In light of their upcoming performance in South Africa at Freedom Festival, our South African correspondent Craig Roxburgh got to interview Randy Winter of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
MEB: The history of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus as a band spans over a decade, and has been explosive in terms of the rapid claim to popularity. What has been like being a band that pretty much spearheaded an explosion of post-hardcore and emo bands that redefined an entire genre?
Randy Winter: This is like our 5th band, so it was exciting to getting attention to the music we write and enjoy.
A lot of people now entering their early to late 20’s have a very strong emotional connection with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. How does it feel to have made such a strong impact on people’s lives, and where you expecting this kind of thing when you started out in 2003?
We’ve always felt our purpose in life was to connect with listeners spiritually through music. It’s been incredible to achieve that.
As with many of the bands at the time, your sound eventually became a lot different as you matured as people. Do you think that it is necessary for band’s to change their sound as they grow up, especially if they started out at such a young age?
The goal of RJA has always been to blend genres. The production team used on our debut record is the same as our most recent record 4. Each record you’ll find strikingly similar. Both are musical fusion, journeys varying from rock, metal, punk, pop, to ballad.
In 2010, you guys decided to part ways with Virgin Records and become completely independent. What has it been like being able to have complete control of your music, and how has it worked out for you?
Part ways is not exactly how it went down. To make it short, they failed to fulfill our contract giving us an exit from their sinking ship. Having complete control was a positive game changer.
With that in mind, what influenced your decision last year to release your new album 4 for free, and also make your complete discography available for free download?
For one, It’s simply most important to us that the people that want our music get it. If you’ve got the cash to pay and support us, that’s cool too. Secondly, instead of fighting a battle that can’t be won (against piracy) we won the war by saying you can’t steal what we’ve already given. Have it, share it.
How did that move work out for you, and would you do it again with future albums?
We are grateful for our careers and tour the world for a living… I’d say all is well. As announced last year, all available via torrents @RedJumpsuit.com and now content within our new free APP!
With 4 in mind, what inspire you guys to return to “The Grim Goodbye” and rework it into “Grimm 2.0”?
We thought it would be [cool] for people to see the similarities of 4 and our debut release. This one picks up right where that one left off (“The Grim Goodbye”, being the ending track of Don’t You Fake It and “Grimm 2.0” the beginning of 4).
Last year there seemed to be a lot of debate about the state of the music industry, and that debate has followed its way into 2015. With that in mind, what are your thoughts on where the music industry currently stands?
Solomon said everything’s cyclical. We’ve arranged our pieces on the board accordingly.
Seeing as this interview is preceding your performances at Freedom Festival in South Africa; what made you guys decide to return to South Africa for a second time since you played at Synergy 2013?
South Africa is among our favorites, we had a blast last time so any chance we can we’ll be back.
What can the hardcore South African fans expect from your performances in South Africa?
Be ready for 4 and the best of our catalog.
What are you guys going to be doing in South Africa besides performing at Freedom Festival?
We are explorers so hopefully we have time to do just that. The Zoos there blow ours away!
Finally, do you regret any of the choices you’ve made in the course of your career?
Time is a linear experience in this dimension we all must experience, no time for regrets.