Heavy Metal Reviews

The Used
Interview with bass player Jeph Howard

e-Trado GmbH

conversation with bass player Jeph Howard

Heavy Metal Reviews

The Used’s new record Vulnerable is out now. Their bass player Jeph Howard answers some questions about the new release and how they deal with the fact that less and less people buy their records.

The new record sounds heavier and more aggressive than Lies For The Liars and Artwork. What is your opinion on those two records today?
We needed to make each record in order to make vulnerable.

Just like I mentioned, Vulnerable sounds more aggressive. What inspired you this time? It sounds a lot more like your self-titled debut than any other record you've done after that. You’ve gone back to working with John Feldmann for the upcoming album, how have his contributions enhanced the album? And what was production like?
Different than the usual Feldman experience.

What are the lyrical topics of Vulnerable? It seems to be more positive than Artwork.
Artwork was a very very negative record. As you can tell by the lyrics, Bert's mental head space was just as negative. That's one of the beautiful things about vulnerable it is the most positive Bert has ever been - in mind and lyrics.

Your debut is considered a classic in it's genre. How do you handle that? Is there any pressure during songwriting-sessions?
We are not part of ANY genre that we have been categorized in, and we have said that from the beginning.  No pressure because we wright songs for ourselves first.

Aiden's William Control contributed vocals for 'Now That You're Dead'. Where did the idea come from to have him on your record?
He's been a long time friend and just happened to be in town. I Love Will and he is intellectually amazing.

The band started the label Anger Music Group and you’re teaming up with Hopeless Records to put out Vulnerable, tell us about Anger Music Group and how it started. And what are the biggest differences between your former major label and Hopeless?
When we were on a major the people working with us never had time to pay attention or care about us, because they all had 500+ bands to do the same thing for. Hopeless has been great, they actually care about music and care about their bands. And now actually being on our own label ANGER MUSIC GROUP we now have complete control and complete freedom.

You've been one of the most successful bands in the former emo/screamo scene, playing big venues and gettig gold certifications for your first two records. How does it feel that people aren't that aware of you anymore? Are you missing the mainstream's attention?
We have said from the first day, we are NOT a emo/screamo band.  And actually we are still doing very well, and actually better than when we were on a major.
Vulnerable debuted #1 on iTunes alternative and it was #8 borderline #7 in America, people are VERY aware of The Used. We beat many major label bands and many major artist. We have never been a main stream band, we are the underground. And the underground is bigger and more powerful than the main stream.

Why do you think people got bored of that whole emo-scene? It was like people loved bands like The Used, My Chemical Romance or Aiden and then all bands hardly sold as many records as they used to.
EVERY band is selling less and less records. Why pay and support a band you like when you can get it for free?

Due to that circumstance you are playing in smaller venues today, more club-sized. What do you prefer? Small sweaty club shows or the big shows in front of 10.000 people?
We just headlined a show a couple days ago in los vegas and played for 20,000.

Still you've got passionate fans. What was the weirdest thing ever a fan did at a show, a meet&greet or in front of a venue after a show?
Spontaneously cumbusted while whistling, clapping, snapping, and reading this interview.

Text © by Sebastian Berning