It's always fun to catch up with certain rockers, but it seems every year around the same time, I am able to chat with In This Moment co-founder and lead guitarist Chris Howorth. Talk about down to Earth and fun. These guys actually let me interview them once in Detroit on their bus while I was wearing a suit. I may have taken just a little bit of crap for that, but it's all in the name of rock 'n roll.
Toddstar: Hey Chris, what’s up brother?
Chris: Not much, man what’s happening?
Toddstar: Not much, not much. How are things?
Chris: Good man, I’m in Baltimore today, just have a day off.
Toddstar: Cool, well first off let me just thank you again, for getting time off. Seems about this time every year I get a chance to talk to you, and we always appreciate you taking time out for us.
Chris: That’s cool, we always appreciate the interview man. Thank you.
Toddstar: No problem, let’s start off. You say you’re on an off day, you guys are out on Carnival of Madness. How’s that whole thing going?
Chris: It’s going amazing, just another amazing opportunity for the band to play in front of these new crowds. All the shows have been great, the crowds are really digging our stuff, we feel the band growing with every show. It’s definitely a great experience.
Toddstar: Let’s visit that for a second. You’re one of the few bands that have done everything, from Ozzfest, to Carnival, to Uproar to Warp Tour. You guys have always branched out and made sure you’ve touched fans in different genres or just different areas of music. Is that something that you guys take to heart, in not only building the brand of In This Moment, but really just getting in touch with the fans?
Chris: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve always been that band from the beginning, every person that loves our music and wants to come to the show we appreciate that, and if we can take the time to talk to them about it and get to know them little bit as well we try to. With a tour like Carnival and some of the stuff we’ve been doing over the past year, we’re reaching out to a brand new audience that we’ve never hit before. We have done the Warped Tour, with some of those kids who’ve never been before, but this feels right, it’s really actually connecting this time and it’s extra good, for us. It’s always great to play in front of a new crowd that have never heard of you and then have them actually like you, that’s what it’s all about.
Toddstar: You’re letting them all experience Blood first hand, how’s the reaction a year out? As you know, I got to see you guys in Dirt Fest here in Michigan, just before the album dropped last year, and the crowd really ate it up. Are the crowds still feeding off of the album?
Chris: Yes, definitely. It’s getting better. The more we’re touring on this record, the more shows we play, the more people seem to know about the band as the bigger it gets. So that’s why we’re just pushing it as far as we can. Whore, has just been released as our newest single, and we’re hoping that will take us a little further and then we’ll probably be ready to start working on another record in the next few months.
Toddstar: I know before that time you have Hell Pop coming up. Tell us a little bit about Hell Pop.
Chris: Yeah, Hell Pop is our headlining tour, and we decided to come out with a cool name for the style of music, this weird kinda artistic thing we’re doing, so with Hell Pop, we wanted to put together this really diverse line up that’s cool, where everybody brings something different to the table but it’s not all the same time of music. So that’s kinda the thinking behind the line up, and we’re just really excited it’s our first headlining tour, it’s our first big headlining tour, we’re playing big places, we’re bringing extra production and extra stuff that we’ve never done before. And trying to make this the best headlining tour that we’ve done to date.
Toddstar: You guys have done quite a bit, seems like 2013 has been your year, Carnival’s helping you branch out a bit, you’ve done Hell Pop, tell us a little bit more about the DVD you guys recorded earlier this year.
Chris: We recorded it [laughs]! It was just one of those things that we had our contract with Century Media - we’re coming to the end of that - and it’s something we needed to do. We just decided to do it in Madison, like I was saying for the Hell Pop tour, where we were bringing out a load of extra stuff, well for that particular show we were bringing out a lot of extra stuff to make it really awesome. I haven't even heard it, I’m sure it's gonna be great but I haven’t heard it or seen it yet, plans are though that it’s gonna be coming out around Christmas I think.
Toddstar: Ok so the fans can look forward to that. You talk about your contract with Century Media and it’s kinda crazy that that might be winding down, when Blood has become the largest selling single in Century Media history.
