Interview: Chelsea Grin
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:40:24
"We didn't want it to sound like every other metal record," declares Chelsea Grin's Alex Koehler of the band's latest opus, Ashes To Ashes. "We wanted it to stick out."
It certainly does. Chelsea Grin wove in just the right amount of melody and expansive sonic flourishes to widen their patented assault organically. As a result, Ashes To Ashes remains as vicious as it is vital, offering a different side of the group, while perfecting the style fans have come to know and love. It's the most beautiful brutality you'll experience this year...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Alex Koehler of Chelsea Grin talks Ashes To Ashes and so much more.
Did you approach the album with one vibe in mind?
There's no real specific theme to it. We wanted to bring a lot of different elements to the songs and make each track on the record have its own appeal rather than having it all be the same aggressively heavy breakdown song the whole time. There are melodic elements to it and things like that. We wanted to create more of a work of art than a themed album.
What inspired you to take that path?
A lot of different genres influence our music. We don't just listen to metal. We listen to a lot of other things as well. We wanted to bring that feeling into metal music and play around with other genres and experiment. We listen to anything from Paramore to Slipknot to Lana Del Rey. We wanted to write a metal record that had the pop structure with choruses, while still keeping it metal.
What's the story behind "Dust To Dust"?
Lyrically, on this album, I wanted to base everything around real life instances like drug abuse, alcoholism, depression, and being bullied at school. We wanted to write a record listeners could really relate to. "Dust To Dust" is the last one on the album that says, "After all of this stuff I've gone through, I won't be beaten or broken. This is it. We won't give up".
Where did "Undying" come from?
That has more Edgar Allan Poe-inspired lyrics. I've always been a fan of his real dark stuff. "Undying" is the only track on the record that gets back into the My Damnation-style of lyrics. It's one of those songs I go really dark on. It's the darkest point of your life. "Dust To Dust" is coming out of that darkness.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs, lyrically?
Yeah, for sure! Our fans had a huge influence on me writing the way I did on this record because I meet so many different people at these shows and hear so many stories. A lot of people look up to me. I wanted to be able to return the favor and give them something that can help them out in their lives or lift them out of the swamp, depression, or whatever they're going through. I wanted to let them know they're not the only ones out there feeling that way.
What heavy bands do you come back to?
When it comes to metal, we've always been influenced by The Black Dahlia Murder. That's a huge one. Also, there's Through the Eyes of the Dead. We like the darker, aggressive heavy metal bands.
If you were to compare your new album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
I think it'd be a really epic psychological thriller [Laughs]. It could be anything from Se7en to The Sixth Sense or Signs.
Have you heard Ashes To Ashes? What's your favorite Chelsea Grin song?