September 13, 2013 Interview – Chris Howorth of In This Moment
In This Moment are a band which has defied all odds. After their band left them in the dust in 2011 front woman Maria Brink and lead guitarist Chris Howorth were at a cross roads. They could either pack it up and put In This Moment to rest or rise from the grave to become something bigger than before. The co-song writers decided to take the road of determination. Reinventing themselves and following their vision has resulted in their highest selling and most popular album to date Blood (2012), finding themselves on some of the biggest metal/rock festivals in North America, and a new identity. Recently we sat down with Chris Howorth for a personal look at the reshaping of In This Moment, the passion behind the music, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – In This Moment has been together now since 2005. You have released 4 full length albums in that time. The band has definitely changed direction in sound over the years. Tell me what ignited the band to change direction in their sound?
Chris Howorth- Well I think with each album we kind of just went by what we felt in our heart. We never did an album thinking we have to make this kind of record because this is how the last one was. Specifically with the new record we had a whole shake up with the band before going in to do it. We lost two of our founding members and our management of our whole career dropped us right before we did the Blood record. On that record the sound dramatically changed because we felt like we had nothing to lose, lets up the ante , let’s go for something different, let’s try and reinvent ourselves from what we used to be. That’s why Blood sounds so much different from our older stuff.
Crypticrock.com- It’s a great direction the band is going in. You have been a part of In This Moment since the beginning in 2005. The band has also had many changes in the line-up in the last 2-3 years. It seems you have found a stable line-up now. Briefly tell me about the changing of the line-up in the band and was it a difficult transition?
Chris Howorth- Well it was very difficult as first. It’s been about 2 years now since the original guys left. When we were thinking to go in and start recording, Maria and I were working on music. We were trying to get a hold of the other guys and they weren’t returning our phone calls. All of a sudden they said we don’t want to be in the band anymore and we have another gig, a week later our management dropped us. We were feeling pretty left out in the dust, it was very difficult at that point. We were thinking oh my god what are we going to do? We had some obligations to do that we didn’t want to drop out of. We felt if we didn’t play these certain gigs people would think the band was breaking up and was over because it’s just Maria and I. We quickly scrambled to get a couple of people to play these shows which was Randy and Tom. Maria and I recorded the record with just us, none of the new guys were involved in the recording at all. After working with them on the shows they already knew the stuff once we started touring. We got them in again and it started to go well, they’ve been in play since the beginning of the touring cycle for Blood. Now we feel really tight, solid and it’s gelling really well.
As far as the sound of the band compared to the sound in the past, I feel like a much tighter band sounding live than we have been in our entire career with this new line-up. Things are going great with them, but it was difficult in the beginning because we just didn’t know what we were going to do. Everything kind of just fell into place, there is no better way to say it then that. That kind of led us to keep saying everything happens for a reason. With the loss that we had came all this new success, everyone gets along better too, there are so many different things that are better about the situation now than it what was before.
Crypticrock.com- That is all a positive thing and it’s good that you found that chemistry. Hopefully it will stay that way. The Blood album has received great success in the last year with singles like “Blood” and “Adrenalize”. This is absolutely the band’s most successful album to date. What do you think the key to the success for Blood is?
Chris Howorth- I think the key to success for Blood is that when we made the songs we weren’t thinking about anything other than making a really good easy catchy song. We weren’t over complicating anything. We did all the music ourselves, Maria and I, and our producer Kevin. The drumming was very much more simplified, there was nobody saying I don’t want to play that simple beat, I want to play this kind of beat. There was no having to appease anybody’s ego or any stupid things like that. It was all just basically lets do what was best for the song, best for the recording, and keep it simple. That along with the fact we have our new management in place that is a radio orientated management company. They have connections at radio that were able to get a song like “Blood” played on the radio. That combined with songs, the recording, and also the fact that In This Moment made a conscious effort at the beginning of this whole cycle that everything that we ever wanted to do before, never were able to do, or were too afraid to do in a live setting or on record, let’s do. Let’s not be afraid anymore, lets step everything up and take it to the next level. Visually everything we do, that is why we like putting on make-up, try and dress up more and become some kind of creatures/characters instead of just going up with jeans and t-shirts. I think all those things together combined is what has made this album so successful. People are hearing the song for the first time on the radio and they are saying who is this band? They are not people that have heard us before and our past albums, they look us up online and they see Maria, the look, and the whole thing, they say wow I want to go see this band. They come to shows and they see this spectacle with the way everyone looks, Maria is doing these outfit changes, there are props, different things are happening, and for each song with a new scene.
