This Is Hell – Leeds Festival 2012 [Interview]

August 27, 2012 | By:

So after a nightmare nailing Rick Jimenez from This Is Hell down for a five minute chat, and our wandering aimlessly round the arena until he finally found us, Neil Short had a quick catch up about the bands show philosophy, iPhone journalism (yup, we really talked about iPhones), and his thoughts on Metallica. Everyone in a band was influenced by Metallica at some point, right?

NS – First, you’ll have to excuse me, I think Dictaphones are shit, and didn’t want to carry shit loads of gear around with me, so are you all good to talk into R2D2?
RJ – Yeah, that’s cool. My friend bought this little video camera one time to take stills and videos on this trip, and he ended up using his iPhone the whole time. It’s funny like, the iPhone is such a ridiculous invention, it’s got like everything you will need. Like that voice memo thing..

NS – That’s exactly what I’m using… *Kinda worried face*
RJ – Yeah? I did some entrance music for one of my friends who’s a wrestler, Seth Rollins from NXT, and he said, “ I hate my entrance music, if you can do some copyright free music, I’ll use it.”. So I wrote a couple tracks, and he wanted to include like a sound bite (That’s sample to us guys), and so I asked him to record me something as it would be better than grabbing something off the internet.. He was saying he didn’t know if he could do studios, and I was like, “Dude, use your iPhone.” – Seth questioned whether it would work or not, and I ended up promising that if he used his iPhone, I could run it through the computer, and it’d be fine. It even sounds like a studio.

NS – Holy shit, that’s pretty much what I do when transcribing interviews and stuff! SO, anyways, I want to talk to you about Black Mass. (For those not in the ‘know’ Black mass is their latest album) You released it last year, how’s that all gone for you so far?
RJ – Fanwise, well for the most part. You know, it’s hard, we’re not a record selling band – we never have been and we never will be I don’t think, but you know, first and foremost, when it’s all done, and the record’s done, we’re psyched, when the record comes out we’re just like, oh, here it is and we listen to it on an actual pressed CD. That’s awesome. When we put it on the internet and get a reaction that way, you know, people will come to our show and buy the record, then come the next time and they’re like – the record’s actually good. Everyone always wants you to put out your first record over and over again, and that one is our fourth record.

NS – Yeah, I did notice that.. Have you done anything different with the recording of Black Mass compared with the other three albums?
RJ – Yeah, yeah, you know we recorded in the same place as Weight Of The World, our third record, but it’s a different line up. Sonically it sounds different, musically it’s progressed a bit. You know, when fans stick with us and like what we’re doing and appreciate our progression that’s the BEST. It’s not this overwhelming thing that all of a sudden we have this huge fanbase, but at the same time if somebody sticks with us, that’s cool. It always feels good to read a review if somebody likes it, but that’s not a make or break thing, you know? That’s one persons opinion. Critically the record did well too.

NS – Cool – it’s good to see fans progressing with the band. I hear that you guys also tour extensively, so tell me, what about Leeds Fest, what’s your experience been like so far?
RJ – Well, the sound on stage was very difficult to work with, you know, I’m not going to complain and say it sounded shitty, it was just a little difficult to work with. I couldn’t really hear what anyone else was doing and whether I was on time and stuff, but I carried on playing. I was like, am I playing well? The crowd was a little difficult also, but I think it was a lot of peoples first time seeing us, so we had to kinda give them a kick in the ass. We let loose. We got them to run around in a circle, and got them to do a wall of death. Then they went nuts with us, which is cool, it’s always better when that happens, than we’re trying and everyone’s like, yeah, we’re not that bothered. We’re ok doing the hard work as long as the crowd is responsive with it. You know, it was a little more work than I thought, so long as it pays off and in the end it did. We’re always going to give it our best, I mean, if we’re on a giant stage like this, and there’s only thirty people there, we are gonna try our hardest to get those thirty people psyched. Sometimes it’s not going to happen, but we’re always going to try our best from start to finish.

NS – I was going to say I think Leeds Fest is becoming quite commercial, you know, there’s orange girls walking around, and I was debating whether I was in the right place or not…
RJ – Yeah, we played Reading and Leeds in 2010 and that was a little bit more difficult, we’re just happy to be here.

NS –I totally know what you mean.. So, what are your plans for the rest of the year, after Leeds and Reading?
RJ – We’re going to finish writing a record, you know, this is the third time we’ve been in the UK this year, and we’ve done two tours in the States and a Canadian tour this year, so if something comes up, like hey, do you wanna support this band, then we’ll do it, but as of now we don’t plan to do any extensive touring. We’re going to record the album then straight over to Australia for Sound Wave Festival with fucking Metallica. They’re like my favourite band of all time, they’re amazing.

NS – Come on then, best album from Metallica
RJ – Best Album? …And Justice For All. We were talking about this last night, we were like what’s your favourite five… We all had different favourites, and I always used to be tied with Justice and Kill ‘em All..

NS – I was always fond of Master Of Puppets as well as Justice…
RJ – For me now it’s about Justice and Ride The Lightening. It’s cool! Getting to see Metallica five times for free, it’s crazy, getting to play shows with them, granted it’s festivals, but fuck it, we’re gonna be playing, then we’re gonna go watch Metallica…

NS – Have you ever met the guys?
RJ – No, no. I’d be like, hey, I rip off all my guitar playing from you..

NS – I’m not going to quote you on that…
RJ – No, dude, do. I’m shameless man. Kirk Hammett as far as lead playing, I’m a shameless Kirk Hammett influenced guy..

Pretty much after the revelation that Rick was SO into Hammett (I mean, who isn’t? Really?) the conversation kind of dwindled to childish drivel, pretty much all on my part, so I made my excuses and ran like hell to try and FINALLY watch a band. Oh, and because they are fucking good at what they do, here’s a link to their FaceBook page –

Words: Neil Short