By Matt Barton
Escape The Fate were born in 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since then, as drummer Robert Ortiz says, “We’ve been through everything,” he laughs. “Just Google it, we’ve been through fuckin’ everything.” It’s pretty much true – their former singer Ronnie Radke went to prison in 2008 for battery and drug charges.
Twelve years on, the band have turned themselves around and now have album number five under their belt: 2015’s Hate Me. Ortiz talks about how the band have turned their career and their lives around.
“We’ve just matured, man. We all have a goal, we all love what we do and we don’t ever wanna have to give that up. Our focus is super gnarly right now. We were kids before, bro,” he laughs. “We didn’t know that people got addicted to shit and we didn’t know how to handle money. There was a lot of crazy shit with the partying and everything and we’ve just gone through it all.”
“At the end of the day, we just like writing songs and we like playing shows and that’s first and foremost in front of everything now. All the other bullshit is so minute compared to the big picture now, whereas before it was reversed. Before, we let all the little things hamper all the creativity.”
2016 is a milestone for the band. It marks ten years since their debut Dying Is Your Latest Fashion was released, an album that has gone on to influence many a new band.
“I’m very proud of that work, man,” Ortiz says. “It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years. When we talk about bands that are coming up now – that record was a major influence. Maybe it didn’t make a huge landmark like The Black Parade (by My Chemical Romance) did, but the influence it left behind is massive. After that, everyone was trying to follow suit.”
“I didn’t realise how much of an impact it [Dying Is Your Latest Fashion] would have and years later, the fact that people still talk about it and still care about it and still love it…”
“I remember being a kid in high school with my friends and they were in my bedroom writing songs [for that record] and I never knew that it would affect people’s lives and it still does to this day. There’s still fans who are just discovering it, and for it to have that type of staying power. . . you can only dream of things like that. For it to be ten years now and people [still] wanna talk about it. It’s really special. I’m very proud of the work we did. It was lightning in a bottle. It was never destined to have longevity. It’s dope that ten years later people still care about it.”
The quartet last toured Australia for Soundwave 2015 and will do a headline tour in early October. Ortiz is very keen to bring the material down under.
“I love Australia, man,” he admits. “It’s dope. It’s been nearly two years since we’ve been there so it’s exciting, and we have a dope album that we get to finally share for our Australian fans so yeah, I’m hella stoked.”
He also admits that he has no idea about Dream On, Dreamer who are the main support for the tour.
“I sure don’t [know them], my friend,” he laughs. “So this will be interesting for me, man. Craig [Mabbitt, vocals] vouched for them and he said ‘we gotta have these guys’, so I’m excited. I get to enjoy their music live for the first time. Other than that I don’t really know much about who’s going on tour with us.”
This year Escape The Fate have been involved in two covers albums. To celebrate ten years since My Chemical Romance‘s The Black Parade was released, Rock Sound released a covers album to celebrate. The band chose the track Dead! to put their own spin on.
“We may or may not play it when we get out there,” Ortiz teases. “I listen to The Black Parade regularly. Literally every month I’m listening to this fuckin’ album. This is a really, really big part of my life. I genuinely, absolutely love The Black Parade. That’s definitely a top five album for me. There’s talk about Abbey Road and Appetite for Destruction and The Black Parade is absolutely up there with those for me. I think Dead! is the one that really kicks everything off. It’s a fun song. You really can’t go wrong with any [MCR] song but for us, in particular, Dead! sounded like the most fun to do.”
They also covered Hallowed By Thy Name for an Iron Maiden covers album for Kerrang.
“These are legendary artists we’re talking about so there’s never a bad time to pay tribute to them,” he quickly states, but admits the song was a hard choice. “That one was tough, man, it became a challenge. It’s a long fuckin’ song,” Ortiz laughs. “It really took a lot but it was awesome, though. I enjoyed it. Iron Maiden‘s also one of my favourite bands.”
It’s obvious that Escape The Fate are heavily influenced by a bunch of different artists. Ortiz especially is heavily influenced by the metal classics.
“For me, I’m a fucking classic rock guy. I’m a thrash metal guy through and through. ‘The Big Four’, that’s my shit. Stuff that was recorded on a computer through ProTools typically doesn’t tend to be on my playlist. Apple Music offers so much wonderful stuff, so many deep catalogues. I listen to Maiden and Dio and Metallica and shit. That’s what I mostly listen to [but] I’m always down to discover new artists and give things a try.”
It seems one of those bands is pop rockers Against The Current; who Ortiz is full of praise for, even if he does have trouble remembering their name.
“Fuck, man, I wish I could remember the name of this band with the girl singer. She can fuckin’ sing. The girl’s name is Chrissy Constanza or something like that. . . I’m gonna look it up. I’m gonna go on twitter. . . she’s gnarly dude. I’m finding this real quick.. . . Against The Current. I just found them recently. Fuck, man, that girl can fuckin’ sing. They’re just full of good songs.”
Make sure you catch Escape The Fate with Dream On, Dreamer on tour next month.
Monday, October 3: The Triffid, Brisbane 18+
with – We Set Signals
Wednesday, October 5: Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle 18+
with – Of Divinity
Thursday, October 6: Manning Bar, Sydney 18+
with – Sienna Skies
Friday, October 7: Prince Bandroom – Melbourne 18+
with – Danger! Earthquake! & Apollo On Fire
Saturday, October 8: Fowlers Live, Adelaide Lic/AA
with – The Daily Chase
Sunday, October 9: Amplifier Bar, Perth 18+
with – Emberville