Home / Interviews / Flatline with Tim Hassemer, Travis Johnson & Randy Weitzel

Flatline with Tim Hassemer, Travis Johnson & Randy Weitzel

The name of the band FLATLINE, is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?

Tim Hassemer:(drums)  The band was actually called Scarred for a bit until we were told by another band in the area that, “they had the name SCARRED and if we continued to use it, they were going to sue us” so after racking our brains and coming up with nothing, we busted out the old dictionary and did the old ‘flip and point’ game until we came up with a name that we were satisfied with.

Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a concept behind the writing of Pave the Way?

Travis Johnson:(Vocals) There isn’t really an over all concept to “Pave the Way” it’s just a scrap book, if you will, of situations, hard ships, and perseverance that I’ve dealt with through my life that I felt the need to share with the public.

You just released Pave the Way back in February, how has the reactions been thus far? What can fans expect when they pick up a copy?

Hassemer :  So far the reactions have been great!  We’ve gotten a bunch of good reviews, and people seem to be enjoying the album a lot. Other than spending $11 to get the album, you can expect it to be in your CD player for a good month or so before you are even tempted to take it out.

When it came to releasing Pave the Way how did that whole package come together? What was the recording process like, how long did you have, was their any pressure on you?

Randy Weitzel:(Guitar) I’ve been recording the demos for the band for years and when we signed on with Stand and Deliver Records we finally had the opportunity to go into a real studio to record.  Since I had recorded everything prior I knew how the puzzle all fit together and instead of hiring a producer I just naturally oversaw everything in the studio.  But we still needed someone to record it and we really wanted someone who knew how to record a Metal.  Travis had talked with Logan Mader (Machine Head) about it and he agreed to record it.  My biggest pressure was that we didn’t forget to track something that we tracked on my pre-production demo stuff. We didn’t have a lot of time but we were very prepared going in and it went pretty smooth.

Who did the artwork and title for the album, when you look on the final project, is there anything you wish you could have done differently?

Hassemer:  Randy did all the artwork for the entire album.  I love it!

Weitzel. Yeah, while recording the album we were also putting the whole PAVE package together, CD art, shirts, pictures, Myspace layout, stickers, posters ect and it all works together.  I wouldn’t really have done anything differently but we had so many more ideas for the merch like wrist bands, beer Koozys…FLATLINE dildos, ha ha!  Maybe for the next record!

Many of your songs are so hard and intense that I am sure they translate well into a live setting taking on a whole new life in front of a live audience. How does it make you feel when the emotion and power that you envisioned in the recording studio, come to life while playing in front of a crowd?

Johnson:  Most of the songs on the record were played live before recording the record so we knew it would go over well in a live setting. We actually gauge a good song on the crowd reaction at shows to be sure that the record and live show will both be blistering and heavy with no low points.

Hassemer:  If it’s a good crowd, there’s no other feeling in the world that compares to it.  Although, the feeling that you get playing in front of a very bad crowd is just as unique.

Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?

Weitzel: I’ve brought in almost completed songs, Paulo has brought in riffs, we have written on the fly in the rehearsal studio.  Whatever works is what works for us. There are no egos here.  We have already written some stuff together for the next CD, Travis has a book of thoughts and ideas for lyrics, Paulo said he has some killer riffs working and I have a bunch of guitar shit recorded on my 16 track too.  We’ll hash it out and come up with something brutal, I assure you.

What are the upcoming plans for FLATLINE?

Weitzel: Like I said we are toying with some new jams but we really need to get out on the road some more and support PAVE THE WAY. Our booker, Thunderdome Touring, has a couple irons in the fire so stay tuned.

How has MYSPACE and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?

Hassemer:  I think that the internet and myspace in general have been a huge asset to this band.  Most of the things we have accomplished have been a direct result of what the internet and sites like myspace can do for bands.  Downloading is great for smaller bands that want to get their name out there.  It’s all about exposure.

What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?

Hassemer:  To stay in shape and well rehearsed.  Cause if I’m not, it can turn into a really bad time.

What bands would you like to tour with and who has been your favorite to tour with this far? Any particular reason?

Hassemer:  I’m pretty much down to tour with any bad ass metal band.  As long as they are cool people, and are good at what they do, I’m happy.  THY WILL BE DONE  is one of my new favorite bands to tour with.  We just got off tour with them, and it was a total blast!  Love those dudes!

Johnson: We have toured with some amazing bands, But if I could only name a few it would be… 36 Crazyfists, In This Moment, and Thy Will Be Done. They are all amazing musicians as well as amazing people!

Describe FLATLINE in three words.

Johnson: Brutal, True, and Determined.

Hassemer:  Hammered fuckin’ drunk!

Weitzel: Blood, sweat & beers!

If you had a chance to go back in time, where, what, and why?

Hassemer:  I would go back and kick my younger self in the face when I started smoking cigarettes, ‘cause they are the hardest damn thing to quit.

How do you think the recession is affecting musicians like yourself? Is it at all?

Hassemer:  It’s hard to tell weather the recession is affecting us musicians ‘cause we are all broke, and we always have been.

Weitzel: Word.

Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?

Hassemer:  Metallica is the one band that really got me into playing metal.

Johnson: Judas Priest, Pantera, and Bjork.

Weitzel: KISS, Maiden, Metallica, Priest, Megadeth, Slayer, Testament

All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically.  How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?

Hassemer:  There’s not a whole lot to it.  As long as you are ready to play a show every night, drink and smoke all day, eat really bad food, be without all of your family and friends for what seems like ever, drive for extremely long periods of time on very little sleep, and almost never shower…..its easy.

Johnson: Lots of stretching and Lots of beer.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Weitzel: Yes, check us out on the latest No Fear “Lifestyle” video and also on this years Mayhem Fest CD sampler! www.myspace.com/flatlinemetal

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