The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
John Humphrey Seether Interview - Interview
The Rockpit interviews
JOHN HUMPHREY
SEETHER



Alternative rockers Seether have been enjoying some great success over the last decade, their brand of rock drawing crowds from all over the world with constant touring and several albums under their belt. Their latest effort "Isolate And Medicate" was released last year and has charted exceptionally well hitting #4 on the US Billboard charts and charting well in Australia too. The band are about to hit Australia for a national headlining tour so we talked to drummer John Humphrey about the tour and their latest album.

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Andrew: Hey John how's it going?

John: Good man, how about yourself?

Andrew: I'm doing good thank you very much! How's the rest of the band?

John: Well we're on a little bit of a break right now which will end with us heading to Australia next week so we're all kind of scattered in the States. Dale (Stewart, bass) is in California and Shaun (Morgan, vocals) is actually in Nashville along with our guitarist Bryan (Wickmann) and I'm in Oklahoma. I'm home with my family and that's where I reside.

Andrew: Were you guys just coming off a tour?

John: Yeah we had just done a headline run in May but ended on the 24th, just a U.S. run with us headlining. And then we had done a run with Papa Roach, a co-headlining thing in January so we had done 2 U.S. runs.

Andrew: How were those tours?

John: Fantastic man! Touring with Papa Roach was great, obviously with our own headlining tour we get to play longer so I guess the fans like it when we play a few more tracks and do a whole 90 minute set rather than an hour set that we were doing with Papa Roach as a co-headliner thing. That tour was great as well, great crowds and every show was pretty much a sellout so it was a great tour.

Andrew: And now you are bringing your headlining tour back to Australia so we're pretty excited about that.

John: Yeah we are too! I'm glad we're getting back there, it's been a couple of years and we hate it with so much time in between. We try to get back as often as we can so I'm really glad this run has come together this year.

Andrew: So how many times have you been to Australia now?

John: I want to tell you it's my 4th or 5th time?

Andrew: How have your previous experiences been? You must have a lot of fun coming over here.

John: Yeah great shows and great crowds, beautiful country. I love New Zealand as well, Auckland, Christchurch. So yeah beautiful country, really enjoy the shows, great tour. I wish we could maybe do Soundwave or one of the festivals at some point, would be great as well but headlining our own shows is great!

Andrew: Do you have a preference between doing festival shows and doing headlining shows in smaller venues?

John: I guess if I had to choose I would do the smaller shows, the sweaty shows where the kids are right on the stage and no barricades. Festivals obviously have the massive barricade and sometimes you look out and we've done festivals in Europe and there's just a sea of people, like 100,000. I mean you just see people all the way to the horizon line, it almost seems surreal. You're playing and me being a drummer, you're hitting harder and even though everything is mic'ed as usual, you feel like 'Can you get this all across to all those people' and I hit harder in those sort of situations. Festivals are great too [but] a show of our own and a sweaty crowd, a hot club and we're doing a headlining set, those are always great.




Andrew: Yeah it must be a great feeling to be up on stage and seeing the energy coming out from the fans and singing along to all the songs.

John: Yeah it's what we do, it's what we love to do really. The creative process is great, we're writing new music and bringing new music to life and capturing those performances in the creative side of it is a lot of fun. But being a musician it's about playing live, it's about night to night and those variances and the crowd isn't exactly the same as it was the night before. We're a band that tours a lot as you may know so we're not wanting to go through the motions, we actually quite enjoy the live experience. And it's sort of instantaneous with the business, in the music business there's a lot that goes on. A lot of politics and things in the background but really being a drummer, being a musician and playing your songs on stage live for kids that come that night who have waited in some cases 2 years or longer to finally see you, that's important and that means a lot. I like the live experience.

Andrew: What's the worst part of touring do you think?

John: I think it's having to be gone so much. I mean we do love what we do but I have kids and family and your life is kinda put on hold and in this case it has for about 12 years! You come home for a few weeks and you kinda get settled in and back into normality and then it's time to go again. We're kinda in this bubble of a world that is Seether and doing our shows and everything and life goes on outside and sometimes it's hard to believe 12 years, in my case has past. I know there's been several albums and I don't know how many tours and it feels maybe it's one big tour haha!

Andrew: How difficult is it to find a balance between spending time with family and friends and having the touring side of life as well?

John: Yeah I have a very supportive family, my wife who I have been with since high school is not one too like 'Oh I wish you could get out of this and come home'. She's totally supportive, has always been and so are my kids. They know this is what I do, very proud of me and support me in that way so that makes me feel better as I go off to leave them to go do what I do. That helps a lot.

Andrew: OK great! Now obviously you are touring on the back of your latest album "Isolate And Medicate" and it's been a year since it came out so how has the reception been from all the fans and all that?

