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Can't Go Wrong: An Exclusive Interview With JOHN HUMPHREY Of SEETHER

By Krystiee Lee, Editor
Monday, July 27, 2020 @ 10:48 AM

"We completed recording in January so we had finished right before all hell broke loose really having no idea, but yes the title has definitely become very fitting."

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Photo Courtesy: Fantasy Records

Three years since SEETHER’s last album Poison The Parish, the South Africa founded band has announced they will be releasing their newest forthcoming album Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum on August 28th 2020 via Fantasy Records. This album is completed with 13 new tracks and supposedly some of the strongest material of SEETHER. I was lucky enough to get the chance to speak with John Humphrey, the one-of-a-kind drummer for the band, to discuss the new album and possible plans for the future of SEETHER.

KNAC.COM: Congrats on the new album, John! Being a fan since I was just a raging little teenager to now, being able to actually interview you is absolutely an amazing feeling. I also have the opportunity to review the new album and I have to say that I’m impressed with how good it is. How did you guys come about choosing "Dangerous" as the first single and video?

HUMPHREY: That’s awesome, thank you so much. Choosing "Dangerous", I would have to say there was some label involvement, sometimes being a part of a recording artist signed to a label, you know, the label will weigh in with their input and they actually kind of talked us into choosing "Dangerous""Dangerous" was chosen, and I think it was a good lead off track, I think it made sense, good introduction to the forthcoming album.

KNAC.COM: This is also Shaun’s 2nd time fully producing the album for SEETHER, correct?

HUMPHREY: Right, that’s right. It worked so well for Poison so it just made sense. We’ve learned so much from our years of experience. We worked with some amazing producers, like Brenden O’Brian, who did two albums with us. We learned so much that we really feel we have a handle on things with how we want the band to sound. Shaun, he puts the demos together, and with those demos, which in my case being the drummer, there’s a drum machine that sort of keeps time and gives you an idea how the song goes, so then I’ll go in there and put in my parts the way I would, of course. While I’m playing along to the demos, replacing the drum machine parts, he’s able to be in the control room and produce so he doesn’t have to even worry about playing the guitar when we record. So, it definitely works.

KNAC.COM: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum (Hopefully I pronounced that right) - translating to “If You Want Peace, Prepare for War” seems pretty fitting for the present day, was that intentional?

HUMPHREY: You know, I’ve heard so many different ways pronunciation-wise. *laughs* I really think Shaun is trying to give us all a Latin lesson! But yes, that’s correct. Shaun hit us up well before the album was finished about different titles for the album and that one just really made sense. We completed recording in January so we had finished right before all hell broke loose really having no idea, but yes the title has definitely become very fitting. *laughs*

KNAC.COM: Did Covid-19 force the band to rethink their strategy for promoting the new album?

HUMPHREY: Totally! It caused us to obviously rethink things in many ways. Being the type of band we are, anytime we put out an album we are touring immediately, so everything for us has been pushed back to next year. We couldn’t even get in a room together for the video of "Dangerous", hence the video animation.

KNAC.COM: Which is still badass, I must add.

HUMPHREY: Yeah, thank you! Which is still great so luckily, I keep saying, this is obviously a terrible thing what’s going on but thank God for technology which allows us to still move forward in some capacity considering everything that is going on.

KNAC.COM: How was it working with Corey Lowery since this is his first album since officially joining SEETHER?

HUMPHREY: He’s amazing. Corey is an incredibly talented, fantastic musician and engineer. I mean I tell everyone, he helped me prepare for my part of the recording. I had to learn a quite a few songs. We recorded 21, chose 16, and then 13 were selected. So, we definitely recorded a lot. Corey even removed the drum part from the demo so I could learn my parts for what I was going to play to the songs. He did anything from that sort to help me get prepared, to the actual guitar playing, engineering, and producing that he did when it came time to record the album. He’s amazing and with his own past and career he’s been through everything, it’s not his first time around the block so to speak. So, there is definitely mutual respect there. I mean, he’s been around, he knows what’s up and he’s a great addition.

KNAC.COM: How do you feel you guys have developed as you’ve gone from album to album especially since joining in 2003?

HUMPHREY: Yeah in 2003! It's crazy! 17 years this year. I mean, I was very fortunate. Not only that I was joining a band that was touring and doing everything I dreamed to do, but I recognized Shaun’s talent, I really did and I wanted to be a part of it. I knew the band was going places, especially with how talented Shaun is. I mean, singer, songwriter, it’s just been an honor to be a part of it and grow with it. I think the band musically has matured and grown over the years and it’s been amazing to be on the front row to watch it as its developed over the years. I’ve just been very fortunate.

KNAC.COM: For the fans who aren’t as lucky as I am and have to wait until August to hear the album, what would you say differs on this one from 2017’s Poison the Parish?

HUMPHREY: I just think the music has a lot of depth to it, I think it’s exciting, I personally, which I know every band says this about their newest albums, but I truly feel this is some of the strongest material we’ve had in years! It’s one of the best albums, definitely a cohesive album, and all the songs are just really good. It is really solid through and through with no filler. Don’t get me wrong, I love Poison the Parish, it’s a good album but I feel this one is a special one. A special album.

KNAC.COM: Which songs are you particularly proud of on Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum?

HUMPHREY: Like we kind of talked about earlier, the one that I won’t name, that one is a great song, it’s one of my favorite tracks. But you know, I love all of the songs! That particular one is my favorite though for sure. I’ll tell you, when we were tracking in Nashville and I had the rough mixes with me my kids, which my oldest son is 21 and my youngest who is 16, picked me up from the airport and they wanted to hear what we have been working on while I was in Nashville. So I popped on the recordings and that particular song played and my kids were stopped by that one. They were like “dad… this is really awesome”, “This is so awesome”, so yeah *laughs* that song for some reason, I just have some affinity with and I really think it is because of that memory.

KNAC.COM: What are SEETHER's touring plans for the future, if any?

HUMPHREY: I don’t know as far as this year, but we are talking! We would love to possibly get a room in Nashville with the management company and do some sort of online performance and play a show. I think it would be great to do something like that. Whatever we can do, I mean we’ve been doing the at-home videos, and different things though. I have a drum video hopefully coming out that I am playing my parts to "Dangerous"

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