April 17, 2024

In a new interview with Hear 2 Zen magazine, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH guitarist Zoltan Bathory spoke about the band's continued collaboration with Kevin Churko, the Canadian record producer/engineer and songwriter who currently lives in Las Vegas, where he works out of his private studio, The Hideout Recording Studio. Asked what it is that Kevin brings to FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH when they work together, Zoltan said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "So a producer — a producer, sound engineer; especially he's a producer-sound engineer combo, so he's excellent on both. So there are a couple of things that you have to think about when you're working with a producer. One of them is how much this producer is affecting your music. As a musician, this is your music, this is your creation. You wanna bring something that you meant to bring to the table. And so that means it has to pass to the producer, and the producer has to get the best performances out of you. Not to change the music, not to change who you are and what you and what you meant to say. So that's one element that it has to be — the throughput has to be natural. And then also be the mitigator between bandmembers. So a producer is also somewhat of a psychologist who can deal with all the bandmembers. It's a rock band; everybody's crazy. And then if you have disagreements, he would be the deciding factor. If you disagree on the music, then you ask him, like, 'So what do you think? What do you prefer?' So that has to be there."

He continued: "But, really, why we stay with Kevin, why we always work with him is because a producer intuitively has to know where would you go as a musician. So, to give you an actual physical example of that. For example, let's say you drop a drum beat and I have to record a guitar riff to this drum beat. And what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna record this guitar riff a hundred times. And then from that, all the takes, we're gonna see which one was the right one. And it's various elements. It's not just a precision, like how precise the riff was. Does it have that life? Does it have that star quality? Does it have that extra thing about this riff? And so let's say you recorded a hundred riffs and from the hundred riffs, there would be, like, seven, eight, nine of them that had the magic. And I know which one that was, because I can listen back and say, 'Okay, number seven, number 11 from the takes and number 24' — I know which one was the one that's magical. And he intuitively knows that. I don't have to tell him. He will pick exactly the same one. So that means, to me, that he hears the magic. He knows exactly what I would pick, so that basically speeds up the process. And we're just easily working together because he intuitively know which one to pick. Same with the vocal takes, same with everything. I think that's the most important part where, okay, he's a family member and he picks the right pieces. The flow is just perfect. It's like another bandmember. "

Zoltan added: "What makes a good band and what makes a good bandmember is when you can play together and everybody naturally goes to where they should. It has to be the same in the producer, that he naturally should pick the things and favor the things that you would. And he's that guy. So it makes no sense to us to go somewhere else. His mixes are loud and punchy. Why would you change something that enabled us to express ourselves the most efficient, proficient and professional way. It sounds great. His records, other producers, other artists try to recreate that stuff. I always like that stuff. And I read it in articles, and people talk about, like, 'Man, the guitar sound or the vocal sound on the FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH record,' studio professionals talking about that. I was thinking, like, 'Man, yeah, exactly. That's why we work with him.'"

Asked if FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH is going to work with Kevin again on the next studio album, Zoltan said: "That's the plan. We'll see when we get to the point of doing the next record. We started kind of working on some stuff. We have a whole year of touring ahead of us, so we'll see when we get to it."

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH recently announced a headlining U.S. tour this summer with support from MARILYN MANSON and SLAUGHTER TO PREVAIL. The trek will kick off on August 2 in Hershey, Pennsylvania and run through September 19 when it will conclude in Houston, Texas.

Prior to the U.S. run, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH will embark on a tour of Europe in the spring for more stadium dates with METALLICA on the latter act's "M72" world tour in addition to headlining shows with special guest ICE NINE KILLS and select appearances at major festivals.

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH is continuing to tour in support of its ninth album, "AfterLife" which was released in August 2022 via Better Noise.

On April 5, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH released the digital deluxe edition of "AfterLife", featuring the original 12 tracks recorded with the band's longtime producer Kevin Churko (OZZY OSBOURNE) in addition to four bonus tracks: three acoustic versions of the album's songs "The End", "Judgement Day" and "Thanks For Asking" plus a brand new song, "This Is The Way", featuring the late rapper DMX.

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