Interview with Robert Ortiz from Escape The Fate
Escape The Fate are hitting Australia next week for their “This War Is Ours” 10 year Anniversary Australian Tour 2018.
With special guests AWAKEN I AM + BETWEEN KINGS
I sat down to chat with drummer Robert Ortiz about the tour, life and the new album.
Hello, how you, how you going? You guys say going and not doing. Who are you going?
I am well, thank you and yourself?
I’m doing good man, I’m dealing with a couple of screaming infants here. Um, the wife’s doing her best, but you know it’s a struggle.
That’s alright! That’s no problem at all.
I’ve got twin toddlers dude, and both of them got sick today, I’m cleaning puck off my hands and I’m trying to do some interviews. Trying to promote this record, got to promote this tour and I’m dealing with baby drama. (laughs) puts it into perspective man. Cause they don’t care if their dads a rock star all they care about is my tummy hurts and I’m hungry.
Sounds full on so I will try to make this as quick as I can.
Escape the fate are doing a 10-year anniversary tour for your album “this war is ours”
How does it feel to be celebrating 10 years since its release?
Well, I certainly feel a little bit old, (laughs) feels kind of weird. Ah but truthfully, after all, that said and done um having played this amazing show that I just did. I feel like we’re starting to peak as artist and performers. I think things are being well, it’s coming together. After all the things that I’ve been through, Craig (Mabbitt) and I together as brothers have been through. It’s honestly awesome.
Like there was a time when 30 seemed like old! but now it’s, I enjoy it, I welcome it because there is a prime feeling to it where I’m like damn! I’m like everything I’ve learned, all the scars I have, it shaped me and made me stronger and more appreciative.
To be able to do something like this! To be able to look back and say DAMN BRO! I’m still doing this shit. Cause it is a dream job man like it really is. Some people tell me ‘you’re living the dream’! Well no! sometimes it’s a nightmare, but at the end of the day I get paid to play music and you know that’s what I love to do.
Whatever it is that people love to do I hope that they find a living doing that. To be able to do it ten years later? That’s insane man! that’s honestly insane! So, I just feel fortunate I guess, as they say, hashtag blessed.
That album was only the band’s second release and it blew up, that must have been insane for you guys, tell us a little about it?
It was insane, it was a lot to deal with man. I wish I had that opportunity with my wisdom now, but that’s not how the world works right? You learn through these things, you learn on the job that’s a life thing. But I mean it was so crazy, just to see some of the things that we sore, to get to travel the world, to go to Australia, to eat Koala jerky, (laughs) to eat kangaroo. Ah to hold a koala to pat a kangaroo. It’s like that’s so gnarly man. That’s a lot to throw at a young man and I feel like we did the best we could.
Any young man who all of a sudden, had a lot of money and fame. You don’t really know! There’s not really a formula for it because you have to experience it and deal with it on your own. We fort a lot and we made it through some tough times and we didn’t make it through some other tough times so.
It was a whirlwind for sure, especially for how scary it was at the time. So, scared for what the album, how it would sound, you know how it would resonate. We just didn’t know what to expect. and as we went out there the show just kept getting bigger and bigger.
Sydney Soundwave was certainly one of my favourite moments, just a sea of people going back and rocking. You know the festival we do here we do here in Vegas, and rocking that mother fucker dude and that was crazy. My parents getting to see all this, and you know, your all of a sudden invited to the VIP section of all the coolest clubs. It like whoa man this is crazy.
It was fun and I don’t think I appreciated what the music was doing as much back then. But now I do! and I think that’s why this ten-year tour is special to us because we’ve all gone through fazes. I think our fans through their life listening to not just other artist but other styles of music and tried different things and most of them are parents now like myself and Craig we’re like parents. And getting the next generation of rock and roll started.
Then there are legions of fans that are just starting to turn into fans. So there just this whole weird experience and I am just happy to have seen this little idea and this willingness to keep fighting, to claim the war, say this war is ours you know. That turned into some really fun times for a lot of people and I’m glad that I get to do that still. Those memories were really cool, really bad! Really fun, really sad! You can’t change anything but for a band, I guess it’s good to look back sometimes dude.
So, May 28th the tour kicks off in Perth, at the Amplifier Bar. How does it feel to be heading back to Australia?
You know as I was saying about Sydney and the Soundwave Festival what that was for us. The style of fans, like it’s so hard to explain like there’s an energy to it. There’s only a couple of places on the plant that feels similar to it where it’s like, it’s an excitement! There just I don’t know! You feel it more as a tangible electricity that just flows through your veins. It just courses through your body when everyone is just in motion together and we’re all on the same page.
I don’t know? There’s just something about Australia that feels a lot cooler and we always have the best times out there. I can say a handful of shows that may have gone better in other places. I can always say when we tour the whole country. That the whole country is a lot better! It’s just rad man! I really like it and Bondi beach, my favourite places in the world.
I eat at moo burger, there just so many things. See You’re talking about looking back and ten years and all that shit, just get me to back to Bondi beach in Sydney and eat at Moo Burger or whatever it’s called and have a mootella shake. Every time I eat one, I’m like I better enjoy this! I saver it, because I don’t know when! Or if I will ever come back and get to enjoy this again. And here I am going back and getting to enjoy it again and that’s what this all about.
It is great that you have added two licenced all ages show on the Australian leg, them being the Adelaide and Brisbane shows. How important is it to the band that the younger fans are able to see you play live?
That’s a huge importance to me. I will give you an example; This last show we played to end this tour was my hometown. I am a Native American. A tribe owns an entertainment centre, and our drinking laws are 21 and over. They only put over 21 shows here. Why? because they only what to get people into the door to buy alcohol and go gamble.
