Interview: Ronnie Winter of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Last week, I had the chance to chat with Ronnie Winter, vocalist and guitarist of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. We spoke about the upcoming album, Am I The Enemy, which comes out August 30th, as well as his love of horror. Check out the exclusive interview after the jump and keep your eyes peeled for Ronnie’s Top 10 Horror Movie list coming later this week!

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Photo Credit: Tim Harmon

How are you doing?
I’m good man, how are you doing today?
Doing good! Still recovering from a 4th of July weekend. How about yourself?
[laughs] I actually took it easy this year. There is a fireworks ban in my neighborhood because of droughts and wildfires and stuff like that down in Florida. Could’ve been crazy, but I had a good time.
Let’s start by talking about your upcoming album, ‘Am I The Enemy’. What can you tell me about it?
Well, first of all, we had the pleasure of working with John Feldmann, who is the singer of Goldfinger and also a producer. That was kind of a big deal for me. Just excited to work with somebody that we’re not only a fan of but has done great work. I feel that there was a lot of energy and excitement from the beginning. 
Other than that, we just do what we do man! We went in there and rocked it down, wrote a bunch of cool songs and recorded them. We’re excited about how they came out and we think people are going to dig it!

Listening to ‘Face Down’ and ‘Your Guarding Angel’, I was kind of taken aback by ‘Reap’. Was there a reason you chose such a heavy song as your first single?
There have actually been a couple of heavy songs on the previous albums. As a matter of fact, we were on the Saw 4 soundtrack, back in 2007 with a song called ‘Misery Loves It’s Company’, which was on our first record and is pretty heavy in parts. So, it’s not the first time we’ve released a heavier song, it’s the first time we’ve pushed a heavier song as a single. We’ve always had a darker heavier side. You know, you progress as a band and everyone in the band listens to heavy music, everything from crazy death metalcore to post hardcore to straight up thrash metal. 
What messages are you trying to push forth with this album?
The main thing we do is write from personal experience. And anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past several years has seen that there have been revolutions around the world, country after country fed up with being treated like crap and wanting equality and humane living conditions, which is a rightful thing for any human being to have. 
For me, being a human being in today’s society, how can you not feel, at least once or twice, the question of “Am I the enemy?” Especially being an American citizen and living in America. We actually went to Iraq and played 6 or 7 shows for the troops and saw the rebuilding effort. Then we came home, turned on the news and all we saw was the bashing of the war for oil or whatever. The truth of the matter is that we’re liberating people. That’s a fact. I saw it for real. Propaganda is one thing, reality is another. 
You’re hitting the road tomorrow for a short tour. What’s your favorite part of touring?
Hmm…Let’s see if I can find my absolute favorite. Probably playing every night is definitely number one. One of the main reasons musicians are in a rock band is because they like to play their instruments and perform. 
Number two would be traveling. It’s been great! We’ve been all over the world. Like I say, we’ve been to Iraq, we’ve also been to Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, UK, Singapore, Australia, Japan. I can tell you right now that there is no way I would’ve gotten that opportunity had I not been in a band.
Let’s chat horror for a bit, as I hear you’re a big fan. What got you into horror?
Ever since I was a little kid, my brothers and I would go to Blockbuster and always headed straight for the horror section. Movies like Wishmaster, Leprechaun, all those funny…well, when you’re a kid they’re scary but now they’re funny. All the Jason movies. Jason X is probably my favorite because it’s sci-fi and horror. My favorite is definitely they sci-fi/horror hybrid. I love both genres but I love the mix. 
I really like the effects, the gore and the absurdity of knowing this couldn’t possibly be real and, to me, that’s entertaining. I’m not into dramas or documentaries, I like horror films! [laughs] I could go on and on about it for hours!
The most recent favorite was Drag Me To Hell. I’m a big fan of Sam Raimi and I thought it was pretty wild and out there and I really enjoyed it!
Since you say you like sci-fi/horror, are there any particular titles there that stand out for you?
Have you ever seen The Thing with Kurt Russel?
Oh yeah! It’s in my Top 3 favorite horror films of all time.
Yeah! It’s one of the craziest films! They’re not even sure what’s going on and everybody is turning on each other and it’s almost like a cabin fever madness thing going on. Awesome storyline! I really like the alien horror film hybrid thing. The Thing is probably the first one that comes to mind other than the obvious like Aliens or Predator. But those are obvious, who doesn’t like those movies? [laughs]
So what was it like when you found out you were going to be on the Saw 4 soundtrack? How did that resonate with you?
Well, for me, it was amazing! I was extremely stoked. It was kinda funny because we have some songs that have some Christian-oriented lyrics and, of course, one of the first things that happened was we got a bunch of emails from people asking, “Oh, how can you be on a horror film soundtrack?” and “How can you condone violence?” and this and that. And so I said, “Look, listen. This is a movie. This is not real. It is made for entertainment and if you can’t wrap your mind around that then don’t watch the news, because that’s real and a lot more worse stuff happens on there. This was made for enjoyment purposes only and guess what? I enjoy it! So get off my back!” So that was kind of the weirdest part about it. I wish we could do more! I love being a part of it. 
Have you seen any of the BD Selects films?
Yeah! As a matter of fact, I got sent Cold Fish and that is hands down the number one most brutal movie I’ve ever seen. Number one. It was that Willem Defoe movie Antichrist for a while, but this trumps it. Don’t miss it!
Ronnie, thanks so much for your time and I wish you the best of luck on tour and with the release of ‘Am I The Enemy’!
Thanks a lot man! Take it easy.