Jamey Jasta was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show, dropping by to chat up the Milwaukee Metalfest festival that he's helping to put on in May and revealing a tentative timeline for new music from Hatebreed.

The musician-turned-festival producer talks about the biggest challenges he faces putting on a festival in today's climate, shares what he most loves from the festival experience and comments on what he's able to pull off in year two that he wasn't able to do last year and where he wants to put the spotlight for this year's festival.

In addition, Jasta played a roll in uniting his onetime bandmates the Bellmore brothers with former Every Time I Die singer Keith Buckley in the new band Many Eyes, and he shares his joy at seeing the new band form and now releasing new music.

Jamey also speaks with Jackie about what he looks for in musical collaborations, gives us an update on Hatebreed's current status and shares his thoughts on the state of heavy music at the end of 2023 with a few picks for his favorites of the past year.

There's plenty to digest, so check out the full interview below:

On the show with us this week, I am so excited to say we've got the man, the myth, the legend, Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta. Jamey, I love having you as a part of my show every single week. Thank you for doing the weekly "Pick From the Pit." They're always awesome. I love having it and I'm just so appreciative and love having you part of the show for this many years. It's been so many years now.

My pleasure, thank you for the opportunity. I love when the bands hit me up and they're so excited to hear their music on the radio. There is no better feeling than that. Especially when it's the younger bands. But even us established bands, when we're driving in our car or we put it on the app on our phone, or on the computer, it's amazing to hear yourself whether it's a new song or an old song. I still get excited.

I was recently talking about the announcement from the Milwaukee Metal Fest and it was so cool to see a previous weekly Pick From the Pit alumni in there and some new ones like Amerikan Overdose and Eyes of the Living and Bleed From Within who absolutely crushed it on the Lamb of God Cruise with us and we're getting such a great reaction.

I do want to do some work when it comes to building the next headliners and the next Lamb of God and Machine Heads and Testaments and Judas Priests, and those bands and I think that's what your show does. It helps build the headliners of tomorrow and I'm just so appreciative.

Jamey, of course, one of the biggest things in your world at present is being a driving force behind the Milwaukee Metal Fest's return. Having been someone who's played his fair share of music festivals, what are the biggest challenges you face putting on an event like this, especially in the current touring climate?

I think the biggest challenge is the visas and just the work permits for the overseas artists. That was one of the criticisms that I felt was constructive and reasonable that we received last year. It was something that we addressed first and foremost this year getting ahead of the game with bands like Marduk and Destruction and some members from In Flames are still based in Europe, but also a bunch of the other bands on the bill are as well. That was a challenge.

Then, of course, you know, Chicago fans are very passionate, and we love our Chicago fans and sometimes they don't want to drive to Milwaukee. Sometimes they do. Chicago is very much like L.A. and New York in a sense when tours make a point to stop there on a Friday or Saturday night and we've unfortunately lost a lot of bands to those Chicago promoters and their radius clauses, but at the same time we gained a bunch of bands. So, I'm hoping it kind of balances itself out.

We're getting a great response from some of the power metal bands like Blind Guardian and Eternal Champion but then also those classic Milwaukee Metal Fest type bands such as Possessed and Deicide and Incantation. People are really excited to see them too.

So, we're going to have a nice mix of pretty much every sub-genre and we're also going to have those things that I want to see at a festival like clean bathrooms. I know we're on the radio but you know when you gotta go and I think the ladies deal with even more filthy bathrooms than the guys because I try to use the ladies bathroom when I go in early to a club because you usually think it's gonna be cleaner but then you see it and you're like, "Oh my god."

That was one compliment I loved from last year's festival. It's like, “I went into the festival at eight o'clock at night and the bathrooms are still spotless.” I've never seen that before because the whole staff was amazing and everything ran on time. I think the only band that went over on time was Corrosion of Conformity- shout out to COC, no disrespect. I love you Pepper [Keenan] but you know, but what am I going to do? Am I gonna go up there and be like, “Hey Pepper, wrap it up.”

Milwaukee Metalfest
Milwaukee Metalfest

For years you played rock and metal festivals. I wanted to ask about what makes the festival experience so special for you and if you have a favorite festival moment that you've experienced more as a music fan than as a performer?

My favorite festival moment is when I hear that riff or that song that I didn't hear from that band's catalog, that I go, "Wow, I already liked this band or even if I didn't like the band prior, but I'm giving them a shot." I love when it clicks. Anybody who's a concert goer, or anybody who goes to shows, they know that feeling when it clicks in and the room is vibing off of a song or a riff. You know you're gonna go and you're gonna listen to it on the way home and we had so many of those moments during last year's festival and that was like something I had said, leading up to the fest.

This is what you get when you go to Europe. You might not think you you're into black metal with the guys wearing corpse paint or you might not think you're into soaring viking metal or pagan metal or grindcore, and then you see a band absolutely crushing it and the audience going wild and that's not something an algorithm can tell you. That's not something, an advertisement that's based on your viewing habits can tell you. That's something that's legit and it's totally organic and authentic, and there's no better feeling.

