As the early afternoon sun finally shoos away the seemingly never-ending rain, we collared Whitechapel vocalist Phil Bozeman, for a quick chat ahead of their Dogtooth stage set at Download Festival. Phil seems focused on what’s ahead, but answers all the questions put to him thoughtfully and politely, especially as this interview was meant to be carried out by somebody far more knowledgeable of the band who was sadly unable to carry out their mission. So if you’re reading this Mr Bozeman, apologies for my ignorance, but thank you again for your time…
Welcome back to Download! As one of the heavier bands on the line up, how does it feel being back on a bill this diverse?
Phil: It’s cool man, this is one of the bigger festivals over here in the UK and we are just excited to be a part of it, whether it’s heavy music or not you know?
Have you played quite a few times before?
Phil: Just once in 2010
Phil: Yeah, it’s a privelege to play over here
How do you adapt your set for a show like this? Do you just go balls out or do you try to play slightly more accessible stuff because not everyone’s into that darker stuff?
Phil: We just play the stuff that we want to put out there and if people like it awesome and if they don’t that’s just the way it is. We can’t make everyone like us…
13 years, 7 albums – how would you say Whitechapel 2019 compares to Whitechapel 2006?
Phil: We’re just older and more mature and we’ve seen a lot of things and done a lot of things and we’re at a different point in our career. We just want to do different things and not keep doing the same thing over and over, so we’re just older and trying to progress.
Would you say you’re evolving then with every album?
Phil: Yeah absolutely.
Your latest album The Valley was inspired by some very dark things and a very personal album – how do you feel about how the album has been embraced knowing what went in to making it?
Phil: It’s been great, people received it well and they’ve really taken a liking to it and that’s more than we could ask for. We’re just happy that people can get behind it and enjoy it.
It’s shown a more dynamic side to the band – are you happy to be rid of the Deathcore tag and just be recognised as a great metal band?
Phil: We don’t want to be pigeon holed or anything, but if that’s what people want to call us, that’s what people are going to call us, I could really care less. We just want to stand on our own and do what we do coz we’re not out here for anybody else, we’re out here for us and the people that support us. As far as what we’re pigeon holed into it is what it is, what are we going to do about it?
There’s so many sub-genres of metal, it gets hard to keep track of them all sometimes…
Where do you stand on this? “It’s Metal or Rock or Pop” or do you diversify down a bit?
Phil: It’s very simple for me – as far as all the super sub-genre stuff I just feel like it’s super unnecessary and either like it or don’t you know? There’s a set default kind of genres of music and it’s spiralled out of control…
Next year sees 10th Anniversary of A New Era of Corruption, which many consider to be your breakout album. Will you be doing any special releases or shows to celebrate?
Phil: Not too sure yet, we’re focused on this album right now, as far as that album goes when 2020 gets here we’ll figure it out and see if we’ll do anything for it.
Are you already thinking what’s next for Whitechapel or are you just letting The Valley play out and settle with the fans?
Phil: We’re always prepared for the future, but as of right now we’re just trying to get this album out there and when the time comes worry about the next album.
Do you do any demoing on the road at all?
Phil: Sometimes, but we mainly do all that stuff at home usually.
What is your recording process? Do you come in with a blank slate or do people have like half songs?
Phil: Yeah the guys in the band will write stuff and bring it to the table and we have a dropbox that we all use, but when the time comes to record an album that’s when we’ll really start trying to piece stuff together.
Do you have a preferred studio you like to work in? One close to home or anything?
Phil: Yeah we prefer to be close to home, but if that’s not what it calls for then we do what we have to do. The last couple of albums have been close to home, so that’s been really nice, but we’ll just do what we’re able to do. If we’re able to stay home we will, but if not that’s just how it is.
Hoping to catch anyone else this weekend? I say that, it’s fucking Sunday now…
Phil: Yeah I’d like to see Tool.. and Smashing Pumpkins actually, I’ve not seen them before…
No I haven’t seen Pumpkins before, it’s always nice to come to a festival and see a band you haven’t seen before.
Phil: Yeah exactly.
What’s on the schedule for the rest of the year?
Phil: We’ve got some things we haven’t announced yet – I’m sure we will next month – but we got some stuff to do this Fall (Autumn – RS) and then we’ll get to next year after that.
Cool thanks for your time and have a great set.
Phil: Appreciate it, thank you.
Whitechapel’s current album ‘The Valley’ is available now via Metal Blade Records