Love them or hate them, In This Moment are the band everyone is talking about. Oozing sex, theatre and brutal riffs, there is so much to love about this band. We spoke to guitarist and founding member Chris Howorth on the day of their Glasgow show, and chatted about stage shows, singles and sex symbols.
So, its first night of the UK leg of the tour, what’s the feeling?
The feeling is excitement. We didn’t know what to expect from this tour at all and we were thinking “why are we headlining over here”, you know? In the UK and Europe, why are they doing this to us? Our people are telling us, “It’s going to be good, trust us, just do it”. So we did and the first part of it’s been amazing.
Our fans have been there, signing the songs, they know the words to all these new songs and old songs and it’s incredible and we’re hearing a lot of these shows are selling out or close to sold out so we’re just super stoked and super excited and we just can’t wait for it tonight.
We have a lot of fans too from the UK writing us on our social media, expressing excitement that we’re finally coming and we’re headlining the show, so it’s a big deal, we’re stoked.
What can we expect from In This Moment live?
I think you can expect a lot of different stuff that you haven’t seen before over here, because we’re trying to bring everything we do in the States, which we’re not able to really bring it all. Its just so much stuff, but I think it’s going to be something that most people haven’t seen. Judging from the reaction so far on the tour I think everyone will be really happy.
So what inspired the theatrics in the show?
Well, back when we did Blood our band changed before we recorded the album and we just basically had nothing to lose and we decided from that point forward we were going to really focus on not only having great music but also putting on a show. It started out us making our own stuff at home and Maria still has the mic in her hand but she had, you know, a cane in the other hand or a pole.
We didn’t even know what we were doing, same thing with the way we look and dress and everything. Then we just started working on it and building it and building it and building it and by the end of the Blood album it’s like, oh we’ve had a pretty cool show, we did a DVD for it and stuff and then going in to the new album, Black Widow, we really wanted to update it, make it even better, that people who had seen that will see something even better and new. So that’s what we’re seeing now is the Black Widow show. The morphing process from Blood to this.
Blood has been described as a game changing album for In This Moment, so what does that make Black Widow?
It’s weird, it’s almost like we became a new band once we did Blood. That was almost like our first album and this is the sophmore more slumped album or whatever jinxes you can say about it. It’s not like that for us but with success of Blood obviously there’s a lot of pressure put on ourselves, because we left our old label, Century Media, we’d signed with Atlantic Records, no pressure there. Everything needed to be bigger, better and badder from our end and everything that we were doing we wanted to just take it up even more.
So there was a lot of self-adduced pressure but we’re happy with how everything’s going to so far and we’re just getting started with this album cycle and we feel really good about it and we feel really good about this part of it, the UK part of it and the Europe part of it especially because we never really done this right and it feels like it’s happening and we’re doing it right this time.
How are you finding being on a major label?
It’s great, I mean we’re noticing a lot of changes in certain areas and certain things are, you know, like it’s always been. Century Media always gave us a lot of freedom and Atlantic, in turn, is now giving us a lot of freedom too, we’ve heard a lot of stories about how they would try to tell us what to write or what to do. I think they signed us for what they saw we were capable of and they’ve really left us alone, you know, creatively to just do whatever we want to do and it’s been really cool.
Oh that’s fantastic. Something that I read quite recently was about the record industry versus the music business. What’s your view on that?
Well we’ve kind of been in the centre of it, you know, when we started Myspace was all the rage and Myspace really helped us get our deal at the beginning, you know, through working the social media and we’ve been hearing all along records don’t sell, you know, I do see that they are, kind of different game where merch is really important and live shows are really important but if you can get your stuff out there on the radio a little bit and you’re putting on a great show and people are talking about you, they want to buy in to what they’re hearing and what they’re seeing, they want to be a part of it so they’ll go buy the record.
It’s not like it used to be, obviously, people aren’t selling millions of records in the rock world anymore but I don’t think it’s dead. I think it’s just, it’s ever-evolving and changing and bands that are going to stay in it are having to stay current and having to figure it out and just keep working the system, you know and everyone’s coming up with all these new ideas and new ways to do it and we’re just trying to do it too.
What inspires In This Moment, today? Is it still the music you grew up with?
I think we’re inspired by a lot of the old stuff that we used to love, musically, you know, like, I’m inspired by old rock and 80s rock and stuff like that and 80s pop and Maria loves a lot of different kinds of music too, but we want to be cutting edge, we want to do something musically that people haven’t heard and seen, you know, that’s always really important to us but still have it be good. We don’t want to just write crazy stuff just for the sake of it being crazy but not pleasurable to listen to, so we want to try and create a great song but that’s also pushing boundaries and creating something that’s new and original for people, so when they hear it they hear it and they go, “That’s In This Moment”. They don’t go, “Who’s that?”, is that this band or is that this band or is that because all these different bands kind of sound like each other. We want people to identify us right away when they hear us, hopefully they’ll look it up, they’ll see the visual and the pictures and they’ll be interested and want to buy in to what we’re doing and want to be a part of it. That’s our whole kind of philosophy.
Was it intentional to be the complete package?
Yes. From Blood on it was intentional because at the beginning of the career, when we started out, we didn’t know anything, we didn’t know really what our sound was, we just kind of were naturally writing stuff we felt for each album, you know, and it’s just kind of evolved and morphed and then once we were in a position where it was just Maria and I trying to figure out what to do next we just let go of all of our fear and decided let’s just go for it in every way and that’s what we’ve been doing since.
