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Interview: Hate Eternal Bassist Discusses New Album And Response to Solo X-mas EP

Tampa’s Hate Eternal has been pummeling the masses since 1997. 2015 has been no exception with the release of their sixth offering Infernus. Recently I had the opportunity to have an exchange with bassist J.J. Hrubovcak via e-mail. We discussed a range of topics from the new album, to what motivates him, and even touched on his death metal Christmas record from 2013.

Looking back what was your favorite moment of the recording process of “Infernus”?

My favorite moment is the actual writing. This band is a collaborative effort and I really enjoy being able to contribute so much to the process. Erik and I live pretty far from each other so we exchange Pro Tools files and Skype, but the best moments are flying down to sunny Florida to jam in person. We both grab a guitar and go to town and see what comes of it, then arrange it. Chaos Theory was one of those born from a 3am jam. I’ve been in the band 7+ years at this point and I really feel like I am in the groove. I contributed on guitar to Phoenix [Amongst The Ashes] as well, but I was newer to the band and my approach to the riffing is different now. Anyway, I’d have to say the creative process is my favorite part of any album. That and hearing the final result!

Any plans for a promotional music video? What track do you feel deserves one the most?

The plans are in the early stages on that front. I’m so proud of every tune on this record and there are choice cuts throughout the album. I think each person has their own favorite and it really depends on what we want to convey in the video. This record is really dynamic so do we choose a slower one? A faster one? A mix? On this album, I don’t think only one tune stands out. There are multiples – all of them! You tell me! Which one is the best for a video?

Speaking from a rhythm perspective, do you feel new drummer Chason, is a great match for you when playing together?

Chason is a great match! He brings a spastic, animalistic energy to the table and you can hear it in his fills. Plus the guy hits like a champ and plays with tree trunks for sticks – I think they are 3A. He also has a lot of groove and can play multiple styles. The videos are out there for folks who are interested in just hearing him jam.

Regarding your upcoming tour with Misery Index, Beyond Creation, and Rivers Of Nihil; Who are you most excited to be touring with?

All three of these bands have their unique styles. Rivers of Nihil have been killing it. I’m new to Beyond Creation and I like what I’ve heard. I’ve always loved Misery Index and we are good friends so it will be a fantastic tour.

What are your thoughts on letting albums stream in their entirety before they hit stores? Did you have any say when it came to “Infernus”? Do you view it as just giving your art away for free?

I leave that up to the professionals. Labels release many albums per year and they’ve obviously seen a boost from it, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. I’m old school so originally I wondered if that was a good idea when labels started it. But the bottom line is that folks who want it for free, will get it for free. By streaming it yourself, you are giving someone the opportunity to 1) realize just how badass the record is, 2) click ‘buy’ on the stream page when they otherwise wouldn’t and 3) view the special collector’s edition packages. Will the future show everyone that it is the right thing to do? I don’t know.

Overall, how would you say was the response to your X-mas metal EP? Would you do it again?

The response was overwhelmingly positive! I was hoping that would be the case because I put so much effort into crafting it as a dark death metal record regardless of seasonal theme. There are so many death metal Christmas tunes out there that are cheesy and campy. For instance, you can find a bunch of growling “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” covers. I wanted to do the exact opposite of that. I didn’t want this EP to be a joke, but instead base it on dark, morose hymns with a twist on the lyrical content and frame it in a death metal context. I would like to do another one, but it would have to be right. The musical themes would have to be dark enough, but also recognizable enough. There are a lot of happier, recognizable Christmas tunes, but many of the darker hymns are
religious in nature and I don’t know if they would be too obscure. We shall see…

Who’s your favorite 3-piece metal band (besides Motorhead)?

There are so many good ones – among them are Krisiun, Deeds of Flesh (for a long period) and of course Destruction! Destruction is great!

What is your favorite Hate Eternal song (pre-Phoenix) to play live?

Definitely “Whom Gods May Destroy”. That song is just hauling! Fury and Flames is so tortured! I love that record. Alex’s bass lines on that tune are fun to play also.

What is your desert island album?

That’s a hard one. It’d probably be one of the big four thrash band records like Reign in Blood or Peace Sells. I think that either way, if you have to listen to one record over and over on a desert island alone, you are going to go crazy! My brother used to like some of the Japanese noise bands. If you are going insane, you might as well get there faster with a bunch of noise band static on endless loop!