When the rest of his band were ready for some down time off tour, Hatebreed guitarist Wayne Lozinak was always the member who could be found at his local dive, catching a cover band. Without either tours or local shows to quell his appetite for music, the year has been excruciating, to say the least.
“Music is my life,” Lozinak told American Songwriter. “Even when I’m not on tour, I’m the guy who goes to shows. I’ll even go to the bar and watch local cover bands. Some of my band members are like ‘you just got off tour don’t you want to relax?’ and I say, ‘no I just love music,’ so this year has been horrible for me.”
Off the road since 2019 with their spring 2020 tour cancelled, Lozinak has one thing to look forward to- Hatebreed’s forthcoming record, Weight of the False Self and the most recent installation in a line of Hatebreed albums preaching perseverance and empowerment.
Title track, “Weight of The False Self” is reminiscent of early hits like 2009’s “Live for This” with chanted choruses and uplifting lyrics that reflect a constant style attributed to vocalist Jamey Jasta. But like Jasta, even Lozinak sees the need for such words now. But most of all the feedback form their diehard fans on the empowering is what keeps the pattern going.
“The lyrics are all Jamey,” Lozinak said. “But for us it’s important because there’s so much negativity in the world that we want to bring something positive. And we see the feedback from the fans whether it’s comments online or at meet-and-greets when they say ‘this song got me through tough times.’ Seeing and hearing that makes us want to keep doing it.”
“’Weight of the False of Self’ was the first single,” he continued. “And it was one where we wanted to push that positive message during the craziness going on in this country. I’ve never seen this country this divided. And this song is trying to uplift everyone. It’s about seeing the world and about making the changes yourself.”
Along with the title track and others is “Instinctive (Slaughterlust)” an entirely new term made up by Jasta that expands on the aggressive presentation of Hatebreed. While the deep-dive into “A Stroke of Red,” tackles the gruesome ideas of inflicting violence on yourself and others and how to cope with such thoughts in a somewhat healthy way.
“It’s an eye for an eye,” Jasta said about ‘A Stroke of Red.’ “But that leaves everyone blind. Once you go down that dark, violent path, there is no turning back. This song is a dark canvas; leaving my body to exact terrible things on a different plane, and coming back to myself in order to learn from it so that you don’t ever give in to that dark, carnal desire.”
Hatebreed’s revealing and human lyrics explain the band’s longevity and radically, loyal fanbase. Hatebreed speaks to the primal nature in everyone, while showing immense vulnerability that is cloaked by the heaviness of the music. And it’s all to help people. The heavy, aggressive riffs leveled out with choruses of shouted encouragement is from a place of compassion. It’s about teaching people new ways to adapt to life’s burdens. And for Hatebreed and many others music is the only coping mechanism they know.
“Seen or unseen, everyone is carrying a burden,” Jasta said. “The music we love helps us bear the weight.”
With a defined vision for lyrics and music, Hatebreed could only go to one producer for the record. Chris ‘Zeuss’ Harris, has not only worked on many Hatebreed albums but also with Rob Zombie, Queensryche, Whitechapel, Suicide Silence and many more. Zeuss knows Hatebreed’s sound inside and out. And over 20 years he has formed an unbreakable bond with the band, especially Lozinak. The two can often be caught enjoying a few beers together after sessions at the local pub.
“We’ve known him for over 20 years, he has done the past few albums and it’s comfortable in the studio with him,” Lozinak said. “He knows what sounds good and what doesn’t. And he’ll tell us ‘ehh you got to change that or play that better.’ So, we always trust him to be honest with us. And we’re friends. After the studio we go to the bar and have some beers so it’s a good vibe.”
A band with a list of different strengths that are not always necessarily translated equally, Zeuss has become a uniting powerhouse for the group. Jasta a prime lyricist writes and tracks his vocals after the band has tracked all their parts. While not a guitarist, Jasta still writes most of the music. the way it comes together is built on sheer band telepathy. And Zeuss’ familiarity with the band’s sound Zeus is the component bringing each piece together under the Hatebreed banner.
“Jamey writes a lot of the music,” Lozinak said. “We write in the studio and everyone has riff ideas and in pre-pro. In the old days we’d just go jam. Now working with Zeuss, who knows us so well, we can get together and put our riffs together. Jamey might show his ideas. He can play but he’s not a guitarist so sometimes he’ll hum stuff and I can play it back. So, the process of writing and the outcome is pretty amazing at how it comes together.”
A disjointed process perhaps but Hatebreed is a touring band. Their music is meant to be played live and that has always been the focus of the band. They make records, so they can play them to massive crows all over the world and spread their undying message of perseverance and change.
“Touring is how we survive,” Loziank said. Which can be taken metaphorically as well as financially.
For Lozinak especially, the road and playing live is his lifeline. It keeps him going through the relentless chaos of life. Now with touring set aside, Lozinak is kept going by the memories of the last show he saw before the world shut down, a Queensryche show in Connecticut in February. Maybe the piercing echoes of Geoff Tate singing “Jet City Woman,” and “Surgical Strike,” paired with the hopes for a tentatively scheduled Hatebreed tour with Parkway Drive in Europe next year will be enough to tide Lozinak over. But he has no reservations about the uncertainty of it all.
“We have a scheduled tour for March with Parkway Drive in Europe. I think it’s more of a placeholder if things magically open up,” he explained. “Because it doesn’t seem like much has changed since the pandemic started. Except for limited capacity. We can’t do a show like that. Our fans want to mosh and jump around so I can’t see them sitting eight feet apart watching us. It’s just not the same. But maybe something will happen, and we can get back to normal.”
Weight of the False Self is available November 27 on Nuclear Blast Records and you can pre-save it here.