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Interview with

Tim Hassemer (drums) of Flatline

Are you experience a flatline? One is in progress, in three, two, one… Los Angeles based band FLATLINE has been paving the way for over four years now. They've made a name for themselves and been living off of it for some time getting it heard by performances and promotional sources the whole nine yards. ‘Pave the Way’ in close has been hailed by all various magazines such as Metal Edge Magazine, AMP, Decibel and others. The band consists of Travis Johnson (vocals), Randy Weitzel (guitar), Tim Hassemer (drums), Hector Gonzalez (bass) and Joe “Paulo” Guerra (guitar).

Since the band's formation like many others has faced various line-up changes, money ordeals, trips to the ER but that doesn't hold back what this band plans to accomplish in the world of metal. The released four albums and have done constant touring with bands like 36 Crazyfists, It Dies Today, Walls Of Jericho among many others in the business, these guys got what it takes to continue to spread their music as far out as it can possibly go. Whether it'd be by downloading or dishing out the cold hard cash to buy one of their many amazing albums, FLATLINE is metal, and there is nothing else left to be said. Drummer Tim Hassemer was kind enough to take the time in answering some questions about how life is out on the road to the band's upcoming plans. So take a peek on what went down!

Reflections of Darkness (RoD): You guys just got back home, welcome back where’d you guys go and did you have fun?
Tim: Yeah thanks we just got back we were out in the East Coast New York and Connecticut a bunch of fans out there; we were out with the Threat Signal and The Anxious for about a month. So it’s good to be back home for a little bit. It was a lot of fun we always have a lot of fun a lot of drama and fun overall.

RoD: Well I would like to jump right into talking about the new record, ‘Pave the Way’, that has been out for a while now. Does the whole album creating process simply get more difficult as time goes on? Have you ever felt pressure to top yourselves?
Tim: Yeah pretty much every time we write we try to top everything else so it gets a little stressful. As far as writing goes it gets a little crazier, but it’s all good just makes us better musicians.

RoD: That being said, what can be said that hasn't been said about ‘Pave the Way’?
Tim: Nothing. *Laughs* We’ve just said so much about it already I can’t think of anything that we haven’t said already let me think for a second… I can’t think of anything not even anymore specific questions.

RoD: What kind of steps does ‘Pave the Way’ take in comparison to your older roots? How do you view the leaps of growth FLATLINE took between ‘Redefining the End’ to ‘Massive Aggressive’ and from that to ‘Pave the Way’?
Tim: Well no its completely different from all of that, I mean the first album to this album there are different musicians in the band or influences to go along with it plus an extra few years of practice as a a band as a whole we were different musicians at the time and we’ve had different guitarists and as musicians we have to come out with a different product.

RoD: Do you care what people think when it comes to FLATLINE’s music?
Tim: That’s a pretty broad question of course I care to what people think, kind of people that will make your band or break your band I guess. You have to know depends on what they’re saying. But if it’s just a sound tag on how we sound, then I guess I really don’t give a crap we simply play what we want to play. There are other bands that are pretty much doing the same thing. It doesn’t really matter to me there is a part of me that does care, because then you’re just not gonna make it in the end.

RoD: FLATLINE is at the point, and has been at the point, where you affect a lot of people, and the chance lives with the new release your music brings. How do you feel about being labelled as torch carriers for heavy metal in the somewhat mainstream zone? Do you think FLATLINE could be a gateway drug for kids into heavy metal, sort of how Pantera was in the 90s?
Tim: Kind of hope so. I think it’s the goal of every band out there. That would be a pretty amazing thing there is a lot of metal out there nowadays and there are a lot of people doing the same thing as we do but if we got to that status that would be great. I hope so anyways.

RoD: What's left at this point? Are there still things left to challenge FLATLINE?
Tim: The whole thing is a challenge. It always is, when we’re on tour it’s a challenge, recording is a challenge coming up with new material is a challenge but you do it because you love to do it. Everything in the businesses is a challenge.

RoD: So what do you have going on this year?
Tim: Nothing that I can discuss as far as touring goes because we have a couple of tours coming up in August for the summer but nothing is confirmed yet so I can’t talk about it. So you’d have to refer back to our website but I don’t know we’re just gonna round off the year promoting the current album and tour. Then going and writing a new album the beginning of next year.

RoD: What are the biggest and smallest crowds you've played in front of?
Tim: Well the smallest is easy there are always a show where you’re playing in front of a bunch of bar stools and that’s happened a few times during our early stages, and the worse shows we’ve ever played are in our hometown which is L.A. and as far as biggest crowds we’ve played some pretty big shows here as well, but one in particular that sticks out to me happened a few years ago. It took place at this stadium that was fairly large probably one of the biggest ones we’ve ever played a pretty big place probably 4-5,000 people that were pretty fun.

RoD: You have a music video for the song ‘Generations Fall’; can you give a brief summary on how it all came together.
Tim: Well I mean when we signed with our label and had a budget to do a video and the guy from our label set it up with the people who did it was pretty fun. We went down there and did it in front of a green screen instead of going out and finding a location we decided to do it with a green screen and they did some graphics for us in the background we’ve never done anything in front of a green screen before.  Just sitting around most of the time drinking beer since most of the time you’re sitting on your butt so it was a fun experience and lots of fun.

