The last year has seen some major changes and growth for In This Moment founders, guitarist Chris Howorth and vocalist Maria Brink.. Long time members of the band, Blake Bunzel (guitar) and Jeff Fabb (drums) departed to be replaced by guitarist Randy Weitzel and drummer Tom Hane. The band also lost longtime manager Rob Blasko. On March 24, Howorth took a few minutes before the band’s show in Boise, Idaho to talk about the various changes and the creation of the band’s strongest album to date, “Blood“.
In This Moment has evolved with each of its albums so far. What was your idea or goal going into “Blood”?
“Everything changed after the guys left the band. Our management dropped us. There was like this desperate feeling of ‘What are we gonna do? Are we done?’ We decided that we wanted to keep going but there was no management and we had started to write songs. We really didn’t know what we were doing. Nobody was really interested from a management standpoint. They all wanted to see how things were going to develop. Our producer, Kevin Churko believed in us 100% the whole time, and our record label was behind us too. We knew we had that locked in and finally Kevin was like, ‘Alright, let’s have you guys come out to Vegas and we’ll do two or three songs. Write ’em up. Bring any ideas you guys have been working on, and I have an idea or two for you guys too, and we’ll do a demo to show a manager and the record label.’ So we did ‘Blood’ and the song, ‘From the Ashes’. ‘Blood’ was such a departure from what we normally do, and Maria and I were like ‘What is this?’ But it was fresh to us, and that really started the process of us not giving a crap about what anyone expected us to do. It was like; what feels good to us, and what feels different and fresh.
“Once ‘Blood’ sort of happened, it was such a cool song to us, we sent it off to all these managers who weren’t really giving us the time of day, and everything changed. Within 24 hours of sending these songs off we were getting hit up by all these managers; new ones, ones we’d been talking to. It was like a flood. We knew we were on to something, so we kind of modeled the whole album on this idea of being dark, heavy, melodic, like always, but you know darker. With the experimental nature of the song ‘Blood’ it was like, let’s not be afraid. If it sounds fresh let’s go with it. Let’s not say ‘oh we can’t do this because our band doesn’t do this, or because people won’t like or be respecting it.’ Let’s do what feels good, and we weren’t afraid to add the new elements to it. Cause at this point it was just Maria and Kevin and I. Where before we had other input from members who were like, ‘I like this. I like that. I don’t like this.’ So we were pretty much open to everything at this point. That’s how it evolved.”
You guys have never really had a specific image before, per se, but with “Blood” you’ve sort of added that imagery, the paint… How did that come about?
That developed in the same kind of way. Once Maria and I were talking about this record and we started working on ‘Blood’ we were like, let’s not mess around anymore. Let’s do everything we’ve always wanted to do or thought about doing when we were kids, and let’s make this band a force to be reckoned with. It’s like, let’s make this a show and a theatrical performance, as well as a bunch of really good songs. Let’s top this in every way we can. That was kind of the whole idea: Topping everything. So we started out kind of timidly with the make-up and Maria was coming up with different costume ideas. We started doing it on the last tour cycle and it just developed into what it is now which is becoming more and more of this big theatrical show. Our make-up is getting more and more heavy and our clothes are getting crazier. You know we really just want to put on a show. We’ve always been fans of like Kiss and Motley Crue and Nine Inch Nails and Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie… Bands that really bring a show along with the music.
You covered Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” on the Hot Topic bonus disc of “Blood”. A lot of bands, like Halestorm, Anthrax, and Adrenaline Mob are releasing EPs of cover songs. Is that something you can see In This Moment doing at some point?
“We’ve talked about it. You know, every album cycle we’re always talking about it. We say each person picks three or four songs,maybe five, and every one would vote on those songs. About which ones to put on the record. And just do a bunch of really obscure songs that everyone kind of likes in different ways. I think it would be awesome, and I think with our band we could do something like that and we’d really enjoy it. It’s not something we’re thinking of doing right now, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.”
You guys just made the second video from “Blood” for “Adrenalize”. How did that go and when will it be out?
“It’s going to be out here really soon. It’s done. I just saw the final version the other day. It’s amazing. Our whole theory on that was; take everything that was awesome about ‘Blood’ and make it better. More shock, more controversy, more crazy eye candy, just things that make you want to watch again. We’re really excited for everyone to see it. It’s better than the ‘Blood’ video. It’s more provocative, more shocking, more of everything. Maria looks better. It’s just better in every way, so were really excited about it. It should be out any time. Maybe in the next week or two, but no later than that.”
All these years you’ve been playing alongside Blake. What’s it like having a new partner in arms on the other side of the stage?
“That’s a great question man. I love your questions. That’s a really good one. No one’s asked me that yet. At first it was really different. You know, Blake and I had a really weird kind of chemistry. I’m older than him and I went to a different school of players, and I brought that to him. And he brought to me a whole new younger school of players and a different kind of style. So you hear our songs and our styles and it’s definitely a different but interesting dynamic between he and I. He was one of my good buddies, like a little brother. So it’s definitely weird switching. But I gotta say, Randy is a pro. Right when we had to do ShipRocked really fast you know, Randy was the first guy to pop in my head. I knew him from other bands in the L.A. area. He’s such an awesome player and he and I, we love the same guys and love the same bands. We both like Kiss and Ace Frehley, and Metallica and Megadeth and all the same shit so when we’re up there together, it’s like we were meant to be playing together. We’re tighter and more precise technically than we’ve ever been. I mean we perform these songs to precision. Each performance is done to perfection. And that’s how I like to perform. I don’t like to have any sloppiness. So the band is now tighter than it’s ever sounded, so it’s really cool. It’s nice to hear Randy’s style on the songs from the new album.”
Strangest thing you’ve ever eaten, and where?
“Ooh, that’s pretty easy, I’ll never forget it. We were in Bejing, China. The promoters there, they were really nice and we were really hungry and they wanted to take us out to eat. They were talking about Peking duck and we were like ‘sounds awesome’, and they wanted to order for us because they wanted to show us their food. We were ‘Okay, well Maria likes fish and she doesn’t eat a lot of other meats. We want chicken and they’re like, okay and they just ordered a whole bunch of stuff. It was like out of the movie Temple of Doom where they bring out all the bugs and snakes and stuff. It wasn’t bugs, but there was like fish heads and a bowls of eels. They were just eels. They weren’t cooked or anything. There were like patterns on their bodies like a bunch of snakes in a bowl. And a gray green soup. Like neon green that was supposed to be like chicken soup. The next night they’re like, ‘We want to take you out for barbeque’ and we’re like ‘No, we just want to go to McDonalds.’” (laughs)
Our pointless question of the week: What television show would you love to be a part of if you could?
“Dude, that is the easiest question ever. ‘The Walking Dead’. We’re all obsessed with it.”
In This Moment is currently about to hit the road with Stone Sour and Hell or Highwater in April. They will then head across the pond to the Download Festival and other European festivals this summer before returning stateside for a headlining tour this fall.
Check out our 2011 interview with Chris and Maria below: