Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chaos Inception Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
Hi. First off, thanks for taking an interest in our work and granting this interview. These days we are excited to work with Lavadome on the release of The Abrogation. It's great to have someone to handle promotion, artwork, inlays and such at the level of Jan Fastner. He's the best. This allows us to focus only on our music when it comes to the band. We are currently rehearsing for live shows as well as writing new material for a future album.

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from the previous one?
Collision with Oblivion was a fine first album for us. Often the first album will have the best riffs because it is the result of a lifetime of riffing. So in hindsight, the album has good riffs, though perhaps some mistakes were made in the arrangements, lyrics, solos, and overall sound. I made a few discoveries myself prior to recording The Abrogation: First, most albums have a good song for an introduction and a second good one, then some filler, and where side B would be on a cassette there is another good one, then the rest is crap. Of course, these are usually the fastest songs, and that's what we're into. So I thought, why not write every song as if it could be an album opener. With one exception, I think we acheived that. So personally, I don't feel the need to skip tracks on this CD.
Another thing I figured out, was the importance of improvization in the studio. Every note on Collision was planned and written on paper before recording. This album had a few spots in solos left open for improv. I realized that this is how some of the most effective death metal solos are written, like it or not. The solos are like an orgasm - I think every good solo in metal or rock is orgasmic in some sense. And it requires you to let go of your body. When I hear a solo I like it feels like I am floating on the notes and it brings tears to my eyes. I don't know what the deal is with that - it's uncontrollable. I guess that's why I play music - it is the great mystery.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new release?
The lyrics are intended to be an evocation of something in the listener. I like to keep it vague and general, as you can see. Let's say you are listening to an old Krisiun album, and trying to decipher the lyrics. It may be a product of English as their second language but there are not a lot of fully completed thoughts or sense to what is going on. But whatever it is, it is some heavy shit. It's armageddon. So interpretation be damned, we want to recreate such feeling. We touch on the usual themes for our genre - war, armageddon, blood lust, and demonic possession. I tend to write a lot about demonic possession because whether you're religious or not, someday you will know someone who utterly changes before your eyes, and becomes a monster, and you might have no way to come to terms with it other than by the 'myth' of demonic possession. It may be a chemical change in the brain, or a neuron misfiring, but it is beyond our control and understanding. The thing you call "I" is utterly fragile, and could vanish at any moment. What is it that usurps it then? That is what Becoming Adversary is about off the first album. I wrote that after I read about those D.C. Snipers a few years back.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
This takes a little band history to explain. When I first moved to Alabama I did so to join Temple of Blood. Jim Mullis and I were friends from earlier on and I thought it was time to do a serious band. Anyways, we always played with another local band called Convergence from Within. That band was David Teal, Wally Schulte, Matt Odom, and Gary White. That is my favorite live band ever. This was the Chaos I wanted to create. I wanted to finance a live recording from them at one point, because the label mixed their full length CD and ruined it. Their performances could cause me to get into that trance-like state, and David Teal was a commanding frontman. But the blast beat was the key to it all, so I pestered Gary for years either to let me join them or form a new project. Finally I got a chance by joining Fleshtized. I wasn't happy with Fleshtized because it had a legacy all it's own, and it was a separate thing from Convergence from Within. I wasn't writing from the heart there so we dissolved that and formed Chaos Inception. I think the band name came from Gary and Cam. Gary had a band called Chaos Symphony and that didn't pan out, so he wanted to keep the Chaos part. I believe Cam added Inception. Honestly, I didn't put much thought into it because I figured as long as it sounds like a death metal band name it would be fine. No band is made or broken based on the name, except maybe for Hawaii.  

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
Our best shows have been right here in Huntsville, probably when we've played with bands like Origin, Diabolic, Epoch of Unlight and Abominant. We always have a good time playing, but we like to challenge ourselves with the task of opening for a pro band like Origin, and seeing that we don't get our asses completely blown off the stage. We are great friends with those guys, but with all bands we play with, there is an element of competition in that sense. We don't play live to a click, as we do in the studio, so all our live shows are faster and more chaotic. I'd say our stage performance is typical, in that we have 3 long haired guys and one shaved head guy grimacing and headbanging (by the way, those grimaces are caused by pain in the muscles from playing like this). We don't have gimmicks or anything like costumes or fake blood. I'm not strongly against that, but it's just not necessary. That authenticity is the legacy of thrash and crossover - no image, and no gimmicks, besides the jeans, shirt, and long hair. 
I try to hear the band in a new way at the shows, and I usually close my eyes as much as possible to hear the tone and overall sound. Sometimes, a gig will be my farewell show to an amp or a guitar that let's me down that night. I've probably been through 15 seven string guitars, and 20 amps in this band (thanks also to Ebay).
My favorite comment after a live show was a guy who came up and said he felt like he had just been washed in pure evil and filth. Thanks dude! Right on.

