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CHIMAIRA (MARK HUNTER/ROB ARNOLD)

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“THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF REASON” ALBUM WAS FOLLOWED BY SOME HEAVY TOURING: MORE THAN 330 SHOWS IN 21 COUNTRIES. RIGHT AFTER YOU GOT OFF THE TOUR YOU ENTERED A STUDIO AND STARTED WRITING FOR THE NEW ALBUM IMMEDIATELY. COULD YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW THAT WORKED? I IMAGINE THAT MUST HAVE BEEN HARD FOR YOU WITH NO BREAK OR REST WHATSOEVER… Mark: Well, it’s, you know, once the “Impossibility of reason” started having some success, of course, you know, we’d get more offers to keep touring and keep touring and keep touring. And then there is also a lot of places we wanted to go and see. So we even forced ourselves. Like: “Oh, we wanna go to Japan, we wanna go to Australia!” It’s almost like a vacation for us. Even though we have to play for an hour, it’s still the rest of the day we are having fun. So, you know, it was definitely, a lot of it had to do with us, and we realized that we were having so much fun on the road and taking so long, we needed to hurry up and get a product out, because the way it was looking it was gonna be about two years since the release of “The impossibility of reason” for the new album. So there really was no time to, you know, just go home and relax for a while which is what everyone would have liked to have done, I’m sure. So we got home on a Friday from touring and took two days off and started writing again. Luckily we had, you know, the fact that we were able to write the new album at home. So during the day we could be with family, friends, doing whatever. And then at night it was, you know, time to rehearse and everything like that. So it just, you know, we have so much fun on the road. You know, we are a live band, we love being on stage. So… and travelling to new places, you know, a lot of American bands just focus on America. And I think we consider ourselves more of a world-wide band. You know, we want to go anywhere and everywhere that we can possibly. IT HAS BEEN THIRTEEN DIFFERENT TOURS ALTOGETHER – INCLUDING OPENING SLOTS FOR SLAYER AND SLIPKNOT –AND YOU WENT TO JAPAN AND AUSTRALIA AS WELL. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE TOUR? I GUESS FOR YOU THEY ALL MUST HAVE BEEN MAGNIFICENT! BUT WHICH WAS THE BEST ONE IN YOUR OPINION? Mark: For me personally touring on the Jägermeister-tour in America with us, Slipknot and Fear Factory. It had nothing to do with how great the bands are or how great the concerts themselves were. It was one of the most fun tours we had ever been on, you know, just we got along with all the bands so well, and just had a great time every night. And the venues were all amazing. So it was just real comfortable, relaxed… just have a bunch of fun with all these guys. I mean, Slipknot has nine guys, so it’s never like you were bored trying to find someone to hang out with, you know. And, so that was my personal favourite. Rob: I’d probably say the Ozzfest. Just, because I love the outdoor, like festival-type environment. It’s cool. You play and then you hang out all day, you know, at the Jägermeister-tent, or just going around and seeing like all the stuff for sale, and just all the great bands on the tour hanging out, or watch bands all day and everything. It’s just a fun summer, you know. YOU JUST BROUGHT UP SLIPKNOT THERE. THE ONE THING YOU HAVE IN COMMON WITH SLIPKNOT IS THE FACT THAT YOU’RE ALSO COMING FROM A QUITE DESOLATE PLACE IN AMERICA. CLEVELAND AND DES MOINES ARE NOT REALLY FAMOUS FOR BEING THE “ROCK-PLACES”… IS IT BECAUSE IT IS A BIT DESOLATE THAT CITIES LIKE THOSE ARE SUCH PERFECT BREEDING-GROUND FOR INNOVATIVE BANDS? Mark: Yeah, definitely, I think so. I mean, you know, Cleveland is a very industrial town, and, you know, we’ve spawned Nine Inch Nails. And you can just… it’s basically you can listen to Nine Inch Nails and look at the skyline. And it’s: Oh, wow – he just made a soundtrack for, you know, where he came from in the beginning days. I think it definitely has a lot to do with the weather that we have. It’s always really either super-cold or it’s really super-hot. And it just kind of messes with you mentally. And for me personally, you know, I just… “Uh!” (makes a slightly disgusted