An Interview With : Phil Bozeman (Whitechapel)
21st June 2016, 18:00
Posted by Tristan
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 Genre specific limitations can often leave a band confined, boxed into a particular sound. Leaders in the Deathcore movement, Whitechapel have now shed their adolescent skin to become an altogether completely different entity. Growing both musically and emotionally with each release, the band continue to refine their sound. Releasing their latest and most experimental effort yet, Mark Of The Blade this week we were able to speak to Phil Bozeman regarding the current state of Whitechapel, ins and outs of recording the brand new album and what it means to still be here celebrating all the band’s achievements ten years on. 

I’m here today with Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel, hello Phil how are you?

Not too bad how about you man?

Good man, good, you guys are set to release The Mark of The Blade at the end of June, I think its June 24th.

It is.

What was it like actually creating the album, what was the writing process like for you?

Well we’re the type of band that just has a bunch of riffs that we’ve stockpiled over the years and its pretty easy for us to dig up that stuff. Just bring it back, even if we wrote it from like three years ago or four years ago maybe even longer. Mainly on the road and whenever the guys are just sitting at home, thats when they write most. A lot of the writing was done in the studio too because we just happened to write a lot in the studio,we’re just one of those bands. Its usually pretty easy. You have six people putting their heads together.

Oh really! Some people could say that if you’ve got so many people there’s a lot of different personalities. Because you’ve got so many people theres more potential for things to go wrong, have you never had that at all?

I mean we’ve had disagreements with stuff but nothing insane. More or less just ideas that we think would be better than the one that was proposed by the person, nothing crazy.

You went back to work with Mark Lewis, what made you decide to go back to Audiohammer?

Honestly just because we just work so well with him. We just have a good relationship with him, its just a lot easier for us. He knows what we want to sound like, he has great ideas and really has a lot of input into the sound. We usually always agree with what he brings to the table and with how we have to record as far as travelling it just makes it a lot easier. He will actually come to us in our hometown.

Do you think that kind of helps that fact that you’re actually at home, I know a lot of the themes that you have spoken about especially with “The Saw Is The Law” theres a kind of sense of family and brotherhood. Do you think it helped that you recorded it where you live?

Yeah, yeah it definitely makes it a lot easier just a lot less steessful for sure.

There are some more experimental sides to the record. One of which is the clean singing, which I think is awesome! I think “Bring Me Home” is one of the best you have done. What inspired you to have the clean vocals on this track?

Just the vibe of the song, the song is more down tempo. I think it calls for stuff like that, I couldn’t imagine screaming over the first main riff. We wanted to expand our sound and just do more with it and not just be pigeonholed in having to just write heavy stuff constantly. It was just a really good thing for us to go and just experiment with.

Each album is very different and the biggest stylistic difference was between A New Era of Corruption and the Self titled record. Is that something that you strive to do with each release? You try and push the boundaries more but remain within the Whitechapel sound?

Are you talking about the clean singing?

Just in general! The overall feel of Mark of The Blade doesn’t really sound like something you guys have ever done before.

We definitely want to do something different with every album. This album is definitely the most different that we have done. It was really challenging for us just for the simple fact that we have never done anything like that before. It was definintely something that we have talked about for a while, doing clean singing, then we just thought that we would impliment it, it worked out really well and we were really big fans of it.

Theres so much experimentation on the record even from an instrumentation point of view but what about lyrically, could you tell us of an overall theme if there is one?

I mean I guess you could say they are more positive than they are negative. Thats kind of what we have done in the past, we usually have the more negative and hateful kind of stuff. This one is just more, like I said, positive in my eyes. Not even in my eyes, we just really wanted to have that sort of vibe with this album and just show that we aren’t just trying to write super hateful stuff all the time. We actually are human beings! We experience feelings and emotions and want to talk about them and not just talk about how much we hate the world all the time, you know?

You are sometimes a happy band!

Yes haha! Yeah I mean thats definitely what we want to portray is that we are not like that all the time.

Do you think that kind of helped with the ten year anniversary that you have just done, meeting all of your fans and also the documentary as well?

Yeah, I think a lot of it just has to do with getting older, not being so young and angsty I guess. We’re young men now, we’re not like little kids anymore playing in a band for the shock value that we can. We’re actually trying to make a living with this and we’re not just wanting to make people just drop their jaw you know? We actually want to have meaning behind it. Not to say that any of the albums didn’t have meaning but we just wanted to connect with people on a more personal level.

What about the album’s artwork, it centers on the Whitechapel logo and everything like that, how did you come up with that?

That album cover was really inspired by the Pantera The Great Southern Trendkill album cover. It really represents just how strong that we feel about the band and what it has done for our lives. We just think that the snake really represents the bad times of the band, the saw blade is there to hold us down and keep everything in line and keep us safe. Its kind of just saying that over the last ten years we have experienced a lot of stuff that sucks but we have also triumphed over it and kept going not let anything make us quit.

