Whitechapel’s Zach Householder Talks New Album, Band’s Longevity, Deathcore + More
Whitechapel guitarist Zach Householder was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The axeman discussed the band's new album, Mark of the Blade, the band's evolution and their standing with the deathcore genre, being together for 10 years and more. Check out the chat below.
How ya doin'?
Great, Jackie. Good to hear from you.
The new Whitechapel album is called Mark of the Blade and it's out now. By the way, I got the Whitechapel 'Mark of the Blade' blade and it's awesome.
Oh, the actual blade? That's sick.
It's under my bed.
You gotta somehow hurt them without hurting yourself. Good luck. [laughs]
I think you can hurt someone with it. Practically every review of Mark of the Blade mentions Phil's clean vocals. It was a news item even before the album was released. Did you ever think it'd be such a big deal?
We've always wanted to try because the genre of deathcore is just real strict anyway. We kinda said screw it and always wanted to try. The past two albums it didn't feel right, but the songs and the material were there and it felt good. I mean, I was looking forward to it because I knew it'd be a big deal.
I knew people were going to talk about it and either love or hate it, but it seems to be — of all the songs on that album, those two songs got done the way they did, that's the most important part and they turned out great. Yeah, it should be a big deal. Not saying that in a pompous way, but they are good songs. Just sitting back and listening to them, Phil is killer.
The record shows a noticeable amount of musical diversity. Establishing a precedent to go in any number of different directions with future albums, was that a calculated plan or just a fortunate result?
I think it was very calculated. We're older now, we can't — we can, we just don't want to write the same stuff over and over again. I think we all have such eclectic tastes in music that it was inevitable to happen. Yeah, we're gonna write what we're feeling and vibing on at the time, it just happened to be a lot different. The past three albums have been kinda different. They gradually stepped that way, so it's gonna keep doing that.
Zach, can you tell us what changes most from album to album about the way you Alex and Ben interact as guitarists?
If anything, we've got a pretty good understanding about how we do things. I think, if anything changes from album to album, it's just that we feel each other a lot more because we're around each other all the time. You can kind of read each other. It's less about an ego thing and more about what can anybody else add to the song to make it better?
The idea is to make the song as good as possible and the more heads you have in the pot, and the mix, there will be more possibilities. I think that's what changes the most. Every song's not that super one-sided. This last album, I wrote probably 65 percent of the material, but that doesn't mean things didn't change from the time we were writing until we recorded because everybody had their heads in the mix and it took on form and shape from everybody else being in the mix.
Whitechapel has been around about 10 years now. What expectations for your career came to fruition and what was completely unexpected?
Honestly the longevity of it. I didn't know what to think when we first started or what was going to happen, it was a gamble. We were young and I think being able to make a living off music is a dream come true. Every job has its ups and downs, but the fact that we can make a living — and we're not living like rock stars by any means, but we can function day to day and that's what came to fruition that surprised all of us, I think. Being able to do this as a full time job. I wouldn't have expected that 10 years ago by any means. Very grateful for it.
Tennessee might not be the first place people expect to find a career metal band. What's been the biggest advantage to never relocating somewhere else?
Once you see every nook and cranny of the U.S. and a ton of places overseas, there are few and far between where you'll find places that you really like. Once you're gone from home so much, the advantage of not relocating is coming back to it. This is our roots, we're all raised here and I think relocating just wouldn't be the same.
We have a lot of southern pride. It's kind of like Pantera, they had a lot of Southern pride too. We feel the same vibe. Which is why we represent the state flag — our sawblade symbol is our state flag with our sawblade around it. We have a lot of pride in that and we're not letting go any time soon.
What are your plans beyond the upcoming tour?
We do this tour in the fall with Suicide Silence, and we come back home for about three days and then we go to Europe for about four weeks. We're doing a tour over there, headlining the 'Never Say Die' tour. Then after that we'll be home for the majority of the winter, thank God, because it's been a busy year so far.
Congrats again, thank you for the deadly blade that is under my bed now.
Thanks to Zach Householder for the interview. Pick up your copy of Whitechapel's 'Mark of the Blade' at Amazon or digitally through iTunes. Keep up with the band on tour by following their Facebook page and find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.
Whitechapel Play 'Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?'