Interview: Alex Wade of Whitechapel
|After some failed attempts and missed calls back and forth from the Metal Blade Los Angeles office, Beyond The Watch finally got a chance to connect with guitarist Alex Wade of the American deathcore band Whitechapel. The band has a brand new self-titled record set to drop June 19th on Metal Blade Records and let me tell you, this record ripps it from beginning to end. It won’t/shouldn’t disappoint any old, current, future fan of this talented band. Alex and I spoke about personal musical influences, guitar gear, recording the new record and of course our signature… what Alex thinks life is. Check out our interview with him below and leave some comments about what you think.|
You guys (WHITECHAPEL) have a brand new self-titled record dropping on June 19th through Metal Blade Records, how has everything been going leading up to the release date?
Uhh, it’s been really good. A lot better than I could ask for and a lot better than I imagined. During the writing process we weren’t really feeling confident on the material but then slower and slower, things began to piece together and stuff. By the time the record was completely finished, with the artwork and mixed the master, we all think this is the strongest release we’ve ever put out. It’s pretty funny going from, you know… Not feeling too great about it, to thinking it’s the best material we’ve ever written.
You mention the artwork… A New Era of Corruption’s artwork was designed by Brent Elliot, who handled the artwork for the upcoming record?
This time it was our friend Aaron Marsh of Forefathers Group and umm we’ve been friends with him for a while and yeah, the idea for the concept was pretty straightforward. Really, the artwork really thrives off of the actual physical CD. You know, the artwork in a digital form (Computer Screen, iPod) or whatever, doesn’t seem like anything special. With all the special printing features (textures, paper, ink etc.) makes it feel like it really is a leather bound book. With our symbol burned into it like branding. It feels like your opening up and going through an actual leather bound book.
This time around, you guys (WHITECHAPEL) worked with Mark Lewis (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, DEVILDRIVER) on the record, how was that compared to working with Jason Suecof (A NEW ERA OF CORRUPTION)?
Umm… You know, their all part of the Audiohammer family and we love everyone down there. It was good and when we were down there recording drums, we got to hang out with Jason again and that was fun. First and foremost we love Mark’s previous work with (The Black Dahlia Murder, Devildriver, Unearth), you know he already can give us the sound we wanted and plus he was willing to travel down to Tennessee to record with us at home. So we flew down to Florida to track drums for seven days, we flew back and Mark drove down to Tennessee with all of his gear and we actually finished guitar, bass, vocals at my house. It was pretty cool for everybody to be able to go home, sleep in their own beds, spend time with our families, girlfriends, friends and stuff like that.
You know we’re always gone and on the road so it kind of sucks for us to have to travel out of state, it’s definitely way more of a relaxing environment to be at home.
WHITECHAPEL is known for its intense, heavy sound. This album is no exception. What kind of gear were you using to create such a brutal guitar tone?
For the guitar tones, we actually used this unique unit called a Kemper Profiling Amplifier. It’s digital and kind of takes a snap shot of a guitar rig. So, we used the normal head that we usually use, which is the EVH 5150 III into a Mesa cabinet. We mic that up and then you run the mic into this unit (Kemper Profiling Amplifier) and the unit sends these signals from the head that come out of the cab and the mic picks that up, and the unit analyzes them and saves/create a sound that sounds exactly like that set up. It’s kind of different than a POD or something else like that, those products are a digital creation of the sounds someone thinks that amp (rig setup) should sound like. But with this (Kemper Profiling Amplifier) you have a real mic’d up cab sound, but digitally. So that was really cool, Mark Lewis introduced that to us, which allowed us to have Mark’s entire amps, cabs and profiles for us to utilize and play with. That was really cool and we were really happy with the guitar tones that came out this time around. We were using our signature ESP guitars that came out this year, we used mine to track the rhythm guitars and some others for the leads.
Your studio setup was a little more unique this time around. How does your studio set up compare to your live setup?
You know the studio is a musicians playground where you’re free to try different things and stuff like that compared to what you’d normally use on stage. You know on stage we try and keep it relatively as simple as possible, the more going on means the more there is to go wrong. On stage Alex and Ben use EVH 5150 III’s, I use the Peavey 6505, you know we have the Mesa Cabinets, various noise gates and overdrive pedals, you know stuff like that.
Well, I feel like it’s every metal bands dream to tour with Slipknot. I know it’s been one of my favourite bands since I was 15 and I’m 26 now so it’s been 10 years that they’ve been one of my favourite bands. It’s definitely kind of surreal to be playing with Slipknot. We can’t really say we’re sharing the stage with them because were not, but it’s pretty cool to be touring with them and watching them every night and stuff like that, I’m really looking forward to that.
Plus, we’ve been playing the same songs off of A New Era for about 2 years now, so you know I’m sure our fans aren’t tired of hearing us play their favourite songs but I’ll be honest, it gets boring playing the same songs over and over again. We’re really excited to you know to have a whole new onslaught of songs of material and be playing a whole bunch of new songs on tour.
Who are some of your musical influences within the metal genre and outside metal?
Umm I guess within the metal genre, for us as a band I’m pretty sure people listening to our sound they can pick up Dying Fetus, Cannibal Corpse & Suffocation. You know that brutal as shit death metal side of things. You know more on the mainstream side of things, I really love Slipknot, Deftones and Fear Factory, stuff like that. On the more progressive side of things we all really like Meshuggah, they’re a huge influence on our band. I’ve been listening to a lot of progressive stuff Between the Buried and Me, Cynic and Dream Theatre, stuff like that.
On the non-metal side of things, I don’t know how much non-metal influence we have as a band. But I really love incorporating a lot atmospheric kind of sounds to our music. So there are a lot of ambient bands that I’m into like Sigur Rós and Circa Survive.
In your personal opinion, what do you think the future of metal music looks like and how does Whitechapel fit into the mix?
I think the future of metal looks pretty good. Our career is ever growing and never plateauing and falling off. We can attest to that, with every year it seems like were getting bigger and bigger and metal is becoming more popular and “mainstream culture’ stuff like that. You know, were playing festivals like Bamboozle and Vans Warped Tour that don’t really usually have really extreme metal bands playing on them. It’s stuff like that which attests that metal is becoming more acceptable than it normally is and as it continues to grow, we’ll continue to grow with it and our career will be ever growing and ever evolving.
So, our last question is our Beyond The Watch signature question and you can answer it however the hell you like. What do you think life is ? (#WDYTLI)
WOW! Haha. Uhh… What do I think life is? I don’t know. That’s uhh, well I’d probably have to smoke some weed or something before answering that question. Drop some acid or something even though I don’t do drugs but, haha.
You know I don’t know man, it’s definitely like a weird thing. Nobody really knows what life is and what life is going to be either because if you told me six years ago that I’d actually be making a career off of pretty much playing in a death metal band, than I’d say you were crazy. I never would’ve imagined this in a million years. You know, in high school I was a little skater punk kid like a “rock ‘n roll kid,” or whatever. I’ve had like old high school acquaintances call me up and they say shit like “ahh I hear your this big rock star now” and they don’t have any idea about what I actually do, they just know that I’m in a band that like tours and stuff. It’s crazy, I would never have thought in a million years that it would get to a point that people that made fun of me in high school are calling me a rock star now and stuff like that you know.
Life is definitely an interesting thing and you have no idea where it’s going to take you. So… just strap on and hold on for the ride I guess, haha.