RoD: When it comes to a show what do you like seeing, hardcore dancers, or mosh pit action.
Tim: I personally get extremely sick to my stomach whenever I see hardcore dancers anywhere I can’t stand that stuff just do what you want to do but we’re not a hardcore band and if there are hardcore fans they want that then do it. I rather much see a big circle pit I’ve never got kicked in the face while moshing I’d rather see hardcore dancers then nothing at all. If I picked a choice between hardcore dancing than nothing going on at all I’d rather see that.

RoD: How has MySpace and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?
Tim: Well pretty much everything we have at this point is achieved up to this point is from the internet and MySpace and I can only say good things about that our label found us through there and have helped us on all the tours so the internet and MySpace are both great. As far as downloading goes if you’re a band like Metallica or some giant band then you’re getting ripped off. What’s the harm in downloading it’s the promotion I guess; I don’t see anything wrong with it. We’ve had people write us and say they bought the album and then burned it for their friends oh cool thanks I appreciate it.

RoD: What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?
Tim: Well toughest lesson I’ve ever learned be well practiced or rehearsed me personally if I’m not kinda sucks don’t make heartbreaks for or recording for crap makes things much more difficult.

RoD: What is one hang-out spot in L.A. that you just have to tell everyone about?
Tim: Oh god that’s a horrible question I don’t hang out anywhere I hang out at my house. I’m not a night person I’ am but don’t hang out anywhere. Everyone hangs out on Sunset or at the Whisky or Rainbow so I’d have to say my house?

RoD: If you had a chance to go back in time, where, what, and why?
Tim: I would go back I don’t know to my younger self when I started smoking and kick myself in the face to make myself not smoke. That is the worst thing in the world, hardest thing to quit, I’m aiming towards that right now, and that’s my answer to that.

RoD: What's your reaction when/if a fan told you a very meaningful statement such as "Your music changed my life"? Has this ever happened to you?
Tim: Thank you. I’ve and always am very appreciative of what our fans say and it happens often. I’m always grateful but I haven’t had that one quite yet but have had a lot of fans come up and tell us how much they love our music.

RoD: One summer movie you have to see?
Tim: Oh Harry Potter for sure. I just read the sixth book so I got to see this one.

RoD: What's it like when you're not out on the road, does it feel awkward?
Tim: No it feels normal because I’ve spent a lot more time at home than on the road. But lately we’ve been on the road a lot more often so when you’re out on the road it was a little weird being at home. When I get home I’m kinda relaxed and don’t have these sweaty guys all around me but its nice and definitely different.

RoD: Do you ever feel that when you perform or create an album that it may be your last?
Tim: My last oh no, hell no I would never think that, I’ve never had that thought run a cross my mind.

RoD: What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
Tim: That’s also a very broad question crazy how? I’ve jumped off buildings, cliffs, been to different countries I’ve done all crazy stuff.

RoD: Are you always the one who gets stuck when it comes to doing interviews, that’s what I noticed.
Tim: Recently it seems that way yeah and I don’t know why. The other guys seem cool to wanting to do it. But I’m always the one who responses to the emails and the other guys just don’t check their emails. It just seems that way. When I do get annoyed or bother I will pass. I don’t know what’s up with everybody else on wanting to do it.

RoD: What are your favourite person, place, and thing?
Tim: I have a favourite person, place and thing yes. Everybody in my family I have a bunch of favourite people I have lots of favourite people. As far as places go I have a lot of favourite places I was originally from New Mexico I’d like to go back there and a few places there and I love my cats too so they’re my favourite thing. We always have a family reunion every year which is always fun.

RoD: You did a cover of Cannibal Corpse’s ‘Hammer Smashed Face’; why did you choose this song? Do you plan on releasing a covers only album like Hatebreed?
Tim: Yeah me and my guitarist Paulo we both had some death metal background and played in some death metal bands and messed around at random points and ended up playing that song and then a couple of months ago like January or November we had gone off tour and had some months off and didn’t have a thing to do. So we went and recorded a cover song and everyone liked it and that’s how it happened. Recently our label rep asked us if we’d like to re-issue the album we may throw that song on here and as far as cover-album there is always a possibility we don’t know right now though.

RoD: Do you think the other sub-cultures are at war with one another, i.e. Emo, Punks, Goths etc.?
Tim: I don’t know there is always a war somewhere I think it’s kinda funny. I’m so like old school thinking that metal is metal. When all these other sub-genres come into the metal scene, I think man metal is metal. Kinda retarded if you ask me, can’t we all just get along, it’s silly to me. Just got to go out to a show and there is always someone else that is ragging on another person. I think it’s pretty silly.

RoD: Any last words?
Tim: No. *Laughs* thanks for the interview and I don’t know go check us out on our website and MySpace to see what’s up with us and go buy our album and hopefully people enjoy our stuff and thanks for the interview again.


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