We spoke to Phil Bozeman of WHITECHAPEL shortly after their set at Bloodstock Festival to get his opinion on not only playing the festival for a second time but also about growing as a band and how the threat of fan backlash doesn’t phase the band at all.
Last time you guys were announced it was a bit of a curveball announcement, was it more welcoming this time round?
Phil: I think over the years we’ve built up a fanbase and I feel like it grows and grows each time. Even so, it’s still nice to come over here because everyone is so nice, whether it’s a small crowd or a big crowd.
If you were a punter, who would you be seeing from this years line up?
Phil: I’d love to see AMON AMARTH, I’ve never seen them before and I grew up listening to them in my teenage years.
How do you and the rest of the band prepare for a live show?
Phil: Honestly we’re just really loose, we’ve been doing this for a while now, so I guess it’s another day in the office kind of vibe, nerves don’t really get to us at this point.
This might be a bit controversial, but when fans released a petition to halt the release of SUICIDE SILENCE’s new record, do you think they took too much liberty in a band that isn’t even theirs?
Phil: Yeah, at the end of the day it’s all about what the artist wants to write. Obviously the artist has the right to release whatever album they want to, and they wanted to write what they wanted to write, if people don’t like it they don’t have to listen to it. I mean, they have more albums that they’re gonna release, if they don’t like this one maybe they’ll like the next one.
Does it make WHITECHAPEL cautious when releasing new material with the threat of possible backlash?
Phil: No we just do whatever we wanna write cause at the end of the day, this is our career and this is our band, we just wanna do what we feel like doing. Obviously we wanna please the fans that have followed us for so long, but we also want to release our ideas from our minds. I just don’t wanna be pigeon-holed into a certain type of music, just wanna be able to write what we want.
Was this the mind set behind the streamlining of the WHITECHAPEL sound over recent albums?
Phil: Yeah, exactly, we just wanted to see where we could go.
When playing headline sets does it feel jarring to play songs like Vicer Exciser along side newer tracks?
Phil: It just feels natural, we’ve been doing it for so long that we’re all just in tune with everything.
Do you ever look back at the lyrics for Somatic Defilement and think ‘how did I ever come up with that?
Phil: Yes I do, and y’know, you grow and the older you get the more mature you get. Not to say that was an immature part of my life but it was just more of a concept album on a serial killer. I was very young whenever I wrote lyrics for that and I find that getting older you touch on more personal and realistic subjects.
Does it feel weird when younger bands come up to you and talk about how WHITECHAPEL has influenced them?
Phil: Yeah that’s very surreal to us. It’s crazy, just shows you how fast time goes by. It’s really cool, we feel honoured to help the next generation come up, and then we can continue and become the even older generation.
Are there any bands you’ve listened to recently and thought they’re the next big thing?
Phil: Not necessarily as of late, I don’t really listen to metal as it is…
If you don’t listen to metal regularly how do you get into the creative mind set of writing a WHITECHAPEL record?
Phil: It’s second nature because it’s what we’ve been doing for so long. I’m able to write and think about that music and create it but I don’t really listen to it that often.
Phil: I don’t know, It doesn’t mean I don’t like it, I’m just surrounded by it, so after a while you just kinda get over it, it gets old.
Mark of the Blade is out now via Metal Blade Records.
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