sound), I just wanna get out of here, you know. That type of feeling. And we always go somewhere else. It’s like: “Aaahh…” (makes a relieved, pleased sound). “We’re out of the mess!” (laughs). But it’s also at the same time, it’s a great place, and I couldn’t really vision living anywhere else, you know. So… SO IT HAS NEVER TEMPTED YOU TO MOVE TO ONE OF THE ROCK “EL DORADOS” LIKE LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK OR SAN FRANCISCO? Mark: No, not really. I think, you go to those cities, and when you go to New York, you just… You feel super-rushed and, like anxiety. And you gotta do this real quick and it’s fast, and it’s so fast-paced. Plus, you know, if you’re from New York, you’re one of five million bands. From when we’re from Cleveland, we’re one of one band, you know. We don’t really have much competition at all. So, in L.A. it’s the opposite. It’s just relaxed, no one cares. If you’re gonna play a concert, they’ll just feel like showing up, maybe – if you’re lucky – for them to grace your presence. It’s just fake and not really… I don’t think anyone in this band’s style. Maybe Jim likes L.A. because he’s kind of like that. (laughs) HOW MANY BANDS ARE FROM CLEVELAND? YOU JUST MENTIONED NINE INCH NAILS, YOU GUYS OF COURSE, MUSHROOMHEAD… AND THAT’S ABOUT IT!? IS IT A REAL SCENE OR JUST A HANDFUL OF BANDS? Rob: There is a lot of local bands, you know, younger smaller bands and everything. But really, right now, you know, from what I know Trent Reznor doesn’t even say he’s from Cleveland anymore. So it’s basically, just us and MUSHROOMHEAD are the only bands like with record deals, you know, or have records available either nation-wide or world-wide. So, like he said, it really isn’t a lot of competition, you know, it’s kind of like, we’re the focus, we’re one of the main metal bands in Cleveland, it not the main metal band, you know. So it works out. Mark: Right, cause MUSHROOMHEAD is really not… I mean, they are heavy but they are more on the industrial side of things as well, and experimental side, I believe, in where we’re just straight-up-in-your-face metal. So, it used to be really good for like… we were the… our home is the founders of the metalcore-scene. You know, we have Integrity and you can’t find one metalcore band out there now that wasn’t influenced by Integrity or Ascension. So, we used to have some stuff going on. But now it’s just (laughs), we just have one metal band and one industrial band that’ are doing anything world-wide, you know. IT’S INTERESTING THAT YOU BROUGHT UP THE TERM “METALCORE” YOURSELF. OTHER BANDS, LIKE FOR EXAMPLE HATEBREED FREAK OUT WHEN YOU DARE TO MENTION THE “M”-WORD. ARE “METALCORE” AND “NU METAL” SWEAR-WORDS TO YOU? Mark: Well, it’s not really a swear word. It just really doesn’t concern us. I mean, if… People are gonna call us whatever they feel like calling us. And we can’t prevent that or change their mind in any way. We just like to consider ourselves, you know, a kick-ass metal band. I mean, there’s whatever you wanna call it: metalcore, or emocore, or whatever, you know. We think that we’re distinctive enough that we are our own entity, you know. We don’t really have to be involved in a clique or some sort of scene or anything like that. Our music is… we have fans that love black metal or death metal, or pop, or nu metal, or rap metal, whatever. All our fans love all styles of music. It’s not just like our fans are strictly fans of this genre only. Which I think makes it more world-wide and brings a much vaster audience. We have something for everybody. I mean, when I said rap metal – we don’t, we are not rap metal, but for some reason some of those… you’ll see kids in a LIMP BIZKIT shirt at our concert. You know, like: “Hmm… interesting!” And then he’s standing next to a guy in a DIMMU BORGIR shirt. You know, like: “Hah!” And of course they fight when we start playing, but is has nothing to do with us. I just think it’s really cool that our fans are so diverse and different, you know. THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT CHIMAIRA – YOU ALWAYS REFUSED TO FOLLOW TRENDS AND CREATED YOUR OWN NICHE. NO RAPROCK PARTS. EVEN THOUGH YOU DO HAVE A FEW ELECTRONIC SAMPLE PARTS IN YOUR MUSIC… Mark: The keyboard element, you know, it was always something we wanted to do. And it stems from, I