Fireworks Magazine Online 68 - Interview with In This Moment


American Metal band In This Moment, it would seem, are on the verge of great things with their new CD 'Black Widow'. The album builds on the intense creativity from previous release 'Blood' and forges ahead with some brutally melodic material that is both addictive and intoxicating. Guitarist and co-founder Chris Howorth gave Dave Bott a call to discuss how the move to a new label helped to push things forward and the importance of image alongside the music.

In-this-Moment Interview

'Black Widow' seems to be generating an enormous amount of interest and attention already, more so than any of your other releases. Do you think even after such a short space of time that it could be the most important and successful In This Moment record so far?

Obviously that's our goal. Certainly in the position we are, it looks as though it will do better than 'Blood'. We're always trying to claw our way up the ladder and in our hearts and minds we think that this is the best record to date and will be the one that takes us to new heights. We're really excited by the reaction so far and so much is happening that hasn't happened before.

How has the move to such a big label like Atlantic helped in the way that 'Black Widow' has been perceived?

We had come to the end of our deal with Century Media and were looking for someone who could raise the band's profile even more in the music scene. Atlantic weren't looking to change us in any way, just help us achieve everything we wanted to. Combined with the natural momentum from 'Blood' and our great management team it has certainly been a factor.

Each record seems to see the band trying something new without losing what is readily identifiable as being In This Moment but 'Black Widow' seems to be more of a continuation of the style of 'Blood'. Do you think that's a fair assessment?

We really did want to build on what we had created with 'Blood'. The power and sound, coupled with the ideas from that record gave us a great platform but we still wanted to push the boundaries and try new stuff. We never want to make a record that sounds like something we've made before. There is an inherent need to be different but still remain true to ourselves.

Obviously In This Moment is associated with striking images. Do you think the music drives the image or does the image influence the musical direction?

Before starting work on 'Blood' we'd talked about stepping up the image but it's always been about the music more than anything else. Even when we are in the studio working on a song it's in our mind how it could be projected on stage. It is important to us that the show is an extension of the music or each song.

With five studio albums under your belt is it still a challenge to come up with new ideas for songs or has the process become easier as Maria and yourself have got to know each other better?

Coming up with a great song never feels easy and we were a few weeks into the 'Black Widow' creation process before we finally hit our stride. There was a lot of self doubt initially as to whether we could make another good album. We put pressure on ourselves and also wanted to prove something to Atlantic because of the faith they had shown in us. It's the longest time we've spent on creating a record. We were in the studio with Kevin (Churko, producer) for four months and even went back for a week and a half because the label wanted us to try a couple more things.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music

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Do you actually sit down with Maria to write new material or do you rely on the internet to pass ideas back and forth?

In the past I've gone to Maria's house and we have actually sat down for three or four weeks to work on stuff before heading into the studio. We kinda gathered our ideas individually for 'Blood' and 'Black Widow', then met up in the studio with Kevin and built the songs from there. It's cool to be inspired in the moment, no pun intended (laughing). We feed off each other and have learned so much from working with Kevin. Maria and I would argue a lot. It was brutal sometimes and it made it difficult to get anything done. Kevin became something of a peacekeeper and he knows now how we think. When it came time to do 'Blood' our band had quit and our management had dropped us. Kevin was there to help show we were far from done and I think the production on both 'Blood' and now 'Black Widow' is some of the most cutting edge I've heard.

The videos you've released so far, for 'Sick Like Me' and 'Big Bad Wolf', offer up some striking if disturbing images but they fit perfectly with each song.

Our label and management both agree with us about the importance of a video. We're a strong visual band and to premier a new song with a great video just strengthens the impact I think. Maria directed both videos along with Robert Clay and all the ideas are hers. She comes to me and tells me about all these crazy ideas and I'm like, yeah OK (laughing). Someone would have a great time analysing her dreams.

How do you manage to secure the services of guest performers? The likes of Gus G and Jake E Lee have appeared on songs in the past so were these just indulgencies on your part as a guitarist?

When we were working on 'Blood' Jake E Lee was actually in the studio next door. We met up and he listened to our stuff, kinda joking about when he was going to get the chance to play on a song! We ended up extending a song just so he could play a solo on it! It really was a pinch yourself kind of moment for me because I remember him playing with Ozzy back in the 80s and thinking how cool he was. Brent Smith from Shinedown sings on a song called 'Sexual Hallucination' on the new record and we actually went after that, we needed a male vocal on that song. The song was written with a sexual vibe in mind and to be honest we were nervous that he wouldn't be interested, but he said yes immediately.

The last time you were in the UK you were touring as support to Halestorm at the beginning of 2013. You're back in March 2015 so what can we expect?

We are so excited to be coming back to the UK and are adamant that you will get at least part of a full In This Moment show. We will have to dial it down somewhat because of the size of the venues but we will be doing as much of the 'Black Widow' show as possible to make a big impact. I guess we've never really connected with UK audiences before but Atlantic told us the time was right now, so we'll be making sure we do everything we can to make it something special.

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