John: I think again it's been very positive, the first single was "Words As Weapons". I think it was a little bit of a different song for Seether which we've been wanting to take chances I like to think. With singles in the past like "Fake It" or "Country Song" our first single, we kinda maybe tried to expand on things, evolve and try to take it to the next level. I think at first maybe there was 'Oh what's going on? The sound has changed", but lucky for us here in the States radio is always well received. Maybe there's a little bit of an adjustment period but it's very temporary. So it seems like our fans are pretty receptive and open minded to us taking chances musically so I think in that case with the evolution musically, it's been great. It's been positive and the singles have done well and really we don't take it for granted I always say, it's a wonderful thing. You never know how it's going to be accepted, you put your heart, blood, sweat and tears into making an album the best that you can, the strongest songs and put it together. You just never know how it's going to be received and then to have it do well and get a great response and people loving the songs live, it's awesome, it means everything.

Andrew: Yeah the album has done well here in Australia and in the U.S. it's hit number 4 so it's been a huge success for you guys.

John: Yeah again, very fortunate to be a band 12 years plus to be still putting out new music and it's doing really well and being well received by radio and like you said, charting in Australia and here I am doing a phone call with you, interviews in Australia. I think it's amazing man, for rock music and for being in a rock band and still doing our thing and doing it well. Very much alive and well, it's a wonderful thing.

Andrew: Yeah it's an awesome thing! Now 6 albums in and you mentioned before about the evolution process where as you go along you make changes here and there and hoping that the fans accept it. How important is it to keep the evolution going forward and not doing the same thing over and over again?

John: Yeah we're certainly not guilty of that. I guess it would be easy to kinda rest on our laurels and written another album full of "Remedy's" way back but I have to give a lot of credit to Shaun taking a lot of chances musically. We as a band are very open minded, taking a single like "Country Song" which was really different for doing this blues riff against a song that kicks into hard rock. I remember him playing a demo for me and Dale and going 'Yeah this is awesome!' Or "Words As Weapons" where we were in the studio, I have to give credit to Brendan O'Brien our producer who made the drums layered like tribal drums over that song and kinda took a basic rock song and really took it to the next level, production wise. And that was due to Brendan and kinda gave it a different spin on what could have been just a straight ahead Seether rock song. I think his production really made that song very unique. We actually recorded that song for what was going to be a best of package we did, the Seether 2002-2013 and "Words As Weapons" was one of the extra tracks that we were considering. But it sounded so good, it turned out so well we saved it. We held it for what would become "Isolate And Medicate". So that song kinda set the bar for the album and the songs we were to write and we knew we had that in our back pockets the whole time and we knew everything we were going to work on, create, write from that point on for the next album that needed to be that good or better. Again I gotta give credit to Brendan and how well he brings things out of us as a band, that's a producers job and Brendan is really good at what he does.




Andrew: Have you been playing many songs from the album on tour?

John: Yeah and also doing non-single songs like "Save Today" or "Crash", "My Disaster". We do a lot of cool songs that are not necessarily singles and playing them live. It's funny, I think one time or another either at soundcheck or playing them live, all these songs really translate well live. In some cases you do songs on albums you don't ever play again for one reason or another. We're a band that's been around for a while, we have a lot of singles and have songs that people feel they want to or have to hear. There's just some songs you never get to play again since you recorded them but in the case of this last album, I think it's so comfortable with us we have played just about every song from the album at this point in time or another.

Andrew: As far as picking out setlists, do you tend to change it up a bit or do you keep it the same on a tour?

John: Yeah from time to time we always throw in a cover usually, that's how you start out in this business. You're a cover band and you like your favorite band's songs and that's an element that's still fun so we've covered Deftones or Nirvana and we always enjoy throwing in those surprises. But like I said we have a lot of singles and a lot of people in some cases waited a long time to see you and they want to hear whatever that one song is live. So you need to play that and just those alone are a little over an hour's worth of material so not at all a bad problem to have so you try to keep things fun but also know you need to do what people are expecting to hear so you keep that in mind too.

Andrew: So what can we expect on the Australian tour then? Any surprises?

John: Well Shaun is always one to pull one at the last minute and sometimes it's right before we go on stage. 'Oh yeah we're going to play that song we haven't played in 10 years', so gotta get on the ipod real quick. So you never know. We're just looking forward to getting back, we got a nice little break. It's been a long time snce we've been over there, we're really looking forward to these shows, I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Great energy and yeah real excited to get over there.

Andrew: Yeah we're excited as well and only 2 weeks to go! It's been a pleasure chatting to you today so thanks again man!

John: Yeah thank you, appreciate the time!


AUSTRALIAN Tour Dates

Mon 29th June PERTH Capitol
Wed 1st July ADELAIDE The Gov
Thu 2nd July BRISBANE Eatons Hill
Fri 3rd July SYDNEY Metro Theatre
Sat 4th July MELBOURNE Forum Theatre

Tickets available at Metropolis Touring


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Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on June 16th 2015