Niclas Müller-Hansen of Sweden's Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Ivan Moody of Las Vegas metallers FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metalshrine: What was it that made you come into this creative flow that resulted in two albums ["The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1" and "The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 2"]?
Ivan: At first, it was really difficult for me to get into the studio. We had just gotten off the road and I had a lot of rust on me and anybody who knows me knows that I do not like to be in the studio. They guys were in there for about the first two months and they threw together like 17 or 18 tracks and then they started throwing them at me and I'm just going, "Man, this is overwhelming!" I dug in and ripped my chest open and let the monster out and I just started writing. Piece by piece, it started coming out, and by the time I was done, six months later, we had 27 tracks. We were all sitting at the table discussing how we wanted to go about this and if we were gonna shelf some of them, but the reality of it was that they were all amazing to us. We didn't wanna make it so that two years from now, we release these tracks. They were special to us so it just seemed more realistic to make two albums and it came out fantastic, man. We're really enthusiastic to get it out to the world. Not to mention the guest vocalists on the first album. It's gonna be an experience, for sure.
Metalshrine: Did you discuss releasing it as a double disc or was the idea from the beginning to have them released separately?
Ivan: We were gonna do a double disc at first, but with money being tight these days and being the season that it was in, we just thought it was more realistic to digest the first one instead of force feeding it to them and give them a chance to sink their teeth into the second one later on in the year. Overall, I think it's a better idea. Don't get me wrong, though, we were really looking forward to having it like a double disc, but in the long run, this just seems like a better idea.
Metalshrine: Did you really feel that all the songs had what it takes?
Ivan: It's a catalog in itself, bro. I'm just so impressed with it and they guys were, too. I really truly think this is our best material ever, and there wasn't one throwaway track and that was the benefit of it all. If there was a couple of them, we probably would have shelved them or whatever, but we put our hearts and souls into this one and I think it's gonna show.
Metalshrine: Releasing albums these days when record sales are down the drain, do you ever kinda wish that it was 1990 again, when bands were still selling a lot of records? It's gotta be difficult these days?
Ivan: I'd say yes, if we didn't have the fanbase we have. Our fans are militant, man. They're probably the best in my book, ever. They stick by our side through thick and thin and they still purchase albums. It really hasn't had that affect on us. I see what you're saying, and don't get me wrong, I'd love to sell two or three million albums.
Metalshrine: Do you write stuff that is not for FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH?
Ivan: Most definitely. I'm actually going to do a side project after this next album cycle. I've already got a few guys on the line that I'm really proud to say I'm gonna work alongside with. I talked to the guys (in the band) and after doing five records like this, it's time to take a little bit of space from each other and that way, when we come back to do the next album, it'll be fresh to us again. I'm definitely looking forward to do this side project.
Metalshrine: How do you stay sane on the road? You're on a bus and wake up in a new town every other day, you do a show and then it's the same thing all over again.
Ivan: Well, first off, to answer that I would have to be sane and obviously I gave that up when I decided to become a vocalist. [laughs] We've been doing this for a while now, and I think the hardest part is the family and friends we constantly have to leave behind. I myself have kids and that's the hardest thing for me. Other than that, I live and die for that experience and I've worked my whole life for it.
Metalshrine: What made you end up in Vegas?
Ivan: I got tired of commuting from Denver. [laughs] The guys all lived in Vegas, so every time we had to do something, or we had somewhere to go, you're talking about a three-hour flight just to get out there, spend three or four days in pre-production and then fly back. It just got a little bit too chaotic, so to me, it seemed like a no brainer being closer to my boys. That, and that there's no state tax. [laughs]
Metalshrine: I recently read an interview with you where you said you consider yourself a bit of a recluse and still you're the frontman. How does that work?
Ivan: Well, I figured being the frontman, you're exposing everything about yourself to the world, so they get enough of me when I'm up there and when I'm on the road. When I'm at home, I shut off, turn the switch off and spend as much time as I can with my kids and I stick to what I know. Not to mention that I TiVo a whole bunch of television shows, so I can catch up.
Read the entire interview from Metalshrine.