Gun fights and run-ins with the law… all in a day’s work for Las Vegas rockers Escape The Fate.
Drummer Robert Ortiz gave us the following interview…
of Escape The Fate (USA)*
By Cameron Chambers
*Note: Interview was taken prior to Escape The Fate’s Australian tour
Hey man, how you doing?
I’m doing great actually, really
Where are you calling from
I’m in El Paso, Texas right
now. I’m out here visiting my parent’s coz it’s my mom’s birthday
today, so I’m out here having dinner.
Sorry to turn into a business
Nah, it’s all good man. It’s
been a crazy, hectic past couple of months. A lot of on time, a lot
off time, so I don’t mind the business right now at all. I’ve got
a lot to talk about…
For those that aren’t familiar
with Escape The Fate can you please tell us what you do in the band,
your current line up and a bit about the band’s history?
Well uh, our band started off
like… I’ve actually known Matt and our old singer Ronnie for seven
years or something like that. I started a band with Matt while I was
in high school, and we got together and just clicked instantly. Finally
we found Brian, our guitar player, and he was just phenomenal so we
got him over and then Omar came into the mix and the chemistry was instant
We kept writing and starting playing
shows and it was just gnarly from the get go and we knew we had something
special right away. We spent the past couple of years touring and promoting
our last record and yeah, watching it grow.
We’ve seen other bands that
started at the same time as us not quite get as big but then there’s
been some other bands that started with us that have just sky-rocketed,
so we’re kind of on that path where we are just growing, so we’re
taking it step by step so we’re always prepared for the next step.
Maybe a year ago we weren’t ready to make that huge leap but now we’re
ready with our new record. Two of our original members are gone now
and when you stick it out on the road you get a feel for what it’s
like and you know, some of us love to have fun… we get out there and
party and just destroy it every night and others, they cant handle it,
they’ve got problems. There’s no such thing as a good time and partying
and it just turns into abuse.
This record is going to be the
next step for us and it’s going to show people who we are as musicians,
who we are as artists and who we are as people.
Things have been pretty quiet
on the touring front as of late but you just played a one off show this
past weekend. Was that the first chance you’d had to showcase your
newer songs, which is effectively the new look Escape The Fate?
We’ve only played one song live,
three times now… as far as the whole touring thing, like I said, we’ve
gone through huge, huge changes.
We lost our guitar player in the
middle of our headlining tour last October and we didn’t slow down,
we just kept rolling with the punches and said, “fuck it”, this
is who we are and if you don’t want a part of this we’ll still make
It’s a bit different when you
lose your lead singer because you have to take a step back and say “holy
crap”, what are we going to do. For a minute there our band was. I
quit the band, Brian quit the band and we were just not into doing it
anymore. It was too impossible to deal with. It was like, this is my
dream but I’m not going to sacrifice all my happiness for this.
Craig was in Bless The Fall and
he left that band at the exact same time so it was a perfect situation.
Brian and I share really similar lifestyles and musically, I don’t
know what I’d do musically without him. We got back together and started
talking a couple of months later and then Craig accidentally called
our manager, coz our manager’s name is Joey and he was trying to call
a different Joey to try out for a different band. Anyway, he accidentally
called our manager and yeah, we just got connected. With him it was
an immediate click and then it got scary for all of us.
We weren’t ready for the difference,
because we’d been so used to something else for so many years and
then it was completely different and we got kind of scared so weren’t
ready to jump into anything too serious but, we are working with John
Feldman… I’m sure you’ve heard of him, he’s done The Used and
Atreyu and he’s kind of the go to guy at the moment and he had a huge
chemistry with Craig, so it was just a huge incentive for us to jump
on with him.
We’ve just been working on this
record from say December until right now, we’re just now wrapping
up. Like I said, this record is a going to be a huge change for us,
it’s just a lot of work and there’s a lot going on. I’m looking
forward to getting on the road. Our last batch of shows were a financial
thing because we needed to make some money at our end but we wanted
to showcase our band and show people that we’re still together, we’re
still going to do it, and we were excited to show people our song but
You Tube changes the way things go now, because within twenty minutes
your whole record is on the internet, ha ha.
Obviously Craig would be comfortable
with the material that he’s written with the band but how has he tackled
your older songs?
It goes both ways. For one, not
because I’m bitter at our old singer Ronnie… I have a lot of negative
things about him to say, but besides that, it’s great to actually
hear our songs sung live. Ronnie really, never sung. He was either too
drugged out or whatever.
He was never singing, it was hard
to watch. We watch videos and its like “bro, hit some notes”. I
know we’re all growing and we’re not perfect musicians but its like
“sing some songs”. I used to say wow, I didn’t even know that
part was in the song! Craig is taking us to the next level.
