Written by Ian Morales.
Currently on tour with Bullet For My Valentine, the Las Vegas post-hardcore quartet Escape The Fate will play in Austin for the first time in the band’s six-year history this Sunday at Stubb’s. In what’s sure to be one the best hardcore concerts of the year, Escape The Fate will give fans a live taste of their upcoming major label debut, due out in November. The group promises this new record—a follow up to 2008’s This War Is Ours and their second with former Blessthefall frontman Craig Mabbitt—will be even heavier and more diverse.
Mabbitt is once again at the helm after joining Escape The Fate at the tail end of 2007. With mixed initial reactions from fans, Mabbitt proved to be a mainstay in the band and is more excited than ever about the Bullet For My Valentine tour and November’s self-titled release. We spoke with Mabbitt about the tour, the new album and what he thinks of what he read about himself and the band online.
What’s it like touring with Bullet For My Valentine and playing in front of their fans?
Mabbitt: We’re pretty excited. I know the band was on tour with Bullet about four and half years ago almost. They actually got kicked off the tour and my old band (Bless The Fall) had to take over for them on one show. I remember the show being pretty bad ass. Plus, they are really nice guys.
I know your brand of hardcore is different from Bullet’s. They are often referred to as a metal, Mayhem Fest band and you guys are thought of more in the Warped Tour or Taste of Chaos tour realm. Does the crowd difference concern you at all?
Mabbitt: We are actually excited to kind of get out of that Warped Tour scene.
That’s surprising to me to hear you say that. I understand not wanting to get pigeonholed, but in all fairness that scene is very loyal and quite the avid followers of bands they attach themselves to.
Mabbitt: Oh, for sure. We’ll always be loyal to Warped Tour, but we’re excited to get out of it for a little bit. You don’t want to be stuck playing the same kind of crowd too many times over and over again. That’s a good way to become yesterday’s news.
That’s definitely a good point. The other band on the bill we are excited to see live is Black Tide. I know Escape The Fate has played with them before. Tell us about playing with them and what you think of those guys personally.
Mabbitt: We took them out on our last headlining tour. We had a really good time with those guys. Right after that tour, they were on Warped Tour with us. They are definitely some of our really good friends and we’re super stoked to be touring with them again. We just recently signed to Interscope, which just happens to be their label so we’re labelmates now. I know they are working on some new stuff, so it will be really good to get an early listen to some of the new Black Tide stuff on the tour.
While we are on the subject of the tour: Will you be playing songs from the upcoming album on this tour?
Mabbitt: Yes. I know for sure we are going to be playing two new songs, both of which are out right now. We’ll be playing “Massacre,” which is the first street track and “Issues,” which is the first single. We are trying to work out some kinks to play one more. We’re just trying to figure out which one we want to play. We have a bevy of music on the new record just like we did on This War Is Ours. We have our pop songs, and we have our heavy songs. This new album has a few more heavy songs than This War Is Ours had.
Given that you are playing just two or three new songs, does your set just consist of material from This War Is Ours?
Mabbitt: We are definitely going to give a new experience to fans. They are definitely not going to see the same thing they have seen in the last three or four years. We are definitely going to keep on playing the fan favorites like “The Flood,” “This War is Ours,” “Ten Miles Wide” and “Situations.” It is always different depending on the tour. If we are somewhere like South America, playing in front of people who had never seen us before, we didn’t want to show up and play a bunch of brand new shit. We want them to get what they paid for. They waited to see us, so we’ll always be ready with older songs.
Good to hear. Now, you kind of touched upon this earlier but if you could elaborate on this for me a little bit. What’s going to be different about your new album besides maybe the heavier element you mentioned in comparison to This War Is Ours?
Mabbitt: We are definitely experimenting more on this album. It is darker and heavier as a whole, although not completely as we definitely have pop songs along with the rock anthemy songs. I know our guitarist Brian did a lot of extra programming stuff on this record and experimented a lot with some old school industrial dark sounds. Think old school Nine Inch Nails and Orgy, people like that. I think what got him really into that is we co-wrote a song called “Zombie Dance” with the singer from Orgy, Jay Gordon. I know that’s some of Monte’s (Brian Money) favorite bands from back in the day so he really wanted to experiment with that stuff. On some of the other new songs, like “Massacre,” we have a lot of little technical sound effect things that are in there. You’ll also hear some little DJ sound effects and stuff like that hidden in there. We just put whatever we think sounds good on the record. I just hate when bands make songs or records to please other people. You have to please yourself or else it is not going to come out sounding good whatsoever.
Will there be any guest collaborations on the new album? I know you seem open to that sort of thing as we saw with you and Eyes Set To Kill.
Mabbitt: Besides Jay Gordon, we worked some guitar parts on a song called “Liars and Monsters” with John 5, who is Marilyn Manson’s original guitarist and now plays with Rob Zombie. That’s one of my favorite tracks on the new record. I really like that one. Besides the lyrics, I really experimented a lot on vocals. “Zombie Dance” has a bunch of creepy ass parts behind the main vocals and on “Liars and Monsters” I’m singing really low. I’ve never sang like that before, but it was cool just to do something different.
You seem very relaxed and excited about your new album. This is your major label debut and the follow up to a successful album. Do you feel any pressure right now or have any concerns?
Mabbitt: We’re definitely confident with it. This band has been through its ups and downs through the years. I didn’t even know how well This War Is Ours was doing. I am one of those dudes that like to keep up fans and stay online. When I see all the hate I assumed the record was not doing that well, but then all the shows were selling out. When we released a new track form this record, I kept on hearing that fans wanted to hear something heavy so we went that direction. When we released it, I saw things online that said we went all Lincoln Park and Bring Me The Horizon. I’m over it. I like it. Call us whatever you want. We have been compared to every other band in the world, which I guess makes us pretty diverse. I guess I should thank all the people that called us all those different bands. They are either going to be pissed because it sounds just like the last record or pissed because it sounds different.
The way I see that is those people who are that vocal and vocal online, is they have one of your records that they liked already.
Mabbitt: I’m like, “Dude, what do you guys want, man”?
Given that you read what’s said about you online, what do think is something fans or even the media are still getting wrong about you or Escape The Fate?
Mabbitt: There are way too many things out there being said about this band that I don’t even know which one to pinpoint really. I think the most recent one was something about us ripping off Bring Me The Horizon for a street track, “Massacre.” I actually have to agree with some of those people. The beginning of the song kind of sounds similar, but Bring Me The Horizon has absolutely no signing and our song has a chorus in it. It is in a completely different key and timing. Finally, I’m actually kind of stoked people are saying we ripped them off because I happen to a really big fan of Bring Me The Horizon. They really kick ass.
Well said. So besides releasing the new album in November, what can you tell us about any plans for the rest of 2010 after the Bullet For My Valentine tour and for 2011?
Mabbitt: We do have music video for “Issues” coming out. We’ll announce a release date really soon. We are really happy about it and I think it came out really cool. After some CD release parties, we are going to hit Europe with Bullet. We will be home for Christmas, and then maybe a few more tracks or some remixes. Sometime after Christmas, we will be planning a big headlining tour. We haven’t done one since the This World Is Ours tour. We are trying to figure out who we want to bring out because there are so many friends of ours I want to bring out so bad, but we’ll have to wait and see.