Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Converge interview with vocalist: Jacob Bannon. February 2010.

Vista: The new album, "Axe To Fall" is the third release on the Epitaph Record label. What has been the response to the new record? Also, how many albums did Converge commit to Epitaph?

Jake: The response has been positive, which we definitely collectively appreciate. As to how many releases did we sign with Epitaph, we signed for three, which is what we have done with the label so far. Our relationship has been a positive one, so I don't see ourselves wanting to go anywhere else anytime.

Vista: I always wondered, wouldn't it make more sense to put out Converge records on the Deathwish Inc label itself? I have no idea, that's why I ask? Does a label like Epitaph have better distribution than say, Deathwish?

Jake: There are a lot of factors. The main one is that though Deathwish is a home base of sorts for Converge, our intention has never been to make it "the" Converge label. Many other valid and interesting artists entrust us to work for them. By making it more about Converge would take away our ability to focus on those artists.

Vista: Is there a "concept" to the new record {Axe To Fall} or a running theme throughout?

Jake: It's a thematic release just like many of our other releases. I've already done a ton of interviews breaking down the album in that regard.

Vista: I hear a lot of people always compare every release Converge does to your album "Jane Doe". I know many metal bands, Metallica included have done say, "Master of Puppets" in its entirety. Have you ever thought about doing "Jane Doe" in its entirety?

Jake: No. I don't see us ever being interested in that sort of thing. We still write relevant music that we want to share with people in a live setting.

Vista: What is your background in art? I know you have done not only artwork for Converge records, but also other album covers on your record label. Where did you attend school for art?

Jake: I have a BA in design from The Art Institute Of Boston at Lesley University. You can find more extensive information on all of the at 

Vista: What inspires you lyrically? What inspires your artwork as well?

Jake: Life and living it. It's really that simple.

Vista: You run a label that puts out tons of releases. You're in one of the biggest bands out there & always seem to be on lengthy tours. You do artwork for Converge, as well as many other bands. You even have time to answer all these damn questions! How the hell do you juggle all of that?

Jake: I just give everything I have to this community and to the artists that entrust myself to work on their behalf. I don't think you could ever do it without genuinely loving what you do.

Vista: Speaking of touring, where haven't you been with Converge that you would like to go? Also, do you recall the largest amount of people of kids you've performed in front of?

Jake: Honestly, I ave no idea. Likely a European festival of some kind in front of 20,000 people. I don't really concentrate on places I'd like our band to play. If there willing and attentive people there, then I'm game for it. That's the only thing that concerns me as far as shows go.

Vista: Converge has been together for 20 years! Is that crazy to think? Was there ever a "goal" for the band & how does it feel 20 years on?

Jake: Just write honest and sincere music, that's been my only real goal. We still continue to do that.

Vista: You've been part of the hardcore scene for a long time as I've mentioned. Back in the late 80's and the 90's to a large extent, when hardcore in general was "word of mouth" & "D.I.Y."...What bands in your opinion just never got their respect? Can you name any bands that were just below the radar that SHOULD have been big as all hell? For example, I'd say Starkweather was a band that should have been much bigger than they were, but it just never happened. Any thoughts?

Jake: I don't feel that great bands need to be big bands. In many ways, great artists aren't meant to be understood and consumed by the masses. I don't see obscurity as being a curse for anyone. If anything it insulates and isolates great bands from popular culture.

Vista: What band or bands are you really into that people may be surprised to hear you say?

Jake: Not sure. I have fairly eclectic taste in music.

Vista: Which Headbangers Ball host "kept it real" the most...Original host Kevin Seal, Adam Curry, Riki Rachtman, or Jamey Hatebreed? I'd say Riki Rachtman is disqualified on principal for looking like a 5th member of Poison THAN biting the style of Charlie/Anthrax drummer, haircut & all! Who's your pick and why?

Jake: I haven't watched the show since Riki Rachtman was a host, and even then it was massively dull. The last half hour was the only aspect worth a damn, and you would have to sit thru 2 and a half hours of horrid pop metal to get there. These days I do my best to completely avoid MTV so it's tough to say.

Vista: In your opinion, what's your top 5 hardcore/metalcore albums of all-time?

Jake: Slapshot~Step On It.
          Sheer Terror~Just Can't Hate Enough.
          Cro-Mags~Best Wishes.
          Killing Time~Brightside.

Vista: Which do prefer the most...Recording in the studio or performing live? Also, is touring a pain in the ass or do you still get excited to be out on the road?

Jake: They both have their positives and negatives. I don't really see either one as being better. Touring is also the same as it has its positives and negatives. I'm truly appreciative of all the opportunities both have given me though, without question.

Vista: What band do you wish you released on your label, but didn't? Is there a band you passed on and later regretted it?

Jake: No regrets. There are many that we would have worked with, but we'd only want to work with those who want to work with us. If it didn't happen, then we wouldn't have wanted it anyway, if that makes sense.

Vista: What hobbies and/or interests do you have outside the band and label? What do you do to relax?

Jake: I train Muay Thai. Make art. Walk my dog, spend time with loved ones.

Vista: You and I have a mutual friend. Her name id Danielle Dombrowski. As I'm sure you know, she is always seen taking photos of bands & I know she really likes Converge a lot. I'm sure you've seen her on the side of the stage during your performances...Have you ever wanted to whack her on the top of her head with the microphone...In an Iggy Pop moment?

Jake: Ha. No. She's photographed bands for awhile. She's good people.

Vista: Thanks so much for your time. That's all the questions I have for you. Any final words?

Jake: Thanks for your time. It's appreciated.

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