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Interview Papa Roach - Berlin 28.10.2014 Gibson Showroom - English Version Papa Roach Interview with Tony

Sandra: On the current tour, you guys are a supporting act for “In Flames”. How is that going? What is it like? 

Tony: It’s great! We were kind of worried about their fans because they are so into “In Flames”. I kind of read into some crazy emails, not emails, but like Facebook page hate mail. I was like, “Oh man! They aren’t going to like us.” Which I never really do. I never try and read into all that stuff. Yea for some reason I did and I came on the tour, sort of like, expecting not to be so well received. But as soon as we started the first song on the first night of the tour, the crowd was feeling it. We have done 3 shows so far in Germany, and all the crowds have just been great! So in the end I was wondering to myself why I was even reading that stuff for.  

Sandra: I actually read online about the concert in Frankfurt and a lot of people wrote concert reviews for “In Flames” but mention that you were one of the best bands that night. So maybe you should look on the German websites. 

Tony: Yea (laughs) We basically are playing every night. Jacoby asks the crowd who are seeing us for the first time and like ¾ of the crowd raise their hands. So we are playing to a lot of new people, which is awesome! And to be able to get them excited and moving around during a show, that’s the best compliment you can give us. It’s really bad when you are up there and they have no emotion. They are just like, “I don’t like you.” (laughs) You just have to look away. But it has been great so far. 

Sandra: You guys are touring right now, but your next album “F.E.A.R.” won’t be released until the end of January. Can you already tell us something about it? Something that makes it special? 

Tony: I mean it is special in the sense that it is our 8th record. You know, one thing that we are very fortunate and appreciative of is having that longevity. You know, what a lot of bands wish they could have. I think the thing about this record is the great sense of hope that it brings. You know the last one, “The Connection” was a bit darker. But a lot of positive things have happened to the band, and to Jacobi and his personal life, and as well as just band life. He was able to capture many more positive things on this record, and he is just in a different head space now, so it’s good. But you know we worked with a couple producers, a father and son team, Kevin and Kane Churko, who are known for just having like a really heavy, in your face, sound. We had a great time working with them. They’re very inspirational in several different ways, like the way they produce. Their ideas for songs and lyrics and all that stuff. It was just so cool to work with them. Like I said, they were very inspirational in making sure that you came up with the best thing you could for a specific song. We are super stoked with the way the record came out. And people who are hearing it, who are very few because we don’t want it to leak and stuff, they’ve really enjoyed it and they say it’s probably some of the best stuff we have written so far.  

Sandra: There is a lot of hype going on right now in Berlin about the upcoming release. For example we have a really popular radio station, STAR FM, and they did a secret listening session of your album to a private audience probably about a week ago. Are you curious how the new album will be received or does that not worry you any more with all of your experience?  

Tony: I wouldn’t say worried but you are always like a little afraid about what people will say. You always think that you are writing better songs and your song writing craft gets better, and your live show gets better, and that’s all that we hope for. We do pretty much what we feel and what we want musically. There isn’t really ever anything that is forced. I think with that being said, there is more on the line or at stake. When you pour your soul out on a record, and people say like, “Meh! This sucks. We want the old stuff”!, that is a little bit discouraging. I think it is fresh, just new Papa Roach material, and a fresh new sound. I mean, we still kind of covered a lot of the same ground as we did on “The Connection” as far as electronics, you know synth stuff. But it is still a rock band. Take all of that stuff away its still bass, drums, guitar, and vocals. We don’t rely on all that stuff. It’s all there for, I say, ear-candy.  

Sandra: Papa Roach’s first album, “Infest”, was in connection to “Last Resort”, your most successful album. It hasn’t been easy after that. How did Papa Roach manage to bravely keep on going, although you guys could never really build up on the success you had in the past? 

Tony: It’s always tough to try and follow something like that, especially for that record, it was the first thing the band released. It just hit. It was like a new thing at the time. Record labels are always expecting you to either match that or do better. I think it is just the way that society is. You know, when you release a record, you kind of throw it out there and hope. But throughout the years the scene has changed. A lot of band that started at the same time have disappeared. I don’t think the band, to this day, have done anything like “Oh we are trying to break into this scene”. We have always maintained our own integrity and have just done stuff that we enjoy. Try to bring in influences that make sense. 

