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FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY's JOE BADOLATO Talks New Album & The Life Of A Heavy Metal Barber

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Adapt or die. Brad Pitt said that in the greatest film in the history of films Moneyball. Don't argue. I will fight you. 

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That sentiment has been taken up with fire and fury by the ferocious forces of Fit For An Autopsy. The metal marriage of vocalist Joseph Badolato, guitarists Patrick Sheridan, Timothy Howley, and Will Putney, bassist Peter Blue Spinazola, and drummer Josean Orta Martinez uncork their sixth full length album, the diverse and pulverizingly intense Oh What the Future Holds on January 14 through our friends at Nuclear Blast

Before that momentous day we sat down with Badolato for a crash course on all things FFAA, an evolving sound and the life of a heavy metal barber.

I was a massive fan of The Sea of Tragic Beasts. I had huge expectations for Oh What the Future Holds, and it's possible this album has surpassed them. I have to say I'm a fan of the direction of FFAA in recent years, maybe moving away from the earlier deathcore leanings a bit. It's a lot harder to pin down now. 

I feel like when Hellbound came out, Hellbound was like a super super deathcore record. Everything was super heavy, fast, all lows and stuff. And I feel like we just kind of wanted to step a little more into that bigger sounding metal vibes with that deep heaviness that Fit For An Autopsy can bring.

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And I think that a lot of that changed when I joined the band because after I recorded the first album with Will, he saw a lot of things that my voice was able to do. And I guess in writing that next record probably kept that in mind. We kept pushing and experimenting myself through the years. And I think that's been a really cool change for the band in general, that we still are able to keep that super heavy element, but also bring a different side of heavy. I guess within the vocals, really, there's a lot of pain in the voice with like these really heavy, sad sounding dark chord parts. All in the feels, man.

FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY's JOE BADOLATO Talks New Album & The Life Of A Heavy Metal Barber

There's one song in particular, "A Higher Level of Hate," that has this crazy fucking breakdown in that song, but there's also kind of like a leaning into a lot of melodic elements, a lot of groove and very atmospheric as well. There's an ominous feeling that I thought you guys really brought in Tragic Beasts that is present here. Do you see it as being a continuation of that record in a way or, not really reinventing the wheel, because it really feels like you kind of found a place where you guys are thriving. 

Yeah, I think we found the spot where we're trying to excel in and I think that we're going to ride that out, but we're also going to keep spicing it and throwing in a couple other little screwdrivers in there because we just love that. You know what I'm saying? Like, I love recording stuff with Will all the time. It's so much fun because I get to see the ideas. He's like I'm kind of feeling this or I like this voice. I want to hear something that doesn't exist. And I'm sure we'll figure it out. And so after a year of just being in quarantine and everything, we went and started recording the record, it was like that's weird, but that's cool. And I was like that's fucking sick! Hell yeah.

It's so crazy that the whole vibe you get when you're doing the record after you've been off for a year and just practicing all these new things and seeing what you can bring to the table this time and then seeing what you get out of it at the end. That's the payoff. At the end when you just hit play and you listen to that entire record and you're just like that fuckin' paid off. That worked, that was sick. 

Was the new record kind of a byproduct or direct result of the shutdown? You were just coming off of Tragic Beasts in 2019, so I don't know what you were envisioning for a timeline.

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Realistically we dropped that record and then we were on tour in Europe, and then we did one tour on that record. We didn't tour that record at all. So we were just like, well fuck. I mean, we still got to write another record, and we're definitely going to write another record. Do we do it every two years? I feel like I don't pay attention to that shit.

I think it was really cool this time around though, because we were actually able to have a lot more time in the studio to record. I usually record an entire record in five days and it's coming off of tour or my voice hasn't been able to relax yet, but I came into this ready and awesome and had two weeks to do it. I did one week, flew home, then came back and did another week, and it was so much more we could have put into it, you know? 

No, I understand that. Having Will and the studio mind that he has, does that kind of make it easier or different in a way than getting a different producer, a different studio guy. Obviously he knows what you guys want, he's a part of that vision as opposed to kind of having to lay it out. You kind of skip that whole dating process.

I think that's the blessing right there, that not only is he an amazing songwriter and he's just one of the best producers on the planet, and he's also one of the coolest dudes. When I got the phone call to join Fit, I didn't really know much about Will, but all my friends who recorded were just like wtf dude! Sick!

