Following on from last years release of â€˜Black Widowâ€™Â In This Moment have embarked upon their first headline European tour.
National Rock Review recently caught up with In This MomentÂ lead guitarist Chris Howorth to talk about Black Widow, the creativity and changes within the band over the years as well as their plans for 2015.
NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us at National Rock Review Chris.
Howorth: No problem, thanks for having us.
NRR: Weâ€™ve got some questions for you, some of which weâ€™ve taken from the Blood Legion online.
NRR: Last time we saw you over here was with Halestorm, and now you are out on the road doing your first headline UK tour. Howâ€™s it been going so far?
Howorth: Oh itâ€™s been amazing. We were a little nervous about coming over here and headlining as we had never done anything like that. The first part of it was in Europe and this is the second show in the UK, but Europe was so amazing and last night was so amazing in Glasgow and tonight has sold really well and the next one has sold really well, so we have this insane overwhelming feeling of awesomeness for this whole tour and weâ€™re so excited for the rest of the shows. We are really excited about the future too, just to be able to play here headlining and people knowing our songs and singing the words, itâ€™s like in the States almost, itâ€™s almost even better â€¦I can say that, they are so into it over here, itâ€™s really cool.
NRR: Of the European shows, which has been your favorite so far?
Howorth: Paris was pretty incredible. They were all really good. Itâ€™s really hard to single out just one, but in Paris they were so into the band, they had signs, they were chanting all of these different chants and we had never had anything like that happen, it was just really awesome. So Paris definitely stuck out but all of them were really, really good.
NRR: So how do the European crowds compare to those around the world and in the US?
Howorth: They are definitely different, and we all like all of it. We love touring in the States and they are amazing there, and certain areas of the states are even more amazing and things like that, but I think everyone feels over here thereâ€™s a certain vibe and energy that isnâ€™t anywhere else. Everyone is so passionate, they know the songs and you can just see it in their faces, they are so excited that we are here. They know all of the words and itâ€™s a really crazy feeling and they just get it all quicker, the chants and the claps everyone just seems to snap it up.
NRR: One of the fans on the web asked if there has been any embarrassing moments on this tour?
Howorth: Yeah, I think the first show was really embarrassing from a technical standpoint. A couple of these places are so small that like Travis will have to be hidden behind an amp, or I will be stood behind a stack of amps. We can only see a few people over here, because weâ€™ve got a lot of stuff we are bringing out this time and thatâ€™s not really your standard embarrassing thing but inside of us we are really embarrassed (laughing).
NRR: Last year you put out the Black Widow album. I was just wondering if you could tell us a little bit about it and the concept behind it.
Howorth: The concept behind the album is you know Maria has her own thing, from a lyrical standpoint itâ€™s about her transformation from a girl into who she is now, which is the Black Widow for this album. I kind of looked at the whole theme of the Black Widow as this spider that is really sleek looking and she lures in the male spider and they mate and then she ends up eating him afterwards.
Thatâ€™s kind of how I look at Maria as the Black Widow you know drawing in the audience and killing them and eating them. Itâ€™s kind of a lose theme like that, but Mariaâ€™s lyrics are all about her transformation and growth. Thereâ€™s a few songs that are more light, but a lot of it is stuff that is really close to her.
NRR: I heard that Sex Metal Barbie might the next single from the album, is that right?
Howorth: That is right, yes.
NRR: Have you recorded a video for that yet?
Howarth: We are actually doing the video for that when we get home. I think we are recording it on the 12th, so look out for that later in March.
NRR: Going back to the beginning of the band. Your sound and image has changed quite a lot since Beautiful Tragedy. I was just wondering what has driven the change?
Howorth: I think everything from the very beginning. We didnâ€™t really know who we were. We did the first album as a group of people getting together and writing songs and coming up with it like that. Then each album after that if you listen to them they are all different from each other because we donâ€™t know who we are, we are just kind of exploring and having fun and trying to figure it out.
The same thing with the image we never really had much of an image other than the female fronted band image which was kind of our thing. I think when we got to the point of Blood and we had lost two of our original members and it was just kind of stripped down, we were faced with this do or die moment. Do we want to keep going, do we want to quit, what are we going to do? We just decided at that point that we were not going to be afraid of anything anymore as far as the image or the stage show and we are just going to try and push even more boundaries with the sound, and something magical happened which transformed the band into this next phase which is what everyone is seeing now.
It really has been a very successful thing for us and obviously we are looking back like this would never of happened with the other guys. Nothing against them, but it kind of took that happening to create this new In This Moment, if you will.
NRR: Obviously there is a lot of creativity in the band. Iâ€™ve just walked into the room and I see you drawing on the drum heads, and the shows are very visual and your videos are very creative. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Howorth: Well everyone is really, really creative in the band. Every member of the band makes their own stage clothes, and Maria her mind is a non-stop vortex of creativity, in the studio but also the videos and even the stage concept for the way it looks on stage and having the dancers and you know all the different things that have come out of Mariaâ€™s head.
Itâ€™s really cool because even for the video for instance, Maria is going to direct the new video. There are a lot of logistics weâ€™ve got to figure out you know with the budget that we have. She will come to the band and say guys I need help weâ€™ve got to figure out how to do this â€¦ this and this and we are all really creative and we are like we can try this and everyone is looking on their phones and figuring it out. You know itâ€™s really cool having so many talented people.
NRR: It seems like your live shows are getting bigger and better every time. I saw the Blood Live DVD and this show from what Iâ€™ve seen on YouTube again itâ€™s like another level. Where do you go from here?
Howorth: More man. I mean thatâ€™s the thing too when we were doing the Blood at the Orpheum video shoot that was like at the peak of our trying to figure it out what we were trying to do. That was the first appearance of any Blood girls, and they werenâ€™t professionals like what we have now. They were just friends who had agreed to come help us out, family members and things like that. It was just kind of like capturing that moment in time and itâ€™s kind of cool that itâ€™s on DVD now because it was that at that moment, but we knew right when we did that the show it was going to change again and it did, and then it changed again once the new album came out. We were like we have to update this from that, we canâ€™t just come out with the same exact stuff and do it again.
So we are constantly thinking. There is so much that we want to do that we canâ€™t do financially right now. We are always trying to push the boundaries of what we can do and we are doing more than we probably should be doing right now with the amount of crew we have. You know but everyone is awesome that we have working for us and we are making it happen every night to show everyone we are this band and we should be in a big arena and if you put us in the big arena weâ€™re going to bring you something that youâ€™ve never seen before and weâ€™re trying to bring that here to the small shows as much as we can.
NRR: Are there any plans to maybe record any of the shows on this tour and put out a similar kind of DVD?
Howorth: No, no DVD plans. I think the next DVD we do for our live shows is gonna take it to ten levels higher, itâ€™s gonna be over the top. The last one honestly we had it in our contract with Century Media, our previous label, that we needed to do a DVD for them. It was kind of like we have to do this because like I said we did that DVD and then two months later we went on the Hellpop tour and we had updated the entire show and had different dancers and it was just a completely different tour that was actually more advanced than the DVD, but it didnâ€™t get recorded because you know that was just a snapshot. So if we do it again we want to make sure itâ€™s in an arena with you know sparklers, pyro and people hanging from the ceiling and all this stuff.
NRR: Obviously you have the Blood girls out with you permanently. Where did the whole idea of the Blood girls come from?
Howorth: Maria thought of it after we did that DVD and we had the girls, our friends and stuff in it. She was like this is amazing. We all thought it looked great, and she was like Chris I want to have dancers and Iâ€™m like oh my god â€¦ dancers â€¦ what does this mean, this is going to be so expensive, oh my god and she went and did it and I told her you know, ok. Iâ€™ve learned with Maria too a lot of stuff she says to me Iâ€™m like oh my god how are we going to do this, and I start thinking of all the reasons why itâ€™s not going to be good or whatever and the negative parts of it but then Iâ€™ve learned to just let it ride and see what happens and nine times out of ten itâ€™s something amazing. When I saw the video of her practicing with the Blood girls the first time I was like wow, no one has ever seen this in rock and roll, heavy metal, this is so unique, itâ€™s gonna be awesome and now itâ€™s become a thing and thereâ€™s no going back. Now itâ€™s the Blood girls are there to stay weâ€™re just moving up for more.
NRR: I heard you cover Pantera at I think it was NAMM, I saw some footage online and I was just wondering how much of an influence were they on you?
Howorth: Oh they were huge on the band. Every night we do a thing with the band guys just to try and show everybody what we are about. In This Momentâ€™s music is In This Momentâ€™s music but everyone is super talented and weâ€™re all coming from a heavy metal background, especially the band players so we do a little medley thing every night and that was one little small part of it, but itâ€™s so much fun and the crowd loves it. They know the songs and itâ€™s a really cool moment. So to answer your question, Pantera is a huge influence on all of us along with a lot of other bands like that.
NRR: Iâ€™ve heard youâ€™ve just announced a spring headline US tour and you are going out with The Butcher Babies, Upon A Burning Body and The Nearly Deads. You must be pretty psyched about that?
Howorth: We are so excited for it because itâ€™s going to be one of the biggest tours of our career. Weâ€™ve done the festival tours there, you know second stage, and headlining second stage kind of spots but weâ€™ve never really been on the main stages of a lot of these festivals and we are playing a lot of really big festivals â€¦.Rock On The Range and Kansas City Rock Fest you know where thereâ€™s 30,000 people, kind of like the European festivals. In the States they all happen within a two month period. We are playing all of them and this year and we are going to be on the main stage on a lot of them and itâ€™s just we are at a really good spot in our career I think where itâ€™s fun to go out on tour. Sometimes when you are smaller and struggling more itâ€™s like a grind you know, youâ€™re trying to get through it, whereas now itâ€™s become a lot more fun. Everyone is really excited for it man.
NRR: Youâ€™ve just mentioned European festivals there. Have you got any plans to come back and doing any European festivals this year?
Howorth: Itâ€™s being talked about. I donâ€™t know exactly whatâ€™s happening because of the scheduling and everything, but I know if not the festivals we are definitely coming back again and following up at least once or twice this year and we are already hearing some plans about early next year because this has become really important to us and we are seeing how amazing the fans are here and we want to keep coming back and develop it.
NRR: So the last question I have for you is so what else does In This Moment have in store throughout the rest of 2015?
Howorth: I think 2015 is the Black Widow touring cycle year and we are just going to push it really hard. We are really excited for Sex Metal Barbie to come out and the video and the touring in the spring. Then we are planning a summer tour of some sort in the US and coming back here and then maybe a fall/winter tour US or a winter tour here, but we are just going to tour continuously throughout the year and into next year. Then we will kind of evaluate where we are once we hit 2016 and decide if we are going to tour for a little bit or if we are going to go back into the studio and do another one. Iâ€™m already kind of thinking about it, I know itâ€™s going to be happening. I was telling these guys before you know it we are going to be working on another record again, because it just seems like itâ€™s always like that.
NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us.
Howorth: Thank you man, thanks for having us.