Interview: Hatebreed’s Frank Novinec on The Divinity of Purpose, Positivity and Pulverising Metal

February 26th, 2013
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Just back from their European tour and currently embarking on the American leg, Hatebeed is super pumped. Not just because being angrily upbeat is what they do, but also because their latest album The Divinity of Purpose has just been released to very positive reviews from critics and fans. Hatebreed always puts 100% blood, sweat and tears into what they do, but this new effort really has the prefect balance of the brutality that people expect and the creative innovation that keeps it fresh. mxdwn’s Colette Claire caught up with guitarist Frank Novinec just as the US tour started to discuss the bands current success and what’s coming next.

>hatebreed

mxdwn: So the new album just came out and it seems to be getting a great reaction from fans and critics. Are you guys super excited about that or do you not pay much attention to that type of stuff?

Frank: Yeah, morale is so up right now it’s insane! Were having a great time out here, the shows are great, the reviews are great, we have a lot of people behind us on this record so were hoping for the best.

mxdwn: So the U.S. leg of the tour just started how have the fans been reacting to the new material live?

Frank: Yeah the fans are excited, we just got back from Europe, we were there awhile and it went really well. We came home last Monday night, [Jan 28th] and this U.S tour tour just started this past Saturday in Michigan, so there’s only been a few shows here, but I think people are just excited to hear new songs and that we have a new album out because it has been three years. So yeah, we’re delivering the goods and reception’s been great.

mxdwn: Yeah it was kind of a big gap, and also your last album was a bit more experimental than your usual stuff, though it’s not really fair to say experimental since you it still had the signature Hatebreed sound, but it was a little slower and more doom inspired. Was that change intentional? Did you go into this album saying, “We have to make a heavier record than the last one?”

Frank: Well, no. Being that we broke into the metal scene as a hardcore band, and even in the heavy rock world touring with bands like Chimaira a bunch, we have a fine line we have to walk when we make a record as far as blending punk, metal and rock. We went a little out of our boundaries on our last record, but at the end of the day its still Hatebreed, it’s still heavy, it still has that groove with Jamie yelling over it, you know what I mean? Although, I do think on this one we got back to basics is a little bit more than on the self titled record. It’s very hard for us to go back to basics and make something that’s still fresh at the same time, and we were able to do that really good on this record. We had time we spent on this record, we weren’t rushing it to make a record between tours and that’s how it is usually. So we had a lot of time to review, change, tweek and do all those things to the record to make it how we wanted to so I think that had a lot to do with this one.

mxdwn: So the video for “Put it to the Torch” is really interesting, it kind of a different thing for you guys isn’t it?

Frank: Well no, we did a video when we did our covers record For the Lions that was similar. We did a video for the Black Flag cover “Thirsty and Miserable” which was the same thing, it had a plot and we weren’t in the video. Basically, for “Put it to the Torch,” we were working with the director on this video and letting him do his thing. We said, “why not?” Basically, with us being busy in the studio and touring coming up, we wanted to have the video out while touring the record so this is what we chose to do for the first single. It was so there would at least be something out there for people to enjoy. But you know, it got more views in the time frame from when we released it until now than any other video we’ve done. Another thing that’s great is that we were able to film another video as well for “Honor Never Dies,” the second single off the album, before we left for our European tour, so that will be coming out soon as well.

mxdwn: Yeah I thought it was unique of you guys to not put out the typical live-show metal video and do something different.

Frank: Yeah we’re open to try different things. We have that luxury of crossing over into different genres, which is great for us. Not many people can say that, we’re kind of a universal band like Motorhead. So when it comes to doing little, different things, we’re not afraid. We credit our success and longevity to making smart decisions. So far everything’s going great, right now especially is a really great time for us.

mxdwn: Is it the same director doing the next video for “Honor Never Dies” or a different one?

Frank: No, it’s a different guy.

mxdwn: When is that one out?

Frank: It will be soon, I don’t a have a date for you right now.

mxdwn: Is it a different idea from the last one?

Frank: It’s us playing live at our rehearsal studio and some other things that will be interesting as well. Actually there’s an ad running for our new album on TV and clips of that are from our new video shoot.

mxdwn: So back to the new album, I really like the title The Divinity of Purpose, and that leads me to the question how do you guys write such loud angry music but yet still convey this really positive message?

Frank: Well come from the hardcore scene which preaches positivity a lot in the lyrics; it’s real life situations and it’s things that people can really relate to. We’re not singing about wizards and things like that. Not saying anything bad about bands that do, I mean Dio was one of my favorite artists ever; But for us, to bring that aspect to the metal scene where sometimes you don’t hear the world’s most positive lyrics, its cool and I think it makes for a very personal with our relationship with our fans. It makes them feel like they’re a part of it, they have our lyrics tattooed on them. You see people in the military, or people dealing with drug addiction, and things like that, people that are going through hard times in life and they let us know that are music and lyrics have helped them. It’s really awesome that there’s something so special about our band and I’m also very proud of that.

mxdwn: Definitely. Also it sets you guys apart from the typical “Oh I hate my parents, I hate my life” that metal music can get bogged down in.

Frank: Yeah exactly. Another thing that I really enjoy about it is that you have all the people who are nay-sayers and haters that sit online all day and have nothing good to say about anybody, but you’d have to be a real jerk to say something negative about what we bring to the table. I enjoy that aspect as well about our positivity.

mxdwn: Totally. So how does the writing process work for the band? Do you guys just sit together in a room and right or what?

Frank: Chris and Jamie have been the sole song writers since day one. So it’s their ideas and usually that’s the start of it. They work on things first and then, you know, we get together and give our input on something if something needs to be changed or improved, but the root of the song is definitely from those two.

mxdwn: Well the new album is really good. It’s really brutal and just in-your-face. Are there any last things you want to add?

Frank: Thank you! I’m glad you like it. We just want to tell everybody to pick up the record, you’ll be very happy with it, and that we’re on tour all over the world all the time so we’ll be in a city near you no matter where you are. We have our touring schedule pretty much mapped out until the end of the year already so come check it out, and check out The Divinity of Purpose and our two singles “Honor Never Dies” and “Put it to the Torch” as well.

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