Posted by: Addison – Jun 18, 2012
In a recent phone interview, Alex Wade, one of the three guitarists of deathcore powerhouse Whitechapel, spilled the beans about their forthcoming, self-titled album and tour with Hatebreed, as well as his feelings on grooving, dubstep and bath salts.
RVA: Hi, is this Alex?
Alex Wade: Yes it is.
RVA: Hey, it’s Addison from RVA magazine. How are you doing?
Alex: Pretty good.
RVA: Awesome. So, your new record comes out this month, and there’s a lot of hype since many people consider A New Era of Corruption to be your best album so far. How do you feel that this record is going to measure up to that, and what surprises do you think are in store for people?
Alex: In my opinion, I feel like it’s going to be our best album so far. I know pretty much every band ever says whatever album they’re putting out is their best album, but I really feel strongly about that. The reason we decided to self-title it is that we feel like a band shouldn’t just throw the self-title on any old album. It needs to be saved for their best album, and I definitely feel like this is going to be the pinnacle album for us.
RVA: As far as the sound goes, is the new album going to be along the same lines as New Era, or are you going for something heavier or more technical?
Alex: I definitely feel like it’s kind of a combination of This is Exile and A New Era. On This is Exile, the tempo of the songs were a lot faster, on A New Era we focused much more on groove. On this CD there is variety between songs, we have fast songs, slow songs, and everything in-between. So, I definitely think that whether you’re a fan of This is Exile or A New Era, there’s going to be something for everyone on this new album.
RVA: Are you all playing in the Richmond area anytime soon in support of the new album?
Alex: I’m not too sure, but we’re on Rockstar Mayhem festival this year, and I’m pretty sure there might be a Virginia date on that, and we’re touring in support of Hatebreed in the fall, I’m pretty sure there’s a Virginia date on that tour as well.
RVA: You all started in the deathcore scene when that was really big, and I know that at the time a lot of metal fans really didn’t take it too seriously. Now that the trend has died out, though, you all are definitely one of the few bands who stuck around and gained a lot of respect. What do you think set you apart from other bands, and how do you feel now about the scene that got you started and the scene that you’re in now?
Alex: Well when we started, we weren’t necessarily like “let’s start a deathcore band.” We just wanted to play heavy music. So for us, being lumped into that category, I guess technically we might play death metal-influenced music with breakdowns and stuff like that, but like I said, whenever we write music we never intend to write deathcore, we’re just a metal band. We have a lot of influences throughout the metal genre, whether it be progressive, heavy metal, death metal, American-influenced metal, whatever. To us. we’re just a metal band, and we just try to write our own brand of metal.
RVA: How do you feel about the state of the metal scene today? Do you feel that things are headed in an interesting direction, or do you think things are kind of at a standstill as far as new sounds and new bands coming out?
Alex: I think the metal scene is definitely still growing, I think it has a way to go and I think it’s come a long way. I definitely think it has gained more acceptance in the mainstream with bands like us and Suicide Silence. When you’re doing tours like Warped Tour alongside more poppy, mainstream bands, it’s just something that’s become a lot more accepted. Which is great for us metal bands, I think it will help us gain popularity and help our careers go even further.
RVA: Dubstep is really big right now, and I know a lot of trend-hoppers who used to be into deathcore are getting into it. As such, there are a lot of remixes of your songs floating around, including one by Big Chocolate, a death metal vocalist and fan. How do you feel about all this, are you guys stoked to have these remixes coming out, or do you feel annoyed by being lumped in with yet another trend?
Alex: I’m not turned off about it, I don’t listen to it personally, but we were putting out our E.P and we needed some fillers, so we thought “Why don’t we remix ‘Breeding Violence’ or something?” We figured it’s already a really groovy song with a lot of swing to it that would be pretty easy for a dubstep producer to remix, so why not? Like I said, I’m definitely not a fan, I don’t listen to it, but I don’t hate on it. It’s just another form of music, and the people who like it, like it, the people who don’t, don’t. I mean, I’m sure dubstep fans, not just scene kids but die-hard fans, I’m sure they don’t like Whitechapel, and I can’t hate them for that, just like they can’t hate me for not liking dubstep. And I’ve always liked, I guess, electronic elements mixed with metal; bands like Fear Factory and Meshuggah and stuff like that.
RVA: You guys have always played really straightforward metal even though you’re also really brutal. It sounds like a lot of your influences are more in the vein of bands like Pantera and Slayer instead of just death metal and hardcore. Was this intentional, and is this mostly what you all listen to?
Alex: We all grew up listening to bands like Slayer and Pantera, and even more mainstream bands like Metallica and Megadeth. So yeah, I think it is inevitable that the stuff we grew up listening to would have a big effect on our sound.
RVA: You are one of three guitarists in the band, which is a little bit unusual. Do you ever feel like your playing gets lost because of the other guitarists, or do you enjoy the dynamic of playing with two other people and being the largest sound element in the band?
Alex: We’ve been doing the three-guitar thing for a while now, I think we’ve gotten down how to make sure each player is heard, and have different people playing different parts. When we’re writing and playing, we always make sure to try and keep the different guitars as separate and as noticeable as possible.
RVA: Since you guys have some gory lyrics with dystopian themes, how do you feel about the whole ‘bath salts’ hype that’s been going on lately? Do you think it’s just good material for lyrics, a terrible tragedy, the beginnings of an actual zombie apocalypse, or just another annoying media craze?
Alex: It’s a tragic occurrence, obviously no one wants anything like that to happen to anyone in this world, but in my opinion I think it’s also kind of annoying. It just goes to show how much social networking sucks, how people will re-post anything just to get likes or re-tweets or whatever, this is why people are blowing up with all this zombie shit. Zombies were cool five years ago when nobody cared about them, but now everyone thinks it's cool to tweet or post on facebook the exact same thing that 500 people have already talked about. That’s my take on it, at least.
RVA: Awesome. Well, it was great talking to you, and I’m looking forward to hearing the new record!
Alex: Thanks, it was great talking to you too. Have a good day!
By Addison Herron-Wheeler