Chris: Yeah I know it’s crazy, we’ve spent our whole careers with Century Media, we don’t know anything else, they’ve been so amazing to us, I’m not sure what’s happening with our future - that’s all being figured out now - but we’re totally with happy with century media, grateful to have been with them and really excited that we’re their top selling single in their history, that’s so cool. So we’ll see where the future takes us.
Toddstar: When you were a kid just strumming your guitar in your bedroom a couple of years ago, did you ever think it would get to this point for you?
Chris: Well, that’s what I dreamed of, I didn't know the reality of the music business and how hard it was going to be at that point, but I was like a lot of kids, heard the stuff on the radio and they were larger than life - untouchable almost - and I just wanted to play and sing a long and play with the broom in the mirror, wanting to be in a band and make it. I’ve been trying for this since I was 15. But it’s been a long learning process to get where we are today, it’s one of those things if you said ‘did you believe it was gonna happen?’ I kinda thought it was always gonna happen, and that’s why it did happen, because if you believe in something enough, you think about it, you put all you energies and your attention into it and practice and work and try, then anything’s possible. I think Maria and I believed that for sure, we both just started from nowhere and built this band out of nothing, and now we’re finally seeing some reward for all that work, it’s a really awesome feeling.
Toddstar: Very cool. From the beginning, you guys have always had a little bit of lineup changes. How’s the current incarnation of the band clicking, everything rolling along really well, with the new group of guys you’ve got? I mean, Travis has been there a while, you’ve got Randy and Tom in the fold. How’s it all working out?
Chris: It’s all working out great, like you said Travis has been with us for a while already, and before he was even with us he was our good friend and I’d been in bands with him before, when we were at school and the same thing with our new guitarist Randy, I’ve known him through Travis for years, and all amazing musicians,. Then throw Tom in there and everything is looking great. It’s the tightest version of the band that we’ve ever had, not taking anything away from anyone else that we’ve had, everyone is awesome and talented and part of getting us to where we are right now, but I’m really happy with the guys we’ve got. The personalities and musicianship we’ve got are all top notch.
Toddstar: From the crowd you can tell that everything is firing out on all cylinders [thanks man]. Let’s talk about your for a minute, Chris. Who made you wanna pick up the guitar and play?
Chris: You know, watching MTV, I was really into KISS and Motley Crew and Poison, and all these 80s bands. That kinda stuff was what got me really excited about music, and to this day I still listen to that stuff before shows, to get pumped up and ready to rock. So that stuff really got me going. All those 80s stars.
Toddstar: OK. When you guys hit the road, what’s the one thing you take on the road with you, that you just couldn't make it on the road without?
Chris: I have a bunch of different things, everyone’s different, I always take a pillow for my bed, and one of those back massagers, gotta have that. If I haven’t got it I’m actually going out and purchasing it on the road, a music player and, baby wipes, but everyone says that. So just a bunch of little things, but pillows probably the biggest item I would bring.
Toddstar: Speaking of live, if you had to pick a band or two that you’d love to go out with, because you think they would well compliment In This Moment, but you would also compliment them, who’d you wanna go out on the road with?
Chris: I think it would be awesome with Avenged Sevenfold or Rob Zombie or Deftones. I’ve always wanted to play with Metallica. I think it would be cool to go out with KISS [laughs], even though there’s maybe an age difference there, I think the fan base would be really cool, and I think even KISS fans would find something they like within In This Moment, so that would be cool.
Toddstar: I’d agree with that last statement, as a guy who has a KISS tattoo that runs from his knee to his ankle, I love you guys and I love everything you guys do.
Chris: Maybe we could win over a few KISS fans, right?
Toddstar: Exactly, you guys win over everybody. Like I said at Dirtfest last year, you guys came out and a bunch of people kinda stood back, but two songs in they were right up against the gate wanting in. So you guys won them over.
