Wovenwar’s Nick Hipa Talks ‘Honor Is Dead’ Album, Touring With Soilwork + More
Wovenwar will return later this month with an aggressive new album titled Honor Is Dead. Now one album removed from the decision to form Wovenwar with singer Shane Blay and members of the metal band As I Lay Dying, the group has had the opportunity to forge their own identity a bit more. We spoke with guitarist Nick Hipa at the Ozzfest Meets Knotfest festival and he gave us some insight into the direction of their Honor Is Dead disc, spoke about the band's dates with their old friends in Soilwork and more. Check out the chat below.
First of all, congrats! I know you just finished your second album, Honor Is Dead. Can you take me into the process and what you wanted to do for this sophomore set?
Thank you. I think all we want to do with every record is to just really communicate what is going on with us, get those riffs out that really capture the feeling and the vibe and the dynamic and the current that is consistent with us all. With this album, we knew that it was going to be a lot more aggressive and a little bit more intense. I think musically and lyrically there was just a lot of weight that we wanted to get off of ourselves. I think that comes off just in the form of aggression and I think we captured that. Everybody contributed and lent their talents to something that all seems to be pretty congruent. So think we achieved what we always want to achieve, which is really representing ourselves and capturing who we are and what we have to offer. So yeah, I'm proud of it.
I know with the first album, there was the pressure of trying to establish an identity outside of As I Lay Dying. With this being the second album and having gotten whatever expectations came from As I Lay Dying out of the way, was there a lot less pressure this time around or more pressure just because you could open it up?
Maybe there was a little bit more pressure. I think maybe we put more pressure on ourselves. I mean, we pay attention to feedback and a lot of people just criticized us a lot. But we didn't write a record to cater to the criticism. We wanted to write a record that was a true response to it. We were a little bit pissed off that so many people in the wake of us releasing an album and all the personal things that were going on in our lives and unfolding, to see the way that those were being criticized or commented on, it was something that was hard not to acknowledge. So for us, it was like with this record we need to learn how to address those things and get out what we want to say and communicate artfully and creatively. And I think that's part of why this record is a lot darker, and a little bit more aggressive.
The first record was extremely positive, always had an optimistic resolve, because we were in the very beginning stages of a huge transition in our lives. Sometimes when you go through something that kind of upends your world, it was like man I don't know how to deal with this, but everything happens for a reason and everything is gonna be great so let's just be positive and all this stuff, but you hold onto that because that's the only way your mind can get through it. But you do that and you never give yourself the opportunity to be angry or upset or sad. So I think if we didn't exercise that part of ourselves, it would have never been a full emotional balance for the band or for us as individuals. So that's a big part of why this new record sounds different. There's a consistency between the two because it's the same guys, but there's a different vibe for sure and I think the two compliment each other.
And I've seen the quote that this is viewed as a more honest and open album. Would you agree with that assessment? Was there more of a soul bared on this disc?
Totally, that goes back to what I was saying about when you convince yourself to be positive, you think to yourself this isn't that bad. Everything's great. We're just going to keep our course and in the end everything will have made sense. But with this record, we had never really let out the part of us that just wanted to scream or just wanted to be angry or truly be aggressive with how complex this stuff is that we're holding onto inside. So yes, it is a lot more honest because you're being real with yourself. We're positive people in general, but we've got songs that are just us getting out what we've kept in.
Off the new record, as a player, is there a song off the album that is your favorite to play and can you tell me a little bit about why it stands out?
That's really hard. I would say the title track "Honor Is Dead" is one of my favorite songs to play, although as a player, it's really not anything intricate. I think it's fairly entry level in terms of how technical it is, but I feel like there's a lot to it creative and songwriting-wise. It varies in time signatures, a lot of it is in seven. But there are things that I think when someone listens to it they may think oh this isn't hard, but our bass player Josh wrote most of that song and it comes from just a good structural place. There's just so much weight to it. There's a lot of restraint and there's a lot of like vibe there and lyrically I think it's just such a sick song. That's one of those I like playing because you don't have to think, 'Oh what am I doing? Oh, I have to play this tight.' Dude, I'm just going to vibe out on this song and enjoy playing a part to what is a cohesive wall of music.
You've got dates with Soilwork. Can you talk about your history with the band?
We toured with Soilwork back in 2005 and Black Sabbath. That Ozzfest was so sick and we did off dates with Killswitch and Soilwork so that was rad. A lot of the guys are different in the band now, but they're still so sick. All the records they put out are awesome. Dirk [Verbeuren] just left to do Megadeth, which is a bummer, but Bjorn [Strid]'s voice is … it's awesome to see how they've evolved their sound along the years. The first couple of records, it was like everything, but a lot of it was Peter's riffs. And you're thinking these riffs are so sick, but now the songwriting and Bjorn's voice has always been awesome, but now they're crafting their songs around his talent and I love it. This venue that we own, Brick By Brick, they've played it a couple of times in the past year and we see them and it's great to get back on the road with them.
What does the rest of the year hold for Wovenwar?
We've got the record coming out on Oct. 21, and then we have the Fury tour with Soilwork, Unearth, Battlecross and Darkness Divided. And that's going to be from early-mid-October until November. And then we have a couple of shows lined up for the end of the year and then after that more touring through fall, winter, spring and summer.
Many thanks to Wovenwar's Nick Hipa for the interview. Look for the 'Honor Is Dead' album arriving Oct. 21 via Metal Blade Records. You can pre-order the disc via Amazon and iTunes. And look for Wovenwar on tour at these locations.