Escape The Fate are heavy rockers from Las Vegas, Nevada, but now live wherever the tour bus takes them. Their new album ‘Hate Me’ peaked at 34 on the ARIA charts, and 58 on the US Billboard 200, proving that the band itself is also at its peak. ETF have faced numerous setbacks with their many band member changes, but have finally found the right lineup, which shows through their new album.
The band is focusing on the future and for those of you who are dwelling on their past, ‘Hate Me’ has a message for you. Escape The Fate is on a roll right now, and nothing is going to stop them!
Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing TJ Bell, the guitarist of Escape The Fate. Thanks so much TJ!
So are you in America right now?
Yeah I’m home right now, in North Hollywood. Just got back from a great lunch, had some Mexican food, so after this I’ll probably hit the gym.
So you guys were here in Australia last year for Soundwave right?
Are you excited to be coming back?
Yeah, it was awesome. We’re super excited! We love, love, love Australia.
So I was listening to the commentary on your album (titled ‘Hate Me’) and you guys talked about how writing the album really helped you bond as a band, do you think that’s how you have such a stable line-up now?
Well the other guys left like immediately. We felt change within our band and all of us are just really good actual friends, we actually hang out outside of being on tour and everything like that. So once we had the opportunity to start writing the new record together, that’s when our bond became even closer. Like we were all over at Kevin’s house everyday for like two months and then wrote also on the road and everything and just [had] a great time doing it. Nobody ripped on anyone saying like you know, ‘that idea sucks’ and things like that, everyone would be like ‘cool, lets just work around it and see what else we can come up with’, and we just kept writing. We still have like 20 unused songs from that record that could possibly even be on the next one.
(Commentary on Spotify only. )
So ‘Hate Me’ is the song that you named the album after, is there a particular reason that song was chosen?
It wasn’t even necessarily the song, like I think the name for the record came first, and just kind of wanted to almost pull an Eminem and just be like ‘hate us’, it’s fine. We just embrace it now and like go ahead and hate us, nothing you can do or say will bring us down. We’re going to continue to keep doing our s***, you know, and no one’s going to stop that.
It sounds like you guys are really on a roll right now.
Well yeah I mean, I think people have been expecting for our band to just break up already, like ‘oh, there’s still that battle between the old singer and Craig (current singer) and everything, but it’s just like ‘dude, get over it’. Like leave the past in the past and focus on the now.
So are you guys planning on having any time off in Australia?
I’m kind of confused actually, I’m looking at the flyer now and it says like we have the third and the fourth off, then the fifth, sixth, seventh, eight and ninth, so after that means we don’t have any, but I always thought that every other show or every day was like a fly day. Every time we’ve ever been there we’ve like played the show, and then flew to the next place and had a day off and then played the next show, so this one is going to be kind of crammed together I guess.
I noticed that all but one of the shows are 18+, so I’m guessing some fans are upset about this. (This has now been changed, Adelaide and Brisbane are now AA)
Yeah, I completely disagree with the eighteen and over thing, I don’t know why they’re doing that. I guess promoters and the booking agents thought that it was a good idea, I don’t know. I’m not really sure why they did that. I remember back in like 2011 when we did a headliner over there we did play some 18+ shows but then also played the next day at the same venue and did all ages, and it all worked out really well, so I had no idea why they didn’t go down that road again. I’m pretty bummed out about that. I wish we could do all ages.
So you guys will have VIP packages for the Australian shows? And that involves meet and greets?
Yeah. VIP tickets can be purchased here:
So is that always exciting just getting to meet the fans and hang out, and then getting to play for them?
Oh yeah! I know a lot of people that are like ‘f***, got to go and do this meet and greet’ and they make it seem like a burden, but to us it is fun. It’s awesome meeting and actually to see who our fans are; you know what I mean? It’s cool cause they come to us with their stories and why they love our band and everything like that. Some people even say ‘your band has helped me through this’ or you know, ‘saved my life’ and stuff. Hearing stuff like that is really, really amazing.
Yeah. I noticed that some fans even get tattoos relating to the band, that must be so cool!
It feels really, really awesome, and knowing that our music is touching people in that sort of way and making an impact on their lives, you can’t beat that you know? That’s amazing.
So there’s definitely something for everyone on the album, was it planned to have completely different sounds?
Well, yeah. The classic Escape The Fate sound has kind of always been like that, you know? So I mean go back to ‘This War is Ours’ and everybody loved that record and the heaviest song was ‘This War is Ours’ and look at the pop songs we had on the record like ‘Ashley’, so I think Escape The Fate has always done stuff like that, maybe not so much on the self-titled album which I wasn’t even a part of, but we kind of brought it back with ‘Ungrateful’ and ‘Hate Me’ but it’s just we always just step it up a notch. Like if we’re going to do another pop song let’s make it the f***ing best pop song we could ever write, you know? Like better than the last one. So if we’re going to do a heavy song like ‘The Terrible Children’ on this record, we’re like ‘let’s make it the f***ing heaviest song that Escape The Fate has ever done’. Basically this record is everything that has always been there, but just beefed up a little bit more on steroids I guess.
So you’re all on the same page and really motivated to do well and succeed, so once the tour is over, what’s next for the band?
Well I would like to tour off this album for at least another year. Bands are really quick with releasing new music just a couple of months after they’ve already released a record but I kind of want to let it sink in a little bit and once people are sick and tired of it we’ll start writing the new one. We’re even writing right now for the next record, but I’m not sure what the direction’s going to be yet. I know that this record was very sporadic and there was people who loved that and there’s people who hate it. There’s people who just want heavy music or just want the pop direction. We’ve always felt that it was good to have one foot in both doors. So I don’t know, maybe we will just pick one. We’ll see when that time comes I guess.
I guess it’s good because you reach more of an audience as well when you have two genres.
Right, so then I guess that is it, and in your opinion I guess if you feel that’s right then I guess it is right then.
Who designed the artwork for ‘Hate Me’?
Craig had the idea for that, and we all loved it. He just wanted to do something with astrology and tarot cards, he’s really big into that stuff. He just kind of had an idea of throwing the girl on the board and all the knives sticking out next to her are a part of the wheel of death, which I guess symbolizes all of the hate that we have gotten. Basically we’re kind of just mocking, like ‘go ahead and f***ing hate us, it’s fine. Throw your f***ing knives at us cause we don’t give a f***. We’re going to keep going’.
Well that’s a good attitude to have I think. You can’t please everyone.
No, let all the negative feedback that you see, just let that motivate you to keep going even further.
Okay, that’s all the questions I have for you. Thanks so much, this was a really fun interview, even though it was stressful at the start. (my laptop froze, along with all of the questions…)
Well I hope I answered your questions thoroughly.
Yeah you were really good thank you so much!
Well thank you very very much, and what show will we be seeing you at?
The Melbourne show!
Well I’m very excited, that was one of my favourite cities. The last time we were there we went to the beach and it was beautiful.
Escape The Fate are touring Australia in October with Dream On Dreamer and you wont want to miss it! You can purchase tickets here:
Interview by Maddie Birkett