Chris: One of those things to do with KISS, is that they were that band with all the makeup and the imagery and they’re still doing that today. They’re larger than life, and when they become those characters they become not just a normal person any more, that’s kinda what we’re trying to do with In This Moment. Instead of everything just being right in everybody’s face, like, ‘we’re gonna put pictures up of us in our underwear and tell everyone what we had for lunch on Twitter,’ we’re trying to create some sort of mystique here, like KISS was, that’s what we’re trying to do, and nobody is really doing that any more. I want these new kids to feel that same feeling, maybe they do, I don’t know.
Toddstar: It’s a good observation, we’ve talked before in person and on the phone, and before you guys put the makeup on - I mean, you guys don’t wear full blown kabuki make up - but even before you put the makeup on the conversation is different with you, you’re getting into that zone.
Chris: Yeah, absolutely. It’s like war paint or something, it’s cool.
Toddstar: Exactly. I know you’re busy, so I got a couple more for you. If you could pick a song, through the history of time, that you wish you’d been a part of, what would it be?
Chris: That’s a good question. There’s a lot of Pantera songs where I’m like, ‘how’d he come up with that riff?!’ [laughs] Oh gosh, any song in history I could have been a part of...I don’t know, Iron Man? There’s a lot of songs out there that I’m like, ‘I wish I woulda written that, you know?”.
Toddstar: Sure. Chris, what’s the meaning of life in this period for you?
Chris: I think the meaning of life for me, is trying to find the good every day, and not thinking about the bad stuff. It’s all about how you look at it. Everyday there’s all these miracles and great things that happen to all of us, but a lot of the time we’re too busy worrying about something stupid happening that’s coming up in a couple of weeks, or something that happened in the past that’s dragging us down, and just focus on things that are happening right now, in this moment - no pun intended [laughs] - and try to enjoy things as they come to you. That’s the meaning of life to me, and I’m just like everyone else, struggling with it too, trying to not focus on the things I don't have, but be happy with things I do have and be grateful.
Toddstar: Very cool. What was the last CD or mp3 you bought?
Chris: I just bought a CD, what did I buy...you’re maybe gonna laugh, I don’t know, but I bought the new Asking Alexandria CD and the new Five Finger Death Punch CD, I’m not sure which one I bought first. I’m trying to support people that I know, and I’m also the kinda guy that’s always trying to stay current with what’s happening, with a new band of my peers, I wanna hear it, I wanna buy it and support them and check out their stuff.
Toddstar: Well we’ll make sure everybody goes out and buys Blood, it’s a killer album and if you guys move in the same direction - which is up - the next one is just going to be a blow up, because you guys have got increasingly better not only with just the music, but the songwriting and the structure itself; you guys really put together a good package with Blood.
Chris: Thank you, man. We’re planning on doing what we did with Blood as we’ve discovered the sound, we’re just gonna take it to the next level. But it’s gonna be this similar thing, but better, and it’s gonna be our epic masterpiece. We’re already working on it now behind the scenes, we feel the pressure, but we’re also very confident and very calm, and clear that we’re gonna make this record the best record of our career. Blood was the one that turned the corner for us, but this one is definitely gonna be the ‘put the flag in the ground’ record, and we know that. We’re gonna make sure it’s amazing.
Toddstar: Other than making sure people get out to the Carnival of Madness, then Hell Pop later in the year and then line up and grab that DVD. Is there anything else you want us to make sure the fans know about?
Chris: Everybody - all fans - make sure you go and request Blood or Whore at your local radio station. It’s our new single that’s coming out, everyone: Whore. And we’re gonna be bringing out a video for Whore in the next two or three months.
Toddstar: If it’s anything like the Blood video, we’re in for a hell of a ride.
Chris: It’s gonna be better [laughs]!
Toddstar: Cool man, I know you’re busy, I’ll give you a few minutes before your next one. I really appreciate your time, Chris, and can’t wait to sit down with you once again.
Chris: Alright brother, I appreciate the talk, thanks so much, man. Always great talking to you, dude. Thanks for supporting us.