Some of the bands that really really destroyed were Frozen Soul and Undeath. Macabre are a great local band that went on to do international touring. World renowned death metal band Jungle Rot actually put out one of their first albums on my old death metal label, they completely destroyed the place and it was a source of pride. Also seeing that new generation coming up with all those great bands — Sanguisugabogg and that generation of bands too. It’s just great.

Jamey, how great is it to see the Bellmore brothers be part of Keith Buckley's path forward after Every Time I Die? While you might think that could be a great pairing in theory, now that there's some music, what are your thoughts on how Many Eyes is coming together as a band?

It's amazing to see. I'm so happy for them. I really, really had a hard time keeping it a secret for so long and it was eating away at me and people were asking like, "Are you going to do another Dee Snider record? Are you gonna do another Corpesgrinder record?" And we are doing another Corpsegrinder record. We actually finished it and it is going to happen and they and they totally killed it. But in that other downtime, people were wondering what they were up to and we had to keep everything under wraps.

I was just listening to the material every day going, "Wow, this is so incredible to hear." Not only one of my favorite vocalists of all time, getting this new beginning, but then two deserving guys who are so hard working, so creative and so talented. Not that they didn't get the other amazing opportunities. They were playing on Tim "Ripper" Owens album, doing the Jasta albums with me and doing the Kingdom of Sorrow records, Dee Snider and Corpsegrinder... but this is really a great fit for them. They grew up listening to Every Time I Die and really loved those bands from that type of scene — Converge and Botch and Candiria, [all of that] stuff that leans a little more progressive but still hardcore. Punk rock still has that metal element and they just knocked it out of the park.

I can't wait for everybody to hear the full length. It's so eclectic, incorporating all different sort of heavy subgenres with melody and with brutality. I know every band says that and every producer says that but being able to executive produce this, kind of from afar, was also a nice break for me and they really took the reins and they did the majority of the heavy lifting and absolutely crushed it.

Many Eyes, "Future Proof"

Jamey, with a year of festival producing under your belt, I've noticed you speaking about adding more types of metal and other surprise elements that you couldn't pull off last time around with Milwaukee Metalfest. One of the great things of running a festival is having a hand in where you put the spotlight and there's so many subgenres of metal. But what are you excited to put more of a spotlight on with this 2024 festival?

I'm just excited to have more black metal and power metal as a whole just because the bands weren't available, or they were already booked in Chicago or other festivals in that midwest area. So, if everyone wanted Blind Guardian last year, it wasn't going to be possible. When this presented itself, it was just a no brainer. Absolutely.

I don't care if you're into the toughest, nastiest, ugliest death metal or hardcore, you've got to love and appreciate some power metal whether it's Kamelot, Symphony X, who lean more progressive... Blind Guardian, Eternal Champion — that's a great gateway group for people who might not think they're into power metal. They'll listen to Eternal Champion and they go, “What have I been missing my whole life?"

Then we've got bands like Visigoth who obviously have been doing their thing on Metal Blade and a great band Night Demon who we had an incredible amount of requests for last year. We just couldn't make it happen. I think they were out on tour at that time and it was a scheduling conflict so what the beauty of metal is that it blends and there's bridges from one band to another. You can have Metal Church. You can have Possessed. You can have Heathen. You can have Destruction because there are people who like thrash, who also like power metal and people who like thrash that like death metal and vice versa.

So, it's trying to add a little something more for everybody and at the same time expose a different audience to a band that they don't know that is gonna be their new favorite band.

Jamey, you recently turned up on a new song from Spanish thrash metallers Angelus Apatrida. What are you looking for when you're approached for collaborations and what attracted you to work on their song "Snob"?

I'm always looking for a way to connect. That's really what it's all about and I think when you connect across the globe, it just has more of an impact.

I always saw their shirts every time even going to way back in the day. I always saw their shirts when we toured in Spain and I know it's tough for bands, especially in Spain, Italy, Portugal. It's not always easy to get into the U.S. market or the major markets in Europe and the U.K. But they're one of those bands that just toughed it out in the underground for years and years and they were on Roadrunner in Spain and in Europe, and just kept toughing it out and now they're doing some of the biggest thrash tours with Sacred Reich and with Kreator and with so many of other legendary bands and it's really great to see.

They've exposed my voice and me to an entire Spanish audience that has no clue who I am and that was something that I learned back in the day, going out with Sepultura opening up for them and going with Danzig, going with Entombed and being the opening band where maybe you don't draw the biggest crowd in one of these off the beaten path cities in America but then you go to Sweden, like we did with Sepultura and there was 2000 people there. Or you go to New York City with Entombed and the show was sold out with us being a different style of band from those bands. It always made me want to collaborate with other heavy bands but not just heavy bands that are in hardcore or metalcore or death metal.

Angelus Apatrida Featuring Jamey Pasta, "Snob"

Jamey the last few years saw you revisiting Perseverance and The Rise of Brutality for their 20-year anniversaries. It's been a few years now since the last Hatebreed album. What does the future hold for Hatebreed?

