HI! HOW ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU? Hey! What’s happening? I’m doing great, thank you. I am at my house in Los Angeles; in the valley. What’s the good word my man? YOU ARE BACK ON TOP WITH YOUR NEWEST EFFORT AFTER 4 LONG YEARS. WHAT HAPPENED IN THE MEANTIME? EVER LOST FAITH IN RELEASING ANOTHER CD? Man, you name it, we’ve endured it. Downset had a split with Epitaph, after a few tours the band was about to throw in the towel again. Rey and Roy called me in November of 2001 to play a string of 9/11 benefits on the east coast. We had Andrew from Strife fill in on guitar, and Roy played bass. We toured again in 2002 with Roy on bass and Roy Z our producer, on guitar in Europe for about 4 weeks. When we came back, we started to get the pre-production process under way, and wrote 4 songs as all original members. James and Roy at this point decided to move on, and we obtained Rico for the bass, and Ares committed to remain on guitars. We went in promptly and busted out #4. I always knew Downset had to make another record after CYP. Not a doubt it wouldn’t happen. BACK IN THE MID 90IES YOU HAVE BEEN AN IDOL OF THE SO CALLED CROSSOVER SCENE, NOWADAYS “NU METAL” IS THE BIG THING. HOW DO YOU SEE THE DEVELOPMENTS IN METAL MUSIC BUSINESS? JUST TRENDY STUFF OR REAL SUBSTANCE? DO YOU SOMETIMES FEEL REGRET THAT THE GOOD OL’ DAYS ARE OVER? To a point, yes, I think a lot of substance simply is just not there. I think the late 80’s and early 90’s we’re a brilliant time musically as were the 60’s. Now is just another 70’s happening all over again. I think ideals and morals are far lost, and that the dollar is more important than the feelings!! WHAT DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SEPTEMBER 11TH TERROR ATTACK, IRAQ WAR AND GRUESOME TORTURE OF PRISONERS? IS WORLD GONE WILD? ANY CHANGE TO GET BACK HUMANITY? I have been asked this a lot. I feel that all instances are a sign from the supreme power. We as humanity have forsaken the resources given us, we have abused the tools of our ancestors, yet we feel the need for more power and the hunger for more wealth. On a daily basis we go on with our falsely perceptive lives and continue on the road to plight. I think the daily happenings are a sign that we need to check ourselves and those around us. I also feel as though a huge game of hide and seek is being played with reality and the media. What can we show? Who can’t it offend? Pointless charades to put us off track, constantly. YOU ALWAYS HAVE BEEN ACTIVE IN CRITICIZING SOCIAL PROBLEMS (FOR EXAMPLE ABUSING WOMEN WITH YOUR DEBUT) – DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU HAVE AT LEAST ACHIEVED INCREASING AWARENESS AMONG YOUR FANS? Most definitely! I receive mail and email, as do the others all the time, since the early 90’s from fans that we have influenced dramatically for the better or given them so called fight songs in life. We have always taken the world and it’s woes to heart. I think this new album will let the fans know that more so than ever by bringing the topics home! IS CURRENT SOCIETY THE MOST IMPORTANT MOTOR FOR YOU STILL BEING IN THE MUSIC BIZ? I think our fan base and realistic ideals and beliefs have kept us here. It never hurts when we have great and massive instances and happening to chat about. I think ultimately it is the message within the music that keeps Downset ahead of the game! AND YOU OBVIOUSLY GOT OLDER (AS EVERYONE) – DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO LIFE OR SONGWRITING IN GENERAL? IS FAMILY VALUE NOWADAYS MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU? Well, personally for me, values are very important as I am the only one with children in the band. I strive on a daily basis to make myself a stronger and more ambitious person with realistic goals and mindset. As we get older we learn more obviously, and we grow as people, and musically. I think our latest release shows this growth. WHAT DOES THE TERM “UNIVERSAL” STAND FOR? DO YOU WISH SOME KIND OF A GLOBAL BROTHERHOOD? Universal is the global key, we want to “bring it to all”, we want everyone from anywhere and any walk of life to understand us, our music, our message, and our mission. We are a very charged band and have a lot to say personally and musically. COULD YOU PLEAE EXPLAIN THE MESSAGE OF THE COVER WITH ALL ITS SYMBOLISM? HOW DOES IT RELATE TO THE LYRICAL CONCEPT? The cover art more ties in with the track titles than anything else. People can and will interpret things as they wish and see fit. I encourage this as this will surely get people to think about what they hold in their hands and listen to. AND HOW DID YOUR COLLABORATION WITH HAWINO RECORDS START? ARE YOU CONTENT WITH THEIR PROMOTIONAL WORK? WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER AGAIN WORKING WITH A “MAJOR”? The label race and games are of no interest to us. Downset will go with the feelings of its infrastructure and rely on our instincts. Hawino has