mean, listen to Iron Maiden “Seventh son of a seventh son”. There is keyboards all over that record Rob: You know, there is a lot of bands that use that element, you know, with metal, you know. It just so happens that we came around with that element during the nu metal time period. And so that was an instant label for us. But, you know, we try to get away from that, you know, by giving examples. Mark: I think. We proved ourselves that, you know, musically we come from a completely different school and train of thought than, you know… To me, Nu metal is like Papa Roach, or Disturbed or LINKIN PARK. And out of those three bands I just mentioned not one of them are playing the kind of music we’re playing – as aggressive, double-bass and solos. That just doesn’t happen in their songs. So, I think, we just… People didn’t even hear us when we first came out. They just assumed we were in this category. And now that people start listening to the records: “Oh, what was I thinking?” You know, we’re not, they are not like that at all. So, we’re just fine. I WOULD AGREE WITH YOU THAT YOU’RE DEFINITELY MORE OLD-SCHOOL THAN ANY OF THE MENTIONED ACTS -WHICH TO A GREAT EXTENT IS DUE TO THE GUITAR-SOLOS WHICH YOU HAVE IN ALMOST EVERY SONG. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT PEOPLE ARE FINALLY INTO A GOOD SOLO AGAIN? Rob: Yeah. I have a whole theory about that, whether it’s true or not. But I think with… In the late nineties with people starting using pro-tools a lot and just… Bands weren’t as talented as they were, you know, in the past years, you know. Because they didn’t have to be as good, because in pro-tools you can edit anything and do whatever you want. And, you know, with the Nu metal stuff, because there weren’t any solos, or people weren’t doing solos because they just weren’t as good. But they could still get a record deal and play shows and everything and, without being as talented. And, you know, I felt that… I wanted to bring back the element of musician-ship and, you know, skilful playing in metal. You know, to show that like there’s guys that have been playing for a lot of years that come together, and really try to express themselves through their instruments rather than just trying to get a band together to do shows, and get chicks, and sell t-shirts and stuff, you know. YOU WERE THE ONES THAT SPAWNED THE TERM “NEW WAVE OF AMERICAN HEAVY METAL”, WHICH WAS USED TO DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE, AS WELL AS THE MUSIC OF BANDS SUCH AS SHADOW’S FALL, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE OR LAMB OF GOD. ALL OF THOSE BANDS WENT THROUGH THE ROOF WITH THEIR CURRENT OUTPUTS. REGARDING THAT SITUATION: HAVE YOU FELT ANY PRESSURE WHEN WRITING THE NEW MATERIAL? Mark: Not in regards to what those bands are doing. And it’s getting back to that whole phrase: it was something we did as kind of like a tribute, a homage to bands that we grew up listening to. And it was just kind of meant to be a joke. And then all of a sudden, you know, the media outlets: “The new wave of American heavy metal”. Like which, it was cool, but it’s like: a) we are not new anymore. b) you know, we were the ones to bring it back and we are gonna be the first people to leave that scene as well. We don’t want to be associated with that at all. And as far as like pressure – the only pressures we had was to how we were going to make a better album than we just made. And we really don’t care what other bands are doing, you know. We wish the bands that you mentioned all the success in the world. And, you know, we hope that, you know… of course we hope to gain a lot of new fans. I certainly don’t believe that anyone of us have delusions of grandeur let’s just make the best kind of possible music we can make, and get out there and kick some ass for the fans. And that’s really all we care about, you know. And the tags or phrases, I mean, it’s a great honour that the media, like they took a joke of ours and made it something, you know, pretty honourable. It’s just, it really doesn’t concern us anymore. That’s all. OK, BACK TO THE ALBUM… YOU MENTIONED SOMEWHERE THAT THE NEW ALBUM SOUNDS “MORE EPIC”. AND I WONDERED WHAT YOU COULD MEAN BY THAT. ON THE LAST TWO ALBUMS YOU HAD ALBUM CLOSERS WAY OVER 12 MINUTES LONG. HOW MUCH MORE EPIC COULD YOU GET?! Rob: Basically, without knowing it, maybe that last track, that instrumental was like a foundation for our new writing-style for this new record with that more epic, and lengthy, and more complex structure. And that’s what we tried to do a lot with this record was to, you know, build the songs more as a whole, piece by piece, so let it all tie together. And rather than just writing a song with just a great chorus or some great hook, we tried to make the song as interesting as possible from start to finish with the verses, with ths solos, with whatever break-downs or whatever. And with that came a more lengthy and intricate structure with the arrangement and everything. And, so yeah, maybe “Implements of destruction” was a road map for the new CHIMAIRA style. WHAT COMES FIRST WHEN YOU WRITE A SONG – THE CHORUS OR THE HOOK? Rob: Just a riff. Like somebody will come up with a riff that we really like, and then we just try to build the song off that, and see what falls into place. Or maybe if I had a riff, and he had a riff, we all of a sudden just stumble over the idea that they sound great together. And, you know, when tied together, build the structure for something that could become monumental, and then we just go from there. THE SONG “NOTHING REMAINS” WAS WRITTEN ON THE VERY SAME DAY DIMEBAG DARRELL WAS SHOT ON STAGE PLAYING A SHOW IN OHIO… Mark: Basically, you know, obviously we were very depressed and bummed out about the situation. He is a hero to us, you know. And we had to get together because the news, local news, wanted to interview us because of… about concert security and this and that. So, all of us were together at the rehearsal base. And as soon as the interviewers left we were just kind of sitting around, no one was talking really to each other, and just kind of sitting there, staring at the floor, and really didn’t know what to do, how to deal with it. And Rob was just kind of playing some bluesy type stuff, and it just kind of clicked: Let’s just write something brutal, you know, what would Dime do right now? You know, he’d just pick up a guitar and start jamming. So the foundation for the song “Nothing remains” – musically – was, you know, conceived on that day. But lyrically, I didn’t feel it was necessary to touch on it, you know. It’s basically, let the guy rest in peace. We all love him, everyone knows, we love him, everyone loves him. Period! You know? So, lyrically I just went away on my own tension and stuff. It’s definitely not something that, you know, we’re like: “Oh, this is a great press story, let’s talk about it!” It’s just, I would think, when you hear the song, you can hear that there is a lot of intensity in it. There is a lot of anger, a lot of passion. And there is a lot of Dimebag style riffs in it. So… (laughs), you know, it’s basically our homage to him, you know, musically. YOU SEEM TO BE A BAND THAT LIKES CHANGES, A BAND THAT LOVES TO CHANGE. WOULD YOU SAY THE NEW CHIMAIRA RECORD IS THE MOST MATURE ONE YOU HAVE EVER WRITTEN? Rob: Absolutely. I mean, with most metal bands I would say each album is a progression and a maturing state from the previous, because you grow as musicians, you hone in on your skills more. And we had a better idea of what song-writing should be all about. You know, there is your typical verse-chorus-verse-chorus type of thing which we have implemented in the past. But we wanted to expand on that and just make the songs as interesting as possible. Uhm… (pauses) I forgot what the question was…! WHEN IT COMES TO WRITING SONGS: DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING LIKE A FORMULA IN MIND, SOMETHING LIKE THE PERFECT RECIPE HOW A GOOD SONG SHOULD SOUND LIKE? OR DO THEY JUST FALL INTO PLACE? Rob: Well, they fall into place. We don’t have an idea of what the perfect song should sound like. But somebody comes up with an idea, and maybe sees the vision of the structuring of the song, how they want it to go. And they’ll bring it to the rest of the guys at the practice base, and everybody puts their two cents in ‘em, and we mould it into what it’s become. MARK, YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LYRICS. IN HOW FAR, WOULD YOU SAY, DO THE LYRICS REFLECT THE MUSIC AND VICE VERSA? Mark: Well, with every album I like to listen to the song and see where it takes me visually and mentally. And for this