We're writing right now and it's exciting because I feel inspired again. I think going through what the country went through and having a record come out during the middle of that was a massive buzzkill and it was hard to see something you work on just not getting the push that it needed to get.

I'm not placing the blame on anybody. It just was what it was and I thought I don't know if I could get back on that horse so soon. I really have to see what ideas come and see what sort of creative process I can get into and I think just getting off this "Rise of Brutality" tour and getting home and getting situated and being in a new place and just feeling like I had a new lease, which I actually do. I'm not leasing, I have a new mortgage, but I was just like, "Wow, I gotta get back on," and I think if you just do a little bit each day it starts to calm even if you don't feel 100 percent inspired and motivated.

You've just got to pick up the guitar every day, pick up the pad every day. Sometimes it's not an actual pad, sometimes I'll just have a riff into my phone or I'll just write down some words that I want to make musical and that's the spark — you take a line that you think is a cool line and just start to make it musical.

I know we don't do a ton of melody with Hatebreed but since I write a lot of melodic stuff for other artists, I'll just take the cadence and that not necessarily the minute melody and next thing you know I have a riff that fits with it and I have a little drum program that I can use to demo the riff and we're off to the races. So, I'll get with Chris [Beattie] and Wayne [Lozniak] at some point and they'll send me some riffs too, and we'll start collaborating and putting all the ideas together so I'm hoping for those that maybe by the end of 2024, we'll have something new out.

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You're a longtime champion of metal and while I saw you recently being critical of those wordy year-end lists I'm going to ask you for your thoughts on the state of metal now and for a few bands and albums you feel every metalhead needs to pay attention to.

The state of metal and all heavy music subgenres of hardcore and heavy metal and punk rock and classic metal is amazing right now. I think it's in a great place. I love hearing the classic bands doing better material than they've ever done. I think Overkill has one of the best album openers of the year on Scorched. It's such a memorable guitar riff and then the lyrics are so killer. Bobby Blitz, who's going to be coming out and jamming with me at the Milwaukee Metal Fest pre-party, he's just got that signature snarl and such a great voice that really is so distinct and just one of a kind. That was one of my favorites of the year.

Overkill, "Scorched"

But then you listen to like the new Saxon [Hell, Fire and Damnation] and that just came out it's incredible and then all the new bands whether it's Orbit Culture, who are making big waves right now, Bleed From Within, Sylosis are really doing the thing right now.

I love the standard tuning and I love the intricate and creative riffs but also in the underground with the death metal bands like Undeath, Stabbing, Tribal Gaze, Frozen Soul and 200 Stab Wounds.

It's exciting for me because I grew up trying to mend meld all those scenes together and Scott Ian kind of gave us our due in the Get Thrashed documentary talking about how we used to play with the thrash bands, but also play with the death metal bands and also play with the hardcore bands.

When we started doing that, and headlining our own shows at L’Amour, and Roseland and all the various clubs around the tri-state area, it really felt like we had done something special to open people's minds and create something that was going to be unified and be long term where everybody felt like they could go to the show and be welcomed and have a good time.

So, when I hear these new records and I hear that spirit when they're melding the sounds, it's amazing to me because I am the guy that will go to a show and be like yeah, I want to see All Out War and I want to see Internal Bleeding but then I want to see Revocation. I want to see Sylosis, and I want to see Havoc and Toxic Holocaust.

So, I just love that all the bands that are currently doing it that are new, are coming up and getting a great young audience and then winning some of us old heads over as well and then all the ones that kick down the doors for us like the Saxons and the Overkills are still putting out great material too.

Milwaukee Metal Fest is back. It's happening in May. Go to Milwaukeemetalfestival.com. Super excited about this killer lineup. I wish you the best of luck and I can't wait for the Milwaukee Metal Fest to happen. Thank you, Jamey, for everything.

Thank you so much Jackie. Always great talking to you and listening to you. You have lifetime guestlist privileges. We'll lay out the red carpet, balcony, side stage, whatever you want. Please, be our guest. You'll really be amazed at how well The Rave and the sound talent in our team runs everything. Not just how clean the bathrooms are!.

I was just going to say you had me at the clean ladies bathrooms.

All of it, the good catering, everything runs on time. We even ended kind of early which people liked because then we started a little bit later because then you can have some drinks at the bar and maybe you stay out at the hotel bar and you meet some of the bands which a lot of people were psyched to do.

Of course, everybody wants to go see the Dahmer room or hear about the crazy stories from back in the day at the Ambassador Hotel but there's just such a great history there and you're part of that history. Full Metal Jackie listeners know this. Be our guest if you would and thank you so much for everything all you do for heavy music.

Thanks to Hatebreed's Jamey Pasta for the interview, and keep up to date on the lineup reveal and ticketing for the 2024 Milwaukee Metal Fest here. You can also keep up on all things Hatebreed through their website, Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify accounts. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.

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