It’s a new animal, I think new people are seeing that and are buying into it. People are seeing that and they like it. That is why the record has done 3 times as well as any of our old record already, still going, still selling, and still doing well. For all intensive purposes we’re almost like a new band now with this record. New people are discovering us and that is what is taking us to this next place.
Crypticrock.com – Yes, it’s quite impressive that you guys picked yourselves up from the dust. You reinvented yourselves, and in all honesty it’s better than ever. It’s really impressive.
Chris Howorth – That is how it feels to us too. We are not trying to toot our own horns but there is a certain point we know that all our albums prior to this did 3,000 first week, 8,000 first week, and then 10,000 first week. We knew that’s good, but it has to be better than that. This album doing 20,000 first week, being # 15 , where the sales are at now and how it’s still selling right now, the tours we are getting, and the attendance we are getting at our headlining shows is crazy. Before we would be happy if 200 people showed up at a show that we were headlining, now we are selling places out. It’s 500 plus every time and most of the people know the words to the song. We can’t ignore the kind of stuff that we are seeing before our very eyes. We are like oh my gosh something is happening here, those guys left us, didn’t believe in us, and we turned this whole thing around completely. It’s a really cool feeling and we realize at certain moments that it happened like that. We are not dwelling on it though like oh we showed everybody and we are doing so good now, that is not how we are. We are still working really hard. There is still so far that we have to go. It does feel good to prove the doubters wrong and to be having success, be doing what we like to do and what our passion is.
Crypticrock.com – Of course it has to be very redeeming. You guys have played loads of rock festivals over the last few years. Last year you were on the Uproar festival, you are now on the Carnival Of Madness tour. How excited is In This Moment about playing Carnival Of Madness this year?
Chris Howorth- We are super excited because we know what it means, and we know there are only so many festivals each year. There are only 3 or 4 between rock and metal each year. To be able to be a part of one of those every year almost is super cool. We are super grateful for that. Carnival Of Madness is more of a rock radio tour, it’s one of the biggest rock radio tours of the year. Shinedown is one of the biggest rock radio bands there are, they are such a great band. We get to go out on this awesome festival tour and play with them all summer. We did it last year too, mind boggling man, we are beyond grateful and beyond excited to be able to do it again. Every time you do something awesome you always have that fear in the back of your mind what if it never happens again? What if this is the last time I get to do this? We are really lucky to be able to keep getting this opportunities.
CrypticRock.com- That is a great tour and many fans agree. As if that isn’t awesome enough with all the great tours and festivals, you guys will actually be embarking on The Hellpop tour in the fall. This is the first year of this tour and you are headlining with Motionless In White, Kyng, and All Hail The Yeti on the bill. That is a very dynamic group of bands. This has to be a really exciting time for In This Moment.
Chris Howorth- We have been upping our stage show and upping our presentation. Every time we go on tour we try to bring something new, and try and up it even more. That is no exception for Carnival Of Madness. With a tour like Hellpop we are able to make sure every venue is the right size for us to do our full show, to bring in an extra special show, and not hold back. That is what we are going to do, that is just In This Moment. Also we want to make sure it’s a diverse bill of bands which bring something unique and interesting to the table. Also something visual, not every band is the same, that is what we like about it. We don’t want it to be a scene tour that is all the same kind of bands. We want it to be diverse, interesting and different. That was the whole idea of Hellpop, mixing melody, pop, rock, metal, and everything all together in this crazy witches brew. That is the idea of the tour, it’s also a way for us to really do the big In This Moment show we have been building up this whole record cycle. Hellpop will be the pinnacle of that.
