Hatebreed: “People will definitely be surprised when they hear some of the songs on this album”

(Image credit: Supplied)

With an average output of one album every 3.25 years, Connecticut punk crew Hatebreed know the value of taking one’s time on a project – even if said project exists in a genre not typically known for meticulous attitudes. Whilst many of their contemporaries have catalogues deep in the double-digits, Hatebreed have just gifted us their eighth full-length: the trench-deep, molasses-dark Weight Of The False Self. Its quality is a testament to the time and effort Jamey Jasta and co. sunk into its inception – there’s plenty of the Hatebreed flavour we know and love to savour, but an incredible wealth of stylistic fermentation and exploration as well.

Australian Guitar caught up with lead guitarist Wayne Lozinak to vibe on the record, and learned that in addition to a crunchier and more metal-centric feel, the band aimed to nail some rather impressive feats with the amp selection utilised on LP8.

What is it about this record that makes you personally stoked on it, not just as a musician but as a fan of heavy music yourself?
The one thing that’s really special to me is that the guitar tone on this album is really heavy and really full. We worked with Zeuss, who produced, engineered, mixed and mastered everything, and I think it came out great with him behind the wheel. It has most of the basic elements that we normally have – we can’t really stray too far from the path that we normally head on – but there’s a little more slightly more intricate stuff on this one.

Would you say you stepped very far out of your comfort zone as a guitarist?
For Hatebreed, I think a little bit. I’ve played in other bands in the past and done different types of things, but I think for a Hatebreed record, there’s some stuff on this that people are going to be a little surprised about. There’s a few more guitar solos than we normally have – I mean, there have been some albums with no solos, and there’s a pretty lengthy amount on this one. And then there’s some more metal-type riffs on there, which I think came out really nicely. I think people will definitely be surprised when they hear some of the songs on this album.

How did Zeuss’ skills as a producer influence your work as a player?
We actually took a couple of days where it was just me and him in the studio, and we were just sorting everything out. Jamey [Jasta, vocals] said, “I want this record to just sound big – let’s try a few different things, let’s see what we can come up with.” So me and Zeuss were like, “Alright!” We tried a whole bunch of different guitars, different amps, different pedals… And we ended up going with the Gibson Les Paul Custom with EMG pickups, which I always play, and I’ve been playing for a while now. We tried a bunch of pedals, but it came down to just the regular Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. But we were blending two different heads, so that’s where it was a little bit different on this album than what we’ve done in the past. We were blending the Marshall TSL100 with a little bit of an EVH EL34 head, which really thickened up the sound. And we recorded on four tracks – two tracks on each side – so it just came out heavier. It took longer to set up, but we were like, “Alright, we’re just going to go for it,” and it ended up sounding great.

What is it about that Les Paul Custom that’s made it a staple in your arsenal?
Obviously the classic look and feel – it’s one of the most iconic guitars of all time, so many great players have played them over the years, and a lot of people don’t use them for heavier metal styles of music, so it stands out a bit. I think some of the other, more metal-style guitars are a little too… Almost sizzly sounding, if that makes sense. But the clarity and the tone of a Les Paul, combined with the heavy amps and everything, just sounds great to me.

And you’ve got those EMG pickups on there too.
Yeah. They definitely give it more sustain and volume, and more consistency throughout the notes. People think that when you use EMGs, the guitars all sound the same, but I don’t think that’s true.

So the Les Paul, a TS9 and that unique combo of amps – is that the secret formula to your signature tone?
I suppose so, yeah. And live, I don’t even use a pedal – it’s just straight into the amp! It’s just one Marshall head and the Les Paul, the gain all the way up, and that’s it. I’ve been using an MXR Wylde [Overdrive] lately – I’ll use that for solos and some little divebomb-ish stuff here and there, but normally for the rhythm parts, it’s just straight in, plug-and-play style. I was actually going to experiment a bit on the next tour and try to adjust some stuff, just to see what I could do – but then the tour got cancelled, so I guess I’ll just have to wait until next year to do that. 

Did you have the live show in mind when you were writing this album?
No. Y’know, we just want good, heavy songs that don’t stray too far from the natural formula that we have, that we think people are going to like. And then if we like them on the CD, normally they will work live too. We have so many songs now, so it’s hard to pick a setlist. Because we play songs from every album if it’s a headline show – we try to do a wide variety of everything. So trying to write a setlist is hard, but the songs we pick usually tend to work.

Have you ever thought about doing one of those epic three-hour sitdown shows?
Definitely not! That is way too much, especially for us. Because we’re a very high-energy type of band, musically, and the crowd is usually going nuts the whole time. It’d be different if everyone was just sitting in their seat, just listening to everything. But we’re much more of a physical band, I would say, so three hours… That’s just too much brutalising on your body. 

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…