When you hear the words “heavy music” there’s one band that commands attention; Whitechapel. The Tennessee five-piece hit hard, fast and heavy. With their latest release, ‘Our Endless War’ being one that ticks all the boxes for a heavy music fan, the group will venture down under for a co-headline tour with Devildriver. We speak with guitarist Alex Wade to see how he is feeling about it all and get the low-down on Whitechapel post album release.
Hey Alex, how are you?
I’m doing good, how about you?
Yeah not bad. Getting right into it, how does it feel to be coming down to Australia in September, especially after pulling out of Soundwave?
We’re really excited because we felt really bad about pulling out of Soundwave but family obviously comes first; it was just something that we had to do. We’re excited about coming back to make up the shows. It’s a really awesome country and a great opportunity to be able to come over there and play. We’ve played all over the world pretty much but we’ve come to Australia a few times and it’s always been great. We always have a really strong fan base there and are always well-received.
I don’t know how much down time you genuinely get when in Australia but what do you like to do when you do get some?
One thing we all like to do is the [wildlife] sanctuaries and zoo type places. We like seeing all the different wildlife and species Australia has to offer. We all like going to the beach as there’s a lot of clear water beaches, stuff like that.
Would you consider yourself good friends with Devildriver?
We just finished up a six week long US tour with them back in June and it went over really well. We got the chance to become great friends.
What brought about the idea to do a co-headline tour in not only Australia but in America?
It was really more or less from the Devildriver camp. We were both shooting to play Mayhem Fest in the US which didn’t happen obviously so we both talked and decided to do our own tour. Then when Devildriver got the offer to come to Australia, they decided they wanted to bring us as well.
So what’s the setlist looking like, is it more new or old song skewed?
It will be a good mix, I think. We’re not one of those bands that play solely the new CD, we try to incorporate a mix of all the new songs and old.
When it comes to performing, do you prefer to play tightly or to move around and focus on stagecraft?
I’d say it’s probably a good mix of fifty-fifty. You don’t want to focus so hard on playing tight that your stage performance is lacking or to go crazy so much that you play like shit. I try and balance it out.
Speaking on ‘Our Endless War’, how are you finding the response to it?
It’s been really well, I honestly believe it’s been one of our most well received CD’s we’ve put out. We’re really stoked on it as we put a lot of time and hard work into it. I think it is us really maturing our sound and us trying to take it to the next level and our fans are great in backing that.
In terms of your sound, do you consider yourselves deathcore or something else entirely?
People can call us whatever they want to but we’re just a metal band. When we sit down to write a song, we try to write a metal song. We don’t have to blast beats and breakdowns the whole song, that’s why we like to include a bit of melody and that nature into the songs.
It seems that there is a new sub-genre every month. What’s your take on this excessive labelling that bands do to themselves and other artists?
It’s one of those things, bands should set out to do whatever they intend to do but I definitely find that pigeonholing yourself into some obscure sub-genre that no has ever heard of before, I don’t really find that benefitting any bands career. I think we started to break out of that mould on our self-titled record, stopped caring about the whole deathcore label and just wrote metal songs.
So how’s the DVD coming along?
It’s definitely coming along well. It’s kind of a tedious process as we have to film while we’re on the road and those videos have to be organised so we can look through and pick the ones we like the most. It’s going to take a while for it to be finished but I think the end product will be something special.
You crowd-funded the DVD so what’s your own personal view on the idea of crowd-funding?
I think it has its place in the industry. I don’t think it can replace a label entirely. I think a label has to be in place for bands to have the proper marketing and resources for their career. But I like the idea of using it for a DVD because we were able to fund more money than our label would give us to make it happen.
Deathco-uh, metal, isn’t exactly the most socially accepted genre, even after many years. How do your friends and family find you being in this type of band, is there still stigma around it for you?
I mean I guess it just depends on the person. I’ve been doing this for the past eight years of my life and my parents they probably would have liked me to have finished college but they are happy that I can do this and be successful with it. I definitely feel my family support me in this.
Was there anyone who really pushed you to make music a career or were people more reserved?
I think they were more reserved, especially for our sound, we weren’t sure where it was gonna go but once we signed on with Metal Blade and we got a manager, we had people pushing us in the right direction and supporting us.
So as a wrap-up question, what advice would you give to a young band coming up who wants to make it as big as Whitechapel?
I guess the best advice I can give is to set your goals and aspirations high. I have always thought that a band is only as big as they portray themselves to be. If you portray yourself as a small local band going nowhere, that’s where you’re going to be.
Alright, Alex, thanks for your time. Good luck for the tour.
Thanks, Matt, thanks for having me.
Whitechapel tour with DevilDriver this September. Details here.