particular album I noticed four things when I was listening to all the songs and attempting to write lyrics and coming up with my own ideas. As one was, that, you know, it is definitely more mature. Two: it was a lot more precise and defined and technical. Three: I thought it was all different types of moods. And… I forgot what the fourth one was. I had this yesterday perfect. (laughs, makes a pause while thinking) Alright, we’ll say three for now, because I can’t remember the fourth! Oh, personal! Personal, that was the fourth! And it was very-, the music seemed very dark and personal. So, all four things that I just mentioned is exactly the approach I took lyrically. I wanted the lyrics to be more personal and dark. I wanted them to go all over the place, and about different topics. I wanted them to refl.-, you know, I wanted my voice and my instrument to be just as precise and technical and efficient as the musician-ship. And, you know, keep going and keep going. Blablabla… ARE YOU TRYING TO CONVEY AN OPTIMISTIC MOOD, IN THAT WAY, THAT THINGS EVENTUALLY WILL TURN OUT POSITIVE NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOUR LIFE STINKS AT THE MOMENT? OR IS IT SOLELY ABOUT SUFFERING? Mark: You know, I definitely hope that people… I mean, when you read my lyrics especially on this particular album, they are pretty dark and deep, and there really isn’t any light at the end of the tunnel, and… But I’m hoping that the viewers just by listening or reading, the fact, you know, that I’m doing something optimistic and positive… There you go! You know, you can have these negative feelings and instead of doing something drastic or perhaps stupid, you can go and use those feelings to do something positive, you know. We’re making music, and people love music. So that’s optimistic in itself. I just… I’m not really trying to convey that much of an optimistic message. The optimistic message alone is that we’re making music. And no matter if I’m talking about someone hacking themselves up or something, that’s – hey – you’re gonna take it how you’re gonna take it, you know. If you even read into it that much. I INTERPRET YOUR ANSWER IN THAT WAY THAT YOU WANT TO KEEP IT OPEN FOR THE LISTENER TO MAKE UP THEIR OWN STORY, THEIR OWN SENSE OF THE LYRICS? Mark: Of course. I mean, it’s like, think of it this way: the worst thing that ever happened is – that I did – is a fan really loved the lyrics for a particular song that I had written. And he’s came up to me, and he said: “Oh, I love this song. These lyrics mean so much to me. I think that it means this, this, this and this!” And I was like: “Actually, that’s not what it means!” And the look on his face was just like “Oh man!”. So I thought to myself, I can’t really say what it means to people, you know, to me, you know, because they already are going to have their own interpretation. It’s like if I read a book and wrote a movie abased on it. And then the author saw the movie. And he’s like: “Oh, what? Did this guy read the same book?” You know? So, of course, you know, it’s not really good to say that to the fans. And I just agree now: “Yeah… that’s what it’s about. (laughs) STARTING WITH LAST YEAR YOU HAD A LITTLE BIT OF A PROBLEM WITH THE DRUMMER-SITUATION AND THE RESULTING LINE-UP CHANGES. SO… IS KEVIN TALLEY A STEADY MEMBER NOW? IS HE GONNA STAY IN THE BAND A BIT LONGER THAN YOUR DRUMMER RICKY EVENSAND? Rob: We can only hope. But yeah, as far as we know he is the permanent drummer of CHIMAIRA. And he certainly showed off his talent and his commitment on this new record. And, you know, he seems just as excited as we are about the future and about the band, and the material and everything. And yeah, you know, with anything there is gonna be some bumps in the road – which we have certainly experienced in every aspect – but most definitely the drummer situation. But he’s working out great, and he has impressed us in every way, and we’re happy to have him. WELL, HE’S GOTTA BE PRETTY GOOD. BECAUSE FROM WHAT I’VE HEARD YOU CALLED HIM LIKE A WEEK BEFORE THE TOUR STARTED. I MEAN, COME ON… HOW DID HE REACT?? Rob: He was bummed out, because when Andols originally left the band we had the choice between Ricky and Kevin. And we went with Ricky solely on the idea that we had seen him play. And we had never seen Kevin play. We liked what Ricky