Shockwave sat down with Jasen Moreno of Drowning Pool to discuss their new album, Hellelujah, and the surrealism of joining the group.
Shockwave Magazine: I’ve got to be honest; I am a new Drowning Pool fan.
Jasen Moreno: That’s alright. Those are my favorite kind.
I haven’t listened since “Bodies,” but now I am a fan. I listened to the entire album, of course on YouTube videos. The songs are awesome.
Thank you. I’m sure the guys will appreciate that.
How’s the tour going so far?
The tour’s going great. It’s been a while since I’ve been on such a fun package. You know, the bands really get along well. The bands complement each other, the music goes well together, so it’s a good deal. As far as turn out, it’s been really great. The fans have been receptive. The promoters have been happy. I know in a couple of shows we got caught up by the weather, but you know, that’s out of our control.
Yeah, I saw the bus looks like it’s been through salt piles. What are you going to do after the tour?
We’re going to go back and write a new record. That’s really what we’re going to focus on. It’s been a while since we’ve been on a long haul like this. This last year, 2016, we just did a bunch of international tours, went to Australia, Japan, China, India. We really wanted to finish 2016 strong and that’s the whole point of this tour; to really reconnect with our home base fans.
This album seems a lot heavier, edgier, than Resilience. Is that where you guys are gonna stay? With that heavier sound? I like it a lot.
Yeah. You know, Resilience served its purpose. It was always our intention to be heavier. That’s who we are now that I’m in the mix. I think it served well as a transitional record for fans to realize, “Okay Ryan’s not around anymore.” It’s still Drowning Pool. Yeah, to answer your question, we’re gonna stay heavy. It’s gonna be a lot like Hellelujah. I don’t see that trend changing anytime soon.
I love Hellelujah. You can’t put your finger on a favorite. Every song is better than the last.
Thank you. You hear a lot of bands, “Oh, we’re so proud of our last record.” I’m not doubting that, but it is just the simple truth, Hellelujah is just a natural process from the writing, to the recording, to where we gave it to the people. It’s a very honest record. A very true record. We’re very proud of it.
You think you guys gelled?
Yes, I think- I’m gonna be brutally honest and I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses or throwing anybody under the bus, but when Ryan exited the band it was a mad scramble to get someone in asap. I auditioned. I got the gig. Then, before you knew it we were on the road, all over the world, and we’re recording Resilience. So, there was really no time to gel and find out who we were gonna be in the privacy of the jam room. Then, everything was so exposed and we really had to come together in the public eye. I get it. We’re a band and on this level that’s what you do. There was literally no time. I sent my audition in, I went and sang a set with the band, and then, it felt like a week later I had my bags packed and I was going to record Resilience. They were putting the finishing touches on Resilience and mixing and mastering, and we were touring the UK, and touring all over the damn world. It was a whirlwind. My head was spinning for a really long time. The guys felt the same. I think what you’re hearing on Hellelujah is just us finding who we are and everything we’ve learned from up to this point. We’re just going to apply that moving forward. We’re a strong front.
Has it sunk in yet?
I don’t think it ever really will sink in. I mean to go from local guy, weekend warrior guy, very structured work-wise, real life if you will, and I played rock star on the weekend and then I come back to real life. I still connect more with that version of myself, so I don’t think it’s ever gonna sink in that, “Now I’m with Drowning Pool touring the world.” It’s all surreal. It’s very hard to put into words. It’s very hard to explain.
What did you do in real life?
I drove a forklift for a long time. To be honest, I miss it because I did my thing. I put my head down if I didn’t want to talk to anyone, you know face the world that day. I would just get on my forklift, and load trucks, and unload trucks. I printed t-shirts for a really long time. Screen print. That’s what I mean, it was surreal. It was like I went all in with this music and I was fine with just the chase. For the longest time, it just became about the chase. I never did stop and think what am I gonna do with it if I catch it? And then I caught it. And now, it’s like what the hell do I do now? It’s not that I’m ungrateful. It’s just that it hasn’t sunk in.
So, now what are you gonna do with it?
Just do my job. I’m going to get out there, and sing songs, and then I’ll come back here and wait to sing more songs. It’s just a strange experience. I don’t think my head is ever going to stop spinning. It’s just a drastic change. I had never been out of the country before. I had never really traveled and here I am with Drowning Pool on a tour bus going everywhere. Half the time I don’t remember where I am. I don’t know what day it is. But, I have my smartphone to help me be connected.
What does your family think?
They are very supportive. I never would have gone for it if I didn’t have the support of my family. I talked to my family. Obviously, no one could foresee the changes. It was vital that I had their backing and support. Here I am.
You’ve said your family has a musical background.
Sure. Music has always been in the family. I grew up around it. My mother raised me on The Beatles and Zeppelin. She took me to my first concert. I couldn’t have been six or seven years old. She took me to Clapton. She was a drummer, my father was a blues guitarist in bands. He stills plays guitar and sings. My grandfather tuned pianos for a living until he retired. It’s always been in the family. My brother’s a drummer. It’s very natural.
I’m amazed your mom is a drummer.
We’re all multi-talented. It’s funny. I never wanted to be a singer, quite frankly.
I had heard you were a bassist.
I wanted to be a lead guitarist, but it was too hard. So, I moved to bass, fell in love with it, and that’s what I wanted to do. I just kind of fell into this singing thing. It’s funny the way life works. It’s not to say I’m ungrateful. I do love singing. I just never thought that’s what I’d do.
Do you write the music?
We all write. If I have guitar riffs, or drum ideas, or whatever it is, the band is an open slate. It’s the same with the other guys if they have lyrics or melody ideas. Hellelujah was very much like that, all of us writing together.
Do you have any festivals lined up?
No. I wish I could say we did. We’re really in that in-between record cycle. We’ve toured on Hellelujah. This is probably going to be the last of the hard-core tour pushing Hellelujah. With the New Year will come a new record, a new product we can push. Hopefully, we’ll get some festivals out of that. We did some. We did a festival in India.
That’s awesome! What’s a festival like in India?
I think metal fans are the same all over the world. They like to get wild, get crazy, scream and holler, jump up and down. It’s the same all over the world. That’s universal. I think we could go to Mars and play and the martians would be losing their minds.
That’s the next step.
Yeah! The next step. Drowning Pool in space.
I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.