Scenes change. Bands can either change with them to stay on the radar of the majority as it changes, or they can stay true to what birthed them to be adored by the minority left championing an original movement; we’ve seen it happen countless times. Throughout the late ‘90s music was going through some rather difficult changes, much like the prepubescent kids that latched onto to the preeminent genre at the time – where rebellious rap vocals crossed over into heavy electrics and again – which goes to show that music follows society and vice versa. It just depends on which has the stronger influence as to what leads the other. If most parents were to catch on to their hormonal mid-teen sons and daughters listening to the likes of (HED) p.e.’s Jahred Gomes elaborate on “coming into their house to make love to the spouse and fuck them in their mouth” then it would be pretty safe to assume they would consider Jahred to be a negative influence.
Anybody familiar with (HED) p.e. would know that they took full advantage of their freedom attained from going into self production for their forth studio release, 2004’s Only In Amerika, and onwards. However many of those followers are unfamiliar with the reasons behind what also caused such a drastic change in lyrical content around the same time.
While dissecting politics and pushing for the truth movement were heavy topics that came into play, it’s hard not to pay attention to the more sexually explicit content – which some consider to be a little too much, but at the same time may be unaware of the motivation behind them. “With Only In Amerika, I was trying to push buttons and provoke people. I was exercising my right to freedom of speech as it were, and sometimes when you want people to listen, you have to get their attention and I feel I did that well enough,” Jahred admits with a chuckle.
“I had just gotten out of putting together (2003 album) Blackout, where all my decisions were being overlooked by the record company I was under when producing it… causing me to hold back on things, change song structures and all other kinds of shit in order to try and get into the radio friendly scene to fit in with the nu-metal movement… and as I complied I drew to dislike what I was becoming.”
Going independent is usually a difficult thing to swallow having been ensconced in commercial label territory. But while some artists might resent having to go back to doing things for themselves, (HED) p.e. embraced being able to have control of everything they do, while not having a suit shadow and deny what needs to be done.
Controversy isn’t usually too far away when it comes to people of influence being on the other side of the capitalistic fence, not to mention what unfamiliar listeners would label as sexism. This has taken its toll on both Jahred and the band that backs him; because of this they never expected to get back onto radio rotation as they have with their most recent single Renegade. Needless to say, the band were pleasantly surprised.
“I don’t think anybody in the ‘States ever thought that (HED) p.e. would get on the radio again; but who cares if it gets on the radio anyway?” he argues. “It’s great to be able to put food on the table and get your message out, but I don’t know how to write a hit – I’m not a pop-artist, but every once in a while a song will come out of me where quite a few people will dig. But I definitely won’t sit down and go ‘Ok, I need to sit down and write a radio hit and is going to be catchy’, again that’s not me.”
Around the time when (HED) p.e. first emerged, rap-core/rap-rock acts were sitting up and obviously paying attention, as clones (some less successful, some more-so) of the band came out in drives as the ascendant nu-metal movement gained more and more momentum. Stemming from California where many other originators (and many imitators) crafted the nu-metal scene, it comes as a surprise that rivalries didn’t really take effect… but for reasons many would be oblivious to. “Some of these other bands like Limp Bizkit and P.O.D were selling millions of albums while we were selling thousands,” Jahred recalls, “so it’s hard to be in a rivalry with bands that are becoming way huger in the commercial scene.
“But I will say that I used to listen to their music and assume that they were copying me, which was confirmed when the guys from Korn were telling me that Fred Durst was listening to (HED) p.e. all the time throughout production of Limp Bizkits first album.” Jahred shrugs, before adding “Even bands like Linkin Park have approached me just to tell me that I am considered to be one of their biggest influences. So not to sound egotistical, but you put it all together and you can assume that these bands who have gone on to be greater in scope, were – in one way or another – influenced by me”.
With albums constantly being pumped out and their Australian tour just around the corner, it’s difficult to know where Jahred feels most at home; be it onstage or in the studio. The two experiences are different and each have their pros and cons, the frontman admits. “Its apples and oranges man,” he chuckles.
“Being in the studio provides the satisfaction through sitting, think and writing and coming to completion where you know it speaks for you, but the live shows are a completely different set of experiences because they fly by. A song that takes weeks to write shoots past in three minutes throughout getting immediate feedback from our listeners.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to Australia as its women are beautiful,” he ads gleefully, “its weed is great and our fans there are true renegades, helping people like us from the other side of the world spread our message to open ears and minds. We are looking forward to it.”
(HED) p.e. play The Corner Hotel on Thursday January 27, joined by The HavKnotz. Tickets from The Corner box office, 9427 9198 and cornerhotel.com. Their latest album Truth Rising is out now.