Negativehate Releases their Most Eclectic Album Yet with Shapeshifter

Negativehate. Image courtesy of artists.
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Metal band Negativehate has just released their most recent album, Shapeshifter, showcasing the band’s most eclectic styles and skills yet. A combination of jazz and progressive rock melds together with metal, post-metal and post-rock sounds to create music that’s both chaotic and cohesive. The band spoke about their beginnings, their style and their latest album. 

How did you first come together?

Negativehate started around May of 1994 while I was attending Purchase College. Initially, we started as a heavy industrial band. We continued to produce music in that genre until 2004. From 2004 to 2007 we shifted gears to math-core music. Perhaps the most significant sea change occurred around 2010 when I met Mike and Eric Stewart while working at a video post-production facility. Eric and Mike are both integral to the current lineup.

Band members, from left to right, Jacob Morales, Freedom Scheyd, Eric Stewart, Chuck Scandura, Matt Howard and Mike Stewart. Image courtesy of Negativehate

Can you explain the name to me? What does that have to do with your music?

The band name Negativehate is the surviving remnant of a heavily over-engineered concept. Originally the name was supposed to be pronounced Negodovate the band symbol was to be written as -8 and the meaning was supposed to be negative hate which is love. The concept was derived from the idea that there is no hate, only an absence of love. So, if only love exists and hate is the lack of love- then love is the dominant force. Everything is a gradation of that force. Although it is empirically incorrect, I believe that gravity, strong and weak nuclear bonds, and electromagnetism are all different ways of recognizing the ubiquitous cohesive universal force of love. Our music is also enabled and inspired by this force. We recognize and honor this force with waves of layered sound seeking beauty in the shadows by harvesting the electromagnetic forces of guitar pickups, microphones and speakers. We are acutely aware that this vital force will eventually lose its grip on our corporeal form and that the cells in our bodies will dissipate back into more fundamental material. It is this rarity of life that fuels the passion behind Negativehate’s music.

Guitarist Matt Howard. Image courtesy of Negativehate

How would you best describe your genre of music?

If I were trying to avoid a word salad mash-up of musical genres, I would say we are a post-metal band with a heavy accent on the word post.

What strengths do you each bring to the group that really bring you together cohesively?

If we were to consider the band as a musical body, Eric Stewart our bass player helps lay down the foundational spinal structures of the body. Our drummer, Jacob Morales completes the rest of the skeletal structure supporting and helping to frame the sounds. The flesh and muscle are largely filled out by Freedom Sheyd with his thick and rippling masses of riff. Matt Howard keeps the blood streaming through the system with his fluid and nourishing guitar patterns. Mike Stewart who does vocals and keyboards would be the lungs keeping the vital oxygen flowing through the body and perhaps I help to innervate the musical body, helping to wire everything together.

Tell me about this latest album Shapeshifter

Negativehate has always experimented with combining disparate musical elements and Shapeshifter is no exception. With Shapeshifter, I think we have found more effective and arguably more appealing ways to blend different styles of music into a cohesive presentation. Shapeshifter is Negativehate’s sixth LP. Every album with this band is a new chapter, distinguished and unique. Shapeshifter is the sound of a band realizing new potential and shifting their shape once again.

The album cover art for Shapeshifter. Image courtesy of Negativehate

How does this new album stand apart from past albums?

I think the addition of Matt Howard on guitar brought a new texture to our sound that helps to fuse elements of post-rock, prog-rock, and metal into a more balanced and soulful presentation. Negativehate has rarely used conventional songwriting structures like big choruses with refrains, so the songs are typically progressive in structure. In the past, we intentionally tried to create songs that kept our interest as players. The result of this sometimes leads to songs that could challenge the casual listener. For Shapeshifter, I think we strayed away from that approach and just tried to stitch together sonic patterns with more of an emphasis on tone, harmony, and general vibe.

I read a statement that this new album “is as much about the science and spirituality of sound as it is about the multi-genre jam band feel.” Can you explain this?

I believe this was written about the new album and admit that it hits a mark. Everything in the material world can ultimately be quantified by a vibration at the sub-atomic levels. All is manifested through vibrational energies. Naturally, as music lovers and musicians, we are drawn to the ephemeral art of music. We are enchanted by the vibrations of sound. This invisible art form can fluidly create realities in the same way words in a book can create narrative images in one’s mind. We are brought into the world through creative forces and are viscerally inclined to remain motivated by that energy. As a band, we enjoy immersing ourselves in spaces filled with creative and interactive sound waves. When we synchronize and harmonize, we can tap into a realm of infinite musical possibilities and sometimes sacred sonic geometries.

Negativehead member Eric Stewart. Image courtesy of Negativehate

I also read about the deep connection to the earth and cosmos. What does this mean?

Everyone that exists on the earth is connected to the earth and cosmos. Realizing that we are part of something more vast and more powerful than our human brains can comprehend is humbling, intriguing, and inspiring. Perhaps the desire to stress the profundity of existence

can deepen the connection with the Earth. Humans have a good idea of where they began, scientists can calculate how the Earth began and even how the universe may have Big Banged. But beyond the singularity, there is still a great mystery or even magic. I believe we have ways to feel these mysteries. Atrophied vestigial senses–not special powers just latent pineal glands numbed by a milieu of toxic artifice and digital soup. This is why I think it may be healthy to balance screen time by staring at clouded treetops and running our hands over cold

stream water stones. So much music and art are derivative, drawing on inspiration from preceding musicians and artists. But when you tap into it, the natural world and the mysteries of the cosmos can also be very inspiring.

What are your goals as a band right now? Are you planning on working on another album? Touring?

We are currently rehearsing with our amazing new drummer Jacob Morales. We have a few shows being booked. We plan on writing some new music and continuing to play shows.





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