done a great job thus far. We have a great relationship and all want the same thing out of this effort. We all want to be happy doing what we do best. COULD YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THE PRODUCTION PROCESS? THE SOUND SEEMS TO BE DOWN TO EARTH WITHOUT TOO MUCH EFFECTS, IT’S MORE OF A LIVE FEELING IN MY OPINION. YES! That was the goal from the get-go. We wanted to strip down the current sound and bring it back to the classic and basic sound that is better known as Downset. We wanted to give back to the fans for all of the endless support and to make a back to the roots album seemed the best thing to do. RAY SEEMS TO BE MORE CONFIDENT IN “REAL” SINGING TODAY. WOULD YOU SHARE THIS OPINION? Yes, Rey is always confident, and decided to show his growth this time around. Rey is capable of many things. “BLACK GLOCK” IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE TRACKS AS IT HAS A “DEVILISH” GROOVE. ANY COMMENTS ON THAT TRACK? That one is Rico’s favourite. He came up with the killer bass line. Rico fits in perfectly with his style of playing. BASICALLY YOU DID NOT CHANGE THE RAP/ METAL/ HC-STYLE. SO I GUESS THIS IS YOUR PERSONAL FAVOURITE GENRE?! WOULDN’T YOU LIKE TO EXPLORE A DIFFERENT MUSICAL APPROACH? No not at all. This is what Downset is, was, and will always be. We all have various styles that we are into, but I don’t think that rap metal is it. I personally have a passion for reggae, dub, and fused versions. Ares and Rico are into real brutal and heavy stuff Rey is into timeless classics. YOU MADE A VIDEO FOR “JUMPING OFF”. WILL YOU TELL US WHAT WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE? AND WILL THIS VIDEO BE PLAYED ON TELEVISION? I THINK METAL IS ON THE RISE AGAIN REGARDING TV TIME?! The video for “Jumpin Off” is very organic. The theme is just us rehearsing in a downtown LA warehouse. It was produced by Darren Doane. It’s a simple but good video. We have submitted it to MTV, MTV2, Fuse, etc. I don’t know if theyre playing it, but I know they’re getting it. YOU HAVE BEEN ON TOUR WITH BIOHAZARD IN THE VERY BEGINNING, DO YOU STILL HAVE CONTACT WITH THE GUYS? I’m not sure. I know I haven’t spoken with those guys in years myself. I think they were cool to us, nothing bad to say bout them. They rock. BIOHAZARDS EVAN SEINFELD WILL APPEAR IN A PORN MOVIE WITH HIS WIFE TERA UNDER THE NAME OF SPIDER JONEZ. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT? DO YOU HATE THE LARGE L.A. PORN INDUSTRY FOR EXPLOITING WOMEN OR IS THIS “SCENE” OF NO-INTEREST FOR YOU? To each his own. I don’t think it’s wrong. People are quick to judge, but forget to think that maybe these ladies want to ‘act’ in these films. Art can be taken in many different forms. And some porn whether the public likes it or not can be considered art by others. RICO VALLISENOR, YOUR NEW BASSIST, HAS BEEN MEMBER OF MANHOLE/ TURA SATANA. HOW IMPORTANT IS HIS MUSICAL INPUT? He is equally important in the music. Downset always has been a musically harmonious band. AND I HAVE READ THAT RICO, ARES AND CHRIS FOUNDED A BAND CALLED DRUNK WITH POWER. WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT? HOW DO THEY SOUND IN CONTRAST TO DOWNSET? DWP is a lot heavier than downset, and a lot faster. I think it’s great to have different outlets. DWP is more for fun among friends. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CURRENT METALCORE/ NU METAL SCENE IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY? TOO MANY BANDS? TOO MANY COPYCATS? ANY INTERESTING NEW INFLUENCES OR UNDERGROUND BANDS WHICH HAVE TO BE DISCOVERED? It’s all been said in regards to the scene or genre or whatever they’re referring to it as this week. As far as new stuff is concerned, I like From Autumn to Ashes, Skindred, Clone, lots of bands NOT from here. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE BUSH/ KERRY CAMPAIGN? WILL THERE BE FAIR ELECTIONS? Is it ever? WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER INTERESTS BESIDES MUSIC? DO YOU LIVE VEGAN? I live very naturalistically. I am a very spiritual person. I do not live vegan. I lived vegetarian for many years, but no longer see the same values in it as I once did. WHEN WILL WE SEE YOU LIVE IN GERMANY AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? We hope to get back to Germany as soon as September of this year. We have the Projekt Revolution tour this summer here in the states and we hope to get over to Europe soon after. YOU HAVE BEEN ON TOUR WITH THE LIKES OF SLIPKNOT, SLAYER, METALLICA. ANY FUNNY TOUR STORIES, ANY CATATROPHES? Too many to tell. On both fronts, there are many stories, but I like to keep those for late night, can’t sleep, bus is too hot, no more chemical sedatives, “check this one out” scenarios. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR TIME AND GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR STRONG EFFORT. Thank you for your time as well, and thank you to our fans for their endless support.