They don’t plan on making any money off tickets sales or anything so they just make the shows free. With our show, I doubt that they made very much money because they are limited on selling alcohol. The whole floor where we are performing is no alcohol because it’s all ages. I said to them, I don’t care, man, all ages dude! Because what ultimately what that does, is not just give you know, some of the best nights that you’re ever going to have.
When we all look back at our high school lives dude. Yeah sure some of them were really fucking awkward but dude some of those nights were the best ever. It sparks dreams, it creates like, this ambition in people, it inspires them, and that is important to me man. Like the next generation of rock and roll. Sure, there’s a lot of baggage that comes along with being in a band, or being any artist for that matter, but that’s like in general. They’re going to find hurdles and obstacles that you have to conquer. But rock and roll can be so beautiful and I want to inspire the next generation to channel their feelings in whatever way and find joy.
At the end of the day dude, my job is to make people smile. If you can do that for a younger person and inspire them to go out and chase whatever dreams it may be and I make them smile for that night? That’s awesome dude and to me it is important!
From the business side of things, yeah, your creating the next generation of fans. We could continue to play to the same fans forever and that’s great, but we also want to grow the family. You want to welcome new people in too, and let them come into this world and enjoy those songs. I will know when we have good songs when my niece says it’s great! when she skips it (laughs) then it’s not very good. She’s 13, she obsessed with My Chemical Romance, and that music is timeless. for me, I see how happy that makes her and I want to continue that and make new fans as well.
You guys have just released your 6th album “I am Human”. Can you tell us a little about the writing and recording process?
No, I just kind of blacked out dude! (laughs) nah I think it’s going to be very well documented by the end of this that, it was a therapy session dude. Like I don’t know how else to put it, man. It was therapy, I needed to get these songs out. As a lot of people do but especially artist we tend to rely on, these sort of weird things. Almost false idols if you will, to help us and I’ve certainly gone down. I’ve never become a drug addict but I relied on a lot of things to search for happiness and music for a long time was it sort of!
I resented it because it created so many problems in my life. Dealing with those hard issues that come with being in a rock band. So, like it was difficult for me and I started to hate it, so I turned to other things as hobbies. Music was my love! It was my therapy! Then it became my job and I didn’t like it any more. When I’ve done all these other things, gone to actual therapy, I turned to the gym then started lifting and all this other stuff.
I’m like dude, my grandfather passed away. I was really hurt, my family was shaken up and we stopped talking to each other, and it created this divide. I was really ashamed of that, I started to dwell on the feelings that I had about the time I didn’t spend with them and all my regrets. And I thought to myself, how the hell do I get this out? Nothings helping.
So, I started writing a song, and that song was my release. Then that song gave me the strength to write more songs, and to help my brothers out to write their songs and there was the focus. It really became a focus about being very personal with everything that we were writing and making sure that these songs weren’t just CGI, it wasn’t just you know sonic jerking off. That these songs had real emotional quality to them.
So yeah that’s what it turned to man. So now those beautiful chords, melodies and rhythms, actually now have this sort of heart behind it. You know that’s how it went. It was weird recording, we were split up a lot, but we got through it and we made some stuff that’s connecting with a lot of people. Man, it’s certainly making me connect with my brothers in the band a lot more, that’s for sure.
You have been doing this a while now and I understand that it hasn’t always been easy. Do you have any advice for anyone that may be coming up in the industry or looking to get into it?
Ah, I mean from the sheer like there’s always two sides, like the sheer business aspect of it. These not a lot I can say cause it’s always changing and I’m always trying to find advice myself.
Um but then on the flip side, there’s the tenacity that’s inside a human being, and what art is. There’s no right or wrong art! There’s no rules to this shit. No one’s going to tell you what a hit (song) sounds like man. Um you don’t have to listen to anybody. I’m an artist, I’m a performance artist, I’m a drummer, I’m a musician, I’m a songwriter. I’m an overall fucking artist my entire band are artist! We like to create! We’re not just out there to go on stage and to just make money. We actually have real heart invested in it, and if that’s the type of artist you are? Then you know what’s best for you. Listen to advice that’s cool, but ultimately remember that you have the last say. And if you don’t like it? That’s the only opinion that matters.
So, say something and don’t be forced into doing anything that you aren’t happy with. Be a dick! ok well, maybe don’t be a dick but be stubborn. You have to be! You have to be because no one is going to believe in you more than you! Because they’ll tell you, oh this song a hit! If it doesn’t work they’ll blame it on you, and if they’ll tell you this song a hit! And it does work they’ll say, see we told you! Listen to us. There no attachment there, you’re just doing a job. If you want it to be more than a job? Then you need to do what’s best for you! Only you know what that is!
ESCAPE THE FATE TOUR DATES:
28/5 – PERTH, WA – Amplifier Bar 18+
29/5 – ADELAIDE, SA – Fowlers Live Lic/AA
30/5- MELBOURNE, VIC – Corner Hotel 18+ SOLD OUT
31/5- MELBOURNE, VIC- Max Watts 18+
1/6- SYDNEY, NSW- Manning Bar 18+
2/6- NEWCASTLE, NSW- Cambridge Hotel 18+
3/6- BRISBANE, QLD- The Triffid Lic/AA
4/6- WELLINGTON, NZ- Valhalla 18+
Get your tix for the tour HERE
Escape The Fate -Facebook HERE
Awaken I Am – Facebook HERE
Between Kings – Facebook HERE
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