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Hatebreed: The Frontline of Hardcore - words by Mel House

 Hatebreed are without a doubt the figureheads of the revitalization of hardcore. Their debut album on Victory, Satisfaction is the Death of Desire, is the top selling debut album on the label so far. Hatebreed's perfect blend of metal and old-school hardcore obviously has struck a drop-tuned chord in the hardcore scene. I was lucky enough to get to speak with Chris Beattie, the band's bassist, about their place at the front of the hardcore pack, their upcoming tour with Soulfly, and their new album. (fanboy blathering by Mel House, good well thought-out answers by Chris Beattie)

SCR: Exactly how did you guys get started? I've read that Jamey was displeased at the state of hardcore back in '93, but that's the extent of it.
Well, me and Boulder [Richards, guitarist] were in Frostbite and then we got together with Jamey in '94. He had a drummer and it all kinda fell into place.

What made you guys decide to hook up with Victory?
Well, you know, they're the biggest hardcore label out there. We just like what they stand for and how they push the bands. Jamey knew a bunch of them personally through mutual friends and distributing stuff for his record label.

Hatebreed How long have you been with them?
Almost 2 years. It's been, like, 19 months or so.

How was the Warped Tour experience? I've read about the virtual riot that started on the first date, and I know when I saw you guys here in Houston, the energy was amazing.
It was a real good time. We played bigger shows, we had a bus, met a lot of cool people like the Deftones and Rancid. Actually, at the Houston show one of our friends was riding in the motocross and nearly took his head off because the ventilation system was so low. He swore that he wouldn't ride again after that.

Yikes. I guess I'd probably do the same thing.
Me too. [laughs]

So, near-decapitation aside, how did the Warped Tour compare to the Victory Records tour that you headlined with Skarhead, Blood For Blood et al?
Obviously we played smaller places, but it was still really cool. Skarhead are a bunch of really cool guys, and Blood for Blood were as well. It was a lot of fun.

Toured overseas yet?
We're planning on it. We were supposed to go a few times, but it always fell through. We're hoping to go by September or October of this year. It's weird, because bands that we know that go over there always come back and say "you guys are huge over there" and they always give us props.


Hatebreed -- http://www.hatebreed.com/

Victory Records -- http://www.victoryrecords.com/

Photos courtesy of Victory Records.

I love the fact that you guys readily admit that you were influenced by metal in a scene that at one time seemed to despise it. Do you guys ever catch any flack for that? Personally, I think that it's a natural evolution of hardcore, but that's just me.
No, because everyone that I know was into metal, and I readily admit that I'm into it. I grew up listening to death metal and then moved into hardcore later.

Exactly; same here. Have you toured with any of your metal influences, such as Entombed or Sepultura? If so, how were you recieved by their audiences?
We did tour with Entombed, and they were really cool, really nice guys. We just got off of a tour with Mötörhead, and they're a bunch of cool guys. We're also looking forward to touring with Soulfly.

Any act that you haven't yet toured with that you would like to, hardcore or otherwise?
Oh, man, there are like, billons of them. Slayer, which could happen, Sabbath, which probably won't happen; there are literally billions. What we'd really like is to organize a big summer metal/hardcore-fest, because you just don't see those anymore. Back in the day, I remember where you could see a shitload of cool bands in one day at a summer festival like Monsters of Rock.

Yeah, I remember going to see the Clash of the Titans tour with Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Alice in Chains back in high school.
Hell, yeah. Stuff like that is few and far between nowadays.

I know that you say that the evil inside us all is a heavy influence in your music. Do you see that as a pretty deep well to draw from, or do you think that over time your music may become, for lack of a better word, less "dark"?
Nah, 'cause we get our frustrations out through playing our music, and people always get frustrated. I know that when I get up there and play I give it all -- I've got to release all of that pent-up energy.

Even though there's a lot of rage and dark undercurrents on Satisfaction, the vibe I get from listening to it is positive and inspirational. Is that the kind of reaction that you're used to seeing, and moreover, is that the reaction that you're looking for?
That's great that you get that out of it; it's good to hear. You really shouldn't walk away from it wanting to kill yourself. All that really matters is that you're into the music, though.

It's been said that hardcore bands have a "built in audience" -- like any band that calls itself hardcore will automatically have a legion of devout worshippers, because they're ready to accept anything as long as it's called hardcore. How do you feel about that?
In a way it's cool, because there are always going to be kids at the shows there supporting new bands, and in that sense it'll never die. I don't think that the "built in audience" is a bad thing, necessarily.

What impact do you think Hatebreed has had on hardcore? It's odd that whenever I am trying to describe a hardcore band to someone these days, if they're decent, your name always comes up.
That's really cool that you say that. We just want to broaden the horizons of the fans and we don't want to segregate. We invite everyone from every genre to come to our shows and enjoy our music. We're in it for the music and we really enjoy playing it and enjoy people getting into it, no matter who they are.

Yeah, I noticed that last year, when I went to two diametrically-opposed shows -- I think that it was the Deftones and then Dinosaur Jr, about a week later -- and at both shows I saw a lot of people with Hatebreed shirts on.
And that's cool, because a lot of the kids that are into Dinosaur Jr, and indie-rock like that, they would never hear of us normally. We want everyone to hear our stuff.

Definitely a good attitude. If you guys had to recommend a few choice bands to someone as sort of a "hardcore primer," who would they be?
Oh, man...Cro Mags, Judge, Another Victim, Buried Alive, and then there's stuff that I'm not sure everyone would like but I'm into, like Supertouch and Candiria. Again, there are so many that it would take days to name them all.

As a bassist, who are your influences?
Entombed, Obituary, Carcass, Cro Mags, Slayer, old metal, crossover hardcore, just completely heavy shit.

Out of fellow guitarist curiosity, what do you tune down to?

So you play and write everything in C?
Yeah, we're too lazy to screw with any other tunings. It's hard enough to get stuff written in C. [laughs]

So what do you think about the future of hardcore? Do you ever see it becoming co-opted like punk was in the early '90s?
It could be; you never know what's going to happen. I just care about playing and being able to play, so if that happens, so be it.

Do you get any sort of radio support?
Yeah, we get some. A few college stations; KROC up in New York has played us on some late-night show. We also got to play live in Chicago, because that's where Victory is located, and we get played on 93X in Wisconsin.

Cool. And I hear that Hatebreed is slated to go into the studio later this summer [ed. note: that'd be summer '99]. Anything to say at this point about the album you'll be working on?
Yeah actually, I just found out today that after we finish the Soulfly tour, we go into the studio. I've got a bunch of riffs, Jamey's got vocals, and all the other guys have ideas. Hopefully by the end of winter we should have something out, but no promises. [laughs] END


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