On the final day of Download Festival, Whitechapel were poised to delight fans on this year’s Dogtooth stage. Despite the weather and the jet-lag, vocalist Phil Bozeman was ready to lead his band onto the stage and show why they have the following they do. Nine years on, not much has changed at Download for Bozeman, but that, of course, is not a bad thing when a festival has been getting it right for so many years now. The fans can only hope they do not need to wait a further nine years before Whitechapel grace these stages again.
Whitechapel was playing the festival in support of their seventh record The Valley (purchase/stream here), released in March via Metal Blade records to positive reviews. (Read our review of The Valley right here.) We spoke with Bozeman on-site at Download about the band’s visit to the festival after a nine-year absence and Whitechapel’s upcoming festival schedule.
I am joined by Phil from Whitechapel; how are you, sir?
Phil Bozeman: Good, how about you?
I’m not too bad, enjoying it the best I can. So, how has your Download been so far?
Bozeman: It’s been good, we’re playing around 6:00 pm but I woke up a little late today. I’m still a little jet-lagged so I haven’t really experienced a lot today.
So you weren’t on site yesterday?
Whitechapel’s fifth and latest single off of The Valley is “Hickory Creek.” Check out the music video:
After you’ve done your set is there anyone you plan to see or are you guys taking straight off?
Bozeman: Yeah we’re hoping to stick around and watch some bands, depending on the weather but we’re not leaving anytime soon.
Now, is it the Zippo stage you are playing if I remember correctly?
Bozeman: No, we’re actually playing the Dogtooth stage.
I could have sworn it was the Zippo, apologies for that. Have you played Download before? How was it received?
Bozeman: It was great, it’s been about nine years since we’ve done it so we’re just hoping that it can translate over the past nine years to now.
So, how would you compare this Download to the last one you were at?
Bozeman: Well mainly I guess, just the weather, it’s really muddy this year but other than that it’s, from what I remember, it’s pretty much the same; a lot of bands, a lot of people, a big festival and a good time.
So what has Whitechapel got planned after Download? What’s coming next?
Bozeman: We’re just doing some European festivals right now and then we go home and do some festivals over there in America and then we will be doing some stuff we haven’t announced yet in the fall.
Whitechapel’s latest record, The Valley, was released on March 29th, 2019, via Metal Blade Records. Check out the cover art:
I’m guessing there’s no way you can give me a hint of what that might be?
Bozeman: Well not really, I don’t really know myself.
Fair enough, you can’t blame me for trying. So you’ve got lots of festivals coming up, what would you say is the one you are looking forward to most?
Bozeman: Well, Download, but we’re doing Copenhell, Hellfest… we’re playing over in Romania and Bulgaria; we’ve never been there so we’re looking forward to that.
Bulgaria is a beautiful country, you will love it. Aside from festivals, what would you say the best city you’ve played in is?
Bozeman: Over here?
Yeah, let’s go with over here then we can expand it.
Bozeman: It’s kind of hard to say, I mean there’s been so many of them. I really enjoy a lot of the places in Germany, of course England is great. It’s kind of hard to say in particular which one is my favorite.
So, once all the touring is done are there any hints of new material at any point?
Bozeman: Well we just released a new album, so probably not anytime too soon.
Chris Andrews’ photos of Whitechapel (w/ Underside) at Islington, UK’s O2 Academy on June 18, 2019:
So, as you’ve just released a new album, how do you feel it’s been received?
Bozeman: It’s gone really well; it’s been overwhelmingly positive.
How do you think it compares to other albums you’ve released in the past? Do you think it holds or did you try to go in a different direction with it?
Bozeman: Yeah, it’s a different direction and has a different kind of feel to it so we’re just expanding on that hoping that people will continue to follow us.
So once you’re done, you’ve played and before you get off, who do you really want to see play today?
Bozeman: Probably Tool.
Good call, but why Tool in particular?
Bozeman: I’ve always been a fan of Tool, A Perfect Circle and bands like that and I’ve never gotten to see Tool. I’ve seen A Perfect Circle, but never Tool.
Well, thank you very much for talking to us today, best of luck with the show later and I will do my very best to catch it. Thanks a lot.
The band’s sixth album Mark of The Blade was released in 2016 and is one of their most significant as it is a portrayal of Bozeman’s struggle with dealing with his father’s death at the age of ten. Watch the song’s emotional music video: