On facing accusations that his line of clothing glorified racism and violence:
“I was actually appalled about people unwilling to think outside the box. And the fact that they were so quick to subjectify what I was doing as racist or as any kind of bigotry is absolutely absurd, especially since as far as
I’m concerned, if I see anyone of any color or race, it does not matter to me what they’re doing to each other. If I see a black person hitting a white person, or a white person hitting a black person, that’s just two people fighting.
I don’t see any kind of racial difference between the actions. I think that people were looking for something to be upset about and I possibly chose an easy target to be upset about. And it’s just really sad that people still have that mind frame of things. I understand that people were able to quickly see the pop culture reference I made.
Obviously they got the photo, or photos from online from things that were popular, whether it be film, news, or media, but to look at them and say it has any kind of racial ties to it is insane to me.
I think that it’s people being selective about what they want to feel passionate about or be upset about. And that’s cool, I don’t really mind. If people want to act mad about something, go ahead. I’m not going to lose sleep over it, obviously they are. It’s just strange. That’s the best way I can put it. It’s absurd that people at this day and age can see something like that and instantly think of racism. It’s just beyond me, I can’t believe it.”
When asked if he could see why people would be sensitive to the violence portrayed on the shirts in light of the recent shootings:
“…to base things on current events to me is so absurd. People have been suffering and getting killed, violence has been a part of human history forever. It’s just part of our nature. To go and be like “Oh, but look at what just happened,” it just like “Dude, are you serious? Are you really going to base everything that happens from here on out on one incident? Look past that!”
How about what happens next? What if something worse or even more terrible happens? Is that going to be the next thing you use as an example? It’s just absurd, like I said. I could see why people reacted the way they did, but to me it’s just disgusting that that’s the first thing that would happen, that they would instantly take their small, tiny little brain and instead of just seeing two human beings on a t-shirt, they see two racially diverted people.
It’s insane to me, I don’t get it. I don’t listen to music, look at art or anything in that way. I don’t look at it as a black thing or white thing. I just can’t believe people still look at things like that. It’s disgusting, and I think that’s really the biggest shame.
And as far as it promoting violence or anything like that, I mean honestly, I think that violence is never the answer, but it’s also not something that doesn’t exist. It still continues, it happens. I’ve been a victim of it, I know other people who have been a victim of it as well.
So it’s not like I’m any stranger to it or think that it’s a good thing, but I’m also not going to… I mean, that’s kind of the reason why I made the shirt, because it’s like “Yo, this shit is real. Violence is a way of life.”
The back of that t-shirt specifically was actually a reference to, I can’t remember what the name of it is, but it’s kind of like when movies come out they put out “hot words” or sentences or phrases to go with it.”
On new music and not being able to say what needed to be said on “Slave To The Game”:
“I mean, it was really hard for me to put myself into the music on our last record. There was a lot going on in my life was kind of stopping me from really taking advantage of my position in the band creatively.
So it really set us back because I think one of the stronger points in the band is the fact that I have been so honest with myself in the music. And this time I really held back, and I really did not talk much about my personal life, or things that are going on that I truly feel are important to me or that I want to get off my chest.
I kind of played it safe and decided that I wanted to make an album that maybe more people could just digest easier. You wouldn’t have to figure out if you could relate to the music, it would just be kind of a story telling kind of thing. I tried that out, and I regretfully now wish I hadn’t.
I wish I had maybe taken more interest in the music to put myself into it. But I think that all together, the last record is not going to be the one that defines us, and that what we’re about to make is going to be a real button pusher, and is going to be something that really is going to catch people’s attention and should really help define our sound, pave the way for us.
I think that we’ve come a long way, and we’ve had certain successes with things and certain things that have fallen by the waste side as with most bands. What has stuck, we’re going to try and stick to that formula, and that’s really it.
I mean, it’s funny how people have such an interest in what I say because if that’s really what you’re concerned about, then just stay tuned. If you’re that curious in what I have to say next, then keep it plugged in because I’m not going anywhere, obviously.”
On being portrayed as the “villain”:
“I think that’s been my calling for a while, and the fact that they play towards it is so interesting to me, it’s so funny. It’s really become almost bigger than me at this point because it’s like… I feel so important! [laughs] I really do.
It’s like “Wow, you guys really care what I’m about to say and what I’m going to do! That’s so nice of you!” And you don’t have to like it, that’s completely fine. I just think it’s great that they’re paying attention, really.”
There’s a lot more to read in the full feature over at Metalinsider.net.