had said even though we had a great recommendation about Kevin from Kerry King. But we had seen Ricky play, so we said: “Ok, we are gonna go with this guy!” But Kevin told us at the time: “Ok, that’s cool. But if you’re ever in a bine give me a call!” You know? So he went ahead right then and learned all the material. And then eight months later whenever when we called him he was like: “Damn man… I already knew all the stuff before. Now I gotta re-learn it!” or whatever. “I wish you would have called me then!” You know, but he still had a good idea of the songs. And things worked out. It was funny, like he and I, the first day he came to Cleveland to jam – he and I were jamming – and he knew the songs pretty well. You know, I was pretty impressed. And then when the other guys came he played a joke on ‘em. And I was like: “Yeah, he knows the songs pretty well!” And we went to play one and he purposely just played it like crap. And they’re all… And I remember our bass player Jim being like: “Yeah, yeah? That’s cool…?!” And he’s looking at me like: (pulls a grimace) You know, and then we would just start laughing. But he knew the stuff pretty well right off the bat. But so, he did all right. You know, we only had that week to practise. Turned out ok. But he said during the first few shows that… you know, later on he told us that during those first shows that he was just a nightmare the whole time, because he was like hoping that “Am I supposed to go to this next part right here?” And he just tried and be-, and got lucky, and stuff like that, man. Mark: Oddly enough he never made a mistake until like a month after. (laughs) He was like at the point in time where he shouldn’t be making mistakes. It’s like: “What the hell?! You didn’t make mistakes the first few shows when you’re like in your train-up (??) and know you make mistakes?!” That’s kind of funny, too. Got lazy! (laughs) Too comfortable! MARK, WHY DO PEOPLE CALL YOU THE “BOSSMAN”? Mark: (laughs) Just funny… I don’t think really anyone does but… It’s because I have the over-all say in everything. And even like from Roadrunner or something like this, if they want to do something they have to go through me. (a thought captures his mind and he hesitates) No… I can’t say that (laughs) – I’m in the wrong country to say that. Anyway that’s how I am (laughs again), I control everything basically, yeah. You know, everyone has a job, you know, in the band and everyone has an equal talent. It just so happens my talent is the decision-making and leader-ship. Whereas, you know, Jim’s talent is smoking pot and making people laugh – or very angry! One of the two. And, you know, like Matt is good with drinking with bands. And it’s actually, you laugh, but it’s a great thing. Because we might not meet the band, and it’s a band that we like, and Matt is already there, hanging out with them, drinking.. And it makes it real comfortable, so when you finally meet a new band it’s: you’re already friends. It’s… So I mean, everyone has their thing. Chris does like website-stuff and merchandise and, you know, it’s everyone has got their little task to do. So, I think I’m more comfortable. It’s the old thing: If you want something done right you have to do it yourself! And, you know, we all work as a team. It’s definitely not a dictatorship, even if I wanna make a joke. It’s definitely not like that. But in the same time if something needs to happen and I need to call the record-label or the management, you know, I’m basically speaking for all of us. And a lot of times I don’t even have to like ask, you know, the guys will just know that it’s the right thing, you know, to do. So, that’s why! (laughs) YOUR MOST FAMOUS FAN KERRY KING FROM SLAYER RECOMMENDS CHIMAIRA AS SOMETHING LIKE THE FUTURE OF METAL TO EVERYONE. HOW DOES IT MAKES YOU FEEL WHEN YOU HEAR THINGS LIKE THAT? Mark: It actually totally pisses us off. Because we hate Slayer and Kerry King is… Nah, I’m totally kidding! Anyway, obviously it makes us feel honoured, blessed. I mean, this is someone we have been listening to for twenty years basically, and the posters are on the walls, and everything. And it’s: “Hey, you want to come over this weekend?”, “Yeah, I’m in LA!”, “Cool!”, “Alright – let’s hang out!” What?! So, it’s kind of surreal as well. And it’s just an honour, you know. As