Sandra: You said that the scene has changed. Do you also think that the fan base has changed from back then until today?  

Tony: Yea. Probably since like 2008, we have noticed a lot of older people are coming to shows now. But it is a wide range of people, you know. When we see younger people in the front row, we think to ourselves like, “Ok! We are still cool!” Because if the young kids are out there enjoying it, that is a whole new wave of people to have as fans. That means a lot to us because when you are a parent or something, and your kid gets old to where no matter what you do, as the parent, you know you are not cool. You can play in a band or whatever, and they would say, “Dad you aren’t cool!” You know, kids go through that. But when we see them in the crowd, we think, “Ok. We still have the ability to reach all age groups”. I think that obviously has a lot to do with the lyrical content. People relate on just an every-day life basis. 

Sandra: I’m actually thinking that the fans in the United States are a little younger. Do you feel the same? 

Tony: These days yea. 

Sandra: I have lived in the states in the past and I have seen it there. I personally think that they are a little younger than they are here. 

Tony: Yea, like I said I think it is a good blend right now. We actually are noticing some older parents who are introducing us to their kids. It is kind of reversed. Instead of the kids playing Papa Roach in the house all the time and the parents actually start to like it because they have heard it so much it’s now the parents are turning their kids onto us. It’s cool. But I think it’s kind of the same here. We are noticing older and younger and everyone in between. 

Sandra: That definitely sounds like a nice picture. How do you keep the motivation and the richness of ideas after all these years? 

Tony: Most of it is just internal drive, we still feel like we can make relevant and valid music for people to enjoy but it’s also that we have to please ourselves too. And that’s a challenge because for any band you have to at least start with something that you love and hope that the people will like it. It’s not that easy because within the band there are four guys so everybody has to be on the same page. You have to agree on so many things and I think that’s the hardest part. It’s just… not everybody is happy all the time. I don’t think anybody is ever just like not completely happy with the songs, let’s say writing, but there might be ideas where you can just add to “What if we did this.. What if you sang about this instead of that” so then I think it just kind of mashes everything out, everything gets the proper attention it needs. None of us ever goes on stage and is like “Ah I hate this song”, so it’s a lot to be said, to get four guys to agree on stuff but once we are on a roll it just comes out and you can feel it, it’s very inspiring for the four of us too. It’s the outside influences too but we can definitely also inspire each other which is pretty amazing.  

Sandra: In 2008 you replaced the former drummer Dave who left the band due to drug problem and then later sued the band. How do you personally cope with such a Situation? 

Tony: Well me being the new drummer. (pauses and laughs) You know I think the whole thing wasn’t really like he was suing or attacking the band. You have to just file a lawsuit just for business sake, to get paid out or whatever. I think in the media it came out sort of “Oh he is suing the band”, but that was just the term, but he wasn’t like attacking the band or anything. They just had to come to an agreement to finish the contract. But me personally stepping into a band like that it’s rough at first because you are always expecting people to be like “Where did Dave go?” I got that a lot and of course because he was in the band for so long but I just sort of was “whatever” and didn’t really pay too much attention to that stuff and we were so busy. We were playing live all the time, making records so now it’s just once in a while someone might say “Where is Dave?” 

Sandra: What?! No way. Really? Still?! 

Dave: Well like very very rare but it’s that really hardcore fan somewhere. But I don’t mind it’s whatever. I have such a great time. Just playing live is the pay-off. Every night that we play it’s just… I don’t even think of any of that stuff. I am just so fortunate that I am the one they picked. 

Sandra: Is there a recipe for a good working relationship within a band? 

