The Bloodstock Interviews – Whitechapel Print E-mail
Written by Linzi A   
Friday, 18 August 2017 04:30

Following their stunning early afternoon set on Bloodstock’s main Ronnie James Dio stage, I caught up with Whitechapel guitarist Alex Wade for an impromptu chat (thanks Andy) about their set, the growth of the US festival scene, their desire to tour the Middle East – and fans’ body art!


Whitechapel 7


I started by congratulating them on their set (one of only a handful I actually managed to catch over the weekend, due to being tied to a table in the back stage media tent for most of it):


You guys were incredible, the response you guys got from the crowds was completely intense, what did you guys make of it?


It’s great. It’s our second year playing it. I feel like this year was even better than last time. It’s really cool to see the progression of the festival, and how it has changed.


The interaction from your fans was just crazy!


Yeah, it was awesome. They were out there killing it in the circle pit, and the walls of death. They get up to all sorts of crazy shit, ya know: they have as much fun out there as we do on stage.


Yes, you guys did look like you were having an incredible time up there killing it on stage!


You know it!


You guys were at Chicago Open Air festival as well, how did that go?


It was awesome. You know, i think it is cool that America is kinda taking a note from European style festivals and starting to have festivals like Chicago Open Air, and that was a really great show too.  There are slowly more and more open air festivals appearing now in the States and that’s great to see.


What bands did you catch while you were out there?


I managed to see Meshuggah, which is one of my top three favourite bands; so getting to see them in that environment, hearing that sound and their lighting was amazing. It was awesome to share the stage with them; they put on a spectacular show.



Obviously you guys tour extensively and are used to playing huge festivals: how do you go about keeping yourself grounded while on tour?


[We] just try to relax as much as possible. We go pretty hard for the 40 minutes to an hour that we are on stage, but aside from that we try to keep it pretty chilled. We are against hard drugs. We enjoy some good beers with friends [but] nobody gets pissed drunk or anything: we are quite relaxed. We stay pretty level headed.

Are there any songs that you didn’t play today that you would have liked to have added to the set?


I think it would have been pretty cool to have played some of the older stuff, but we just didn’t have the time to add it into the set with everything else that we wanted to play too. For big open air festivals like this, we tend to go for the more medium to slow-paced songs because we feel like they translate better over the big PAs and stuff.  Sometimes the superfast double bass can kinda get lost in translation over the PA, so we like songs like ‘Eye Dementia’ and ‘Let Me Burn’, which are hard hitting but come across better.


You have been touring all over, from China to Hong Kong to Indonesia: is there anywhere you guys haven’t played yet that you would like to play?


We haven’t played South Africa and we know there is a pretty good fan base out there, so we would like to fly over and play over there. I think Dubai would be a really cool place to play, i know a couple of bands who have played out there.


And maybe the Middle East: I know it might be a little scary out there at the moment but i think it would be cool to play for our fans over there too.


What’s it like being away from home for so long when you’re out on the road?


When I’m at home too long, I miss being out on the road - and when I’m out on the road too long I miss being at home! You just have to find that right balance you know. You have to stay on the road just long enough and you have to stay off the road just long enough. It usually works itself out.


I have noticed recently one of your fans has had this amazing back piece done in tribute to the band to represent their love for the band and the music you play, done by Dane Smith of Foundation Square tattoos. Is there anything you want to say to the fan that went out and had this amazing piece done showing his loyalty to the band? How do you feel when fans go out and get inked with a piece that represents the band?


Whitechapel tattoo 

I think it’s amazing. I never thought the band would get to this point, ya know, and be where we are today, let alone that people would be marking their bodies for us… that’s where our new album, ‘Mark Of The Blade’ sort of comes into play. There is a couple of different symbolic meanings, but when our fans go out and get the saw-blade tattoo inked on them that’s what we call the mark of the blade. I think it’s really cool that so many fans put themselves out there for us.


To the fan that’s had the back piece done – thank you for supporting us, and anyone that’s got a tattoo of us - or anybody that’s bought merch or a ticket for a show - you are the reason we are able to do what we do!.  Without you, without the diehard fans we wouldn’t be a band.


What’s next for the band?


We are going to be finishing up this tour cycle for ‘Mark Of The Blade’, then we will be heading into the studio for a new record probably around April next year. So, hopefully we will have something out for late summer or maybe Fall next year!


Can you give us any juicy little insights as to what we can expect from the next album?


I think it’s going to be classic Whitechapel. With every record that we put out we try and give the fans something new but still stay true to what Whitechapel sounds like. It’s definitely going to be very heavy: people don’t have to worry about us going to light or anything! Our goal is to still be one of the forefront bands for young heavy metal.


We will definitely go out and try some stuff like we did on ‘Bring Me Home’, but it’s not going to be a whole record like that. The majority of it will be heavy.


Who would you like to see at Bloodstock 2018?


I’d do Slipknot, Meshuggah and Cannibal Corpse.


Finally, is there anything you’d like to say directly to your fans and followers?


Thank you for all your support over the years. It’s amazing how we have had support from the UK. From like the second year as a band, we came over here and played some of our first shows: we have such a great standing career with this country… we love coming over here and playing for you guys.


PHOTO CREDIT: Live photo © The Dark Queen/Über Rock. 


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