CHIMAIRA – I just woke up and I did this entire interview in my underwear.
«Dear true Heavy Metal warriors of CHIMAIRA. I’m writing for the webzine Eternal Terror, and here is the interview slot. Feel free to revel in this interview, one answer is as good as any other, anyway, it’s all about yourselves and the correct answer is for CHIMAIRA to decide.» Denne beskjeden mottok CHIMAIRA en dag og i dette intervjuet avkler en veltalende Chris Spicuzza bokstavelig talt myten om CHIMAIRA.
ET: Hi there CHIMAIRA! How are you guys doin’?
Chris Spicuzza: Better than ever! We’re getting excited about this year.
ET: Above all, congratulations with your new release titled «Resurrection».
Chris Spicuzza: Thank you. It’s been an absolute pleasure thus far.
ET: How long were you in studio?
Chris Spicuzza: We spent 5 months writing and 1 month of tracking.
ET: So, what are you doin’ now?
Chris Spicuzza: Relaxing at home. I don’t live in Ohio with the rest of the band. I’m flying back in a few days to begin rehearsals for the Killswitch Engage tour. I’m pretty excited to leave the domesticated lifestyle for a change.
ET: My first impression of the album is that it’s very diverse music, yet very consistant in its compositions. What was the intension, to make it sound difficult to approach or to make an album that is held open to a larger outfit of listeners?
Chris Spicuzza: We had no pressure what so ever to write this album. We decided create something we enjoyed listening to without preplanning. I’m still not sure if it’s open to more listeners. I guess we’ll see. What you hear is just a result of us being together for so many years. We are gelling nicely.
ET: The «magnetic lines of forces» in your music is very powerfull. What was it like to work with the music to the album in the studio sessions? What sort of power did it entail?
Chris Spicuzza: Through out the entire process we were excited. We’d get stoked just playing back riffs that were just tracked. I remember times where I felt goose bumps listening to parts of the album when they were completed. To be honest the final product is better than I thought it’d be.
ET: It’s difficult to categorize you to a particular genre due to many influences that can be heard in your music. What kinds of music do you listen to and did you listen to specially while working on the song material to «Resurrection»?
Chris Spicuzza: I try to avoid metal when writing an album. After tracking I would put something soothing on like Frank Sinatra. It would cleanse my ears after hearing 10 hours of brutal riffs. Besides that I was always listening to NIN or the new Deftones. I’m sure that disappoints the metal heads!
ET: Is the archaic tones, aka Arabic fluid, in your music something you’re into, as in rehearsed or is it something you spontaneously broke out to and you just went of it, you know?
Chris Spicuzza: I’m not sure where Rob gets that riff style from. When I first heard the music for Six I instantly felt that vibe. I wanted to bring it to a new level. I researched and found samples with Middle Eastern style singing and instrument playing. It was difficult to make it fit but I think it brings that song to another level.
ET: I find the lyrics sort of gloomy and dark with psychological issues expressed through power and anger, it’s almost a rageous voice. Do you believe that the lyrics serve a particular function? Is there a particular reason to the topics?
Chris Spicuzza: Lyrics usually aren’t my thing. Most of the time I don’t relate because I grew up differently. I’m not really sure what possessed Mark to write such angry, hateful lyrics. He’s usually in a good mood. It’s kind of scary to think that’s going on in his head!
ET: I know you get asked this a lot, but I think it’s a compulsory question to ask, and here it goes. How do you go about deciding who write the words and who write the notes to which song, and do you ever disagree? What comes first, the lyrics or the music?
Chris Spicuzza: The music always comes first. On this album Mark, Rob, and Matt all bought Pro Tools rigs and wrote their own songs. We had a ton to choose from. Some of those songs were kept and slightly altered. Some were mashed together with other songs. A few songs were even written spontaneously at practice. Mark handles all the lyrical duties.
ET: I would like to compare your music to Heavy Metal acts such as THE HAUNTED and ARCH ENEMY, yet I don’t know if you’re familiar with the bands, and I mean it as a complement. Do you consider your works of art as something unique – so to speak – and therefore incomparable to other Heavy Metal acts? Why or why not?
Chris Spicuzza: You can probably compare parts of our music to other bands but as a whole I don’t think it’s possible. You can maybe play a riff of Chimaira and say “That part sounds like Cannibal Corpse” but if you play our albums back to back that don’t sound anything alike. I think we keep a good variety in what we do and that is why we sound like Chimaira.
ET: «Resurrection» surely revelled in my veins the first time I heard it, and it’s «never to back down». You know what I mean? It’s as a rare gift to receive. Do you feel that CHIMAIRA is well earning more respect in the Heavy Metal community due to hard work and plenty of stamina during the years of existent career? If so, how?
Chris Spicuzza: I still don’t think we get much respect. It’s getting better over the years. Our first album put a bad taste in a lot of mouths and it’s been a recovery process since. That was a completely different band then with songs that were two years old going into the studio. That was that moment. This is us now 7 years later of touring and getting comfortable with each other.
ET: What are the factors that you like most being a member of CHIMAIRA? The relationship between the Heavy Metal scene and the society as a whole, for example the record label Nuclear Blast, fans, families, friends? The studio sessions? To have fun being a musician?
Chris Spicuzza: It’s everything. I love the guys. We have this special bond that’s irreplaceable. I’ve met some great people over the years to in and out of the industry. There are many people that started off as fans and I can now consider great friends. Things are still new with the fresh record labels. So far everything is great!
ET: Do you encounter a lot of headbangers at your shows? Why or why not?
Chris Spicuzza: I’m always walking around. People never notice me so it’s just like being part of the crowd. I’m a huge fan of people watching. If someone does notice me I will definitely take the time to talk to them.
ET: What is your opinion on work and life from the point of view as a musician in CHIMAIRA?
Chris Spicuzza: It takes a lot to get where we are. It’s a great time and we love what we do but it’s not always easy. I definitely consider it work. Being in a band is 95% waiting. Waiting for the bus to stop, waiting for an airplane, waiting to shower, waiting to get on stage, it goes on forever. It’s a very unclean lifestyle. You share a rolling box with 12-15 other guys. Most of them are usually complete slobs. Then some get sick and the next thing you know you’re in the hospital trying to get meds. Many people have this misconception of the band life being this massive party 24/7. I’ll admit it’s a blast at times, but at least for Chimaira, it’s not the Motley Crue lifestyle.
ET: What is your perception of the current political battles over «violent» entertainment forms or films, music, games etc., which are believed to promote violent behaviour?
Chris Spicuzza: All of that is a waste of time to even worry about. The blame should be with the parents for doing such a shitty job.
ET: Do you consider your music to promote violent behaviour. Why or why not?
Chris Spicuzza: We don’t want people to hurt each other but it tends to happen at our concerts. People at metal shows love to mosh and there’s no stopping it. I can’t lie, I love watching dudes throw each other around. I do feel bad when I see some kid holding a broken leg. There’s a line that needs to be drawn with how far they push it.
ET: Please add any additional comments, impressions or thoughts you might have.
Chris Spicuzza: I just woke up and I did this entire interview in my underwear.