you would expect, you know. So… Rob: It’s crazy that someone that we have respected so long, and respected his work and his band and everything, now respects our music. And..,. so it’s awesome! ROB, WHO INFLUENCED YOU MOSTLY AS A GUITAR-PLAYER – WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED GETTING INTO MUSIC AND WHEN YOU DISCOVERED METAL MUSIC? Rob: From the beginning it was – some of like the first tapes I got – like MÖTLEY CRÜE, SKID ROW, VAN HALEN, GUNS ‘ N ROSES. And then shortly there after I started realizing bands like METALLICA and MEGADETH, SEPULTURA, SLAYER. And then a couple of years later bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE and MORBID ANGEL, DEICIDE, SUFFOCATION – all that kind of stuff. So basically my style is influenced from all those bands. But like my main like soloing influences are Kirk Hammett, Dimebag, Kerry, Mustaine, Friedman. All those guys. AND YOU MARK – HOW DID YOU GET INTO METAL? Mark: How did I get into metal? I was eight years old and going to my friend’s house. And his older brother was outside washing his car and listening to “Angel of death” (editor’s note: a song on the “Reign in blood” album by SLAYER), and I was: “What the fuck is this?!”, you know. Or: “What the hell is this?” or whatever. And the brother was so interested that I was, like I was taking an interest in this music, he was like: “God, I got all these tapes!” ,and took me up to his room. And he got like 300 tapes, like MERCYFUL FATE, MAIDEN, VENOM, EXODUS, SLAYER, whatever you can think of from ’86-era of metal. And I just stuck with it, you know. I bought “Reign in blood” and the demon was born, I guess, (laughs) from that on. And vocally my vocal inspirations are – from metal artists – is definitely John Tardy from OBITUARY and Chuck Schuldiner who was in DEATH. And I tried to morph the two together and that’s my voice. (laughs) Even if I don’t sound like either it’s, you know, that’s where I’m coming from, you know. Although when I did the tribute for the Chuck-stuff, I’d do a couple of things that night when James Murphy was recording, he was like: “Damn…that sounds like Chuck!” So I was pretty pleased, you know. Cause I was trying, you know, my hardest (laughs) to make it sound good and honourable. So… MARK, ANOTHER QUESTION FOR YOU: IT HAS BEEN QUITE A TOPIC ON THE INTERNET FAN FORUMS THAT SOME FANS ARE PISSED OFF BECAUSE YOU CUT OFF YOUR DREAD-LOCKS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT PEOPLE DISCUSSING SUCH THINGS? Mark: It’s pretty lame. It’s funny though, because they care, you know. It’s like when METALLICA cut their hair, like the world cared. And like, why does the world care when I cut my hair?! Who cares, you know? The reason I did it was because they were getting really heavy and pulling on my scalp, and causing me to get this crazy looking hair-do. So I got rid of it. And my hair will be back, and it will be long, it just won’t be dread-locked. So, whatever. I think I look better anyway. (laughs) That’s all that matters. (laughs) WHICH DIRECTION IS THE MUSIC OF CHIMAIRA GOING TO TAKE IN THE FUTURE – MORE ELECTRONICS, MORE MELODY-LINES OR RATHER THE OPPOSITE? Rob: No idea! We just finished a record and haven’t even started to think about the next one yet. Maybe in a couple of weeks we’ll think, now you’re asking. But no, we got a lot of touring to do and everything like that. And I think that your time on the road and everything, and time itself, you know, has a great factor in what your next record is gonna be like. You know, if you would’ve asked a year ago what this new record was gonna be like, we would have had no idea. We weren’t even in the mindset of writing or anything like that. So it actually takes the experience in seeing how this record is gonna do to decide maybe how the next one will be. Or what we’re feeling at that time and just what we want to do. JUDGING FROM THE THREE SONGS THAT I’VE HEARD BEFORE THE INTERVIEW, THE USE OF SYNTHESIZERS IS QUITE SUBTLE. IS THERE GONNA BE MORE ON THE ALBUM? Mark: There definitely is. But I mean, the thing is, it’s there, it’s definitely present but it’s not this type of sound that’s just like: “Uh…what was that?” And it just blends in so well that, you know, once you start listening to it over and over, you’re gonna go: “Oh, I never noticed that!” Even yesterday