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Interview with

Jeremy (drums) of Five Finger Death Punch

Los Angeles-based metal outfit FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCHED released the sophomore album ‘War is the Answer’ in September 2009 and now I’ve got a chance to interview Jeremy, drummer of the formation. Read the article below to get into the band’s music and to know more about FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and its latest release.

Reflections of Darkness (RoD): Does ‘War is the Answer’ have an inner concept that unites all the songs? What was the source of inspiration for this record?
Jeremy: I think that we just wanted to make a record that wasn’t the same as ‘The Way of the Fist’ part. We wanted to take the listeners on a journey and not have 13 songs that were all the same. We pretty much covered the gamut. To me, it’s a continuation and a more mature record.

RoD: Is your new release the logical continuation of the previous album?
Jeremy: I think so. It was a very natural progression.

RoD: The process of recording the album was a pleasure or hard work?
Jeremy: Both. We had some bizarre technical problems with the computers at first, we had 8 supercomputers die on us one after the other… one or two would be ok… but 8? It started to look like we had a voodoo curse on us…. It was bizarre and kind of frustrating because you’re trying to create and your progress gets slowed. But it all worked out… we had them fixed. Other than that, the band is really efficient because we all capable of engineering and recording, so we could record in 3 different studios in the same time. While Ivan was tracking vocals for the first few songs, Jason and Zoltan were recording guitars in 2 different studios in the same time.

RoD: Whose idea was to make such cover picture?
Jeremy: Zoltan usually comes up with all the artwork for the merch and the albums…. he creates it all that stuff….

RoD: CD reviews can’t always be positive. So what is your attitude to criticism?
Jeremy: Any album that gets a strong positive reaction always attracts an equal amount of negative criticism as well… that’s just the way of life… it’s been like that since the beginning of time. Think about it, if you step out of the line of average, from the herd of the meek and un-opinionated - and you go and make a statement there will be people who agree and there will be those who oppose it… the stronger the statement is the more violent the reaction will be so I think if we weren’t criticized that would mean we’re not doing our jobs… That would mean we never made a statement… and well, what we do is meant to piss off some people…

RoD: What is your favourite song on the new album, or songs, if they are several?
Jeremy: My favourite song is ‘Dying Breed’. I think it’s in perfect balance; it has a big chorus and all the elements that are typically “death punch”.

RoD: What emotions do you need to write a song?
Jeremy: Zoltan usually starts the ball rolling and we all kind of add our two cents… Ivan usually asks what was the train of thought when the song was written, so he sometimes uses that as the base of  inspiration… sometimes he comes with stuff he already had spinning in his head… All of our songs are pretty much reality based, we don’t write songs about dragons and mythology - it is all about our life experiences so I think that’s one of the main reasons a lot of people can relate to the songs…

RoD: What do you like and dislike in the career of a musician? Do you think it’s possible to earn one’s living just by making music? Or do you have any other job?
Jeremy: I love my “job” and I am making a nice living being in 5FDP… I’m in the lucky position that I don’t have or need to have anything else on the side, but it wouldn’t be possible anyway we are on the road around 340 days out of the year… Sometimes touring wears me out, but I can’t really complain… it beats pretty much any “jobs” out there… Seeing the world, playing for thousands of people every night - it worth every sacrifice… and it’s not really a ‘job’ in the traditional sense, but I do have some responsibilities… you can’t get fucked up every night and try to play the shows all hang over… you have to stay healthy in order to do 100% … you owe that to your audience. Especially that there are less and less bands who CAN make a living doing this, if your fans support you and buy your records the least you can do is to put on the best possible show. The bands who forget their fans… well the fans will forget them… 

RoD: When did you realize that you wanted to play metal? What attracted you in this style?
Jeremy: As soon as I heard ‘Master of Puppets’ I was hooked.

RoD: What was the first concert you’ve ever visited? Or the one that impressed you more than others?
Jeremy: The first concert that impressed me was seeing Kiss. I was young and impressionable. And it made a real impact on me….

RoD: Your band’s name refers to kung-fu films. So how did you come with such a name? And what sense did you put into it?
Jeremy: As far as the band name. Zoltan came up with it. He’s a big fan of old martial arts films.

RoD: If you could choose a film to act in or to make, what kind of movie would it be? And what films do you like to watch?
Jeremy: I definitely want to make a horror film someday and be in it on some level. I love horror.

RoD: And do you practice any sport, maybe martial arts?
Jeremy: Not really anymore. I used to play football. I still love watching it though.

RoD: How do you spend your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
Jeremy: I really like editing music and I love watching sports. When we’re not out on the road I try to just chill and recharge… just low key stuff, hang with friends fire up the BBQ… I have only a week off between tours so there’s not much time to do anything else but rest and get ready for the next run…

RoD: And what music do you prefer to listen?
Jeremy: I like all kinds of music. Most of the time I listen to more chilled music since we’re constantly playing metal, and we’re cranking pretty heavy stuff on the bus as well… My eardrums need to come back to life if you know what I mean… 

RoD: I guess a tour is something rather exhausting. So what positive and negative aspects could you enumerate?
Jeremy: It definitely wears me out after a while. You have to stay somewhat balanced to survive it. Travelling in a tube and being shaken around when you’re trying to sleep takes a toll… I work out and stretch as much as the schedule allows.

RoD: Is there any difference between your American and European fans?
Jeremy: I find the fans similar. I don’t really see a difference… we have a pretty crazy fan base on all continents, they tear the roof off the venues we play at… they starting crazy pits and singing the lyrics back to us loudly during shows… it’s an honour to have such a dedicated ‘army’ behind us…

RoD: What is more comfortable to you: playing for fans who know your songs quite well or trying to conquer an absolutely new audience?
Jeremy: I like both. It’s fun trying to win over new fans, but also people that are you into you and sing the lyrics, they’re a lot of fun to perform for different reasons.

RoD: In what country did you play the most memorable concert?
Jeremy: U.K. Download Festival. Almost 50,000 people. It was incredible.

RoD: What makes your life happy?
Jeremy: Making music on my terms and hanging with my close friends.

RoD: How do you imagine the future of FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH? Do you have any goals or plans?
Jeremy: Hopefully we still make records that stimulate us as a band and hopefully we will still have an audience that’s interested in seeing and hearing us. As long as they come out to see the show, we’ll keep touring… but in the same time we don’t like to leave things to chance, we have to develop as a band so we are building bigger and better stages, crazy light shows, lasers, remote controlled machine guns and all kind of stuff… in America we roll with a decent size production, a couple of buses and a lot of crew…. hopefully we can do the same in Europe too, and tour with our full stage setup soon… it’s important to give the fans something to remember, they pay hard earned money for concert tickets, I think any band that expects to stay around have to put on better and better shows… or people will simply don’t come back….

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