Having chatted to the (həd) p.e. frontman Jahred Gomes for a good half an hour, it’s no wonder that talk quickly turned from what the singer has been working on lately to the 2012 doomsday prediction and whether or not there’s life on other planets. By Emily Swanson.
What have you been up to today?
Today I’m just in the studio cleaning up and going through my music as I’m getting ready to put out a five-song reggae demo album that’s just available online, so I’m trying to get that ready to go. It’s just a solo thing with me doing vocals over some reggae loops and stuff. It’s really demo stuff for this reggae band I’m starting. I’m also getting ready because (həd) p.e. is gonna start doing a new album, so I’m getting all that situated in my brain.
When you first started the band, what were you hoping to get out of music? Did you want to be a big success?
I have to say I wasn’t really hoping for that. I’m really a late bloomer, so in those years right before I did my first record deal, I wasn’t very focused on too much of anything, you know, except for getting high and stuff like that. My brain at that level wasn’t focused on goals or anything, but I’ll tell you what, when the band left the corporate world and entered the indie world, that was when things started to get focused in for me, which was odd because that was when I started to study esoteric subjects like secret societies and shadow governments – don’t even get me started – it was a coincidence that when I started studying those things, I myself as an individual started to get clear and focused on my own life and it shows in the music really. The lyrics for sure are just a reflection of my life and what I’m into at the time when I’m recording any given album. Anybody who’s followed me, like in the ’90s, it was more kind of silly party music with some social commentary, but then now, there’s a purpose behind it and there’s a message there.
I actually read that you’ve been touted as: “the voice for a movement that empowers youth” and you’re “revealing the seedy unberbelly of our current political global climate.” Has it ever been daunting having that level of influence over people?
Well no, because I don’t analyse that part of it. The influence over people, that doesn’t occupy my thought process for more than just a flash of a nanosecond. I’m more just sticking to my guns and doing what I think is important for me to do as a human being on the planet at this moment, more than I’m thinking about influencing others. But then again, I am putting out my message with the hope that people will be empowered, if you wanna call that influencing others, that’s all fine too. It’s all for the positive though. As long as I’m always doing things for the betterment of humanity and mother earth, then I know I can’t go wrong as far as my ethics are concerned. A lot of bands are really great that have come out of the corporate scene, like System of a Down, Rage Against The Machine, Neil Young, Bob Marley, these are important bands that made it through the corporate world and did well, but for me, my experience there was lame because they wanted me to write singles and this and that and I lost sight of who I was as an artist and maybe I never knew who I was at that point, but now that I’ve found who I am as an artist, if rock radio happens to love one of our songs, that is so great and a blessing for us, but I guess I don’t have the talent for writing songs that rock radio’s gonna love. I’ll leave that to bands like Nickelback.
What’s been inspiring you in the world to write lately? Are there things happening at the moment that you’re really passionate about?
Oh yeah, you know what? I’m never at a loss. I’m never trying to rehash the same subjects, although there’s common threads through the albums, but I’m not one of these people either that gets stuck in a rut, like I’m never afraid to change my mind, and the albums reflect that as well. Right now, there’s no more victim mentality, as in ‘Oh no, the government sucks, look what they’re doing to ruin my life’, it’s more of an empowerment mentality of how we’re just running our own lives. That’s what’s getting me going right now. I see a very positive future for the planet, so I’m still in that spirit warrior mentality of using my music to uplift the youth and get them feeling empowered and obviously for those who haven’t lifted the vale I still wanna plant those seeds for those kids who are waiting to hear the right words in order to have something fire off in their brains that makes them start reading and researching.
You’re heading to Australia soon, and it’s pretty much becoming a yearly pilgrimage for you guys. For those that haven’t actually experienced (həd) p.e. live, what can they expect from your shows?
The greatest thing about the (həd) p.e. shows are the people that go, because, you know, if we were just playing there in an empty place, it would just suck. The people that go have this cool vibration and the place just explodes because the Australian people that go to (həd) p.e. shows are just ready to go. Even though it’s high energy, it’s not that aggravated, it’s a positive, intense energy. We’re gonna do a new album in 2012 and then we’re not gonna do one for a while because there’s just so much material, but we’re just gonna try and switch it up at the shows because there’s just so much that never gets played.
Speaking of 2012, do you have any superstitions about the Mayan calendar and the world supposedly ending at the tail end of this year?
You know, I study all of that, and there’s no ‘world ending’. The Mayans themselves never said that, I don’t know who came up with that, maybe some hollywood guy, but the Mayans themselves, they never said that. People think there aren’t any Mayan people left, well there’s thousands of Mayans left and many of the elders who still hold the wisdom are still around. It’s the end of an age, but that just means the beginning of another age. As far as doomsday forecasts, I don’t have any. What there is, is wondering whether the changes that are coming will happen quickly or gradually and I wouldn’t bet on either one. I’m more into changes happening gradually ‘cos that’s what I see in nature, like the seasons changing gradually, night slowly turning into day. I’m not one to think that all of a sudden the poles will suddenly shift and catastrophes will happen, I’m the, ‘it’s already happening and been happening for a 100 years’ type of guy, and I feel it’ll continue to happen for another hundred years. I do know that the world’s getting better and I do know in my heart that we’re heading for a Golden Age, but I don’t know how long it’s going to take for everyone to really see it. Just like I know that we’re coming to a point where we’re gonna start interacting with people from other civilisations on other planets, I know that’s gonna happen, but I don’t know if it’s gonna happen in five or ten years.
There’s gotta be other intelligent life out there. With the universe so big, there can’t not be.
Even if you think about it philosophically, you come to that very same conclusion that there can’t not be, and then if you take it a step further and do any research at all, it’s just everywhere slapping you in the face that there’s been interaction between this planet and other types of entities from other planets. For someone who wants to study this, it’s right there for you. I’m waiting for the public exchange between this planet and another one, it’s undeniable.
You’ve been doing so much over the past two decades, but what would you say you’re most proud of in your career?
You know what, I’m really just proud of finding myself in the early part of this century and I’m really proud of doing the indie thing and putting out positive messages and just getting this small group of like-minded people who enjoy the message behind (həd) p.e. I’m proud of doing something for the positive, not just being successful at music like so many people are, but using music as a platform for putting out positive messages. It’s nice to feel like you’re doing the very thing you were born to do.
(həd) p.e. are in the country this week! You can catch one of their shows with Jeffrey Nothing (Mushroomhead) and Recoil V.O.R at the following dates and venues:
Wednesday Feb 1st – Amplifier, Perth*
Thursday Feb 2nd – The HiFi, Brisbane
Friday Feb 3rd – Manning Bar, Sydney
Saturday Feb 4th – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne
* Recoil not appearing