Interview conducted August 09 2013
Interview published September 27 2013
One of the most anticipated appearances
at this year's Getaway Rock Festival, for me and many others, was American
hardcore/metal outfit Hatebreed. Known as a killer live act, the quintet
from Connecticut have become very popular in their field, certainly partly
because they have been a very ambitious band when it comes to touring
the world. After being escorted backstage, a nice conversation was had
with drummer Matt Byrne, mainly about the
touring aspect of the band.
Mozzy: So how is it to be back in Europe?
Matt: Ah, it's great man. We've spent a lot
of time here during the last couple of years, doing festivals during
the summer. It's a lot of flying, and driving around from country
to country. A lot of longs days and not a lot of sleep, but that's
how we do it.
I guess it can be difficult.
Matt: Yeah, but you get used to it. We started
doing the schedule last summer where we fly over from the states for
like two weeks and then fly home for two weeks, so we're going back
and forth. Typically, most bands just come over and stay for a month
and a half or two months and then go home. But we kind of break it
up, it makes it a bit easier. It's a lot of flying though, but
Mozzy: How do you find touring in Europe,
is it different than in the US?
Matt: Oh, absolutely. As far as the fans go,
they appreciate different genres of music. I think that is obvious
in the festival line-ups, where there are a lot of musical genres
on the bill. In the States, you know, they did the new Woodstock thing
in 1994 and then in ´99, and there were all these fires being
lit, people getting beat up and towns getting thrashed and
just doesn't work in the US. The best festivals we have are the Mayhem
festival and the Ozzfest, which we've played a couple of times, but
on the scale that Europe does their open-air festivals, the US could
never do it.
Mozzy: Yeah, you never see fights or anything.
I noticed that it was Jamey's birthday the other day when you played in
Liverpool. How was the reception there?
Matt: Oh, it was cool! We played a small club
in Liverpool, and I don't think we've been there. It was a good crowd,
very close-knit and up-close. It was typical birthday stuff, they
sang Happy Birthday and we had a cake and everything.
Mozzy: Yeah, they know how to sing, as they
are big football supporters the most of them.
Mozzy: What do you think of Sweden, then?
You have been here a few times before.
Matt: Yeah, we've been here several times.
I think it's great. It's very clean, altogether. The sights are great.
I mean it took us an hour to get to the festival site from our hotel,
so it's great to take a seat and see things from the highway. I think
the people are very nice, and I think they speak better English than
we do in the United States.
Mozzy: Haha, I don't' know. But we're good
at English, we learn it from the third grade or something.
What about your popularity here; have you noticed that you have gotten
bigger with time, or?
Matt: Well, I mean we've been coming here since
2002 or 2003, so we've gone from playing small clubs back then to
now, when we are playing direct support slots on festivals during
the summer. So it's good to know that we are constantly moving forward,
in the right direction. That we're getting more popular on this market.
Mozzy: Great. So have you heard of this
festival, Getaway Rock?
Matt: I've heard of it, I think it's our first
time doing it. It's cool to see that we're doing it with so many great
bands. Like Behemoth, they are killing it. I haven't seen them since
the Ozzfest in 2007 in the US. And Killswitch Engage, we've played
with them, recently a couple of nights ago in London. It's cool to
see them too. And System Of A Down, what a great band
seen them in years. I think it was in 2006 we did the Ozzfest with
them. We've crossed paths with them at festivals over the last couple
of years, but I haven't had a chance to really hang out with them.
Mozzy: Yeah, I'm really looking forward
to seeing them tonight!
Mozzy: I first saw them in 1998, supporting
Slayer, when they were coming up. They were brilliant then too.
I think you would be interested to know that Agnostic Front played at
this festival two years ago.
Mozzy: They got a very good reception here.
This is more of a metal festival but I'm guessing you will fit in really
Matt: Yeah, it seems like we fit in pretty
well. Because, you know, we have straight metal songs, we have hardcore
songs, and filling the gaps in between as well.
Mozzy: Cool. I'm curious of your energy
onstage which you are known for; is that hard to keep up? Do you have
to stay in shape?
Matt: You definitely have to stay in shape.
You know, we toned down the drinking and stuff like that, because
you can't get older and keep up the partying and put on a great show
every night. It's impossible. The older you get the harder it becomes.
We just try to do all the things you are supposed to do to keep going,
you know. Eating right, drinking a lot of water, and not partying
as much. Just trying to keep the stamina. We tour a lot too, we're
kind of a non-stop touring band, so you run yourself into the ground
faster if you don't take care of yourself.
Have you noticed that it gets more difficult in some ways? I mean, you're
not old yet, but still?
Matt: A little bit. But I'm still young (smiles).
But yeah, definitely. You don't hit as hard if you're tired, and you
cannot play as long if you're tired, so you have to make sure you
keep yourself in shape.
Mozzy: You really are a hard-touring band,
but in these times with downloading and all of that, do you have to tour
even harder, to get by financially?
Matt: No, not really. I think every band makes
adjustments. We never changed our touring schedule; we tour just as
much now as we did years ago. That's just the band that we are. Maybe
there are bands that are doing that, maybe they rely on record sales
more than touring so now they have to make adjustments. But we've
always toured a lot, we're road dogs, you know.
Mozzy: As an outsider, it's interesting
to know if you get by financially, whether it's more difficult now. Are
you able to live on the band?
Matt: Yeah. We pay our bills. We're not like
these rich billionaires or anything with lavish houses and I don't
have five cars or anything, but we're able to make a living on music,
and that's all we ever asked for.
Ok, cool. Well, it's certainly different nowadays from like the 80´s
and the big bands back then.
Matt: Yeah. I don't think that really exists
anymore. When you have your computer and you can go in your bedroom
and make a record there's no need to go and spend a lot of money at
these huge studios with these huge record producers. You know, the
lavish lifestyle, however you wanna say it, it doesn't really exist
anymore. And with a band like us, we were not like that from the start,
so why would we do that now.
Mozzy: But it must be great to be able to
play music and live on that.
Matt: Oh, absolutely. All you can ever wish
for, and everyone playing an instrument is probably the same, is that
one day you can make money on playing your instrument, being in a
band and playing live and the stuff that comes with it. And I think
we've definitely achieved that. Meeting a lot of great people, seeing
the world, playing these huge shows and festivals to a lot of people.
That's a dream come true, right there.
Mozzy: For sure. I regret I didn't start
playing when I was younger, but you have to have patience.
Mozzy: It must be an experience to be onstage
and see that crowd reaction.
Mozzy: Well, that was all I had actually.
Thanks and have a good show!