“I’m renovating a castle!”: why Zoltan Bathory’s lockdown has been busier than yours

(Image credit: Press)

Five Finger Death Punch’s latest album, F8, may have been released the precise moment COVID-19 was got a grip on the world, but they haven't let recent events completely derail them. The band recently released the video for A Little Bit Off, filmed in their hometown of Las Vegas completely in lockdown. Guitarist Zoltan Bathory takes us behind the scenes on the video shoot and reveals what else the band have been up to in the last few months.

What were the challenges you faced, making the video for A Little Bit Off under lockdown?

Zoltan Bathory: “The resources we usually take for granted were just not available. Businesses closed, people were scared and hid in their toilet paper forts. Getting a film crew, equipment or permits was near-impossible because everything was frozen in this bizarrely silent ‘Oh shit, what now?’ slow-moving fog, so we had to do it guerilla-style. We had a hit and run small crew, screeching tyre stops, jump out do a couple of takes, back in the car, hit the next location’ sort of war zone press-crew operation. We used the circumstances as the main narrative of the video, and I think that made it a time capsule of 2020.”

How did it feel to see your city as a ghost town?

“It was surreal, as if all of Vegas was a silent, post-apocalyptic movie set. This city never sleeps, it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic at 4am while thousands of people party to the soundtrack of clinking beer bottles and blaring paper trumpets, and all of a sudden crickets. Not even crickets – we don’t even have crickets here.”

What else have you been up to during lockdown? 

“I’m good with the gas pedal, but didn’t really figure out how the brakes work yet, so even though these days I jump in the pool once a day, it’s full-tilt boogie here. We just built a Death Punch app, which is in the final testing phase; we’re working on video treatments for the next couple of singles; working on a 5FDP movie; I’m designing props for whenever we can tour again; designing new Death Punch merch; new signature guitars; training Jiu-Jitsu; I’m renovating a castle  which is a fun side-project… and besides navigating the 5FDP battleship I also co-manage Bad Wolves and Fire From The Gods, so I’m pretty busy. Oh, and the Illuminati won’t run itself either, so...”  

Have you been working on any new music?

“I play guitar daily and mess around with new stuff of course, but we just released probably our best record, F8, in February, in the exact moment Coronavirus T-boned Western Society. So even though it’s the nuclear winter of the music industry and bands upload music from their bunkers, we have this brand-new album we worked really hard on. So our objective is to keep that in the spotlight and let everyone know it’s out there.”

You’ve posted some funny videos of frontman Ivan Moody on Instagram. Is he really learning to play the guitar?

“Nah, it’s an inside joke about that age-old Yin and Yang relationship between singers and guitarists. They both want the other to respect their skill and profession while they both think the other has it easy… When in reality, we all know the singers have it easy.”

What’s next for Five Finger Death Punch?

“Oh man, we are waiting for this crazy shit to end. We are road dogs cued up, the bows are drawn… The second the gate is lifted, we’ll be riding out to battle, right back on the road.” 

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