Escape The Fate: (Love Them Or) Hate Them
Few bands require as little of an intro as Escape The Fate: pioneers of the post-hardcore wave, and straight up scene trendsetters. If their 2006 debut – Dying Is Your Latest Fashion – didn’t catch your attention, then the rollercoaster ride that followed definitely would have. A decade later, and the Escape The Fate we see before us is a new beast altogether. Their latest album, Hate Me, is indicative of a band that have weathered the worst of the storm and round their groove because of it.
After taking it around to much of the world, it’s now Australia’s turn to witness the spectacle that is an ETF headline tour – we spoke to founding figure and drummer Robert Ortiz about what we should prepare for.
Having followed you guys for a number of years now, it really feels like Escape The Fate is having the time of their collective life. Is that a fair assumption?
Yeah man! It’s strange, because I got off the phone a while ago with a friend of mine who owns a site for sports – he’s a boxing writer, with a YouTube channel and all that. He was talking about how it’s hard to make money, and going back to work and quitting, and you have to deal with people saying negative things about you, and y’know, it doesn’t go the way you dreamed it. I was trying to talk him off the ledge. I told him, “Dude, after all the shit I’ve been through now, the work pays off eventually.”
But, you know, things go up and down – like the popularity of rock music, and of all music. There are so many outlets for entertainment. But nothing can replace that feeling of being up onstage with your best friends, signing about your life and your emotions and connecting with people. Nothing beats that, man. And right now, for us, this is the best time we’ve ever had. I*look forward to going on tour. I get to hang out with my bros and the fans are fucking cool, and a lot of them have been there for years and years and years – some are just getting into the band, and it’s all just exciting.
And the best part is, people fucking love the new album, man. That’s the whole point, really. When that’s happening and you’re proud of your work, and people are connecting with it… I’m not trying to be all happy and perfect sounding – there’s still a lot of struggles that go on, but overall, it’s a lot better. It’s maturity man. That’s what it really is.
It really did feel like Hate Me was well-received by the masses, which is no easy feat considering just how passionate Escape The Fate fans are. Were you feeling confident when you were working away on it?
To be quite frank, this is the first of our albums that I listen to out of enjoyment. Maybe not so much now, because we’ve been playing the songs for a year straight, but sometimes, if I’m at the gym or just driving, I’ll put it on because I can listen to it from an outside perspective, and just enjoy it because I like it. It’s all very cohesive, and it makes sense to people. I did get that vibe when we first released it that some people were sorta like, “Dude, Escape The Fate are back” and others were saying, “Damn, Escape The Fate have arrived!”
Seeing lyrics tattooed and all that kind of immediate response to it – oh man. It feels good, man. It’s humbling, especially after everything we’ve been through, you know?
Dying Is Your Latest Fashion turns ten this year, which means it’s a legacy album. I think the rules on that are that if you guys stop, the album will keep going. Is that a bit of a head-trip?
Oh yeah, believe me, I’m well aware. That’s something that, for me, I don’t shy away from anymore. Before, I’d just be a dick and say, “Nope, new album.” Now, it’s like, “No dude, it’s cool.” That was an important part of people’s lives, and it does live on and it has a legacy of it’s own. Like, for a band to achieve something like that? Bands are always chasing that. It’s very seldom that you find something that matches it or even comes close.
People are connecting with the new album and love it, so I don’t have to be so jaded and say, “Yeah, whatever, I hate [Dying Is Your Latest Fashion].” Fuck that, I love that album! That’s my life. I recorded that shit. Those were my aspirations as a fucking teenager.
It was the right album at the right moment, and it never got its just dues because the band was so tumultuous that we never allowed it to properly grow into the legacy it left behind. We didn’t get to perform for the audience it deserves. But it trips me out that people still love it, and it still gets referenced. To know that I was part of that, as a fan: it’s kinda crazy. I’m proud of that work, and that ten years later, I can celebrate it.
It’s been a big gap between drinks since your last headline run Down Under! What’s in store for Aussie fans?
Dude, It’s nuts! Going back to what we were just saying – Escape The Fate has an extensive legacy now, and the beauty of it is that as a band – as a musical group – we’re at a different level; we have no limitations. Our setlist is always changing. They interchange a lot based on the vibe we get on certain days. We might do some songs we’ve never done before. We might do some covers… You never know! Right now dude, I can tell you straight up – I have no fucking idea.
We’ll figure it out probably ten minutes before we go on stage.
So I caught your tweet about the new Metallica stuff and it looked like it had your seal of approval…
Dude, it’s a double album. I’m excited. Most people tend to say that the first four albums are all-time classics – the best album ever made was The Black Album… Yeah, I like it. It sounds the best. But most people fall off at Load And Reload. For me, Load And Reload was a double album. But I like almost everything Metallica’s done. They’re my favourite band for a reason. I have no doubt the new album will be fucking dope. Why is it a gonna be a double album? It’s hard to say. Metallica have had a lot of evolutions over the years. One of them was thrash, which is what Hardline was. If it’s two albums of thrash, fuck yeah. If it’s an album of thrash and another disc is all Radiohead covers? Fuck yeah. I don’t see how I can lose on this!