Jessica Thornsby spoke to In This Moment guitarist Chris Howorth
Hello! Who am I speaking to and what do you do in the band?
Chris Howorth. I play guitar in the band In This Moment.
For the uninitiated, could you give us a brief potted history of In This Moment?
Jeff and I were already in a band and we were looking for a singer. Through mutual friends we heard about Maria; she came over and auditioned. At first I was sceptical, then we started writing songs. The stuff came out killer. We put an ad up on MySpace and found the most amazing guitar player, Blake. After going through a couple of bass players, we found Jesse as well. Jesse had been in a few bands, and had lots of touring experience. He actually wrote some guitar parts for this new record, "The Dream." We were playing together, and through MySpace (again) Blasko heard us and came over to see us play. The rest is history!
And also for the uninitiated, could you describe your sound?
To me our sound is a mix of rock and metal with a modern twist.
In This Moment have recently toured with Lacuna Coil, Kittie, Within Temptation and Walls of Jericho - that reads like a who's who in the world of female-fronted alternative rock! Do you purposefully arrange tours with other female-fronted bands, or does it just seem to work out that way?
That was actually one of our first tours 2 years ago; we have more recently toured with Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie and Mudvayne. In the beginning that tour was set up to expose us to female fronted bands' fans, but at this point we are just trying to play with as many bands as possible and get in front of a many people as possible.
You've just released your second album, 'The Dream.' I've heard the phrase "dreamland concept" and "Alice in Wonderland theme" batted around a lot in regards to it. What's the story behind that?
We just decided that theme really fit the album title and the imagery would work well with everything we were doing on 'The Dream'; it all fits together like a movie or something like that.
Do you feel 'The Dream' is a concept album? Or is the "dreamland concept" reflected more in the accompanying artwork and packaging, and promotional photos, than in the songs themselves? 'The Dream's lyrical content seems to focus more on love and loss than anything else...
The Dream is definitely not a concept album, the Alice In Wonderland theme is just to make the whole thing tie together, it's a theme, the album has a dreamy vibe, and touches on all kinds of topics lyrically.
You've toured with some giants of the rock world - Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie and Megadeth. How do In This Moment go down with that crowd? Have you ever had a really negative crowd reaction, or do you usually win over the sceptical?
We've been very fortunate in the fact that we were able to do really well in front of a lot of different crowds. Megadeth was probably the most challenging tour we've done to date; the crowd so badly wanted to hate us (girl in a dress and all) but by the 3rd song we had them interested in us. That's one thing about In This Moment, we are able to play in front of metal and rock crowds, even alternative, and we seem to be able to get people interested no matter what style music they like.
Even when you're not touring with bands that aren't modern rock legends, you don't make things easy for yourselves, opening for bands such as Mudvayne, Devildriver and Five Finger Death Punch. When have you been the most apprehensive about playing to someone else's crowd?
We actually have done quite well in front of all those bands' fans and like I said before the toughest crowd was Megadeth's and that was probably my favourite tour we've ever done.
Three years after forming, In This Moment performed to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, as support for Ozzy Osbourne. Do you ever feel like In This Moment are getting too big, too quickly?
It is definitely humbling to play Madison Square Garden on your first album opening for Ozzy, but we are just going where the wind takes us, we are doing what we do, playing our music and touring is what we do. We don't feel like we are getting too big too quick. We don't even think about those things, we are still a baby band, we are just trying to get as many people as we can to hear our music.
Your new album 'The Dream' features a lot more clean vocals than your debut, 'Beautiful Tragedy.' Was this a conscious decision, or have you always wanted to try out a more melodic sound?
The only rule we had going into The Dream album was to try and write the best songs we could and to focus less on trying to impress everyone with our riffage and just make the best song; if a riff fit then we use it, if not then we would try something else. And vocally Maria just wanted to sing more so she did.
How has the newer, less metalcore-orientated material been received by longer-standing fans? Do you think people who loved 'Beautiful Tragedy' miss all the screaming?
The response to The Dream has been great, In This Moment fans love it because it's us and it's from the heart. Some people who just like the screaming might be a bit bummed but there is still something for everyone on The Dream.
In This Moment is represented by Mercenary Management, which is headed up by Ozzy Osbourne bassist Rob 'Blasko' Nicholson. Is it true that Blasko contacted you after checking out your MySpace and liking what he heard? That must have been pretty mind-blowing!
Yes that's pretty much how it happened; we were stoked to hear from Blasko. MySpace opened us up to lots of labels and managers and big things, we were getting contacted by some other managers and labels too, but Blasko made the most sense and really believed in the band and what we were doing. He is like the sixth member of ITM.
You were recently featured on the 'Atticus IV' compilation, alongside veterans such as Thursday and New Found Glory, but also plenty of up-and-coming acts. Anyone on that compilation you recommend checking out?
We are stoked to be on the Atticus compilation! I would check out New Found Glory's new stuff!
And finally, what can we expect from In This Moment in 2009?
You can expect us to be on tour all year, and working on new music this winter!