Hatebreed – Positivity and AggressionSunday, 6th December 2020
An instantly recognizable name in the metal and hardcore scene, Hatebreed have long been champions of aggressive music with a positive and inspiring message. Brutal riffs meant to get your body moving, particularly in the live setting, along with lyrics that provide empowerment and a positive message. The band has recently released their eighth album, Weight of the False Self, which conveys all of the energy fans crave from the band. It also brings in some slight, more metallic traits to the surface at times and gives the music a fresh coat of paint to it. We spoke with guitarist Wayne Lozinak to get his thoughts on the new material, his hiatus from the band, and what they’ve been doing during quarantine.
Dead Rhetoric: It’s been four years since The Concrete Confessional. Do you feel the band is at the point where you don’t have to really rush things with a new album?
Wayne Lozinak: Oh yeah, especially these days. It’s mostly about the touring. We have so many songs as it is now. We try to play a song off of every album. It’s hard to pick a setlist now, because the more songs and more albums we have, the more we have to leave out. We want to have the staples of the set that we always have. After 25 years of playing, there’s so much material. There’s no real rush to put out new material.
Dead Rhetoric: With those staples you mentioned, is there a song or two that you feel would make a show incomplete if you didn’t play it?
Lozinak: I’d say “Destroy Everything” or “I Will Be Heard” are songs everyone wants to hear. Those two are probably fan-favorites I would say. “Live for This” is always good, and now, with the newer stuff, “Looking Down the Barrel of Today” is our biggest streaming song ever. That’s kind of cool, since it’s on our last album. It shows that people are still into the new stuff.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you think defines Weight of the False Self, as your eighth record?
Lozinak: I think, musically, it still has the same basic formula that we normally use – we don’t want to stray too far from the path, but I think there are some songs on here that we took up to the next level as far as our normal songs are concerned. There are more metal parts and more styles – there’s also more solos. There’s a song called “Cling to Life” that is pretty slow but it’s cool. In the middle it gets really melodic and has a longer solo than we normally have. I was glad I got to experiment with that a bit. The guitar tone too, I think we beefed it up a little more on this album compared to the others. I’m really happy with how this one came out.
Dead Rhetoric: I feel the same way. I noticed “Cling to Life” off the bat. You still have that same Hatebreed aggression, but with a nice melodic touch to it.
Lozinak: Yeah, it’s right in the middle out of nowhere. It’s always cool to play a longer solo than normal too, for me.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s the most important ingredient that has to come in when making a Hatebreed album?
Lozinak: I think it still has to be true to the basic Hatebreed sound. Not too technical, you have to have the heavy mosh parts and the fast hardcore beats every once in a while. We have always combined metal and hardcore together, even if it was maybe a bit more simplistic back in the day. Since the first demo, it’s been metal and hardcore combined, we are just slightly more advanced in our older age. As long as we keep that same formula, and we like it, it’s still good. The fans seem to like it too. As long as they keep coming to see us play, we know we are doing something right.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel that Hatebreed has evolved over the years?
Lozinak: Just like I was saying, musically, I think we have gotten a lot more practice over the years, in incorporating more of the metal side of things. Just the sound – the recording technology is so advanced. The production – working with Zeuss…we have known him for over 20 years and he is one of our good friends. He knows how to bring out the best in us. He will tell us if something isn’t good, and we’ll start over or do something differently here or there. If it’s not quite coming out, he’s having us give it another try until it works. I think working with him really helped advance us to the next level.
Dead Rhetoric: You had left the band for over a decade and then came back. Looking back ten years now, do you appreciate it more at this point?
Lozinak: When the band first started, we were a local hardcore band. I was playing music for fun on the weekends. I had a regular job, working at JCPennies. I was in college too. It was more for fun. I never really saw it as a career, especially with the type of music we were playing. At that time, there were tons of bands playing that kind of music. It was all just for fun. We didn’t make any money, we were playing shows with friends in the local hardcore club.
Jamey [Jasta] wanted to actually tour and do stuff, but I couldn’t quit my job and college just to play music for fun. As the years were going on, they were getting these huge tours with Slayer and Danzig and I am looking at the magazines in stores and it was crazy! I still remained friends with everyone and I would go see them every time they came around. I was psyched that they were getting bigger. I am very appreciative to get a second chance to come back – I never expected it, it just kind of happened.
Dead Rhetoric: Given the importance of getting out on the road for the band, are you coming up with any alternative plans? How has quarantine been affecting Hatebreed?
Lozinak: As far as playing there isn’t any of that. But we have actually come out with our own beer. That was something cool that came out of the pandemic. Our bass player Chris [Beattie] went to a local brewery near where he lives and asked if they wanted to collaborate with us on a beer. It’s not a strong IPA, it’s more of a lager/pilsner type beer, so you can drink a lot more of them [laughs]. The brand is called BreedBrew. Right now, it’s only available in Connecticut. It just started being put into cans. If you go to BreedBrew on Instagram you can check it out.
We have actually done some socially distanced events surrounding it in the past few months. It’s a tasting/meet and greet with music playing in the background. We played “Instinctive (Slaughterlust)” before it came out, so they got to hear that. It was like a little bit of normalcy, almost like a show without actually playing. People who were fans of the music hanging out with the band. That’s’ the one thing we have going on, until the album comes out.
Dead Rhetoric: Given the lyrics of the band, do you get a lot of stories about how certain songs have impacted fans?
Lozinak: Oh yeah. Tons! Especially when we do the meet and greets, people will tell us every day how important the lyrics were to them and how they helped them get through some tough times. It’s always great to hear, because any time you can affect someone’s life like that…you don’t really realize it, as we are just playing music, but to know that we’ve reached people like that is just amazing. I am appreciative of that too, that you can have enjoyment and help people at the same time.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel ‘anger as catharsis’ applies to Hatebreed?
Lozinak: Maybe not so much anger as aggression. A lot of people hear the name Hatebreed and they have this preconceived notion of what we are. A bunch of 5 tattooed white guys jumping around on stage. We are the complete opposite of that. If you listen to the lyrics, it’s all positive – there’s no hate at all. It’s a band. To have the combination of the heavy music, so that if you go to a show, you can mosh and jump around and scream – that energy, with the positive energy that are in Jamey’s lyrics, it’s a good combination. Everyone loves to let off a bit of steam here and there.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel that positive piece from the lyrical stance is important to the band then?
Lozinak: Definitely. We are bringing a positive message as well as just cool music to listen to. It’s been that way for so long that I think people kind of expect that from us. It’s an added plus.
Dead Rhetoric: What would you like to see from younger bands within the scene?
Lozinak: I’d like to see them keep going and play as much live musical instruments as you can. We are one of those bands – we don’t have any tracks or any of that stuff. We just plug in and play loud. It’s cool if you have a few tracks here and there, I don’t want to hate on newer bands that do that. But to me, I want to see as much live stuff as possible. If you can do all guitars live, and vocals – I think some bands rely too much on laptops and that sort of thing. It might sound better, but it’s not the same as being live. You might as well just listen to a cd or something.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you guys have any plans for 2021?
Lozinak: As of right now, we are still playing it by ear. We have a tour scheduled for March with Parkway Drive in Europe, but who knows if that is going to happen. If the world magically opens up and everything is back to normal, hopefully we can go back out then. But now, it’s like the waiting game. We don’t know what we are allowed to do or if things will open up or shut down again after opening. You can’t do shows with limited capacity where people are sitting, especially for us. It’s not the same feeling. We will just wait and see I guess.