Jacoby Shaddix on Letting Loose with 'The Retaliators'

Jacoby Shaddix on Letting Loose with 'The Retaliators'

- By Nicolás Delgadillo

The Papa Roach frontman talks about the marriage between music and movies and stepping out of his own comfort zone on his first feature film.

When you’ve got a name like Jacoby Dakota Shaddix, you’re pretty much destined for the rock star life. Shaddix has been doing exactly that for nearly three decades now, rocking full houses and riling up audiences across the globe (several times over) as the founding member and frontman of Papa Roach.

Since exploding onto the scene in 2000 with their landmark album Infest, the California act have sold millions upon millions of records, toured with tons of the biggest names in music, played some of the biggest stages in the world, and have created a legacy all their own - one that’s continuously being added to.

While Papa Roach is a band that’s notorious for their relentless touring and recording schedule (the band’s longest ever break, at least from playing shows, was forced on them by the pandemic), their creative output has exploded in recent years. The music and the shows have never felt bigger or better than they do now thanks to bold choices from the group both musically and professionally. Likewise, Shaddix has been branching out and flexing different artistic muscles himself, most notably by landing a role in the recent action horror film The Retaliators, a violently thrilling tale of a man (played by Michael Lombardi) on a bloody quest for vengeance after the death of his daughter.

Produced by Better Noise Films, the movie features a dynamic and hard hitting rock / metal soundtrack and boasts appearances by various legends like Tommy Lee, Ivan Moody, Zoltan Bathory and others. But none have as juicy of a role as Shaddix, who plays Quinn Brady, a savage killer and major antagonist. While the singer is no stranger to the camera - having filmed countless music videos and interviews, hosted his own series Scarred on MTV, and made plenty of viral TikToks - The Retaliators is a step up, offering him a real chance to go beyond his comfort zone. Those expecting to see the usual smiling, fun-loving Shaddix onscreen will have to wait for the next concert - in this film, he delivers a truly unsettling sense of malice.

Read our full review of 'The Retaliators' HERE

With Papa Roach having just finished out a successful pair of US tours in support of their new album Ego Trip as well as a monumental homecoming set at Aftershock Festival, the band is currently enjoying some much-needed rest before heading over to the UK next year. We caught up with the iconic frontman and rising actor to talk about his recent endeavor with The Retaliators and his thoughts on the connection between music and movies.


Thanks so much for taking the time for this. It’d be a missed opportunity to not tell you that I’ve been a diehard Papa Roach fan since I was 12 years old, I’ve seen you guys ten times in concert, last one was back in March. Ego Trip? Certified banger, both the song and the album. I hope you and the rest of the band are very proud of where you’re at because from the fan perspective, it’s been awesome to witness.

Jacoby Shaddix: What’s up Nick! Happy to hear that you have been keeping up with us and still feeling it like we are. We are stoked to still be in this game after all these years. We still have so much to give.

Movies and music go hand in hand. The soundtrack to The Retaliators obviously plays a large role here. With such a vast catalog of music to choose from, how did you narrow down what song you wanted to use for this movie?

Jacoby Shaddix: We were approached by the movie producers about including “The Ending” in the film. It was one of our favorites and we had hoped it would become a single and this movie was the perfect vehicle. The sound of the darker bass and the synths really just fit the vibe and theme of the film. I recorded “Wolf Totem” by The Hu and that song was also included as they started filming scenes. The Hu is really awesome and brings a fresh perspective to rock. They really are bringing people together in a unique way. We had so much fun filming the music videos for these two songs.

What do you think the key is to successfully blending music with visuals?

Jacoby Shaddix: I think the key is music can evoke a specific emotion, a feeling or a visual. When people already feel strongly about a song, once it’s combined with a strong visual it just elevates the music to a whole new level. Think of what Rammstein has done at the highest level.

Plenty of music takes inspiration from films and soundtracks and the heavy music scene has always seemed to blend well with the horror scene. Look no further than a band like Ice Nine Kills. Does any Papa Roach music or imagery take inspiration from the movies?

Jacoby Shaddix: I feel like when writing music we are using inspiration from all parts of our lives. Everything we read, watch, experience or do usually finds a way to inspire our music in one way or another.

Rock soundtracks used to be a crucial part of so many great movies, pretty much from the 80s all the way to the mid 2000s. While soundtracks are obviously still very prominent, the rock genre pretty much departed from the movie scene. What do you think changed and are you hoping that we’ll see a resurgence of it?

Jacoby Shaddix: I definitely hope we see a resurgence of rock music in film! I think there is a ton of badass rock music being put out there lately that is super suitable for film and television and would make for epic additions to film soundtracks. I don’t think any one-thing necessarily caused the departure of rock music from the film scene but I do know it would be epic if it made a bigger impact in our genre!


What has it been like experiencing the progression of Better Noise Entertainment to this point where it’s got tons of amazing bands on the roster that are killing it out on tour and now feature films opening in theaters across the country at the same time?

Jacoby Shaddix: It was really cool to experience this huge crossover into the film world alongside so many crazy talented musicians! Allen Kovac at Better Noise has taught us to always try to collaborate and think outside the box. He has done that for a very long time and we are blessed to have him in our career.

What were the differences between shooting a feature-length film like this as opposed to the hundreds of music videos and other promotional stuff you’ve done?

Jacoby Shaddix: It was like filming a music video but on a much bigger level x100! There’s so much storytelling that goes into a music video, but a whole movie... it’s a much bigger scale. Weeks of shooting. The number of outfits, actors, sets, and crew members is just crazy and we had to deal with COVID protocols during the filming.

You play a vicious murderer in the film. What kind of preparation goes into something like that?

Jacoby Shaddix: It was definitely a crazy experience. My character, Quinn Brady, is such a dark, twisted and evil guy that it was a challenge to enter that mindset and play that character. I was fortunate to be working alongside Michael Lombardi, the lead actor and one of the producers of the film. He helped coach me through the process and encouraged me to just let loose with the process. I thoroughly enjoyed going outside my comfort zone.

Being onstage night after night and performing as the frontman in a band can start to feel a little like acting in itself. How do you balance the onstage persona with the real one, or are they one and the same?

Jacoby Shaddix: I’d say I’m usually a pretty energetic guy, but being on stage in front of huge crowds I need to turn the energy dial up all the way. There’s some acting involved in that everything needs to be on a huge scale and feel larger than life. My balance is going home and being a good father and spending time and shutting off being a performer.

The effects in this movie are second to none, there’s so much fantastic looking gore and action going on. How involved did you get to be with the makeup and the effects?

Jacoby Shaddix: There’s some crazy photos of me around from filming where my face is just covered in fake blood so I’d say I was pretty involved! Being on set and filming, I got to experience and feel like a big part of all the gore and the effects - it’s wild how real they can make everything look. I hand it to the production team. They did a wonderful job.

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

Jacoby Shaddix: I’ve got to go with ‘American Werewolf in London.’ That movie absolutely terrified me. And ‘The Exorcist’.

'The Retaliators' is now available to rent or buy digitally.
Check out the official soundtrack featuring music from Papa Roach, The HU, Asking Alexandria, Nothing More, Five Finger Death Punch and more
Check out upcoming tour dates from Papa Roach

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