New Chapter, New Tour for Whitechapel

The six-piece deathcore band known as Whitechapel from Knoxville, Tennessee are a solid group of guys. Remaining resolute and dedicated not just to each other but also to a former member, they gave him a permanent position alongside the band. Truly indicative of Whitechapel's bond and ardent character, that kind of loyalty runs through the entire group even to fans.

These are not just rock stars out to be rich and famous, although fame has certainly been generous and kind to them considering they’ve been together a little less than ten years. In attempts to reach even more fans, Whitechapel have broadened their musical content into something stark and novel. In this new and mature chapter, guitarist Alex Wade elaborates on Whitechapel’s appeal, new direction and moving away from the gore and violence that defined them in the beginning years while still maintaining integrity and allegiance to themselves and the metal community.

Houston Press: So, you’re touring with Psycroptic and Culture Killer. How’s the tour going?
Alex Wade: Really good, we’re four days in now, I think. It’s a smaller run with the clubs. It’s a much more intimate performance and it’s really going good overall.

Great. What can we expect at the show?
I guess a lot of chaos, there’s a lot of bands that are really heavy, and so…that’s not a show for people who don’t like that sort of thing. [Our set list] is a descent mix. I think it focuses more on Our Endless War, but there’s some tracks on their songs from Somatic Defilement, Exile, others…you know, it covers every album at least a little bit.

Do you guys still have your original guitarist Brandon Cagle along for the ride? Is he a permanent fixture now?
Yes, he is. I don’t know if you know the back story, but he was an original member and then he was in a motorcycle accident and loss the use of one of his arms. After that, he wasn’t able to play guitar for us anymore. But, he was able to learn how to do sound engineering and he rejoined us. So that was really cool to bring him back in the mix.

It seems like you guys have a tight brotherhood.
Yeah, absolutely. You know, we were all in different local bands in Knoxville and just all decided to come together and form one thing. So, you know, we all used to play shows back in the day together and yeah, we’ve always been friendly.

Our Endless War has been described as a “stylistic leap forward." And, in interviews, Phil [Bozeman] has said he really wanted to pull away from the murder and gore themes. How do you reconcile that knowing your genesis is the Whitechapel area of London known for murders?
For [Our Endless War] we just wanted something more mature, you know? As we get older, we just kind of feel like our focus on things in the band and how we want to represent ourselves is definitely changing. So, when we were younger, we didn’t really care if we had crazy lyrics. You know, crazy lyrics about whatever thing we could think of. Now, it’s kind of like, well I’m 29 [years old] and I love my mother…[laughs] so…I don’t want to be putting stuff out there that she would be like, ‘Alex, what are you doing?’ So, I don’t really control the lyrics or anything like that but, all that’s left up to Phil [Bozeman] but we’re all pretty much on the same page in that regard. We want to be very proud of this band and we want it to be something that we can represent ourselves well with.

Firstly, thank you for that.

Where are you guys headed thematically, then?
It’s only going to grow from where Endless War left off, you know? I kind of feel like the next record is even going to be even more mature and you know, I feel like there may even be more things on there that people have never heard from us before. Like you know we might even try like, a singing thing. Just because I feel like that’s a way we can represent ourselves even better. Help reach a demographic of people we haven’t even touched before. Honestly, I feel like Lamb of God is a huge inspiration for us and they have never sang at all [on previous albums] and on their new record they’re singing and it sounds amazing.

Yes, I absolutely agree. So, you guys are planning on doing some clean vocal work?
Yeah, yeah absolutely. You know, I think you can do them tastefully, just like Lamb of God did it. When I heard that, it reminded me of something like, Metallica [has done]. Just very classic, just very, manly. That’s the way I describe it, just manly singing. It doesn’t sound like they’re just trying to be Maroon 5 or whatever. It’s very beautiful in its own way and if we’re going to do it, it would be like that.

Right, it’s masculine and aggressive but it’s still metal.
Right. Exactly. I think that’s something we can kind of look into and if we can do it, without it sounding you know, like cheesy, typical breakdown with singing stuff, then I think it’s something we can possibly look into. You know that’s a little far off in the future, so I guess we’ll see when we get there.

Is it really that far off? I’ve read where you guys are ready to record a new album as soon as January 2016?
Yeah, I guess it’s not that far off. We’re supposed to be in studio by February, so…

Are you excited or nervous?
No, I’m definitely excited. I’m ready to hear what that next step is going to sound like for us. We’ve got a ton of riffs already written and ideas for songs we’ve just got to you know, put them together and figure out how things sound best, you know?

Do you think it take a year to write it like Our Endless War?
No, no. Honestly, all the music is already written now we just have to put it together.

So, Phil is influenced by Cannibal Corpse and Pantera...what about you? Who moves Alex?
My biggest influence is Stephen Carpenter of the Deftones. He’s one of my favorite guitarists. I love how laid back and relaxed his riffs are. They don’t feel forced, you know? You can tell he’s just hanging out and having fun when he’s writing riffs. He’s definitely one of my influences and Jim Root from Slipknot. He’s sick, I like him a lot too.

Are you booked for any summer festivals next year? Can you tell us yet?
Yes, we are, but unfortunately I can’t go into any detail yet…but, we’re on a summer festival for this tour. So, keep an eye out for that.

Can you tell me you’ll be mainly in Europe or stateside?
It’s going to be Stateside.

Yeah! Awesome.
[Laughs] Yeah.

Whitechapel performs alongside Psycroptic, Culture Killer and Blood of an Outlaw tonight at Scout Bar, 18307 Egret Bay Blvd. in Clear Lake.