Positivity in another word!

Exactly.

What about for you actually recording the album, what was that process like, you did it in your home town…

It makes it a lot more comfortable and a lot less stressful because you know I can go to sleep in my bed at night. Sleeping in hotel room somewhere that I’m not familiar with I can be with the people that I care about the most in the world, especially my girlfriend and my dog. I can have that comfort to write the best that I can and be under as less stress as possible and just the feeling of being home its just like the safest place in the world for any person.

What about the actual process of when you were laying down the tracks?

Well the actual process of that is usually really smooth because me and Mark just work so well together and he has really good ideas. The process for that was to do as much as I can but also be very reserved with my voice. I’m screaming more than I would be during a show because I’m doing takes over and over again to try and get stuff to sound as best as I can. Mark understands that and when I should take a break and not try and over stress myself and not to mention he just has really good ideas and just really helps out the writing process for me.

Almost like a hidden member of the band?

Yeah basically!

What are your plans after the album is released?

Just tour! Thats really like the biggest thing that we have you know, just tour and play these songs for people live so that they can really get the full experience of it. We have tours lined up, some that we can’t speak of just yet because it just out respect for Kevin Lyman and Warped Tour. We’ll be playing the same markets and its just a respect thing.

You’ve recently gone through a ten year anniversary, how does it feel to be actually ten years on and still doing this and profiting from it in such a bad climate at the moment for music?

Its insane, we never thought that we would be this far into our career but thankfull we are and we’ve gotten to experience what we have and we can go longer and another ten years hopefully! Its just honestly surreal if you really just think about it.

Do you think that technology has affected Whitechapel’s music?

Oh yeah! Definitely, social media not even for us just for fans in general its a lot easier now for bands to get music out there and share it with people who would have never heard it without communication on the internet. Obviously social media is a world wide kind of thing its not just like based in your region. Its definitely helped us, we can communicate with people like bands and stuff. Its just made things a lot easier!

Whats your opinion on download and streaming, services like Spotify?

I mean its a good and bad thing. As far as for album sales its obviously going to kill that make it to where its not as profitable for musicians to support their living but it is also a way to have people that have never heard of you before hear you. Its a trade off but at the end of the day, I think its kind of hurtful to musicians, they can’t sell their records they can’t really afford to keep making them.

Have you got any plans to come over to the UK at all? Its been ages since we last saw you!

We are planning to do that in the fall of this year, we already have something thats I think pretty much set in stone and lined up. I’m not sure if we can announce it yet.

Thats cool! Set in stone and sort of announcing it is totally fine with me! Personally what are your influences? For example some of the material on the new album you’ve got different vocal tones and things like that. Have you got quite a wide array of influences?

Yeah I mean to say that it would just be one person would be a lie. I’m influenced by a bunch of different things and I would say mostly influenced me to start even doing this was Chris Barnes whenever he was in Cannibal Corpse. That was probably the one thing that really turned me onto this kind of music just because that was the first place I heard Cannibal Corpse. Listening to music over the years, you know Slipknot has a lot of influence on me, Metallica pretty much anything you can think of I respect all different types of music and all different types of artist. As long as I like it I would say it has influence on me.

You could say that if you liked Justin Bieber then you would admit that haha!

Yeah, there’s a few songs that I’ve heard from him that I think are pretty good but I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a huge Justin Bieber fan or anything.

Of course not! What about lyrically where do you lie with the influence of lyrics?

Lyrically its a lot about us as a band and the fans. It has a lot of content that focuses on positivity, the fans that have struggled in their life. “The Void” the very song we released not too long ago is a positive song that really focuses on the fans. I’ve met people that have said I’ve saved their lives and stuff like that its a song that was influenced by that, people telling me that. There’s also songs that are things that I have experienced in life, like bullying and stuff and one of the songs on the album is actually about that but from the person who is being bullied eyes. Kind of like his perception of, you know someone that gets bullied, if it happens long enough you keep hammering it into their skull eventually they could just snap and thats’s what that song is about. That was kind of like a more brutal song on the album.

Which song was it?

“Tormented”. The song “Deccenium” is about us as a band you know celebrating ten years its kind of like an emotional song about how we have been through so much stuff and sacrificed so many things to be where we are and its kind of like my point of view basically saying I’m here for all of you guys in the band, we’re brothers,matter what I will always be here to help you through anything. Thats kind of a more sentimental song.

Finally what has been a record that you have been listening to for the last six months to a year?

To be completely honest I don’t really listen to the much muic whenever I’m not on tour but I would say if anything the one thing that has really caught my attention is the new Architects. I have always been a huge fan of that band, there’s just something about them. Their sound, Sam’s voice its just one of those bands ever since we toured with them on Never Say Die in 2007 I think, 2008 maybe? Ever since then I have just been a huge fan of them and everything they have put out has been great in my opinion.

Whitechapel’s brand new album Mark of The Blade is set for a June 24th release via Metal Blade.