Tuesday, August 10, 2010

interview with Jeff Irwin

Freeze Alt:So its been a while since we have heard much from Will Haven, whats been going on for the band the past few years?

Jeff:Yeah I think its been like 3 years since we did our last record. I actually don’t even know where the time went, doesn’t seem like that long ago to me. Well we did a few tours to support the Heirophant, England, Europe and a few US shows. That was spread out over a period of time. After that we didn’t have much planned and were throwing the idea around about doing another record. Everything kind of changed after Chi Cheng (Deftones) had his accident, after that we focused on trying to put together some benefit shows for him and his family, so we did about 4 benefit shows for him and one we did with the Defttones. After a year of doing that we just dove straight into working on a new record for the past year. So we were here and there but definitely not touring or anything like that.

Freeze Alt:Yeah I saw some video footage of some of the Chi benefit shows, it was pretty cool to see all the bands come together for that, how did that all come together?

I visited Chi about a week after the accident when he was still in the hospital, It hit me pretty hard, not just seeing my good friend in that state but his mom and sister were sleeping on these plastic seats for the past week. I just had this feeling like I needed to do something, I initially just wanted to raise some money for the family to get them some hotel rooms, plane tickets for other family members to fly out to see Chi, whatever I could do, so my first benefit show was in San Francisco I put together with my good friend Rey Osburn (Death Valley High, Ghostride). I couldn’t believe how awesome it came together, a lot of people really love Chi so it was easy, but we had Death Angel, Phallucy (Abe from Deftones side band) Death Valley High, Eightfourseven and us. It was an amazing show. A lot of people came out and we raised some good money. After that it was easy to do the others in Sacramento and Los Angeles. The money we raised actually went to Chi’s son to help pay for some of the things he needed. It was such a good feeling to help out in anyway we could. Chi is an amazing person and means so much to everyone that was involved. I would like to do a few more when we get the opportunity.

Freeze Alt:So I guess the biggest news of the past year was the return of Grady to will haven, how did that come about?

It all started from the Chi benefit shows, I approached Grady about doing a few songs with us at those shows and he was into it. He ended up doing all the benefit shows with us and you could see he was having a good time up there. It actually really came about when we had a show in San Francisco opening up for YOB. Jeff Jaworski who was still with us couldn’t do that show due to other plans he had, so I asked Grady if he wanted to do a full show with us, again he was into it and the show was amazing. I mean he really hadn’t done a full show in probably 6 years and it was like he never left, the energy and raw emotion was stronger than ever. After that show Grady was into doing something with the band again. I had been thinking of doing another record but when Grady said he was on board I was pretty excited, to do one more record with Grady was something I really wanted to do again so it was perfect.

Freeze Alt:So I guess the other big news in the will haven camp is the addition of Chris Fehn from Slipknot to play bass, how did that also come about?

Well initially I approached Jeff Jaworski to play bass for us since Mike (will haven original bass player) was too busy to continue playing.. Jeff was excited about the idea but really he wanted to finish his album he was doing for Red Tape. So Jeff started working on that and we continued writing without a bass player. I have been close friends with Chris since we toured with Slipknot back in 2000. Chris and I have always talked about doing a side project together but of course with Slipknot being so busy we just never had the chance. After they completed the All Hope Is Gone tour they were to take about a two year break. So I asked Chris if he would like to play bass for us during his downtime. We both agreed that the timing was perfect so he flew out here and stayed with me for a while and learned all the songs and we actually recorded a few demo songs. Chris is an awesome guy so it was nice to have him be a part of the band, Jeff and Mike are hard guys to fill the shoes for but Chris fits perfect. Hes a true professional and he loves the new will haven songs, so its nice to have someone with such a strong passion in the band.

Freeze Alt: So can you give us a little insight into the new record, I know there are a lot of people excited to hear what will haven has in store, esp with Grady back….

I really did have an open canvas when I started writing, with Grady back in the band I knew I could be more simplistic and leave space for him to do his thing, so it made it fun to write and incorporate his vocals into it. To me Grady is just another instrument, he has so much passion and strength in his voice it just makes the music even more emotional. I felt that this record needed to take its time to develop though to, we used to write 12 quick songs then go in and record them, we didn’t take much time re working them or going back and listening to them thinking of ways we could make it better, we just hammered them out. This time we took our time, recording the songs, going back and listening to them, changing them up, taking out parts, adding parts, throwing tons of ideas away. So it has been a long process but I think we have written the best record we have ever done by far. Its on a whole new level, Its definitely will haven but the bar has been raised. I have played the demos for a few people and they said it sounds like the soundtrack to the end of the world. Those are the best words I could have ever heard, so I know we made the perfect record when someone says that.

Freeze Alt:So when do you plan on hitting the studio and hopefully seeing a release?

It looks like we may have finally nailed down our schedule, like I said we took our time so there was no rush but I think we are pretty excited to get in there and get started. Right now we have a few shows lined up in the next month and then we are off to Los Angeles to start working on it. We have a producer/engineer that we have been talking to and hopefully we can finalize that this week. Im thinking it will take us about 3 to 4 weeks to finish and then after we will see when a good time to put it out will be. I hope we can get it out by the end of this year, if not then the beginning of next for sure.

Freeze Alt:Well there is definitely a buzz starting about a new will haven record, I think the metal world needs something refreshing right now, do you guys have any idea of touring plans again?

Yeah this record is definitely different than anything out there, I think that’s why we are pretty exicted to get this going, its hard sitting on it, but yeah we are excited. As far as touring I really don’t know,. Its getting harder and harder to actually tour like we used to, family, money, age haha, its all a factor but Im hoping something will come up that would be hard to pass up, im sure we will do a few shows to support the record, and I know we will want to play them live so im sure you will see us somewhere at somepoint, I just don’t know if it will be more than once haha.

Freeze Alt:Well im pretty excited to hear what you guys have in store, thank you for your time and look forward to the new will haven.

Thank you!! Cant wait to share it with everyone, see you soon!!