Interview: Matt Goddard of Chiodos
Wed, 02 Jan 2008 10:42:38
Swirling violins and gothic artwork prove strangebedfellows in the new wave of emotional rock and roll. However, when married with taste and a dry sense of humor, the results are nothing short of brilliant. That being said, Chiodos have defied genre conventions and created a catchy and orchestral emotional romp of an album in the form of Bone Palace Ballet. The album traverses a dark emotional spectrum with a hint of irony and a big dose of melody. With a big chart debut and a support slot for Linkin Park's massive arena tour this winter, Chiodos seem primed to take over the world. Bassist Matt Goddard allowed ARTISTdirect a front row seat at this ballet.
First off, the new record feels like a complete evolution from your first album.
That's what we were trying to do. It's our first record that we've done with all of the same guys. It definitely has more of a complete feel to it.
Given the album's cohesion, is there one concept throughout?
No, we just went in and started writing. When we went into it, we definitely knew we wanted to have certain kinds of songs, but there was never any tight concept.
Where does the creative process start for you guys? Is it with a piano melody or riff?
For some songs, it starts with the piano. For others, Jason or someone else in the band will be like, "Check out this riff" or "I have this part." We would get together and just jam out. Sometimes, it's a really long process, while other times, it's really short. It's really hit or miss.
Was a lot of this written in the studio or did you have most of the songs written prior to recording?
We went into the studio with a few songs done, and that's it. We had a ton of partsjust a trash heap of partsand we had to kind of nitpick and put pieces together and take stuff out. It was just a giant puzzle.
How did the incorporation of the violins come about?
The producer Casey Bates plays cello. We had talked to Casey about doing songs with violins and an orchestral feel. So he was like, "I know a guy that can do all of that." So we were sending this guy tracks in Seattle. He'd record it, and send it back to us while we were in the studio.
Was the process smooth even though you weren't in the same studio?
This dude, he's crazyhe's a musical genius. We really didn't have to tell the guy what to do. He was just good all the time. When we were doing the demos, he came out, and he would just freestyle over it. It was his first time listening to it, and he'd just go. It was really good.
You guys went in wanting that epic, symphonic feel. What inspired that?
The last record was kind of what we expected, but we knew we wanted the next one to sound as big as possiblejust huge. For the next record, I don't know what we're going to do [laughs].
Do you have a lot of classical influences as a band?
Most of us, yeah. Brad played the piano. I was in orchestra from like 5th grade on. So I've got a little collection of Mozart and Beethoven on my iTunes [laughs].
Do you play stand-up bass?
That's what I started on was stand-up bass. I never owned one. I just played the one at school. I'd love to get one soon, but they're so expensive. It's such a fun instrument.
The songs have that bass groove that hits.
That was what I wanted to do with this albumnot be all flashy, and be like, "Check me out, I'm the bass player" [laughs]. I just wanted to lay in the pocket, you know?
The song titles are hilarious. How'd you come up with those?
Every single one of those, everybody's like, "They're so stupid!" They don't understand. Each title is a little chunk of memory that we have. Name any title, and it's from some funny thing that happened.
Where'd "If I Cut My Hair Hawaii Will Sink" come from?
We were in the Upper Pensinsula. At the time, I was like 19. Being on the road when you're that young, you get a little crazy. So I had a few drinks, and at the time my hair was a little longer. Someone was like, "Matt when are you going to cut your hair?" I responded, "If I cut my hair, Hawaii will sink" [laughs]. And "Lexington (Joey Pea-Pot with a Monkey Face)" that was the name of Pat's first dog. The titles are all pretty random.
Who had "Teeth the Size of Piano Keys?"
We were talking about someone with really big teeth. It might've been me; I don't even remember it that well. That was another one that was pretty funny.
"Intensity in Ten Cities" has that neat wordplay in there.
It's clever huh? [laughs] I would say we bring that live, hopefully more than ten cities [laughs].
Where did "The Undertaker's Thirst for Revenge is Unquenchable (The Final Battle)" come from? That's genius.
[Laughs] Our old A&R guy from Equal Vision was like, "You should name a song that," and we were like, "You got it."
How'd that vibrant concept for the artwork happen?
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