The Call Up: Rob Ortiz (of Escape The Fate)

Las Vegas is the brightly lit Sin City, the place where slot machines and table dealers rake in your cash with little effort, where everyone’s friendly long enough to send you home with a hangover and a vengeful conscience. What happens in Vegas should probably stay in Vegas, though considering how much everyone knows about it, I suspect the secrets never stay secret for long. Nevada has spawned at least one act that polarizes listeners (The Killers) and another that’s still seeking real success (Hemlock); today, we get to speak with a new export: Escape The Fate.

Escape The Fate was originally formed in 2004 and is a product of the post-hardcore music movement, a modern rock branch that has a good foothold on traveling posses like Mayhem Festival and Warped Tour. The demographic is Hot Topic-meets-Hit Parade, the freak-flagged dominion of those pseudo-rebellions mentioned in Rock History 101: Intro To Nu-Metal; everything in its right place, right time, and onward we get ETF drummer Robert Ortiz fielding questions from CoS surrounding the band’s Orgy-esque and eponymous third LP (which features zombified band members on the cover art, a definite brownie point).

On corresponding with Ortiz, it was clear that the band members and their publicist were extremely excited about the new record’s material. Between declaring London, England, the favorite playable city and essentially plugging their act to the newcomers surrounding our readership, CoS was able to toss a few inquiries Ortiz’s way, getting a rough idea on what is described as a musical landscape-altering new album.

Lead vocalist Max Green was quoted saying that Escape The Fate’s 2010 eponymous offering would be “the cure for the modern day music epidemic.” In what way was that intended, and do any of you feel that this record has done what it’s set out to do?

For me it has. It’s my favorite record of the last decade, for sure. It seems there are rock bands who are too dumbed down in the mainstream side of things — half-assed riffs, half-assed solos, or no solos at all. A singer who can grunt like James Hetfield but lacks the genuine edge. There are the more underground bands, who are pushing for something new, and they’re experimenting but just haven’t found their sound and can’t really put a solid song together that can appeal to a lot of people. That’s where we come in — it’s different enough to be new, but it’s packaged well, so a lot of people can like it. There have been a few who’ve come close, but they’re either great metal without style or great style with not enough metal and precision. We are what needs to be.

Production-wise, there is definitely a heavier electronic influence on Escape The Fate. To what would that be attributed, and what was the inspiration for the album as a whole?

The whole idea, when putting a song together, is not just strumming on chords, or playing a riff and have the singer [go] over it. It’s about creating a world. Whatever feeling was happening when a song started had to be brought to life through sound. Whatever it takes to get that feeling out is what is used. If it’s a weird synth sound, electronic drums, shakers, strings, guitar, drums, vocals. Doesn’t matter. As long as it gets the point and feeling across.

Linkin Park explained that writing and producing the material for A Thousand Suns was a very stream-of-consciousness thing. What all went into making Escape The Fate’s three-strong, full-length catalog, in terms of songwriting and so on? Any ideas burning for the next release?

There’s no formula. All three of our albums were very unique experiences. Our newest was definitely the best experience, though, because everything came together right, and we sound how we want to sound. It’s the best record we’ve ever done, and we’re very proud of it. There’s always new stuff pouring out of us.

From ETF, Ortiz, and here at CoS, go give Escape The Fate a try, at the very least as a warm-up to Warped Tour season. Escape The Fate is a 2010 release and features a very electronic/modern metal sound-scape, not to mention some of the band’s finest production work overall.


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