I noticed something. You know, I’ve heard the album how many times, and I noticed something that Chris did, and I was like: “Whow! I never even heard this before. That’s awesome!” Actually two parts in two different songs. I never even noticed. And I was there with Rob mixing it. And I heard all the tracks on their own individual, you know, without anything behind them. And I never noticed it. So I think that’s pretty awesome. Because that’s not something that’s just in there for no reason. It’s in there because it works with the songs that well that you don’t even hear it. There is at least twenty, thirty different things going on in each song that he is doing. I mean, some of it, if you have great sub-woofers, you’re feeling it. Some of the stuff, you know, if you got the headphones on it’s like: “Whow… why is the whole record spinning in my head?” It’s because of him, you know. That type of stuff. So… IS THERE A SONG ON THE ALBUM WHICH IS OUTSTANDING TO YOU, WHICH MEANS MORE TO YOU THAN ANY OTHER SONG? Rob: My first reaction would be that I think every song is outstanding. There is at least parts of every song that move me or give me goose bumps, or that I’m extra proud of. And I wanted to make that a point ,too, on this record: for each song to have it’s own individuality, and to be equally as enjoyable as the rest. And one thing that I find is cool, like people that have heard the record and everything: everybody tells me that they have a different favourite song, which is awesome. Where, you know, let’s (take) for example, a one-hit-wonder band or whatever. You know, you have an album, but everybody knows one song off the record, or whatever. And the other ones are considered filler or whatever like that. So I think it’s cool that everybody has a different song, because that means that each song is at least somewhat equally as entertaining. But, I don’t know, my favourites change so often that I don’t really have like one that I think is my favourite stand-out right now. I love the album in it’s entirety. And that was what was most important to me. Mark: You know, I totally agree. And my-; I have things that change all the time. I guess you asked one of the things I was the most proud of, I’d say the last song on the album. It’s called “Lazarus”. That was the song I wrote entirely that did just turned into something I thought was really great and I was really proud of. Like how it turned out from it’s original inception to what it became, you know. I thought it was: “Wow!” This turned out to be a really great song. But yeah, I mean I listen to it start to finish, and it’s like: “Wow!”, you know. It’s considered one long song basically, you know. I have all different parts, that’s how I can’t pick, you know. Like yesterday I’m like, I was listening to one of the songs. And I’m like: “Hmm, maybe this is my favourite now!” Tomorrow it will be something different. So… WELL, YOU’RE DEFINITELY NOT PEEKING AT RADIO AIRPLAY WITH SONGS LIKE THAT. RADIO STATIONS WOULD WANT SONGS NOT LONGER THAN FOUR MINUTES THIRTY… Rob: We didn’t depend on that at all or not looking to depend on that. We knew there is no instant radio singles on here. And that’s not gonna bother us. You know, a band like us, if any radio or video success comes into play, it’s so minimal that, you know, it doesn’t really have as great of an impact on what we’re trying to do as the impact of that we did, which is being as real to ourselves as possible and writing the songs completely the way we wanted to write them. And not having to worry about a specific format for this type of outlet such as video or radio. DO YOU HAVE ANY TOURING PLANS AFTER THE ALBUM COMES OUT? GOING ON THE ROAD FOR ANOTHER SOLID TWO YEARS? Rob: We’ve got a month of touring already booked. And we do… right now we do the Download and three London shows around the London area and the Fields of Rock-festival. And then we go right home and do the Sounds of the Underground-tour in the States, which is like a mini like Ozzfest type of thing, outdoor-festival type of thing with a bunch of great bands. And then straight after that we’re going to do our own headlining-run in the states, and then after that we’re planning on some European stuff, some British stuff. All over the place, you know.

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