In This Moment interview

"We want to bring the big stage show of Madonna or Lady Gaga mixed with Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and Pantera"

11/04/2013 @ 13:22
It was the opening night for the European tour of Halestorm with In This Moment, one impressive female fronted package for rock fans and the show was already sold out. A few hours before the show we met Chris Howorth, guitarist and song writer of In This Moment backstage at the Electric Ballroom in London and had a very nice talk about the band’s recent success, the state of female fronted rock/metal bands, the influences and mostly the goals the band has set to achieve.

In This MomentChris, thanks for this interview. How is the tour with Halestorm so far?
Oh, it’s awesome. We actually toured with them in the United States the whole end of last year, so we know them really well and we love them. It’s a great fit. We’re different from each other, but it’s complimentary. You know, it’s the music and great people and the shows have been great, so I’m excited about tonight.

What’s special is that both bands are female fronted. Would you say that it’s a good period for female fronted rock and metal bands?
Absolutely it’s good! It’s weird, cause they’ve always been around. Halestorm are doing so good, Evanescence, Flyleaf…  But, mostly with Halestorm winning the Grammy. In This Moment is doing really good and I’m seeing girl fronted bands popping out everywhere now, which is awesome. It’s a great time for that.

Maria Brink (In This Moment)I’d like to know if you agree with me that people sometimes tend to complicate the things between the sexuality of the singer and the vocal performances. I’m asking this because even though Maria has a really good voice many people tend to focus only on the outside look. How do you see it from the inside, how do you think people balance between the sexuality and the vocal performance?
It’s like you said. It’s kind of a balancing thing. Most people do look with their eyes first, they don’t listen and as this is our fourth album now we’ve been battling with this the whole time. I think people finally know us or somehow accept that we are a band and music is definitely coming first. But, Maria is an awesome front person, she looks great, just any guy front person looks great and especially girls like her. She looks great and we’re obviously going to be proud of that and she’ll wear outfits that compliment her features and make her look good, just like anybody else would. People always put an emphasis that it’s a girl and want to go with that first. But, we’re fine with that man. It’s like the best of both worlds. She looks great, people want to focus on that, it helps all the band and although some people think it’s a negative, there’s good and bad with everything... It’s a positive overall...

In This MomentThere is a fact that in female fronted bands the front woman gets more attention than the rest guys in the band and I’m pretty sure you know it well by now. How do you see it?
Actually, it doesn’t bother us at all. I mean, maybe some past members might had a problem with it here and there, every once in a while. You know, it might be nice for somebody to say “Great Job!” instead of just push me out of the way, but people who know the band and are into the band and the music know about all of us and we’re proud to have an awesome singer. Even in other bands that aren’t female fronted, the singer always gets the most attention, that’s just the way it is. Maybe it’s a little bit more with females, but we’re all proud of Maria and happy to have an awesome singer bringing attention to our band and our music and we’re just happy to be there and supporting her.

In This MomentOk. Now let’s get to the music. You’ve been working with Kevin Churko on all your albums, with the exception of your debut. He’s one of the best producers in making heavy records, while keeping the melody on the front. Is balancing between heaviness and melody the case for In This Moment?
That’s always been our thing and once we were with Kevin the first time we realized that he’s the perfect guy for us, because of what you just said. He can make heavy records, but he comes from a background that he’s worked with Shania Twain and Phil Collins, even on some Britney Spears albums, so he knows all these pop elements. And we’ve always been heavy with that kind of pop element and it’s perfect. I think on the most recent album "Blood" we really kind of found our formula with Kevin as far as the heaviness and still keeping it dark, but with the pop elements as well.

Yeah, and I think "Blood" is your most successful album up till now, isn’t it?
Yeah, absolutely.

In This MomentWould you see yourselves leaning towards a heavier or a more melodic direction in the future? I mean "Blood" seems to get a little more melodic if I’m not mistaken...
Well, it’s weird. It’s more melodic, but it’s darker and kind of more ominous and melancholic. So, where we went with "Blood" is where we’re going to continue to -kind of- move, but we always want to keep people guessing, do different things, be original and be artistic. You know, we don’t want to just do the same thing over and over, but I think "Blood" is definitely the most focused on what the band is. What we are and what we want to do. It’s the closest we’ve got so far and that’s why I think it’s successful too. It’s unique, but it’s heavy and melodic, but not too glossy and bubblegum.

But, as your commercial success is getting bigger with each album would you want to follow an even more commercial or a more artistic path?
We want to do both. We want to do what we want to do and we’ll always do what we want to do. Maria is never going to follow what some producer would tells her to do and neither am I. But, we also want to play arenas and we want to bring the big stage show of Madonna or Lady Gaga mixed with Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson and Pantera. You know, mix it all together and have something that no one has ever seen before. That’s what we want, but we’ve got to be in arenas to do this. So, we want to get successful like that, but at the same time keeping our artistic bond. There are some few bands out there that have done it and we want to do it too...

In This MomentGive me an example of a band that succeeded commercially and artistically at the same time.
Metallica, Deftones, Dream Theater, Coheed And Cambria. Maybe we won’t be bigger than some of these bands, but they’re all very successful, but very artistic and original and doing what they want to do. They’ve taken it to a scale that they can do their own thing, they can always sell a certain amount of albums, they will always have fans, because they built their original brand, they’re not just kind of cookie cutters. They won’t follow by the wayside; people know that from their originality. Metallica is obviously the biggest of the bunch, but there are others too, only they’re just a few...

I’ll personally keep two bands that I adore from the ones you mentioned, Dream Theater and Coheed And Cambria, who really do keep their artistic level high...
And they are commercial successful as well! They can pull a huge stage production and bring a huge show, but still shred and do whatever they want to do artistically.

