The frontman talks about feeling musically reinvigorated, making the single Cheers To Goodbye with Ice Nine Kills vocalist Spencer Charnas, and more.
Escape the Fate frontman Craig Mabbitt has lived many lives as the singer for the aforementioned band, and the former vocalist for metalcore groups Blessthefall and The Word Alive during the early aughts, and The Dead Rabbits. Escape the Fate’s new record Out Of The Shadows, released on September 1st via Big Noise, sees Mabbitt and company reinventing themselves yet again and reaching for new heights while sticking to the sound that made them legends in the alternative scene. Zooming from his home in scorching Phoenix, Arizona on a Tuesday afternoon, Mabbit is eager to discuss how Escape The Fate— the members are comprised of Mabbitt, guitarist TJ Bell, bassist Erik Jensen, guitarist Matti Hoffman, and drummer Robert Ortiz— has re-emerged as a new band due to the pandemic. “It feels like we have a new swagger. It’s impossible not to mention the pandemic— it’s been a bit of time since then— and this is our first release since the pandemic. We finished and released an album right before it happened and then the whole world shut down.” Mabbitt attributes the “personal growth and a lot of uncertainty” during the shutdown leading to the personal reflection that informs the direction of Out Of The Shadows. “[By] getting sober, finally putting the bottle down, getting back into the studio and writing music again, I remember the time that got me to that [stage] of self-medication, but going back to that place, I understand the love I have for music and how much of an escape it was for me. I am lucky. I was just some no-name kid who was able to start writing music and do this. Now I look back and I’ve been doing it for 20 years now.’
Born in Arizona, Mabbitt sang in Arizona metalcore outfit Blessthefall and was the lead vocalist for the band from 2003-2008, with current frontman Beau Bokan taking over the position in 2009. Mabbit also founded the hard rock outfit The Word Alive in 2008 as a side project while fronting Escape The Fate. Taking over for Ronnie Radke after he ran into legal trouble in 2008, Mabbit went on to release the group’s sophomore record This Is War along with 2010’s self-titled record and 2013’s Ungrateful, 2018’s I Am Human, and 2021’s Chemical Warfare with the group. On the group’s most recent effort, Out Of The Shadows, Mabbitt faces down negative influences and evolves personally and musically in real-time across the record. The lead single “H8 Myself” sees the singer face his demons with the rest of the album giving fans the strength to do the same. Revolving around themes of evolution, rebirth, and change, Out Of The Shadows helps Escape The Fate make a statement: They are not the same band as they were before. They are revitalized and born anew.
Out Of The Shadows ushers in a new era for Escape The Fate, one that sees the group tap into their ability to create haunting melodies. The lead single Cheers To Goodbye which features lead vocalist Spencer Charnas of Ice Nine Kills captures this talent perfectly. Of the collaboration, Mabbitt says that Charnas was perfect for the track. “As soon as I finished writing that song, he was in my head. If we’re going to get any sort of guest vocals on this record, I want it to be Spencer and I want it to be this song. And he was perfect for it.” However, drummer [Robert] Ortiz had a different opinion. “ It was difficult at first because Robert was like ‘Man, the lyrics are you, that’s you, man. The lyrics are so personal.’ You don’t want it to be someone else.’ The whole record encapsulates rebirth and growth, coming out of the shadows, finding the light again, and finding your passion again.” The two vocalists can be seen in a music video for the track where the band’s trademark intensity, combined with Charnas’ dynamic vocals, creates a potent fusion that is bound to leave listeners wanting more.
Outside of the new record, Mabbitt is eager to discuss his journey in the industry, returning to the spotlight, and what rock music has given him. “I’m so grateful to still have the opportunity to create and I’m excited to get back out there and play some more shows, connect with people, and share the music with them.” Mabbitt hopes that music is an “escape” for his fans, just as it was for him in his younger years.
When Mabbitt first got into the industry, he did not understand anything about how things worked but he has learned a lot about the business of music after 20 years of being in it. “It’s supposed to be this camaraderie thing and you realize it’s not always that way. It’s a business like any other business, so it’s about finding the right people, whether they’re the people you’re on the road with, the people on your crew, or at this point, the people in your band.” Today, Mabbitt is still “slightly jealous’ ‘ of the groups that have weathered storms together and managed to have longevity, writing music since they were in their teens together. But Mabbitt says that being surrounded by “like-minded” individuals who have similar goals in mind is important. ”As long as they have the same passions and desires, it’s going to work out.” An example of this idea is the relationship that Mabbitt has with drummer Robert Ortiz. “We are complete opposites, but we both have the same goals and the same passion for the creative process and music. That’s why we’ve been able to have longevity.” However, the main reason why Mabbit believes that he is still able to remain in the industry making music is the fans. “I say it every night when I’m on tour and stage. No artist that you ever see live would be playing live if they didn’t have a fanbase. That’s just the truth.”
For Mabbitt, the grass is always greener on the other side of hardship. “If I go back to that sad, abused little kid who was going into their room and screaming their favorite songs and said ‘I wonder if I could do this’, I’d go back and look at him and say’ You will be doing this. You’re going to go through dark times and think that you won’t be doing it and you’re blinded, but you need to realize you’re lucky.’ You’re lucky as shit.” Transformed, the band has reached new heights, ready to reclaim its place at the forefront of the rock music scene.