Tony: Yeah I mean. well first of all you have to appreciate and respect everybody’s skill and also trust their talents and stuff. When I was doing the new record I basically recorded all the drums last and when I was doing that nobody was really in the studio, only me and the producer. So it’s kind of cool but kind of like “Well, maybe you guys want to listen to some of the stuff to make sure it’s good or not”. But Jacoby even wrote me back saying “I totally trust you, just play drums like you do and it’s going to be awesome”. And I’m like “Okay, cool”, you know that’s a good feeling. But yeah I think trust and just a sense of respect for the other guys like I said their talents and their capabilities is a must. And we always talk about stuff too like we don’t really ever let things build up and build up and build up to cause resentment or hatred or anything like that. Like “this guy is doing this so much like it’s bugging me” I don’t say anything. We always talk about stuff before it gets too negative or blown out of proportion. We have a lot of respect for each other and I think that can be a poisonous thing for a band eternally if you don’t appreciate and respect the other guys. I’ve seen a lot of bands that were just not happy. And you could tell because as soon as they walk on stage you can tell that they weren’t having a good time and when the fans are watching that it’s just sad. Like I said it’s poisonous it’ll infiltrate the whole camp like all your crew guys. It’s always like “Oh I wonder what’s going to happen tonight.” I think that’s a huge part of it for many younger bands out there that are trying. First of all you have to have the right people and that sometimes takes a lot time to get the right chemistry. I think people can see into that though, it’s obvious.  

Sandra: Yeah definitely, I think so too. There are always similar bands such as Limp Bizkit, Korn, also Stone Sour, how do you prevail and stand out from the others? 

Tony: You know one of the things is just trying to kind of recreate your whole existence really, I mean musically. I think we are a band that just doesn’t write the same record every record. We are always kind of pushing in different directions. I am not saying that those bands don’t do that but I think just for us it just works to keep pushing in other ways, going back to the electronic aspect. It kind of happened with “The Connection” like I said we introduced a lot of electronics more so than some of the previous records. “The Paramore Session” was pretty much just Rock and there were some other elements there but… yeah I think you just have to keep pushing yourself to stand out and then also your producer choice, that helps too you know. Trying to work with people that help bringing other things out in your song writing as well so that’s a big part of it for us. We like to stay creative and like I said never write the same, well hopefully never write the same thing.  

Sandra: In reference to my last question, Do you think that the States is a harder place in comparison to other countries, like for example, to stand out because there are so many similar good bands? 

Tony: Yeah I mean I think it would be rough anywhere but yeah there are so many bands in the States, but you just have to have it inside of you. I mean coming from experience when I was a kid and I just turned on the music and I gravitated towards the drums so I just knew that’s what I wanted to do and I wouldn’t really want to settle for doing anything else and I can’t even imagine having that drive and that passion and not being able to get to that point where that is what you do for living. I can’t imagine having that in you and not being able to live that life, being in a band or whatever. It’s frightening, that is what scares me. (laughs) But I am in it, it’s cool, it feels natural for me. But going back to the question I guess I kind of… yeah I mean there are so many bands but there are also so many ways to be heard now, so in that sense there are many ways to get your stuff out and if you stand out and you have the right attitude and the right sound and the right message then those bands will prevail.  

Sandra: Okay now to my last question: What is your all-time favorite Papa Roach song? 

Tony: Uuuh all-time favorite Papa Roach song… 

Sandra: Maybe from the past and also from the next album… 

Tony: Umm, uhh that’s a rough one. I mean “Last Resort” even though I didn’t play it on the record, but we play it every night and that is just a song that no matter where we play, everybody know it so that is just a thrill to play. Everybody sings it so it’s cool. But a newer song of the new record… I mean we are going to release “Face Everything And Rise” as our first single, I think that one just has an attitude and I like the drums in it, so it’s fun to play, it will be fun to play, we will hopefully play it soon live. But yeah “Face Everything And Rise” of the new record. 

Sandra: Actually, because you just mentioned it, are you soon going to play it live? 

Tony: The single is going to get released November 4th, so I think we will be in Helsinki, so we are going to play it live that night. Yeah because we didn’t want to start playing it live and then have somebody having it recorded with their phone and then people would hear it for the first time through that phone. We are trying to be patient because we really want to play it and we’ve been rehearsing it at soundchecks on the tour to practice it so when the day comes we will be ready to play it but we are patiently waiting like “hurry up, let’s go we want to play that song”, but we just want to do it right. Everything is just going to blast at the same time: the single, the video, tour plans for next year and then we will play it live so one day so we are saving for that.  

Sandra: Okay, thank you very much. We wish you all the best for the future and of course for your new record!

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