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Five Finger Death Punch

Interview von: arne mit Zoltan, am: 05.02.2010 ]

Die reifen, ansprechend harten und eingängigen Stücke von FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH aus Los Angeles sind verdammt effektiv, so dass man als Fan bangtauglicher Heavy-Hymnen automatisch unterhalten wird. Das neue Outlet früherer Motograter-, U.P.O.-, W.A.S.P.-, Anubis Rising- und Deadsett-Mitglieder hat unlängst sein zweites Album „War Is The Answer“ veröffentlicht. Die Stücke der Kalifornier liegen in der Mitte zwischen Moderne und Tradition, schlagen eine Brücke zwischen NuRock/NuMetal, MetalCore, Neo-Thrash, Alternative-Rock und groovigem Metal. Da das Quintett seine Härte am Ende doch über die Eingängigkeit und die melodisch-hymnische Attitüde stellt, sind zu Referenzzwecken Gruppen wie Shadows Fall, Trivium, Slipknot, Korn und Disturbed zu nennen.


Musicscan: You guys have been around for some time now. What is behind bands longevity? What fuels the fire and keeps you guys interested in the music you create?

Five Finger Death Punch: We enjoy the music we write, and when you have a handful of accomplished musicians in a band, where we are all fans of each other’s playing… it’s really exciting to see what songs become from bits and pieces … we’re only on our second album, and we can’t wait to do the 3rd and the 4th… also if you ever seen us live, then you know that Death Punch fans are something to remember… these guys rip off the roof of any place we play at, it is very special to play for such a diehard dedicated fanbase… the energy in the room is absolutely crazy so we’re looking forward to it every night…

Musicscan: Do you still remember when you wrote your first song with Five Finger Death Punch and what it felt like and how it feels like now when you finish a song? How has your relationship to music changed over time?

Five Finger Death Punch: I do remember the very beginning, where we didn’t even have a band yet…. It was me and (drummer) Jeremy recording the songs that eventually became our first album… We’re pretty much doing what we set out to do… we just wanted to write songs that WE liked… and hoped that other people will like it too… You can’t calculate success, people either like what you do or they just don’t and there’s no PR campaign going to change their minds… therefore the connection between the music and the audience is very organic, you can’t fake it, you can’t plan it… so the only thing you can do is play what you like, and then no matter what happens… at least you had fun because you played what made you happy…

Musicscan: What are you looking for in a song? How important are components like groove, melodies, heaviness and harshness?

Five Finger Death Punch: Every song has a flow, and has a specific ‘world’ where the melodies, and the rhythm comes together and form a picture that gives you a feeling… even before any lyrics are written, the song already has to paint a picture… There’s a balance we are trying to achieve, yin and yang… dark and light, aggression and melody… every song has to be a ‘song’ – not just a bunch of riffs…

Musicscan: Do you think modern information technology will inevitably change not only the way music is listened to but also how it is written?

Five Finger Death Punch: I think it already has. We can be on different continents and still write together – which actually happens all the time… we don’t have to be in the same room anymore because technology allows us to connect through the net. Also, we email ideas and riffs to each other even complete pro-tools files where everyone can record their own parts wherever in the world they are.

Musicscan: And do you think it is reasonable to assume that the concept of an album will soon be a thing of the past and people will solely listen to certain songs? Will the songwriting and the music change as well because of that?

Five Finger Death Punch: The internet is a double edged sword, because it’s a great tool to get your music to the masses, but then you lose control over what happens to it – and all the albums are out there on some server where you can get it for free… so it can help new bands to get their name out there, but it is destroying a large infrastructure of physical music distribution – which in return prevent these new bands to make any money and get in a position where they can afford touring and proper production… We are in a lucky situation where our fans made it to an honour code to buy the physical record, because they understood that the only way they will be able to see their favourite band is if we can tour, and if we don’t sell records we simply can’t Do what we do… so I think what’s going to happen – the fight for survival just going to be much more vicious and bloody… and some bands will succeed because of the fans support and some will perish… but the control is ultimately back in the audience’s hands now… I don’t think the ‘concept’ of an album will die out soon though… but bands have to write albums that worth to buy… if you have two good songs and the rest is just crap… people will download the two and won’t bother to get the rest… so it is really becoming the survival of the fittest… so you have to try to do everything better than anyone else… or you will become a casualty…

Musicscan: Where do you guys see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound? With War Is The Answer you turned even more poppy from my point of view and became even more crossover…

