Heavy metal has always been an astounding art form to allow people some catharsis — the music providing a healthy means of exploring one’s feelings. While this is the appeal for millions of fans throughout the world, this same therapeutic process is also the case for the artists creating the work; whether it is through their instruments, their voice, or their words, the aggression of the music allows for a chance to let out any pain tucked within them.
For Whitechapel vocalist and lyricist Phil Bozeman, the band’s seventh LP, The Valley, is just that. Lyrically, Bozeman dives deep into the struggles he experienced during his childhood. Through past interviews and explanations of his songs, Bozeman has said that his mother was Schizophrenic, a drug addict, and an alcoholic, while his stepfather was abusive to him and enabled his mother’s problems — and those subjects take listeners through an emotional roller-coaster on The Valley, as Bozeman devotes the entire album to his childhood, working through the pain he had to endure.
We reached out to Bozeman for a brief Q&A to learn more about the album and what it means to share these stories with fans.
On what has encouraged him to further explore his childhood in The Valley
I’ve always wanted to tell the full story but it’s impossible through one song, even an album. This part of my childhood was the darkest and most depressing, and [the record] covers aspects I’ve never spoken about in [my music].
On sharing his past, the writing process, and working through past struggles
It’s easy for me to tell these stories. I don’t care how people view me or anything like that. [Writing these lyrics] really was not hard at all creatively and emotionally. [The band and I] work great together and I’ve had many years to accept what happened. Sharing these stories is therapeutic, but it’s more of a way to help others than myself.
On the use of clean singing throughout The Valley
My mom was always a good singer; I’d say her voice inspired me actually to use [clean singing] in this type of music.
On what it means to have his stories out in the public and his hopes for fans listening
[Releasing The Valley] is kind of a peace of mind for me because now the story is out there. Maybe more in a creative sense than a literal sense but I want people just to realize that we’re all on the same earth and all have to deal with problems. No matter if you’re a normal everyday person or someone in the spotlight.