Crypticrock.com- It is going to be a great tour. All the bands on the bill are really good in their own right. It will be a real fun tour. What I want to know what are some of your musical influences?
Chris Howorth- For me personally, when I first saw a picture of Kiss and I heard them I was so into that. The make-up and the mystique. I grew up on the 80’s metal stuff like Ratt, Poison, and Motley Crue. All that stuff, that’s what influenced me. On the heavier side of it is Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Pantera, and some more current bands. I am influenced by the older stuff. It’s all metal but it all has melody in it. That is why Marie and I work well together writing because she always wants to have the melody but I like melody as well. All the bands I love from the 80’s is metal but they are singing the whole time. That’s my thing.
Crypticrock.com – There is some great stuff from the 80’s. It’s interesting because a lot of what In This Moment is doing now incorporates those influences in, that larger than life stage appearance.
Chris Howorth- Exactly. I remember when I was looking at Kiss or any of those bands they were like beyond approach. They were so up on a pedestal for me and so mysterious. It was like oh my gosh they are playing a concert, I hope I can go and my mom will let me go. I want to try and bring that back. Have it be not just you can find out what we are having for lunch on Twitter. I don’t know I want to ruin the mystique, I want to just create the mystique, create the show, create the larger than life thing for people. It all comes from that influence from those 80’s bands.
Crypticrock.com – That is part of what makes rock n roll awesome is that mystique you are speaking of. That is something that has been lacking for a little bit but it’s starting to come back. My last question for you is regarding films. Crypticrock.com is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of horror films and if so what are some of your favorite horror films?
Chris Howorth- I am a fan of horror films, love them. I am a fan of all movies but favorites are sci-fi, action, and horror. Favorite horror films of the past I’d say Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror. Currently I just saw The Conjuring a few weeks ago. It’s scary, and it’s been a while. The Conjuring really gets that Amityville Horror / Exorcist type of feeling which I haven’t really felt in a long time.
Crypticrock.com- I am looking to see that one. It’s good to see that a newer horror film has that effect. I personally have been on the outs with the way horror has gone in the past decade or so with all the CGI and remakes. What do you think about that?
Chris Howorth- I agree. They really haven’t had a really good horror movie in a while. That is why I was surprised and enjoyed The Conjuring so much because it was scary. I wasn’t into the new Evil Dead, it was kind of corny. I wasn’t into the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it was really stretching it. It’s cool to see a good horror film finally.
Be sure to check out In This Moment Hellpop Tour 2013.
Dates are as follow:
10/24 — Tempe, Ariz. — Marquee
10/25 — Albuquerque, N.M. — Sunshine Theater
10/26 — Lubbock, Texas — Lonestar Amphitheatre
10/29 — Houston, Texas — Warehouse Live
10/30 — Abilene, Texas — Lucky Mule
10/31 — Shreveport, La. — Margaritaville Resort Casino
11/3 — Orlando, Fla. — Club at Firestone
11/5 — Jacksonville, Fla. — Brewsters Megaplex
11/6 — Atlanta, Ga. — Masquerade
11/8 — Stroudsburg, Pa. — Sherman Theater
11/9 — Clifton Park, N.Y. — Upstate Concert Hall
11/10 New York, NY — Best Buy Theater
11/11 — Boston, Mass. — House Of Blues
11/13 — Niagara Falls, N.Y. — Rapids Theatre
11/15 South Bend, IN — Club Fever
11/16 Milwaukee, WI — The Rave
11/17 — La Crosse, Wis. — La Cross Center Arena
11/20 — Omaha, Neb. — Sokol Auditorium
11/22 — Salt Lake City, Utah — In the Venue
11/23 — Boise, Idaho — Knitting Factory
11/24 — Reno, Nev. — Knitting Factory
11/26 — San Francisco, Calif. — Regency Ballroom
11/27 — Los Angeles, Calif. — Club Nokia