Five Finger Death Punch: I wouldn’t go as far as ‘poppy’ – but we definitely have some songs that are incorporating elements of Hard Rock and Classic Rock besides our typical metal aggression… We wanted to broaden our musical horizon; we wanted to evolve instead of trying to recreate our first record. This progression gave more space to Ivan to really sing, because he is a really good singer in the traditional sense and it would be a waste to have him scream all the way through and not utilize how talented he really is… so I think by doing this we actually managed to write a more solid, a more mature album that still sounds like us, and carry our signature elements – but we had the chance to write bigger more epic passages since he can really sing these things… To me when I hear the word “crossover” – if you read between the lines – you are basically saying melodic music is more popular, and you are right – of course it is… and I am actually really happy that heavy metal is finally taking a turn and going back to its roots. There was a time when you couldn’t be in a metal band if you couldn’t sing… and then lately a lot of bands came along with singers who couldn’t – some of those bands I do like but the majority of them – in my opinion – actually hurt the credibility of heavy metal as a genre… I mean lets face it, my grandpa can scream… and if anyone can just jump on stage and think they are a front-man… because they can scream… well you know where that takes us all….

Musicscan: In general: Do you think there are still genuinely new sounds to be discovered or can modern metal basically be said to be a recombination of already existing forms and elements? Throughout the history of mankind, everyone who ever said that nothing new can be invented had been proven wrong… so I will not make the same mistake by saying anything like that…. I’m sure there are musical pathways, new sounds or combinations of things that will come and will be “perceived” as new… There’s a natural progression of music… But, because it’s an evolution, a progression… everything that comes had to evolve from what was there before. Every creature walks this planet have an ancestor – nobody and nothing just comes out of nowhere… Well, except for the police car when you’re speeding on the highway… The basic ingredients, what people like to hear haven’t change for hundreds if not thousands of years… the majority of us are attuned to a set of catchy melodies… so I think that ingredient will be always the basic foundation… “songs” will always be what the majority of people want to hear…

Musicscan: Right now, the harder music scene seems to go even more extreme than ever before. Bands are pushing the boundaries as far as complexity, technical approach and extreme arrangements are concerned. You did the opposite as you were focussing on the homogenous flow, melodies, groove and the emotional intensity of your tracks. Would you agree?

Five Finger Death Punch: I agree. So I can say we are not following the trend – haha… I think people come to see a show to have a good time, to rock out, to get empowered, to get pumped up, or tap into a certain mood or emotion…. they’re not interested in solving complex mathematical equations and try to figure out how to head-bang to a song that’s alternating between odd time signatures and have no chorus to even remotely remember … You know to me writing complex songs, just for the sake of complexity is like the guy riding on the monocycle… it’s fuckin’ impressive – but what’s the point… ? Especially when we can build a bicycle that’s fast and fun to ride… Of course, to a degree I’m being sarcastic… To tell you the truth, it’s much more difficult to tap into something universal, to write songs that resonate with millions of people instead of writing something overly complex that only reach just a select few… to touch people on the grand scale, to change their moods… to give them something on the emotional level… either pissing them off, or empower them is far from simple… If it was simple, everybody would do it… Never in my life I met a musician, who said – hey man I’m trying to write something obscure because I really want to keep our fan base under a couple of hundred… we’re shooting for this cult underground status where only 17 people know us… What? Haha! That’s utter bullshit. I think the composers who understand the real gift of music are often crucified by the tone-deaf, and criticised for their popularity by those who simply don’t hear or feel these nuances, the real magic of music… Substituting emotions with technical bravados are not getting the same results, of course not… they are missing the big picture…

Musicscan: With the direction of Five Finger Death Punch heading a certain way and fans growing with you over the years and releases, do you feel the fans can now relate to what you are feeling or at least understand what you are trying to tell them with your music?

Five Finger Death Punch: I think that goes hand in hand… our fan base is growing because they can relate to what we are saying…

Musicscan: What makes Five Finger Death Punch special to you? How would you describe the essence of the band?

Five Finger Death Punch: It means everything. We build this from nothing and it became our lives… and I think that’s part of the power, the essence of the band is that we climbed the Himalayas with no shoes… we were the underdogs fighting our way out from the impossible… it proves to people that if you don’t lay down to the circumstances, if you don’t give up… if you always get up to fight one more round… eventually you will have to win the war… whatever kind of war you’re fighting… a real war or just trying to make it in this world… ultimately, you will have to fight for whatever you want to achieve… and you can, because you are a fighter, we all are… there’s a reason humans are on the top of the food chain… remember that…

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