Whether you love them or hate them, you have to respect them–Traitors brought the down-tempo deathcore scene to American soil, following in the footsteps of their English brothers, Black Tongue, to provide a surreal, sinister source of never-ending hatred for chuggaholics to lose their mind to. Fast forward to December, one immensely successful EP release and several tours later and Traitors are gearing up to once more drown the world in their dissonant, disastrous breed of hate. If you’re looking for some additional insight into what might await you when The Hate Campaign begins to spread, read on for an interview with Stephen Arango, the band’s drummer and a review of the band’s upcoming single, “Common Demon.”
Connor Welsh: So, 2014 has been an absolutely huge year. You guys took off more than I think anyone would have guessed. What’s that like?
Stephen Arango: Amazing man. It’s insane to see the amount of support we have had on just our first release.
Connor: And it doesn’t look like 2015 is gonna see you guys slow down at all. Right now you’re wrapping up your debut full length with Jesse Kirkbride, the same man behind your massively successful EP. What do you want listeners to know about the upcoming material? You guys have hinted at it being different–different how?
Stephen: This album is going to be somewhat of a different idea than what we released through our past release. We wanted to target different types of styles in this album as well as keeping the Traitors feel which we all believe we have beyond succeeded with on this record.
C: If you could describe The Hate Campaign in one word (NOT hate or hateful), what word would you choose?
C: What are some of your biggest influences and inspiring factors behind the creation of The Hate Campaign?
S: Greed and Power; Two things that have changed our lives & existence for the worse. The idea of freedom and liberty has become nothing but a mere idea of what used to be a free world. We live in a place where material & money have become the face of happiness.
We have become what we all said we never would, the problem. When was the last time we all stopped to realize…when did we stop dreaming. When did we stop wanting better for ourselves? People working like lifeless zombies working two or three jobs and countless hours to still have bills piling up. Debt is what we have been raised into, to keep the rich richer and the poor always poor. This is the system
that has corrupted the lives of many of the ones we love and loved. Why is it that the ones we pay our hard earned money to in tax dollars and the ones we rely to protect us are the ones we fear. This is what we do to each other because of greed & power. So to answer your question, that is what lead to the creation of The Hate Campaign, an idea of wanting better for each other even through the act of violence and revolution. Without hate there is no love. This album is our statement to the
world, we all deserve better.
C: That’s really intense man. What about your plans after The Hate Campaign. Between Arrogance Artist Management and Legends venue, a good portion of the band definitely has a lot going on outside of the band. How will you balance that with touring and (eventually) new material?
S: We luckily have very close business associates that will be running the venue while we are on the road. Arrogance will remain as it always has; a top priority for me. I work around the clock 24/7 no matter if I’m on tour or home. Work never stops unless you allow it to.
C: It’s an ugly question, but it begs to be asked; this past fall, a fair amount of Internet drama surfaced between the band and your former label We Are Triumphant. Has the dust from that all settled? Or is there anything else regarding it you’d like to address?
S: We have no relationship or affiliation with them since we left the label. When you work with agencies & labels you have to realize that their main interest is money.
All of us in Traitors have grown past that whole situation since our departure and honestly can say we are 100% happy where we’re at in with this band.
C: Does Traitors have any plans to sign to a different label down the line?
S: We have some interests that we have definitely been considering but that’s all we can really say about it at the moment.
C: You guys make exceptionally violent and hateful music (duh), yet you all seem to be very up-beat and positive members of society. Furthermore, many people question the value of negative music in a society attempting to be peaceful and positive. What do you have to say about negative music finding a place in today’s society? What does it really MEAN to you?
S: We all personally love aggressive hard hitting pissed off music. Individually we’re very different in what we believe in and stand for but there are things that we do feel very strongly about especially problems in the world that cause bullying, depression and suicide.
Our music tends to get a bad rep. We’ve heard from tons of fans that we’ve met at shows how they imagined us being terrible people because of our name and the music we play. Don’t get me wrong, just like anyone in the situation, our dudes are ones to get violent if they get pushed to that point but we are always about our fans and the people that support us
C: That’s a pretty deep way to look at it—but it’s good to know you guys aren’t necessarily as intense as your music might let on! So those are the business questions, why not have some fun?
Socks or bare feet?
S: Bare feet, we’re all cavemen.
C: Outdoor festivals or crowded dive bar shows?
S: Dive Bar shows are always insane and sound is always a million times better but festivals give us more time to connect & hang w the fans so in the end probably
C: Bikes or motorcycles?
S: Motorcycles all the way.
C: Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton?
S: None of us are into fake demoralizing plastic whores.
C: Cars or SUVs?
C: If you could watch any two celebrities mud wrestle to the death, who would they be?
S: Mae Young & Blue from Old School.
C: Let’s say you’re in a movie theater, watching the most brilliant and captivating movie you’ve ever seen. You’re completely entranced by it, as it’s easily the best movie you’ve ever seen. However half way through, you get a sinking feeling that the person you love most in this world needs your help, or might be gravely ill. You don’t know for sure, but the only way to know is to go out in the lobby and call them to make sure they’re okay. However, once you leave the movie, you may not be readmitted. Without calling or texting from the theater, What do you do?
S: People that really matter always come first.
“Common Demon” Exclusive Review
Album: “Common Demon” – Single
Inside every person, there is a leech–an unquenchable tap feasting on every ounce of positivity and love that flows within their blood. In some, this leach remains dormant for years–or even their whole life–leaving the person to see only light and never feel anger. However, others become their inner demons and exude nothing but bitterness and hatred with every action they perform and syllable they speak–I’m referring, of course, to the furious Floridians that make up Traitors. After taking the scene by storm in wary 2014 with their debut self-titled EP, Traitors are back with “Common Demon,” the lead single off of The Hate Campaign. However, “Common Demon” is far from the Traitors of nearly a year ago. With grooves that writhe into the listener’s head like snakes and meaty breakdowns several cuts above any found on their debut, “Common Demon” is a hateful ballad boisterous enough to bring out the hate monger in anyone.
Fans of the band’s debut material rejoice–for Traitors are still immensely heavy. “Common Demon” has more than its fair share of plodding, mammoth breakdowns and intense, awe-inspiring vocals. Tyler Shelton–and the entirety of Traitors–remain at the top of their game, working in crushing harmony to create a dismal cacophony of bone-busting heaviness that puts the group’s past material to shame. However, a majority of the band’s maturation comes not from their ability to break it down, but in their new-found energy. Low-tuned, low-down-and-dirty grooves fill in the moments between the monumental breakdowns in “Common Demon,” giving the listener something to keep them completely engaged when they aren’t breaking their neck head banging. The band have reached an immaculate balance between crushing chugging and sturdy song structure, finally finding a groove in which to build their niche–at the end of the day, there’s nothing common about Traitors’ latest track.