I recently sat down with Frank Novinec, guitarist of the mighty Hatebreed, to discuss the band and their very recent record, The Divinity Of Purpose (out via Razor & Time on January 29, 2013); an album that is not only heavier, but also ups the ante from their previous releases. Here’s what Novinec had to say.
After listening through The Divinity of Purpose a few times now, it definitely seems to be a heavier effort than your previous releases. Was that something that was intentional or do you think it was just a natural progression?
Frank: Well, we are a universal band like Motorhead where we appeal to rock, metal and hardcore fans and we feel that we can step outside of our boundaries at times. We did that about as much as we wanted to on the last record and some people were into it and some people weren’t, but there were some great songs in there. I think definitely for this one we wanted it more straight forward; more meat and potatoes. We are a band that has been around for a long time and it is really difficult to come up with something fresh, but I think we achieved that on The Divinity of Purpose. More than anything though I am really proud at what a solid effort this record is from the beginning to the end.
Yeah agree, I really dig this disc. Are you guys completely happy with it now when you sit back and listen to it?
Frank: Yeah we actually had the time of being around to rearrange and finalize the songs the way we wanted them to be. There will be no reflecting back on this record and saying we should have done things differently. With that being said we are definitely 100 percent happy with it.
A lot of the songs are super-positive and I don’t know if this is a real word, Anthemic. And once again i think it is more so than on previous releases. Was this a conscious effort as well?
Frank: Well I mean you have a great dose of that on all of our albums, it is what we are known for especially when we are talking about playing giant festivals and arenas and stuff like that. I think it is just one of the elements of a Hatebreed album that we have to have.
Check out the song “Put It To The Torch”
How do guys go about writing your songs?
Frank: Well the root of the songs come from Chris and Jamie who have been the main songwriters since day one. Then it is brought to the table and everybody has input into what needs to be changed or rearranged.
Are there any tracks on the disc that are personal favorites?
Frank: Well, that is one of those things where if you ask me again in two weeks from now it might be different, but right now I am going to say “Bitter Truth” is currently my favorite. When we were beginning the process and creating the songs it probably wasn’t but as the singing goes over and it all the elements go into making the song what it is my opinions change.
I have been jamming on it for a few weeks now and I have found it to be a great gym record.
Frank: We have gotten that response a lot. I have seen people posting on Twitter that they are jamming to Hatebreed at the gym. It is really cool that we can get people amped up in their personal life and not just at shows.
I know the record has not been released yet, but have you done any of the songs live and if so what has been the reaction?
Frank: We are doing 2 to 3 songs a night from the record right now, we are doing “Put It To The Torch,” “Honor Never Dies” and we have been playing the song, “Indivisible” as well and the feedback has been great.
What is “The Divinity of Purpose”?
Frank: Well that is Jamie’s doing and things happen for a reason in life whether that is good or bad, hopefully more good than bad, but the album title, like a lot of our songs, is open to interpretation.
You guys have always had pretty cool album covers, but the artwork on The Divinity of Purpose is especially intense. How did that come about?
Frank: We had an artist who has done stuff for Sodom and Testament and others do this one for us. It was kind of a risk because a lot of people thought, once they saw the cover, that the album was going to be really really metal and that is not the case at all. We wanted something different, we are open to different things and experimenting and we certainly did that with this album cover, but when you look at it it has the black and red classic Hatebreed look to it even though it is something new to us with the painting. I think it is real cool. This is an exciting time for us; everything from having a new album out, being on tour and the artwork.
For this release you guys signed a deal with Nuclear Blast. How is that working out and is that going to take you more through Europe?
Frank: You know we are always in Europe. We do well over there and we have a huge fan base and we are constantly going over there to play gigs. Nuclear Blast had the classic metal bands that we love like Kreator and Destruction and obviously they have Agnostic Front, a band that paved the way for us and who we actually were just on tour with over there. They (Nuclear Blast) do a great job with the packaging and everything, they are good people and they are fans. The head of the whole label is a fan, he comes to the shows, gets a few drinks in him and he is stage diving. It is plenty of fun and we had a great time with them when we were over there.
You guys tour quite a bit. How do you keep up with the physical demands of touring?
Frank: I mean everybody tries to eat healthy, we are all older now and the partying is down to a minimum. I am usually the guy in the band that is responsible for that and I have tried to tone it down as much as possible. It is hard with all the traveling especially with all the flying stuff which puts more wear and tear on you but we have a good time and our morale is up. Some of the guys have stretching routines before the show, but Jamie and I are the ones hanging out on the bus until the last second and then we go in and turn the switch on and give it 110 percent.
Any closing words Frank?
Frank: We appreciate your support and thank you for the interview. Please make sure to check out The Divinity of Purpose; there is something on there for everybody. We will see everybody out on the road soon.
Check out the ‘The Divinity Of Purpose’ album trailer