Interview: Five Finger Death Punch Give Update from the Studio
The following article is from Revolver’s June/July 2015 issue. It is available for purchase in our webstore.
by Richard Bienstock
Five Finger Death Punch might just be one of the hardest working bands in metal. It was just in 2013 that the band released the one-two, um, punch of ‘The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1 and Volume 2,’ and they’ve been on the road nonstop ever since. Now, FFDP are working on the follow-up to these two albums—their sixth full-length overall—and they’re almost done with it.
“We have 14 songs so far that are keepers,” reports guitarist Zoltan Bathory. “And musically they’re completely recorded. Out of those, Ivan [Moody] has put vocals on five of them. So we just have nine more to go.”
Bathory and his bandmates—Moody, guitarist Jason Hook, drummer Jeremy Spencer and bassist Chris Kael—have been tracking the new songs on and off since November, when they first entered Hideout Recording in Las Vegas with longtime producer Kevin Churko. “We just have a good working relationship with Kevin, and he has the perfect demeanor for this band,” Bathory says. “So back in November we had a little break in between tours and we took about two weeks to lay down some ideas with him. Maybe four or five songs came out of those sessions. Then we just kept on going from there.”
As far as the sound of the material, Bathory reports that, “So far, it’s a harder, faster record. We don’t have a slow song and I don’t think we’re gonna write one. So it’s just a higher energy effort.” As for why the material has been shaping up this way, “I think because when we started to write this time everybody was in a really good mood. The band has always been a well-oiled machine, but this is one time where we felt, ‘Wow, everyone has grown up in some way as a musician.’ We also stopped all the partying and the crazy shit and were really focused and sober. And because of that this record has been probably the most fun one to make. It also maybe contributed to everything being more up-tempo and energetic.”
Though there are no song titles as of yet (“they’re all just crazy, temporary names to use for identification”) Bathory does reveal that there is one song, the potential first single, which will likely be called “Jekyll and Hyde.” “That one has a funny story,” he says. “Ivan doesn’t sleep at night, so it’s pretty often that he’ll call one of us at four or five in the morning and leave crazy messages on our phones. And what happened was, Jason was going through his voicemail and found dozens and dozens of these messages from Ivan. So he copied them onto a hard drive and then we pulled out different words and sentences and put them together. And that’s the verses of the song. They’re taken directly from Jason’s phone. It’s one of my favorite songs on the record, just because it’s so bizarre.”
Never a band to take much of a break, FFDP already have a full tour itinerary booked, with both U.S. and European dates on the near horizon. Furthermore, many of their shows in Europe will see them opening for Judas Priest. “Everyone’s really looking forward to that,” Bathory says. “We became really good friends with Rob Halford after working with him [on the song FFDP song “Lift Me Up”] and we’ve been keeping in contact ever since. And Priest is one of those legendary and influential bands—especially in Europe, they’re giants. So that will be a lot of fun. You know, people say this is the best job in the world, but it’s not really a job when you love what you do.”