The issues you had with your
previous vocalist Ronnie were incredibly public, did you guys think
it was important to keep your fans in the loop about what was going
on rather than gloss over everything?
That guy is crazy… straight
up! We tried to keep everything on the down low, we don’t try to embellish
it. I hope for the best for him in the future and I really care for
him as a friend and as a person but like, he needs to learn to keep
his mouth shut if he wants to keep any sort of credibility.
When he’s on stage he’s an
amazing performer but when your personal issues start to affect that
you’ve got to take a look at yourself. He got arrested yesterday and
as much as I’d love to go out and be public with everything and lay
it all out for our fans, you’ve got take a step back and say I’m
not going to sink to that level.
It’s really hard coz it makes
us look bad. He shows everyone by his actions who’s right and who’s
wrong. I’m not too worried about that…
Craig was officially welcomed
into the band in May. Was most of the material for your new record already
written or did you guys have to start from scratch once your line-up
We had a whole batch of like,
thirty riffs and ideas to go with and we started taking a direction
and it was going really well. When we got with our producer he heard
a bunch of them and… he’s well respected and hated for doing this,
but he ripped them apart. So basically when we got into the studio we
As far as Craig’s input into
that with his vocals, he took it to a different dimension! He had to
get used to what we were going to sound like and we had to get used
to him. So yeah, we started from scratch to answer your question and
yeah, we had to re-think our whole formula.
At the end of the day we realized
we just had to keep it simple and don’t over think it. It was a big
thing for us… even had our whole band been the same it would’ve
been a big challenge to make our second record live up to the old one,
and we would have had to change our sound without alienating any fans,
so we had a lot to think about, so we just stopped and said “what
sounds good to us”?
We just realized that Craig liked
how we sounded and fit in a lot with us so yeah, we just kept it simple.
Is there a noticeable shift
in sound in regards to your new record and if so, do you think it’s
still going to appeal to your more long-term fans?
I think the sound on our new record
is a progression. We weren’t stupid, there’s so many great bands
that could’ve been amazing but they turned their backs on everything
they started with and everything they originally had planned… they
just say, “no, we don’t like that anymore, we’re into this”,
and then they just change their sound completely. It’s stupid! I like
their old sound, and we made our old sound!
We did shift, if you have a new
vocalist you’re going to sound different no matter who are. Even AC/DC,
they’ve been playing the same riff for thirty years and when they
got a new singer it did change a little.
We were very aware of how much
we could and how much we couldn’t… we didn’t want to write our
tenth album yet, we wanted to write our second album and take things
slow and be smart about it, but at the same time we wanted to challenge
our fans. We’re just saying, this is what we’ve got and be ready
for it. It is a change but it’s not a one eighty.
Some of my favourite bands, if
they did what we did on this record then I’d be much happier… instead
of turning their backs on everything! I was very excited. It’s different
but it’s that core energy and feeling and drive that we’ve always
had, well, it’s still there.
According to your website you
guys don’t have a permanent second guitarist. Are you going to push
forward as a four piece or are you still looking for that fifth member?
As far as a second guitarist,
as far as writing and recording it’s all Brian. To be honest, on our
first record the majority of it came from him. Omar definitely had his
input and helped out with many aspects, but the root of all our songs
comes from Brian’s guitar playing and we layer stuff on top of it.
As far as writing and recording
goes it’s a no brainer… we’re not ready to bring anyone else in
yet. As far as live goes, we’re taking it to the next level. Me being
a drummer, I’ve always been against click tracks and backing tracks
and stuff like that because I want to keep it raw and energetic but
we’ve got to take that next step.
At this point we haven’t had
the opportunity to bring someone in, so we might bring someone out with
us on the road to play second guitar. If we bring someone along and
they sound great live and click with us then we can look at it if that
person can bring something to our band. But at this point we’re not
looking at that.
Given that your Australian
fans haven’t seen you play before will your upcoming tour be covering
a lot of your older songs or will you be focusing on the material that
Craig has written with the band?
When we come to Australia we’re
definitely going to be playing our old record. We haven’t had an opportunity
yet to showcase that for anyone out there, so we’re really looking
forward to showcasing those old songs
Come October when we start doing
our headline tour… we’re going to come at it slow. We don’t want
to have a two-hour set of our fans shrugging their shoulders because
they’re confused. We’re going to bring them a show and they’re
going to sing the songs they know, and then we’ll bring the new songs
in slowly. I don’t want to give them something they don’t know and
they say, “oh, they suck live now”.
That’s all we’ve got time
for mate, is there anything else you’d like to say?
Just come see us… we’re going
to kill and our new record will blow people out of the water… you
don’t even know, you don’t even know what’s coming.
For all things Escape The Fate, head to the bands Myspace page.