Chimaira - A bag full of stupid questions
‘My God it’s cold’. ‘Indeed’, I say. DemonDust walks out of the car with his (crappy) hat and I walk towards him. It’s the 9th of December and we’re just about to do an interview with Chimaira, one of the most popular bands nowadays in the world that is called metal. As we freeze to death, the door of the Patronaat (venue) is just open, but no one’s there. I got a bit of a hangover from just the other day so my mood starts to become……let’s call it not so well. After we finally enter the building, get some coffee, Mark and Chris welcome us and the interview starts right away.
How are you dealing with the pressure of being one of the most popular metal bands nowadays?
M: I would say we’re the most underrated.
C: Yeah, I don’t think we’re that popular at all.
Well, here you are.
C: Oh, really?
M: Yeah, the show almost got sold out, come on.
C: Oh really? We had no idea!
Ok, well this is your first headlining tour in Holland, whereas you’ve released your third record. Was the fact that you’re headlining for the first time done on purpose?
M: I have no idea, it just happened that way. We haven’t planned anything. It’s basically our booking agent. Everytime we come up here we try to support people so we can gain new fans. I just happened.
C: I don’t know, but when we come here we’re always supporting someone. On our last headline tour in the UK and Germany, we’ve played in Holland and Belgium, but for some reason we’ve been supporting Morbid Angel. I don’t know why that worked out that way.
And with Killswitch Engage.
C: Yeah, that was a co-headlining tour actually.
C: Yeah, that one was with Morbid Angel. For some reason we’ve been supporting them during a headlining tour. We didn’t plan it this way, but we’ll take it.
And your vote is not that important compared to the agent’s?
M: Well, you’ll have to trust their opinions, because these people work for you. If that is what needs to happen: ok, I trust you.
So you trust them?
M: Yeah, of course. Unless they’re like: You’ll have to do six weeks in Russia with no food. I’d say: dude, come on!
Ok, how is Kevin fitting in with the band?
M: Well, in what way? Personally or playing wise?
M: I’ll go playing wise. Playing wise he’s awesome. He makes the sound better. We’re stronger than we’ve ever been. Perfect!
C: He’s a fun drummer to watch. To play live. Personal wise he’s just a different kind of dude.
M: Yeah, we just like to keep him in the trailer. We are a little more reserved and quiet where he is the opposite. You know, the crazy kid. He likes the groupies, the drinking. Chris and I like to watch Steve. Last night we’ve played Steve for like eight hours. One and two. That was one wild night.
Was two worth watching then?
M: Yeah, it blows the first one away.
C: We have nights when we can go crazy too, but Kevin is every night.
M: We’re more living on stage.
C: It’s just fun for a few occasions but not every night, I’ll get wasted.
M: Yeah, me too.
C: I got to watch for my health.
Was he drunk when he got on stage at Fields of Rock? He wasn’t playing very tight, except for the songs of the new album.
M: Yeah, I think he was drunk that day.
C: I think we were with Mastodon that day. Every time we play with Mastodon. He'll play bad today, he’ll probably sucks.
When recording the self-titled album, was Kevin ordered to play what he was meant to play?
M: No, he came up with most of his stuff. Obviously, when people write a guitar riff, they have an idea of what they like to hear. But a lot of times he came up with his own ideas as well.
C: He was very vocal, sometimes too vocal. I had to write everything at home with a drum machine, because the drum machine listens to me.
And compared to the other albums, what kind of working do you prefer?
I prefer the way Kevin did it. It’s annoying, because we were used to a dictating kind of writing, no discussion for five years. But now there is a guy who’s saying something else. I’m glad it’s this way, because it’s what we’ve always wanted. It felt a little awkward.
Can you understand that some people say that there are too many riffs in one song on the last album? Not that it’s bad, but I like the previous one better because of the short blasting songs.
M: So it makes you upset that you have to think?
No, it doesn’t upset me, but I feel that there is too much in one song.
M: That’s upset because it makes you think. You need this handed to you really easily and accessible? This is ok of course, no problem.
Well, I listen to Fantomas and stuff like that, well that stuff makes you think.
M: Well, I don’t agree with that actually. The album is selling more than the last one. So obviously the opinions of some are otherwise. Some people don’t enjoy it, which is fine. We knew when we were going into it, it was going to be different. And if we would have done the same kind of writing, it would be boring and it would makes us think. I’ll never say that we’ll never going to record any style of the old songs, but we wanted to make our fans think a little bit. I’m not saying that you’re not thinking. Just busting your balls.
Are you going to continue writing this way?
M: Well, we’ll change with every album. But the foundation is there. The thing we learned on this album is whether the songs are long or short, the biggest thing we’ve learned is conventional song writing
Well, why aren’t you playing any old songs then?
M: Totally wrong, we’ve been playing them.
C: We’ll played like four or five songs tonight.
Huh? Normally it’s only Severed.
C: Well, the reason is financial, since we’re now headlining. We couldn’t afford to ship the C-guitars with the A-guitars. Those songs are all tuned lower. Just a financial thing. We didn’t have the guitars.
So we’re gonna hear Dead Inside tonight?
M: I don’t know, we change the set every night. You’ll definitely gonna hear a couple of older songs tonight.
Cool, because there has been some discussion about whether you don’t play older songs.
M: But it changes every night. Last night we had to play for 75 minutes and we played four or five songs from the first record…….Tonight we might not even play any.
C: Yeah, you guys ruined it!
So, Have you heard of the program on Discovery Chanel called MythBusters?
M: Yes we have.
Have you had that question already?
M: We haven’t had the question but we shot our first video there, for Split. It’s in that warehouse. Take a look at it next time. We were very familiar with those people, even before it was on tv.
Have you seen that episode where they use your music to grow plants?
M: I heard about it, but I never saw it.
How does it make you feel that Chimaira is the best music for growing plants?
M: That’s awesome.
C: The guy who did our past record. So when we wanted to do our video we asked the guy with the mustache. We shot our video before the show was on tv. The place was awesome.
M: It’s cool he played our music, it means he remembers us.
Ok, I’ve got a really stupid question now.
M: What do you mean now?
This is a really stupid question. Who do you prefer? Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone?
M: Arnold by far. Before he became the governor he still kept making good movies.
C: Can’t remember any of Sylvester.
M: Rocky four probably. Once he hit Rocky Five it’s off. Well, Demolition Man was good. Oh, he’s been doing a boxing show, I heard it was actually really good, from what I understand.
Ok, that was about it.
M: Well, that wasn’t a stupid question. That was the best question you’ve had!!
Ok, do you have anything to add to all of this?
C: Smoke Steve!!
Chimaira, Unearth, Throwdown, Daath - 'Our Hate Will Destroy You' Tour presented by Baroeg (Live Review)