6. Do you have any touring plans for the new release?
We would like to support Chaos Inception as much as possible, however, it is just not the right time to do an extended tour. As I mentioned, the band is not our livelihood, and we aren't kids anymore. Self-promoted, underground blasting death metal US tours are a lot of fun, but they can't pay the bills. In fact, I think I'll go ahead and announce this: the next gig I play where I load up my gear at 6, get paid $5, have a bar tab of $40, load my gear back at 3 am, and some douche bag at the show says, "Hey brah, can I get one of those shirts or CDs? All I gots is one dollar though, yo." I'm punching that mutherfucker straight in the face.
I am currently playing in Monstrosity, and I have touring obligations with them. That is on such a level that it is legit, and I take off whatever time from my day job that I can for that. The reality is, if I took any more time from that off my day job I'd lose it. So, no extended tours, but we are available to do festivals and one-off shows.

7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by brutal death metal fans?
When we have found reviews for the first CD they have been positive. When anyone writes to our Facebook page and says, "Holy shit! Where have you guys been hiding?" that is positive. We sometimes wonder if anyone knows about our first album. But this has changed a lot since we hooked up with Lavadome. I think better days are ahead. Also, here's a thought on the current situation for underground death metal fans: There are nearly 10 billion human beings on earth. There is the internet to connect with any one of them, cheap. Now how is it that a band like Unleashed could've sold thousands of copies of their demo tape back in the day, and most underground bands now can't move 500 copies of their CDs. I can't figure that one out. You read any of these histories of death metal, and you'll see bands like Asphyx selling thousands of demos out of their mom's basement. Not that they got rich, or were underserving, but what is wrong with things when the standard for a new metal band is 1000 CDs and you'll still have stock for years? Hopefully the fans realize that if you buy a CD or shirt from Chaos Inception, you are not making us rich, but are merely adding a donation to our coffers, that probably doesn't cover .01% of our expenses. We do it regardless of sales, but hopefully if someone is downloading our CD they'll give this a thought. There is a breaking point where we wouldn't be able to keep it going.
8. What is going on with the other band projects these days?
I'm currently writing and rehearsing with Monstrosity for an upcoming album and tour. Chris is writing for a new project of his, and there have been rumors of another Blood Stained Dusk tour. Cam also plays guitar and he's been writing for a project of his that he might undertake. We have all done things on and off with other local metal musicians because there aren't many musicians in the area to have a full band without a little bit of incestuousness. Any time I play with another band, I make sure it is different from what I'd do in Chaos Inception. Chaos Inception flows naturally from me, where other projects require a different approach, one that doesn't stray from the intentions of the leaders of those projects. 

9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
The core of the band is my riffs, and Gary's blast beat. My job is to write what I want to hear over a blast beat, and somehow make it different from what's come before.  It doesn't have to be totally different - we're not Opeth or other such posers who just steal from other genres and call it unique metal. Bullshit. And we don't write for the critics. I imagine a listener, such as myself in my teenage years, and write what would empower that person to take over the world. But anyways, the songs always start with Gary and I, in a windowless metal building with no air conditioning, hammering the songs out. Gary is a bastard - and I say this lovingly - and he doesn't let any limp-dick riffs fly. He's ruthless. If I try to do a riff where I just hold out chords, he puts a foot in my ass.  So once we have it, we introduce it to Cam and Chris and they contribute. A lot of times the bass is locked in with the guitar but Cam always adds runs or other cool things to the songs. He brings in his own tunes as well. The same is true for Chris. There's always something you haven't thought of, or a new way of hearing something, and I like when each band member contributes rather than one person writing the parts for all instruments, though sometimes that is necessary. So back to the original question, future releases I think will become more intense and also more trance-inducing. I can listen to Von, or Krisiun, or Angel Corpse and kind of zone out, where the world starts spinning and I just drift away. I've always thought it was funny how most people listened to Pink Floyd for this effect, yet I had to listen to Angel Corpse! It's just soothing to me. So hopefully, future releases will explore this trance that can be induced by a distorted guitar picked as fast as possible, along with a blast beat. There is something unique there. I would also like to do an album without any pauses between tracks, using some sort of interludes - I guess like Blessed are the Sick, or one of it's better 'rip-offs', Testimony of the Ancients. I think pauses in between songs can take you out of the music, and you begin to imagine the band members in the studio, wiping the sweat off their brow between takes or something. I don't want an image of us wearing shorts and drinking coffee in the studio come to mind when someone listens to our music. This will take some more thought, because I don't want acoustic guitar interludes or any Lord of the Rings style medieval lute music on a Chaos Inception CD.