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Just being able to work with him and seeing why he's the fucking best it's like this is why people come to you, because he has a really good vibe and you can write amazing shit together when there is two good energies working together in the room. So I really love that he pushes me to do a lot of things that either I've never heard or never really like tried to do, because then it's just like this whole new voice to add to it and then to build off of for another voice. It's crazy.

For songwriting, is there kind of a line between introspective emotions and the things that you would find during a pandemic and as a result of all this shittiness. I know Tragic Beasts kind of was like a lens to the world and different societal elements and how we can be so miserable to each other. There's a line in "Far from Heaven", 'they only let the light in to show us darkness is permanent'. Is there kind of that balancing line for you guys with personal songs and personal journeys, but it also can hold up a mirror to what we're going through societally? 

A lot of it we try to write for like the broad spectrum where you can kind of apply it to yourself at any point in time. So a lot of these songs on this album specifically are just about the darkness in humanity. And we just shed that to light. It's like, yeah, it's dark, but it's fucking true. But it's really cool how you do that with all the feeling of the music and everything too, because then you really feel it. You feel what we're talking about because the emotion, the vibe, the big broadness is there.

One thing I appreciate about you as an artist is you seem to be really having fun with it. Everything I've seen from the live videos and even the stuff you do on Twitch or TikTok with the cover songs, you seem like you're having a blast.

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I'm trying not to let the pandemic win I guess at this point. People just like to stop and not do anything and be like I'm useless. No you're not, do something. I fucking opened up a barbershop. I drove from New York to Arizona with all my stuff and fucking opened up a barbershop here, and it's been open for almost a year and it's doing great. My drive to work every day is an hour, so I practice in my car every single day. It's the only time I get to practice.

My band, we don't get to practice until right before tours. All those stupid songs just started off as like warm ups and workouts for my voice to do different things or different patterns, or be able to attack words differently. Like, I'll say something in a different song that's so old and so awesome. And I'm just like, Wow, the way that word was said could be so cool on this bar. It's just crazy what you can do with things. So yeah, I kept myself productive and I couldn't be bored and let the pandemic win.

For you opening up a barbershop, that's something you probably wouldn't have had time or desire to do if you were on the road full time, right?

I was living in Long Island, New York for like a super long time, but I wanted to eventually move out here to Arizona to be closer to my family. My family's been out here and I've been in New York since I was like 17 by myself, so I got real bored of being by myself. So I was like, this pandemic sucks. I kind of want to just go see my mom and be with my family. So I moved out here and then me and my friend Eric, he used to play in a band called No Zodiac. So he was the drummer. We took No Zodiac out on tour like five or six years ago, and we found out we were both barbers and just have kept in contact ever since.

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And when I told him that I was going to make the move out here I brought him the idea of like, maybe we should open up a fucking spot? And then he found a building right next to the Nile Theater, which is like one of the bigger venues in Arizona to play. So we share the back parking lot with all the bands. We have a backyard area that has a gate that opens, so we just open the gate for all of them and they just come in. We have kind of like a dressing room set up back there because the Nile doesn't really have a dressing room for the support acts, so we just give them a nice big space with things like a fridge and microwaves and water and shit. Beers, monsters, all of it. 

Metal and haircuts! Do you get a lot of metalheads? Many of us don't cut our hair much. 

You guys need your beard cleaned up. That's most of it, because everyone always asks how's it like touring with your tools? I'm like, I don't really like cutting on tour because I have to separate it because when I'm home I work all day and I'm cutting all day. So when I'm on tour I don't want to look at hair, unless you want a mullet and then, yes, I'm always down. Only if you want a mullet. Anything else I don't want to do.

But yeah, it's always fun. It allowed me to tour and allowed me to do whatever I want because I was able to come home and work. So that's why a lot of people and a lot of guys in bands have become barbers over the years because you can always come home and have a job to do and you can keep your hands busy on tour if you want. I've been doing this shit for 10 years though, so I'm tired of doing it. 

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You guys are dropping an early 2022 record, which I like to get the year kicked off right. What are you guys feeling? Because I think personally this one lives up to all the hype from The Sea of Tragic Beasts.

I personally am very confident about this. I really like this record. I really like the way everything kind of came together. I really like that all the new things and nuances that we added into this created such a big emotional rollercoaster for this whole thing.

There's a couple of songs in there that are pretty heavy hitters that make you think a lot, and I really think that we hit it on the head with that. And I think that we really captured that vibe and that ambiance and that big feeling and that pain and feel like we captured it all on this album. So I'm really excited for everyone else to hear everything that we put into it. Literally everything that we put into it.

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