"We hope the new album soundtracks our fan's lives" In conversation with Escape The Fate
With a new album on the way, and out on tour, Escape The Fate lead singer Craig Mabbitt found some time to have a chat with us talk about his time in the band, their new record and what the future holds.
So, from one Craig to another, may I say what an excellent name!
Yeah, it is man! (laughs)
How are things in the Escape The Fate camp this close to the record being released?
It's great, everything is going really well. Our tour is going really well and more importantly the crowd reaction to the new songs that we have been playing live from the upcoming I Am Human album, the crowd have been singing super loud for the new stuff over the older stuff.
You are also personally celebrating a decade as vocalist for Escape The Fate in 2018.
Yeah, ten years man, it's pretty crazy, me and Robert were talking about it. It feels like an entire lifetime when Robert was with Escape The Fate and I was with my first band blessthefall. I was only with blessthefall for two or three years and that felt like a lifetime and these past ten years have flown by.
Due to the nature of what you do, being an international touring outfit, life must be going so quickly for you, it must be hard to keep track of time.
Yeah, there is so much stuff happening all the time, tour schedules, recording schedules, press obligations etc. it's hard to keep track of time.
You mentioned touring, how has the new material been embraced by the different crowds in each country, and how does each fan response differ?
I was talking to our tour manager, Dorian, the other day and we find it funny how Europe works. We can play a packed out show in Germany, and Germany would be a highlight, and then we went and played Switzerland and played to a couple hundred people. It really confused us like how Germany was a packed out gig and Switzerland was a relatively small show and the countries are only three hours apart. Our merch guy, who also works with Every Time I Die, mentioned that they get confused about the same thing as well.
Let's talk about the new record I Am Human and the recording process. Was there a lightbulb moment where you got together as a band and got in the recording studio quickly, or was it a gradual process?
It got sprung on us at the last minute to be honest, we were talking to our current management team about tours and there wasn't anything planned and we got a phone call from the record label saying that Howard Benson, our producer, was ready and when could we get in the studio. As a band we were like "wow, hang on a minute", we thought we were still touring Hate Me but they said you are scheduled to go into the studio next week! It took us about three or four months to get the album done and it's been done for about four months at this point. We just got an email through saying it's been pushed back. (Ed: from February 16th to March 30th).
With the pressure from the label to get in the studio and record, how was the recording process?
It was no different from the other times we have recorded really. It was very interesting, the studio was a creative melting pot so to speak. Robert would show up and have an acoustic emo track and the next day he would come in and say "we've gotta be a Thrash Metal band bro!" and we would be like "what are you talking about!" (laughs). It's emblematic of our band though, we don't want to really pigeonhole ourselves into one genre. If we are able to write different styles of music and lyrics that's what we are going to do, it's our band so we do what we want.
You mentioned Howard Benson is producing the record again, how is your working relationship with him.
Yeah, it's very similar to Hate Me. Jumping in the vocal booth this time was easier as we have done this before. On Hate Me we were still building up that relationship and I always find it weird singing to someone alone who I haven't worked with before but as we had done this prior with Howard, that anxiety had gone away.
Howard has recorded many great vocalists over the years, including my favourite vocalist of all time, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, I had a lot to look up to and it was way more comfortable this time around.
In terms of the new album then what do you hope it does within the rock/metal scene once it's released?
I hope this record breaks the mould for new bands coming up that don't exist yet. For that kid in their bedroom playing on their first guitar or for new bands that feel like they can experiment with their sound regardless of what genre they are pigeonholed in. Top 40 music is Top 40 music for a reason because those artists are doing whatever the hell they want and most of the time they aren't releasing albums just singles!
It was very confusing to understand why Taylor Swift was considered a country artist because she has diversified her sound and now she is on top of the world.
Yeah, she is playing Wembley Stadium here this summer and that's like 80,000 people a night!
Yeah, it's really frustrating, because you could go on iTunes right now and our record label will label us metal but you'll get the weekend keyboard warriors people that are leaving reviews for the album that's not even out yet saying "what is this pop shit doing in the Metal section?!" If they bust out their iPhone though I can guarantee you that that person will have a diverse playlist of music on their phone. Let's stop thinking that way and go back to when people were just listening to music for the pure joy of it.
With the easy access to music these days with Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Prime, do you feel that the art of music is being cheapened because it's so accessible?
Oh yeah, it's absolutely something that is cheapened it to a certain extent, we were talking about it the other day, when you used to release an album, it was something physical, whether it be a CD or vinyl. You didn't have the option to preview it. You weren't just hearing the popular song that everyone says is popular, you had to make that decision yourself. Nobody really downloads albums anymore, they will just download the popular song and that's it. Even I do it, there are records on my phone and I realise I have only downloaded the single. So yeah it does cheapen the experience but on the flip side it's a brilliant platform for new artists to get their music out there.
What do you hope Escape The Fate fans take away from the record?
I hope that it does what a lot of Escape The Fate songs do for our fans in the past. We always hear crazy stories from fans where they have met the love of their life at one of our shows and 'Let Me Be' was their first dance, because it was the perfect wedding song for them. I hope that this new record continues to be a perfect soundtrack to our fans lives.
Escape The Fate's record, I Am Human, is available to pre-order wherever music is usually sold. For more information on the band visit their website follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook.