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In This Moment Interview 2010

Since bursting onto the metal scene in 2005, the Los Angeles metalcore quintet, In This Moment, has been a favourite on the festival circuit, with a growing legion of devoted fans. Ozz Fest? Check. Warped Tour? Check. Mayhem Tour? Check. I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Howorth (lead guitarist and co-founder) at the band’s final show of its co-headlining tour with Nonpoint.

In This Moment

The day of the show probably will not go down in the annals of epic awesomeness for In This Moment. Red-eyed and clearly upset, Maria Brink excused herself from the preshow meet-and greet to rush her beloved little dog and band mascot, Twinkle, to the emergency vet. Although matters were still touch and go and the mood backstage was subdued, In This Moment still gave their all during the concert. The guitars of Chris Howorth and Blake Bunzel swooped, swirled and chased Maria’s voice upwards as her screams clawed at the rafters of the Masquerade. Meanwhile, the bass line of Travis Johnson and drumming of Jeff Fabb thrummed like the heartbeat of an angry Leviathan. I have nothing but respect for a band that puts on consistently energetic shows, even when circumstances are far less than ideal. 

Robin:  Metal greetings, Chris, from Sonic Cathedral webzine!

Chris:  Thank you, and metal greetings back at you!

Robin:  Well, thank you so much. It was so exciting to hear that A Star-Crossed Wasteland debuted in the Billboard top 40.

In This Moment - A Star-Crossed Wasteland

Chris:  We were so excited about that too. Our goal has always been to just do better than the last time, to keep growing, and keep clawing our way up the ladder. So we were SO STOKED with that.

Robin:  You guys pour your hearts and soul into recording a new album, then there is this looooong period of waiting before it’s released and the first buzz starts coming out. What goes through your mind during that waiting period?

Chris:  It’s horrible, it’s pretty much nerve-wracking. You’re constantly hoping for a certain number because you know if you don’t hit this certain number, then it will affect your whole year. We wanted it to do good ... obviously, everyone wants their record to do good. And we were happy with it. It’s just nerve-wracking.

Robin:  It is August 2009, In This Moment has just wrapped up the Warped Tour, you are about to head into your first headlining tour (A Winter to Remember), and you’re writing songs. With so much going on, how do you even get into the right head space to create songs?

Chris:  It was horrible, again, I’ve got to say because we lost Jesse [our bassist] right after Warped Tour, and he helped us write a lot on the last two albums. He was part of the writing circle. So, it was up to me and Blake to write for the new album. We basically blocked out ... we had three months off before we went on our headliner tour ... and wrote that whole time. We tried to write on tour, which was REALLY not fun at all. There is so much going on when you’re on tour anyways. To try and cram in working on songs too, it was really stressful. But we knew we had to have it done by a certain time and have the demos done, and we just made it happen any way we could.

Robin:  What were you shooting for with A Star-Crossed Wasteland? I’ve heard it described as the lovechild of your first album, Beautiful Tragedy, because of its aggressiveness combined with the melodicism of The Dream.

Chris:  I like that ... the lovechild. That’s what we were saying from the very beginning. We wanted to make sure this album kind of made the stamp of who In This Moment is. After all the touring we did on the first album -- lots of metal tours and Ozz Fest and Megadeth and Ozzy -- and the touring we did for the second album with Mudvayne, the Warped Tour, and Papa Roach and things like that, we kind of decided that this next album needed to define who we are, what our style of music is, and what we are as a band. Combining the two is really who we are anyways, so that’s pretty much what we did.

In This Moment

Robin:  Did you intend for this album to be a concept album? There is a definite story arc of star-crossed lovers in this post-apocalyptic wasteland pushing and pulling each other.

Chris:  That is totally what the concept is, loosely. Basically, when we started recording, we had the song ideas, but we didn’t have any concept or album title or anything yet. Then we came up with the title and started talking about what it meant and the concept of the album, and just started forming everything around that lyrically. It is loosely a concept album. We wrote a paragraph-long little description of what we wanted the artwork to look like and what the whole theme was for our label. And that pretty much summed it all up.

Maria always has these delusions of grandeur with the albums ... I say “delusions”. A lot of it rubs off, so the next album she is even wanting it to be more conceptual and have it really go in-depth about a certain topic. We’ll see what happens. The Dream was, you know, kind of loosely related to fairy tales and all that stuff, and we kind of went a step further with A Star-Crossed Wasteland.

Robin:  One of the things that struck me with A Star-Crossed Wasteland is that the instruments, for lack of a better word, have more of a “voice”, instead of just providing the foundation for the vocals. Was that intentional?

Chris:  Yeah, it was intentional. We wanted the guitars ... especially the guitars, ‘cuz in metal, the guitars gotta be there and be prominent ... and on The Dream we were more focused on overall song sound and vocals and creating the layered textures for the background behind the vocals. Whereas, with this album, we were like “Here’s a guitar riff.” It was more challenging to blend them with the heavy guitars and then also having the melodic parts. But I think we did a pretty good job of it. It’s cool that it was a challenge.

Robin:  A question I’ve always wanted to ask a band that is kind of a detour ... if a band has upheaval in its line-up, why is it ALWAYS the bassist?

Chris:  I have NO IDEA why we are in that.

In This Moment

Robin:  It’s not just In This Moment; it seems to be every band.

Chris:  You know what a good theory of why it could be the bassist always is because a lot of times guitar players will switch to bass just because they think they can get a gig easier, and maybe their heart is not in it. I know that is the case with Jesse [Landry]. He is a guitar player who switched to bass, and our last guy Kyle was the same thing. But with Kyle [Konkiel], it was a completely unrelated thing. He screwed up really bad, and we had to let him go. You know, that’s sad. But now we are much happier. It’s a bummer because by appearances -- with his face on the album and the artwork -- everyone kind of associates him with In This Moment in a big way. But he didn’t play on the record at all, and he only did two tours with us. To us, it’s like “Whatever. He’s gone, and we’ve got to pick up.”

Robin:  Kyle just started in 2011, right?

Chris:  Yeah, the headlining tour was his first try-out tour, and then he was around while we were recording the album. But he didn’t do anything on it, he wasn’t in Vegas with us. And then he did the Mayhem tour with us.

Robin:  Is your new bassist, Travis Johnson, a full-fledged member of In This Moment, or do you want to do a couple of tours with him first?

Chris:  We’re definitely going to do a couple of tours. Travis has been in a band with me way before I even knew Maria or Jeff [Fabb]. He’s been friends with all of us, and he was in Dying Star with me and Maria before In This Moment. So, he’s been around forever. He’s like a family member to us. So it’s a lot different with him. Travis has kind of got a “shoe in” if you will. But since we have had so many problems with the first two situations, we don’t want to do any kind of announcement or any kind of a big “here he is!” thing. We’re just going to let it happen, and see what happens.

But Travis is going to be doing the next tours with us all in 2011, unless something happens to the contrary. He is going to be with us through all that. We all want him to be in the band, and he wants to be in the band. So, we’ll just see how it works. We’re just not jumping to any conclusions just yet. We’re playing it safe, just in case. We don’t want to look like Spinal Tap. (laughs) Plus with Kyle, we kind of did, “This guy’s PERFECT! (drum-roll) Here he is.” We presented him to the world as our new bass player and in the artwork and everything, and then it turned around and bit us right in the butt. And everyone thinks he’s a big part of the band, when he really didn’t do anything. So we don’t want that to happen again.

In This Moment

Robin:  In This Moment’s bio says that you and Maria met in 2005 in L.A., and immediately clicked. Where did you guys meet?

Chris:  We really didn’t click at first. It was a friend that was in a band with me. He was a singer, and he also played drums in a little side project band that we were doing for fun. He brought Maria over one day, saying he met her ... that he met this girl who was a great singer, and he wanted to have her try out for the band. I just wasn’t interested in being in a band with a girl. You know, in all my life growing up, I never had pictured that. I was into Pantera and Metallica and Megadeth and all that stuff. I kind of blew Maria off that first time, and then she came back again with him. We were actually playing at that time, and she got up on the mike and just sang this thing really quick that she had made up. It was a cappella, and it just BLEW ME AWAY. From that moment on, I was like “Okay Maria, we’re definitely going to work together.” We started working on Dying Star right after that, and then In This Moment. Obviously, there was some kind of chemistry because we had both been doing a lot of bands and a lot of things for a long time, and nothing ever happened. And then we did the In This Moment stuff ... the heavier version, not Dying Star, but the heavier stuff ... and people were interested in it right off the bat.

Robin:  And off you went!

Chris:  Thankfully!

Robin:  You and Maria both have a heroic amount of ink. In an ink-off, who wins?

Chris:  I probably have more ink overall than Maria, but she probably has more meaning behind, or at least care with, what she’s got. She has some cover-ups up top (points to bicep), but all the stuff to her is really meaningful. Some of my newer tattoos mean a lot to me (shows backs of hands), but the older ones are like “eh”.

Robin:  Fans love In This Moment ink, too. What’s the best fan tattoo you have seen?

Chris:  Uhm, god, there are SO MANY. Our website has a couple of pages just full of fan ink, and they are all pretty awesome. Wow, it feels good actually!

Robin:  Are there any Chris Howorth tattoos? I’ve seen some Maria Brink ones.

Chris:  I’ve never seen a Chris Howorth tattoo. There are some signatures of mine on some people, but I’ve never seen a portrait or anything like that, which I’m kind of glad. That’s just a little bit too much. (laughs)

Robin:  This is In This Moment’s last show of this headlining tour. What’s next?

Chris:  Music As A Weapon on January 14th with Disturbed, Korn and Sevendust. That’s our next tour, and we are really stoked about that. We’re going to be touring all next year.

Robin:  Any final words for your friends, fans and stalkers at Sonic Cathedral webzine?

Chris:  We love you all! Stalk us, be our friends. Thank you for the support, and thank you for the interview. We really appreciate it. We really wouldn’t be anywhere without the people that support us -- the fans and our friends and our family all over the world. So we are really appreciative. Every opportunity we get is another opportunity to go out there are meet new people and spread the word and spread the love.

Robin:  Many thanks to you, your tour manager Matt Maly, and Josh Eldridge at Century Media for this interview.

In This Moment


"The Promise" music video

In This Moment on Facebook

In This Moment on MySpace