By Colette Claire Back stage at the House of Blues in Hollywood, Calif., with its voodoo décor and dim lighting, I sit and have a beer waiting for my interview with Five Finger Death Punch to being. I’m greeted by a familiar face, Full Metal Jackie, a well-known metal radio DJ whose shows are broadcast on various stations throughout the country and KNAC.com. Jackie also works for The Firm, a huge artist management company that recently started an “artist friendly” record company that directly splits profits with artists rather then just giving them tiny royalty percentages. Luckily for Five Finger Death Punch (or FFDP for short), before they were signed, their avid fans called up Jackie’s show and requested their songs, so she checked out their MySpace and loved what she heard. FFDP then became one of the few artists signed with The Firm, and Jackie now acts as the band’s manager. Jackie leads me to the band’s dressing room, which is crowded with people and activity, so bassist Matt Snell and drummer Jeremy Spencer follow me into a narrow hallway around the corner. It may seem odd, but the hallway allows for peace, quiet and more light, so I can capture this experience on video. Since this is the House of Blues, even this random hallway is expertly painted by artists with dark images of fire and becomes the perfect setting for an interview with the dark and brooding FFDP. Colette Claire: So you guys have been on tour a lot lately. You toured with Korn and did Mayhem Fest. Now you’re headlining. Did you get a break, some time to breathe, during all of that? Matt Snell: We’re gonna take a break as soon as we finish this headliner. We did Family Values, and then we did a headlining tour with Korn. Then we went out with Disturbed, then we went out on Mayhem, then we went out on this. So we’re just trying to service this record, so we’re gonna take a break after this and actually get another record going that we can have out next summer. Colette: You’re kind of a new band, and your first album is already doing really well, but you guys were all in previous projects. Like Matt, you were in Anubis Rising and Deadsett before FFDP. Ivan your singer, was in Motogretar, and Jeremy, you were in W.A.S.P. Did having previous experience lend to things happening so quickly for FFDP? Jeremy Spencer: I think it did. I mean, you kind of learn the dos and don’ts along the way. We were all in bands that we liked, but it wasn’t the perfect situation, and this band was formed around a certain vision that everyone happened to agree with. So we’re all happy with it, and we just kind of wrote the material that we all wanted to listen to and pretty much we achieved that goal, and luckily people are grasping onto it and digging it so everything’s going good, man. We can’t complain. I mean, we’re headlining the House of Blues, here we are. Colette: So did those different influences from those different projects play into the sound of the band. Did you kind of each bring something different to the table? Matt: I would say yeah. I mean, I think that’s inevitable. There’s no way you can get away from that. I mean, everybody plays when we’re jamming, so we all kind of work together to argue through the arrangements. But like Jeremy said, we did have a vision for this. Everybody wanted the same thing at the end of the day, and I think that’s one of the reasons the record is as strong as it is because it wasn’t one person’s total take on how it had to go. Colette: Were you guys already signed before you recorded the album or did you get signed after, like you made it, took it to record companies and then got signed? Jeremy: We made the record ourselves, in its entirety. It was mixed, mastered and everything before we even had any interest. Matt: Yeah, the artwork and everything was done by us. Colette: So that was a good position for you guys going into it, right? I mean, you didn’t have to argue with the record company about the sound. You had this album, and you could be like, “Here it is. Either you like it or you don’t.” Matt: Not necessarily argument, but we didn’t have to get signed and go into debt and then not be a workable project for the next 6-8 months while we tried to get a record into the stores. I mean, we did it on our own, so we could do it our way, but we also did it on our own so we could get it done. And then we had a project that was something we could shop to people. Not a demo. It was a finished, completed album ready to go to radio. And that’s what happened, so I guess it was a pretty good plan. Colette: Did you lives change a lot? I mean, I know you had that previous band experience, but did you lives change after your single “The Bleeding” blew up on the radio? Jeremy: Well, obviously a lot of people started coming to the shows because they heard it on the radio. We started on Family Values before our record was out, so there were pretty thin crowds some days. Some day there were amazing crowds, too, but on Mayhem this summer we had two singles that had done well on the radio, and there were tons of people there and they were singing the lyrics back to us louder than we’re playing sometimes, and we’re going, “Wow, man, this thing [has] really grown.” It’s awesome. So, yeah, it has kind of changed. Colette: So have you had, since that happened, your first “rock star” moment? Jeremy: [Laughing] We get recognized at Taco Bell in Kansas sometimes. Even here in L.A. we get recognized. It’s cool. I mean, people are being made aware of this band due to like MTV and radio. We’re on great tours, we’re visible, magazines. I mean, Fuse has been great. Matt: And Revolver, everybody. Everyone’s coming around now, and it was interesting because in the beginning the general consensus was that we wouldn’t last five minutes, so nobody would talk to us, and now the list of press goes on and on and one. Which just proves, I think, that the record’s good and the band [has] done their work. Colette: So can we get a tidbit on what the new record is going to be like? Jeremy: We have ideas. There’s a lot of stuff that’s ready to go; there’s a lot of stuff that’s raw and needs to be worked out. I mean, we’ve been touring basically since last summer non stop, you know for about a year and a half, so we’ll get together and figure it out and make the record we want to make, and once it feels right, it will come out. Matt: Yeah, there’s not much more I can add to that. Everyone wants to hear, “Oh, it’s going to be bigger. It’s going to be harder. It’s going to be heavier,” but who knows by the time it’s done. We’ll go into it with one vision and, collectively, we’ll come out with a product that we all want to support. Colette: It’s fairly hard to write on tour, right? Do you get a chance to do that at all? Jeremy: I mean, you’re busy; you’re doing interviews. [Points to Colette, laughing] We just don’t want to cheat one or the other. When we’re on tour, we want to be the best we can. When we make a record, we want to go to work and get it done. Colette: So is there a lot of partying on tour then? Jeremy: [Laughing] No, we sit around and listen to Lawrence Welk and read the Bible. Colette: I mean, how do you guys survive. It seems to me that people who play music are super human because you’re on tour for months, and you’re partying every night. Jeremy: [Laughing] I don’t feel super human, although, I do seem to pull it off. I do feel like I’m in my 70s age-wise right now, though. Colette: What about this tour? Do the different bands you tour with create different dynamics at the after parties? Matt: Yeah, like, In This Moment’s old friends of mine from along time ago, so it’s kind of like having family out on the road with you. Bury Your Dead and their crew are a blast to hang out with. Those guys are cool as hell, so it’s fun. I mean, we tend to start partying pretty close to bus call, and so it continues through the night on the bus for the most part. Colette: Is there anything else you guys want to say, a message to the fans? Jeremy: Just thanks so much for buying the record and supporting us at radio. I mean, it’s everything. It’s obvious that it’s working, and we appreciate it, and we’re going to continue to do our best and release shit that we like and that hopefully everyone else likes as well. And we’re going to be out on tour all next year after we make this record and do it all again, so thank you to everyone.