10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
The core for our death metal sound is the evil death metal genre. This genre consists of bands like Possessed, Massacra, Morbid Angel, Krisiun, Vader, Sarcofago, and more, and the goal is to put the sound of hell in this world with guitars, drums, and vocals. Morbid Angel is the most important band to play this style. Morbid Angel also writes good music, in fact, the best and most listenable songs ever written by a death metal band, in my opinion. I have a theory. To me there are about 3 styles of high speed, quality death metal: Morbid Angel, Death, Suffocation. They are the best at what they do, and in the case of Suffocation, they are the only band that plays in their style that is actually musical! When I say musical I mean it has progressions that resolve enharmonically. A lot of death metal is just a series of riffs without regard for anything, and I suppose there is a time and a place for that as well. But in my view, there is no Death Metal - there is Morbid Angel, Suffocation, and Death. So everyone is doing one of those bands, at the surface. Someone accused me of ripping off the Morbid Angel song off Covenant, "Pain Divine" for the riff in "Black Vapor of Corruption Rise". The first obvious difference - there are 4 different chords in the riff for Pain Divine that repeat in a fairly simple pattern; there are about 10 different chords in the riff for Black Vapor. Almost every note in a 12 tone scale is there. It changes as well. Not to say that the more notes a riff has, the better it is. But it has is the same 1-2-3, 1-2-3 pulse that is supposedly a Morbid Angel-ism. It's one thing to do a 1-2-3, 1-2-3 pulse on a blast beat and 'rip-off' Morbid Angel, and quite another to blatantly steal a riff and change one note or something. There's an Angel Corpse sounding riff on "Scald Command" with one obvious difference - it's in 7/8 time, and it covers the entire fretboard. I don't know why everyone always wants to put something in a category, it's like a contest to see who can be first to point out the influence. I for one a'm glad they do when it's accurate - I'll check out almost any new band that is said to sound like Morbid Angel. That's how I discovered Krisiun and Angel Corpse when they released their debut albums.
We check out new bands that get a lot of hype but mostly we are satisfied with listening to new albums from the established bands. I always check out what's going on in the underground war and bestial black metal scene. It's a challenge to incorporate some elements for that - mainly the feeling, the feeling that would make a normal person puke - but without writing garbage music. I like obscure South American bands too, such as Abhorrence and Quieron. I can't say that I've really fallen in love with a new band in death metal though. I know Cam is into Portal, and Chris is into Decapitated and some of the more tech bands. Gary follows the drummers so he's always listening to Nile and Hate Eternal. At this point, I try to be open to outside influences (I've been listening to a lot of Sonic Youth lately), but I'm not interested in expanding our sound beyond the scope of the roots of death metal.

11. How would you describe your views on Occultism?
I'm sure every person in the band has a different take on this. When I was growing up I was into it. I also studied philosophy and history of science in college. I have come to believe that there is more benefit to studying philosophy and science than occultism. It makes for good fodder for death metal songs, and fantasy literature, but I think many people turn to something like spell casting because of their impotence in reality. This is true in my case anyways. I was a loser in high school and I thought I could have all my desires fulfilled if I pledged myself to the darkness and performed satanic rituals and spells from the Necronomicon. It didn't work out so well! Then I discovered the virtues of self-reliance, hard work, and standing up for yourself, and it has worked out much better. Music itself is a kind of spell, and to me it is more rewarding than the rest of it. Of course I don't regret those teenage years, because that's the guy who's still inside me and lets me know if my music is good.
I think someone's personal views on life after death or the meaning of life are their own business, and it's pointless to argue or disagree with them, unless they are in your face with it. I pretty much stay out of the fray, which may place me in the agnostic category, which is either an athiest of a theist, without balls. Maybe it's not the balls that are lacking as some say, but by the definition of the word it is knowledge that is lacking.

12.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Outside of music, we are into horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, which is pretty much the norm for a metalhead. I've been watching a lot of Kolchak and Twilight Zone lately. We're into sports like football, MMA, and boxing. We've been known to imbibe a high gravity brew now and again. We have families and wives or girlfriends so that's a big part of our lives. But it's mostly just music. I collect CDs and books and everything having to do with metal. Chris owns and operates a video and memoribilia store called Video Underground. We all bust ass at our day jobs to be able to afford to keep the band going, and to make it as good as possible, with the best gear, recording equipment, rehearsal facilities, and all that.
13.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thank you for the interview. This is our year - 2012 with The Abrogation on Lavadome Records. We hope the listeners will appreciate this contribution to the canon of evil death metal. Use our music to give you the strength to defeat your enemies and destroy any obstacle in your path. Onward to victory!