Fuck the American Dream! Mayhem is where it’s at! PureGrainAudio spent a nutty day at this mega-festival and caught up with Walls of Jericho guitarist Mike Hasty at Downsview Park for the Rock Star Mayhem Tour. The interview was conducted just outside of Slipknot’s dressing room (which was pretty cool), and Mike dropped some knowledge on the new Walls’ CD, the American dream, and more.
Tour with Slipknot, Disturbed, and Dragonforce how the hell is that going?
Mike: Well I mean it’s been really cool. [laughs] Have you been out there, you’ve seen the show today?
Mike: It’s kind of like this everyday, the crowds are always ridiculous and I don’t think everyone necessarily knows who we are, people just come out to the show to have a good time and are super open minded.
What’s been the best day on the tour?
What happened there?
Mike: Nothing. We had this conversation a couple of days ago in the RV that we were in and we’re trying to liken the difference between a good show and a bad show on this tour. You can’t even tell. There’s always a lot of people, and everyone is always into it. Sometimes you get a weird vibe where you feel like you have to work harder then you should to get the reaction that you want and it’s not always real, it’s just how you feel about it you, know what I’m saying? Pittsburgh show, all 5 of us were like “that was great” and for whatever reason we just felt it. The crowd was no better then any other show and there was no reason for it… sometimes it just feels right.
You guys have the only girl singer on the tour?
Mike: The only girl singer on the tour and the only girl in any band.
Mike: It’s kind of cool in a way, I mean it’s really easy to recognize so when we come out and play it’s obviously different than the rest of the tour.
When I was reading about you guys, I noticed that your CD had been given “Most Brutal Album” of the year and “Most Anticipated” album of the year. This is for the new album, The American Dream… what’s the meaning behind the album?
Mike: Hmm…I’ll be honest with you. Lyrically, we did not have a focus of what we want to do. Before we start writing the songs we kind of let the songs do what they are going to do and then kind of base it around there. Certain songs give you a certain feel and then you start to have an idea for the song. Musically we weren’t really trying to do much different. We have always had different things that we wanted to do and we’ve always tried to put those things in every record and you know, try to mix it up a whole bunch. For this one we were like, you know we’ve done it a bunch. Let’s just focus on writing good songs and not caring about that stuff. This is the first time we didn’t care about a certain sound, we just do what we want to do, and play what we want to play.
On the cover of The American Dream it has the all seeing powerful eye of the new world order. What views do you have on a secret society like that and those kinds of people?
Mike: I mean some of it’s cool. I’m really fascinated with all that stuff and when it comes down to like Discovery Channel or anytime I get to read books on it. The idea of it, for the song was more personal so it’s not really about the Illuminati and all that stuff. We used the imagery for it because we were trying to say that basically the whole idea of having an American dream with getting a job, getting a wife and a couple of kids, well that shit is all fabricated, it’s all bullshit. I don’t know about you, I’m probably a little older then you are but I remember being told, that is what you are supposed to do. But we don’t live in that world anymore, that dream is dead. That’s what it’s all about, people loosing their houses, and not being able to find jobs and corporate America is just coming in and taking all the little Ma and Pa shops and every dream that anyone every wanted to have is just crumbling.
What is your American dream? What you are doing right now?
Mike: It is kind of weird isn’t it. This is kind of like a dream. It has been what I have wanted to do forever. As far as a regular job, I have never really had anything that I was passionate about. Since I was about 10 years old I always thought it would be cool to play music for a living. I don’t even know how it all transitioned. I remember playing in local bands and in local shows and I know that we do this but it’s just weird, I was like how did we even get here? Because of that thought, I don’t feel like we’ve made it. We still struggle and it feels like as hard as you work, you just get nowhere. But when you go back and think a bout it like I said, you go from being a local band to doing what were doing and it doesn’t feel like we’ve done anything, but you can see that you’ve done it but man it doesn’t feel like it most of the time.
Local bands would love to be in your position…
Mike: I hear that so much and I’m always just like, I still think of ourselves that way. People would be like, I wish I could do what you’re doing, “but you are, we just do it everyday”. It’s cool, as far as getting band information out, putting your songs on the internet. If you’re a good band, you can do it. Anyone can do it now. It is easier than it has ever been. I don’t think you can get as big as you use to be able to because there are so many bands, there are just so many people. I mean you can sit there on your computer and listen to about 15,000 bands a day if you feel like it, and you can listen to them for about 5 seconds and make up your decision if you want to keep listening. Back in the day it was hard, so you would really try to give every band a chance. Now there are just too many bands and you give your self 5 seconds to decide if you love them or not. But everybody at least gets that chance.
For two years you guys were inactive as a band, what sort of things did you do to keep you busy?
Mike: I own a recording studio that I worked on a lot and 3 out of the 5 of us started a band called Its All Gone To Hell. We put out a record but we didn’t do any touring. It was just real simple, real tough, just moshy type of stuff. Not tough attitude but just tough musically. We didn’t want to play anything hard, we just wanted to have fun and play. We would play a couple shows a month and that’s it.
Did you get to record anyone else’s album during that time?
Mike: I got to record the first Black Dahlia Murder CD for Metal Blade. I did 2 of our records. I did the first Blood Line Calligraphy record on Facedown. It was only a 2 year period so I didn’t get to make that many albums and then we were back out touring.
Last words for the readers of PureGrainAudio and the people of Toronto?
Mike: Anybody who is reading this and came out the show today who didn’t get in, I’m sorry. A lot of people came up to us after we played and told us they didn’t get to see us because they were stuck in the line to get in. Today is the only day it has been like that. Everyday, the doors have been quick and everyone was able to get in on time but we will be touring again this November and we will be returning to Toronto, we love it here. So see you soon!