Five Finger Death Punch’s Jeremy Spencer Talks ‘Volume 2,’ ShipRocked 2014 + More
After wrapping up their North American fall headlining trek with Escape the Fate, Miss May I and Gemini Syndrome, Five Finger Death Punch are taking Europe by storm with Avenged Sevenfold. With two albums being released and endless touring, 2013 has been a big year for Five Finger Death Punch.
During 5FDP's sold-out show in New York City, we caught up with drummer Jeremy Spencer, who spoke all about recording ‘The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 2’ (due out Nov. 19), as well as '‘Battle Born,' the lead single off the disc. Spencer also shared his enthusiasm about ShipRocked 2014 and much more.
How has this whole process of releasing two albums in one year been for you?
We’ve never done this before so it’s new territory for all of us involved. We’ve been doing a lot of press, we went to Europe and did two press tours over there and we’re going back there to tour with Avenged Sevenfold. It’s been great, debuting at No. 2 [with 'Volume 1'] was awesome. For hard rock and metal, I think we did fairly well and we’re hoping to repeat that with ‘Volume 2,’ all signs are pointing towards duplicating that. All the fans are hungry, they really liked ‘Volume 1.’
Basically after spending nine months in the studio, making these records we were really excited to get back out and start touring again and not think about recording because that gets tedious. It’s fun but after a while I want that instant exchange with fans so now we’re doing that and it’s been great. We’re enjoying every second of it.
I am excited to release ‘Volume 2’ just because you work so hard on it and you just want to share it so badly. I’m tired of worrying about it leaking before it comes out! [Laughs] That’s a whole other thing, too. We’ve got somebody on guard looking for torrents and we sniper them down, which is nice. It’s tough to sell records these days but we’re certainly grateful that people are buying them.
You guys are spoiling your fans! Usually, the wait is two or three years for a new album but it’s cool that you guys are full of material and are just putting it out there.
I think the attention spans are getting shorter and shorter these days and I think with everything being instantly available, if you don’t stay present then you’re going to be forgotten. We certainly don’t want that and it’s not like we’re forcing stuff out, it’s coming out naturally. We’re riding the wave and enjoying creating and I think as long as there’s an audience who wants to hear our music then we should keep going. I remember when I was growing up and Kiss released two albums a year and I love that because you’d be excited by it.
So how was recording ‘Volume 2’?
It was the most fun I’ve had in the studio. We pretty much were in the studio everyday for almost 10 months but it just became this mission. Things were just flowing creatively and when we got up to 25 songs and we were like “Wow that happened, now we need to decide which ones make the record.” We didn’t really want to take any of them off because we thought they fit really well together. It’s a well rounded piece of work overall so we just decided to release two records.
I had a great time recording the record, I was involved pretty much from A to Z. I was in there with Ivan [Moody] doing vocals and lyrics. Our producer Kevin Churko’s a drummer so that’s really fun for me because we can bounce ideas off of each other. He pushes me in directions I wouldn’t necessarily go and some really cool stuff came out of it. I enjoyed the whole process this time and usually that’s rare, there’s a part where I go “Enough!” but this time I dug it. It was great.
What about who you are as a drummer and person overall can we hear on the new discs?
I think each record is a snap shot in time in where you are – musically, mentally, in your life. This time, it’s more experimentation. I certainly pushed myself to do things I had never done. I wanted to try different things but I always play for the song first, that’s the most important thing. My needs are secondary, I want to enhance all the hooks in the song and make it as strong as possible and then if I can get some additional stimulation by doing some cool chops then I’ll do that if it’s required and that’s always fun. I always push myself and do things and do different things on records each time. I’m proud of where I’m at right now and I’m excited to see where we’ll go in the future.
Talk about the lead 'Volume 2' single ‘Battle Born’ and what it means to you?
It makes sense, we’re on the road a lot and it’s an homage to the fans about not knowing where you’re going. You only know where you been and you see so many people and you get to shake their hands, you’re away from your family and the fans are our only family out here. We’re just road dogs, we’re gone all the time. The song’s getting a great reaction from radio and the fans are diggin’ it. I think it’s a strong way to introduce that record, so far so good.
Being in the band from the start, what can you tell us about 5FDP’s evolution over the years?
You get to know each other as people. When we started out, we didn’t really know each other at all. I met Zoltan [Bathory] through an ad on MusicConnection.com, that’s how this started. He had seen Ivan in his previous band and we had a different singer that wasn’t working out so when it came time to find the guy who was going to be our singer he thought of Ivan. We were waiting on Ivan to come from Denver to L.A. to audition and he came and just killed it so we held him hostage, canceled his plane ticket and put him in the studio. [Laughs]
I’ve seen lineup changes, I’ve seen us go from playing 17 people to 90,000. We’ve grown as musicians, we’ve grown as songwriters, we’ve grown as friends. You learn a lot about someone when you’re riding around on a bus with them all over the planet, good and bad. It’s part of being a family. A lot of people, at the end of their work shift, they get to go home and be away from their co-workers. We get to be in a bus together and listen to them chomp their cereal too loud and change the TV when you’re watching something or their shoes smell; you’re just dealing with life.
It’s all been a process that’s led us to where we are now which is three gold records -- our fourth is on the way to gold. We’re playing sold out shows, it’s bigger than it’s ever been. We’re still on the upwards trend which is great and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon. We’re enjoying it and until we don’t enjoy it we’re going to keep going.
You guys are gearing up to headline ShipRocked 2014. Last year was damn fun.
We had a great time last time. This time I don’t think we play on the boat, I think we play off the boat somewhere at least that’s what I’m told. It was so much fun last year, we didn’t know what to expect. We'd never done it. It was a little weird with the sea sickness and stuff, but it was fun. You get to interact with the die-hard fans and you get to know them and anytime you get to play it’s always great and that’s different. We’ve done so many of the other normal shows and that was different for us.
Well with all of the touring you have before ShipRocked, what is one thing you must bring on tour with you? No electronics.
I bring some workout equipment. We try to take care of ourselves. As weird as this is, I’ve started to get into yoga and playing double bass, it’s been helping me. Getting older and playing intense double bass for longer sets, all the time, it starts to catch up with you.