How do feel about Maria being seen as a sex symbol by the world?
My opinion is, and I’m right in the middle of it with her because since the very beginning of the band, when we first signed with Century Media, they have several female fronted bands on there, they had Lacuna Coil, which was really popular at the time. They even asked us, “Is it going to be a problem for you guys, the guys in the band, if Maria gets more attention?”, and you know well said no, it wasn’t a problem and all along I’ve been kind of like, I knew when I first heard Maria sing that she was awesome so I’ve been like a big supporter of trying to get her to be the star that I knew she always was and I knew that every great band has a great front person who brings in the people and they connect with them, you know and every great band needs that.
She’s our singer, you know what I mean, so I’m not worried about any of it, I support her and the sexual side of it. People are putting that on her and on us. They’ve been doing it since the very beginning saying it’s all about her and all about her boobs or whatever, every album, you know what I mean but we’re always in the studio writing music, thinking about the songs, we’re not thinking about that.
Even now that we’ve become more of a visual band we’re still thinking about the show and everything but the music’s first, then the show, and I’ve never heard her say, “I’ve got to come up with something really sexy”. She just does what she does and it looks sexy and it is provocative but it’s meant to challenge people and make people think about it and get in their heads and some people are going to love it some people are going to feel uncomfortable but it’s never like, let’s just be sexual to be sexual.
There have been male rock and metal bands for years and years and years, male and female, and it’s never been as much of an issue as it is now. People weren’t looking at Metallica in the 80s and going “Fucking hell we should make them into sex symbols”.
Yes that’s true and people definitely look at that, you know with male bands, they’re trying to make the certain singer guy the pretty guy look really pretty and all the girls are going to love him, they’re going to want to buy their records and they’re going to scream when he comes in. Maria’s a female version of any of those guys. The label’s not trying to make her do anything, she just does what she does literally, no-one’s telling her what to do, she doesn’t listen if they do. She does whatever she wants to do, as far as what she wears and how she looks and the way we look on stage and videos. You know, that’s all in her head.
So what’s next for you guys?
We really don’t have a lot set yet. We have a tour in the States, when we get home, we’re doing a new video for Sex Metal Barbie, right when we get home and that should be coming out hopefully within the next month or so but we’re doing the tour in April and May of the US, headlining and playing all the big festivals there and then we’re trying to plan out our summer festival situation in America and possibly overseas and then we’re planning a fall tour for the US kind of fall winter tour for over here too.
I mean it’s all just like up in the air just for basic ideas but we’re trying to figure it out. The plan is to just tour Black Widow until we can’t tour it anymore and then make another record.
Are you going to do a two-year tour cycle?
If things explode more, you know like we want them to, it could go on longer. I guess we’ll know at the beginning of next year whether we’re going to be going to the studio in the summer or keep touring through the summer and then do the album next year.
Do you guys write as you go along?
No. We really don’t, we haven’t been thinking about it at all. We usually, once we know we’re going to be doing a record we start thinking about it but the last two albums we’ve done it’s been a very specific process where we don’t really go in with a lot of ideas, you know, preconceived. We just go in there and create the record when we’re in there and it’s been really cool. A cool way to do it for us, you don’t have to like sit there for months and months and months and try to write a whole song and bring it in and then record all the drums, then record all the bass and record all the guitar and then it’s all done. It’s like we’ll start with this one song and this one idea and build it until it’s a song and then move on to another song. It’s cool.
Its interesting because some bands are writing constantly, whereas others just bash it out when they’re in the studio.
Yes a lot of people, like in the past I used to always do that too, like I’d always be thinking about it and trying to write on the tour bus and I hate writing on the road because I feel it distracts from the experience of being on the road. Some bands it’s like it’s just get in a room and it’s like boom it just happens where with us it’s much more of a process of putting it all together. It’s not just a jam session.
So, the site is called Rock Sins so I always ask bands to tell me something sinful in their world of rock.
See it’s a funny question because everyone goes whoa.
Yes I know, I mean it’s funny because we always get asked what’s the craziest thing that’s happened and you can never remember them and stuff happens all the time, it’s a constant adventure being out there but I can’t think of anything sinful. We’re a goody two shoes band.
We’re pretty, we’re pretty good.
No sex and drugs and rock and roll?
Everyone in the band is really focused on the music and the band and the business of making it, doing this. We’re all really committed to it. Same thing with our crew. So like most times when we get on the bus the driver’s like “Wow I can’t believe you guys, you guys aren’t drinking and going crazy”. I mean we all drink every once in a while but most times, no we don’t really get that crazy. I think all that stuff happened in the past.
You’ve grown out of it?
Yes. We’ve grown up a little bit. We’ve been doing it now for…
Almost 10 years, yes.
Are you going to do anything for the 10-year anniversary or are you going to wait till the 20th?
No we’re going to do something for the 10, because that’s really cool to me. I think it’s next year, the anniversary of our first album coming out to me is like the 10-year anniversary.
Fantastic. Thank you for taking the time to talk.
Interview by: Lisa Fox.
You can read Rock Sins’ review of In This Moment’s Glasgow gig right here – it was quite a show! You can also follow In This Moment on Twitter at OfficialITM and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/officialinthismoment.