Interview with Whitechapel

Interview with Whitechapel

Interview with Zach Householder – guitarist in Whitechapel

Interview by Kira Levine

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Whitechapel have come a long way from writing songs about London serial killer Jack The Ripper. Penned during the height of the pandemic, Kin is album eight from the six-piece, due for release on the 29th of October through Metal Blade Records. We caught up with Zach from the band – here’s what he had to say…

Hi and thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

No worries. Thanks for having me. My name is Zach and I play guitar in Whitechapel.

Let’s start with your first experience with music. Was it your plan all along to work in this field?

I don’t think anyone exactly “plans,” on it. I think having a business mind and desire to have it be an actual job comes long after the desire to just want to write music. I would see bigger bands on stage as a younger kid and it would definitely inspire me, though…so I’d say that might have planted the seed for wanting to have that be part of my life.

Did you receive much guidance from others when you started making music?

Not for making it a career…that was learned purely just by doing it. There’s no perfect way to make a career out of an imperfect and unstable industry like the music industry. As for the production/engineering side of things, there was a local engineer that recorded a lot of my old bands and recorded Whitechapel’s first full length that guided me a little in the beginning. After that, it was Jason Suecof and Mark Lewis for the most part.

What would you say to someone wanting to start a band in this day and age?

You need a lot of funding to lean on. It costs money, even if you aren’t touring… because you have to get yourself out there on social media. Have a plan. Don’t just shit out half-assed music and a logo then try to push it. Make something that will grab people and doesn’t follow fads.

Whitechapel’s eighth full-length Kin will be released on October 29th, through Metal Blade Records. What would you say are the biggest advantages of being represented by a label?

They do a lot of the work we don’t want to do on the distribution and advertising side of things. Unless you’re business minded enough to do it yourself, it’s too big of a bite to chew and you’ll get totally buried with it. It’s either that or the social media/streaming side of the distribution. Some people have a knack for it, but if you don’t the label definitely helps in that field.

Compared with much of your back catalog, Kin does have more of a softer approach overall. Similarly to 2019’s The Valley, the latest record does incorporate a rock-like sound at times. What was the motivation behind this shift in recent years?

To try something different.

Kin track-listing:

1. I Will Find You
2. Lost Boy
3. A Bloodsoaked Symphony
4. Anticure
5. The Ones That Made Us
6. History Is Silent
7. To the Wolves
8. Orphan
9. Without You
10. Without Us
11. Kin

How did Kin’s recording and production process go? Did any plans have to be changed due to lockdowns and restrictions?

It was honestly the same as it has always been with the process this time around minus a few differences. We were going to originally have Dave Castillo fly here and engineer the album, but due to COVID he wasn’t able to make it. Instead, Mark Lewis engineered again and then David mixed it. We had Ted Jensen from Sterling Sound master the record again this time.

Lyrically, Kin explores some quite personal experiences, while also having a fictional side. Where did the inspiration for the alternate reality aspect come from?

Sometimes, I tend to interpret Phil’s lyrics in a different way than he wants them to be perceived…that being said, this is just my personal point of view. I like to think of it as being inspired by “The Upside-down” from the show Stranger Things. An alternate universe, so-to-speak.

Can you talk a little bit about the songwriting process within Whitechapel – are the writing duties handled by one person, or shared?

The main writing process is handled by myself, Ben, and Alex. Phil writes some music here and there as well and then throws out ideas aside from writing lyrics/vocal patterns and melodies. Regardless, the main three of us get a bulk of the material together then as a band we finalise the song structures and ideas.

What gear was used on Kin?

This is somewhat of a loaded and broad question. If I were to go in-depth and describe it in full detail, everyone would be bored to tears and probably stop reading this interview. Our social media covers a lot of what was used in the studio, though.

Please tell us about the artwork for Kin. Who is the artist behind it, and how did this collaboration come about?

It was painted by Ben’s wife, Jillian Savage. The collaboration came about because we couldn’t find anyone to really do what we wanted, so it just worked out to have Jill do it.

Are there any other collaborations, musical or otherwise, that you have been involved with and would like to mention?

No, not recently, anyways.

If you could have any guest musician/vocalist appear on a future Whitechapel release, who would it be and why?

We’re usually not too into the idea of having guest spots anymore just to “have” them. It would really have to be someone special at this point that could really bring a flavour to the table that we would all enjoy.

The last time Whitechapel toured the UK was almost 2 years ago, due to the ongoing pandemic situation. Do you have any countries you haven’t played yet that you’d like to, once it’s possible?

We haven’t been to India yet. I know we have a lot of fans there, so I’d love to finally get to play for them.

Who or what is your biggest influence as a performing artist?

Probably a tie between Meshuggah, Devin Townsend, and James Hetfield.

What is the music scene like in your hometown? Are there any active bands from The States that you identify with?

The music scene here is pretty dead. It has been for a long time. It’s mainly just bar cover bands. There are some older bands from here still putting out music that I’ve been working and recording for lately. As for active bands from the south that I “identify” with… I’d say Florida has a lot of history with metal and death metal bands that were big influences on me coming up.

After the album release and US tour, what do Whitechapel have planned?

We have plans, but I’m not allowed to disclose any of them at this point in time.

Thank you again for your time! Do you have anything else you want to share with us?

I hope everyone enjoys the new album. If you’re expecting it to be like our first 2 albums, it’s not. If you don’t write us off immediately and actually “listen” to the album, I promise you’ll get something special from it. Give it a chance. Regardless, thank you all for the ongoing support. We love you all.

Whitechapel are:

Phil Bozeman – vocals
Ben Savage – guitars (lead)
Alex Wade – guitars
Zach Householder – guitars
Alex Rüdinger – drums
Gabe Crisp – bass