and riffs, but they're my favorite band hands down.
MPAP: Being in a big band and touring the world might sound fun to most, but so many don’t realize what all that entails; living in cramped tour buses for weeks at a time, multiple layovers in airports, long periods away from the family, loved ones, and friends. Sound checks, be here, be there. Pulled here, pulled there, it goes on and on. If you could have a clone of yourself for just an hour a day, what would you want him to do so you didn’t have to do it anymore while out on the road?
BEN: Not really, but it would be cool to have a clone of myself to walk around and explore cities with.
MPAP: On behalf of myself and Metal Pulp And Paper, I’d like to thank you for doing this interview. We look forward to what Whitechapel does in 2019 and beyond. Any last words you’d like to say to everyone, all your fans worldwide?
BEN: Thank you and I hope you enjoy The Valley!
Ben Savage-Whitechapel/ March 8th, 2019/ Interview #141