Upon the occasion of PAPA ROACH performance at Bring The Noise Festival, guitarist Jerry Horton, granted us an interview and reviewed many subjects including their come-back to France, a possible concert in June, their record label change, charity association WhyHunger and a new album.
Yesterday, you played at Bring the Noise festival. What are your impressions ?
Jerry : I had a great time. Actually, it was smaller than I expected but the energy was awesome ! I was really excited to be back here in France, it’s been such a long time.
Yes, indeed. You’ve been touring a lot and the last time you came in France as a headliner act was in 2003. Why do we see you guys so rarely ?
Jerry : Hum… I think it had to do a lot with the label which didn’t support us much anymore. It was hard for us to get shows here because the promoters didn’t see anything interesting in PAPA ROACH which is actually quite sad.
Can we expect you to come play here as a headliner act in 2011 ?
Jerry : Yes definitely ! I know we are coming back in Europe in June. We are going to talk about this upcoming tour with our agents soon and hopefully be able to do, at least, a show as a headliner act here.
Yesterday was the last show of the European tour. What were its highlights ?
Jerry : The Taste of Chaos tour we did with DISTURBED, BUCKCHERRY and HALESTORM was simply amazing ! I think that the best shows on that tour were Glasgow and Manchester, England because of the energy of the crowd. The other shows were good though. But, as for me, those two shows, Glasgow and Manchester, were the highlights of the tour.
The new album « Time for Annihilation… On the Record and On the Road » combines live tracks and new studio songs. What inspired you to go to this direction ?
Jerry : We originally planned to just do a live-album. We wanted to do one for a long time but Universal was not OK, they thought it was a waste of time. So, the fact that our contract was finally done, we are now pretty much independant, we thought it was time to release one. Our new label thought it was a good idea. Then, we decided to put a couple of songs on it, and it ended up being five. It kind of take us back to before we got signed, we would just do five songs for an EP.
In your early years, you tended to use nu-metal and with Metamorphosis (2009), as the name expresses, you guys felt like going through a transformation to « harder and faster » stuff. You’ve probably been asked this a lot but why and how did you come up with the idea of getting heavier sounds ?
Jerry : I guess, it’s kind of a natural thing for us, we’ve always been changing throughout the years. Of course, there are some things that stay the same in our sound but we do like to try new things to sort of stretch out a little bit our basis and therefore make it more interesting.
So you’ll be exploring new sounds in the future ?
Jerry : Yes, definitely.
What can we expect you to explore ?
Jerry : I think, we’ll probably try some more electronic sounds. There’s a couple of songs on « Time For Annihilation » that kind of have that sound, but we want to explore it much more. We do love Prodigy and lately we got into newer and more underground stuff than them. We like electronic music but in an aggressive way, you know. And we will take a little bit of that for the next record.
When do you plan to release it ?
Jerry : Hum… I think in 2012 because we have some touring to do prior to releasing a new album. We are going to start touring in March 2011 then we’ll enter the studio in late September / early October to work on the new album.
On the album there is a special message that encourages fans to help fight homelessness and hunger. Can you tell us more about it ?
Jerry : Oh yeah, sure ! The organization is called WhyHunger which has been fighting hunger and poverty around the world for over 30 years, and the album’s hidden track is a shout-out reinforcing this cause. We first got involved with them because Jacoby, who was homeless during his childhood, went to a local shelter and he wanted us to take it to a national or even international level. So we started taking donations at the shows, either food or money, then VIP Meet and Greets’ stuff. We would offer up packages where fans could come to sound-check, take a tour at the bus, and other stuff that people are not used to seeing. So we would auction those tickets and give the money to the organization. We raised quite a bit of money and I think it helped a lot of people out. It’s just one of those things that is easy for us to do, going on tour and help people who are in need.
What’s the main goal of PAPA ROACH ? What do you want people to take away from listening to your music ?
Jerry : Ouch ! Hard ! Hum… I think the message of a lot of music is about « struggle » and more precisely about how to get through it. I want people to come to the shows and experience the energy, the good energy. I want people to enjoy being with us because the shows are very important, it’s our favorite time and place and we want to share it as much as possible. It’s not something that can be simulated, you can watch a show on TV but it’s very different when you actually experience it for real.
Do you think your music can help people ?
Jerry : We’ve been told it has. It’s not really the intention of the music to help people, but I think the subjects of the songs may help some because they can relate to it. I guess people relate music and their own situtation because it helps them in a way, even though it’s not the intent of the music but if it does, it’s good. And it’s a nice thing for us to think that we have some sort of positive impact on people, that we can help others with our music.
What do you think has been the biggest challenge or greatest achievement of the band so far ?
Jerry : We’ve had a few great stuff that happened to us during our career. We recently played the biggest show we’ve ever played which was in Poland for the Polish Woodstock. It was a free show that gathered 350 000 people. So you know, it’s almost beyond any description, it was great it goes without saying. The funny thing about it is that we had to fly right away to the UK where we did the Sonisphere and there were 60 000 people. Normally we would go « 60 000 people, wow ! » but we said « Well, 60 000… Hum… That’s OK » (laughs). As for the biggest challenge, I would say, it is to keep pushing on. You know, sometimes we really get tired, tired of each other, so pushing on when you feel exhauted is probably the biggest challenge you have to overcome when being in a band. It’s not that it’s a terrible job, I know I’m very lucky, but when you spend a lot, a huge, amount of time with the same and small group of people in a very small space, you feel like you’re trapped, you want some time for yourself and some space once in a while.
Is there any thing left you want to achieve ?
Jerry : Yes, yes ! Well, we are the kind of bands that want to be around for a long time, we want to be the headliner act for big shows and be able to take some bands that we really love and need support on tour not just bands that we think would be good for the tour, you know ?
Can you mention some ?
Jerry : I’d love to take BLINDSIDE on tour, they have a great energy that makes me want to watch them every night. I’d also love to take SKINDRED, they are the kind of band that makes it hard for us to follow (laughs) so it would be like a challenge kind of thing, a friendly competition.
Any last words ?
Jerry : I do. We are very sorry, it’s been so long. To the fans that have always been there with us, thank you very much for the support and we promise it won’t be so long until we come back.