In This MomentNow, how do you react every time Maria brings the lyrics to a new song? I had "Whore" on my mind, because it’s a real straight forward piece. What do you say to her and how do you react when you hear her lyrics and performance for the first time?
Well, I’m in the mix with her over doing it and I love it. Whenever we get something and she’s flowing and she’s spilling it and it comes out of her like that, it’s the best. "Whore" is one of those things where we had the basic idea of the track and it’s very simple like you said. And she started doing this thing I got this idea and she started doing this little rappy thing she does and then going into the chorus and I was instantly like That is awesome, let’s go in it right now. She wrote the lyrics for it and we went to record it instantly to capture that. It’s something different. I’ve never heard it before and I know the lyrics and the words and what she’s saying and even just the name "Whore" is going to make people say What the hell, what is that? What is she talking about?. This is shocking and gets attention and it’s real for her. What she’s saying is real, it’s not contrived.

Chris Howorth (In This Moment)Now, for the Tenacious D question. You’re on the crossroads and the devil appears asking for your soul. What do you ask back from the devil?
Wow, I don’t know. I’d say eternal happiness and success...

And you think the devil would agree to something like that? Come on... (laughs)
(laughs) Oh it’s a catch 22 man. Probably not... (laughs)

Some names that you mentioned before drew my attention, so what music do you listen to nowadays?
For me, it’s always overstuff. I’m very into the scene and I check everything that’s going on, but what I always gravitate into listening to when I’m around is old 80s metal, like Kiss, Motley Crue, Ratt, Dokken, Whitesnake. And when I listen to the radio it’s always the classic rock stations. What we always want to bring to our stuff is a good song, a timeless song. I mean, you can be heavy, you can be soft, but when you listen to classic rock radio, these songs that you’re listening have been playing since the 70s or the 60s, even earlier sometimes. They’re still being played, because people want them, because no matter how much time goes by, it’s a good song. That’s always what we try to make us do and apply to us. Just make songs that you’ll want to hear years from now. Not just try to do something that’s flashy or current or whatever.

In This MomentAs for In This Moment, which were the biggest influences on your writing and on creating your vision as a band?
When we started it was a little bit on a rawer edge. It was like a mixture of Pantera, Killswitch Engage, we were mixing metal with melody. But, as we started to grow together, Maria and I in the writing, we started branching out from that. It wasn’t just about metal and melody, it was about songs and what’s best for the song. The guitar doesn’t need to be cutting through and doing triplets if it doesn’t fit the song. And vice versa, you don’t need to scream if it doesn’t seem right for that particular song. Just because people expect us to scream, we’re not gonna do it. So, that’s how it started and it will always change. If you know our back catalogue we were like metal-metal and then really glossy, poppy stuff for the second album and then we got back to the metal mixed with the pop and that’s where we took it even further with the metal mixed with the pop, even darker with electronical elements, so as to make it more original and fresh. It’s just a constant battle to keep our selves excited about what we’re writing and keep our fans excited, but not be the same.

In This MomentYou’ve toured with some great bands. Which ones made the biggest impression on you and why?
Well, obviously, at the beginning of our career, the bands that we’ve been touring with then made a big impression on us, cause we were so new. So, we got to tour with Megadeth and Ozzy, we got a big tour in the U.S. with Ozzy and we learnt from those guys what a professional show is, sounding good every night and how you sound every night and why and how to make it work. And then obviously now that we’ve played with a bunch of different people like Rob Zombie and Korn we’re learning how to make the show something that will people will want to come and see over and over and over. We’re realizing too, as we tour, that we don’t want to be one of these bands that just get by playing clubs forever. We want to do a career, like other big bands and do this big production. The songs have to be great and the show has to be great to keep people coming back year after year, after year, to be timeless.

If you had to choose one band that you’d tour the next time with, which would it be?
For me it would probably be Kiss or Metallica. I know Kiss isn’t really our style, but I think we could bring our style. Maria would probably say the Deftones. She really loves them and we never had a chance to play with them yet.

Chris Howorth (In This Moment)What should we wait next from the band?
Our video for "Adrenalize" is coming out in the next few weeks, which is our current single...

And it’s going to be even more extreme than "Blood"?
Yeah! And "Blood" was pretty popular. It’s got more than 5 million views by now. Our most popular video was the previous one with 2 million views and then "Blood" came out and within three months it surpassed every video we’ve done before. So, we wanted to make sure "Adrenalize" was a better video and more shocking and better than "Blood". I think we got it and it’s going higher. And then we’ll do "Whore" and get it even higher.

So, what’s the next step that In This Moment have to take?
Already with “Blood” in the States we’ve reached the plateau we’ve been trying to get to. We’re trying to get it higher and higher. We want to be in arenas. We’re trying to bring an arena show to every place we’re playing now. We’re doing our best to do that, but we want to get there. That’s our goal. It’s to keep working hard and then get this record up to 500.000 copies in the U.S., play theaters and arenas and in the next couple of years become a full arena band.

In This MomentIf your next album is equally more impressive that "Blood" as "Blood" was in comparison to the previous albums I think you’ll succeed in it...
I appreciate it man and that’s the thing. "Blood" was so good that we don’t want to think about the next one, but this is setting out for the next one. Let’s hope it works.

Ok. Let’s hope next time we meet in my own country, Chris...
Oh yeah, we got to get to Greece man. We really want to. I don’t know why it hasn’t happened yet.

Thank you for your time.
Thank you man and thanks to the fans in Greece that have sticked with us, even though we haven’t been there. We’re gonna come as soon as we can.

Chris Karadimitris