Deathcore band Whitechapel takes its name from the district in East London where the infamous Jack the Ripper serial murders took place in 1888. Forming in 2006, the Tennessee sextet is one of the most prominent bands within the oft-criticized deathcore genre. After releasing its fifth full-length album Our Endless War last month, the band is out to prove that they are not just a run-of-the-mill, stereotypical deathcore band. Vocalist Phil Bozeman states his case.
Mosh: Who came up with the band name and what drew you to it, knowing its history?
Phil: I think it was me, actually. I was writing lyrics and I didn’t want something that was absolutely obscene or disgusting. I read about Jack the Ripper and I saw the name of the district called Whitechapel and thought that could be cool. We didn’t really think about it, but afterward we thought it just sounded like a white church. We saw the name, had a logo made and decided to roll with it. I personally haven’t seen the area but some of the guys in the band have actually been there.
Mosh: What’s the symbolism behind the saw blade on the flag that appears on the cover art on the new album?
Phil: It’s basically the Tennessee flag and the saw blade refers to “metal,” the grungy, metal side of it. We just incorporated where we come from and the style of music we’re playing. The symbol just fits really well. That’s the symbolism behind the blade; it’s us, where we come from, and what we’re doing.
Mosh: Is that what you’re trying to convey on the first single, “The Saw is the Law?”
Phil: Yeah. It’s just about what we do, who we are and what we devoted our lives to. It’s sort of an ode to ourselves. If you look at it in a certain way, it does seem like it’s kind of pretentious, but we don’t think that we’re better than anyone else. We’re proud of where we come from and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished. That’s pretty much what that song represents.
Mosh: Do you consider yourself to be at a point within the music business where you want to be?
Phil: I feel like we’ve definitely established ourselves. We are where we want to be. We don’t have unfair expectations or ridiculous limits. We don’t think we’re going to go out there and be a diamond-selling band, (selling 10 million albums). I don’t think that’s something that’s even been accomplished in this particular genre. It’s a constant building process. As long as we’re having fun and enjoying what we’re doing, that’s all that really matters. Obviously, we’d like to improve and grow, but it is what it is right now and we’re happy where we’re at.
Mosh: Labeled as a “core” band, you’re proving to be one of the few within the genre that can stand on its own. What do you attribute this to?
Phil: I honestly believe that someone who listens to this particular music or this genre can definitely distinguish us between other bands. I don’t think that I’m the best vocalist by any means, but I feel that when people hear my voice, they’re going to know it’s me just by the style and the sound. Even with the music, I feel that with our song structures and the way we write, people can distinguish us between other bands. And that’s something that’s hard to do. This music is hard to be original with and to really put a staple on it. I feel we do a really good job of that.
Whitechapel appears June 4 at Mojoe’s, Joliet. Tickets are available HERE
For the full interview and May’s Mosh column pick up a copy of IE throughout the Chicago area or read the digital edition HERE
– Kelley Simms