Chimaira will be releasing their new record, “Crown Of Phantoms,” on July 30th via eOne Music! They’ve already released the track “All That’s Left Is Blood,”, the “No Mercy” video and they also announced their new headlining tour in support of the album! So the past few weeks has been Chimaira overload and I fucking love it! The new album is INCREDIBLE!
Yesterday I got to speak with front man, Mark Hunter, on the new record, the latest lineup, future plans, and much more! Enjoy the chat below and pre-order “Crown Of Phantoms” here! You won’t be disappointed! Chimaira is back and more powerful than ever!
Metal Mark- First off Mark, congratulations on the new album! It’s just awesome!
Mark Hunter- Thanks so much man. Glad you’re feeling it. We are super proud of it!
MH- I think nervous might be a better word for how I feel (laughs). Nah, I’m beyond excited to get this out to everybody. I’m super confident in each song, each riff, each lyric, the new lineup, everything right now man. It has taken a long time to get here, like you said, but it was definitely worth it to get the amazing product that we did at the end of the day.
MM- We haven’t spoken in a while, so I’d like to bring up the successful Indiegogo campaign you guys put together and the amazing response from your fans. Obviously, your fan base is there, but with all the lineup changes, how blown away were you at the response? I mean, the goal was $30,000 and you ended up with over $60,000!
MH- Absolutely blown away man! In the beginning, we came up with $30,000 because we thought it was reasonable, and it would allow us to get what we needed to get done. It was pretty crazy though, because the first day we hit over $10,000 and Indiegogo called us up and basically said that we were going to crush our goal (laughs). It’s going to help out more than people know though. When the new lineup came together, our bank account was at zero, so this is going to help tremendously in supporting this album. From helping set up future tours to everything else, it’s so huge for us and we can’t thank the fans enough.
MM- Very cool. Well I must say, from your Twitter posts to previous interviews, this lineup has really seemed to give you a new love and appreciation for music and life itself? Would you agree with that?
MH- Definitely. You can worry about the music industry issues and/or world issues, but there was one moment when we all realized what was really important. No matter what, our job is to make music. With five guys around me that feel the same way about it, that’s rare, and it gives us the luxury to concentrate more on the art. Obviously, we are not new to the industry, and everything isn’t perfect, but we are all focusing on the right things now and it’s pretty cool to be around. Yes, I’m in a great place right now, but more importantly for the band, we are all on the same page and just ready to bring our music to the people.
MM- Well that had to make the whole writing and recording process a lot easier for you then right?
MH- I don’t want to say it was a breeze, but it was definitely a lot of fun. Everyone in the band are true professionals and ridiculously talented, so the record really came together with ease for us. Our days were usually twelve to fifteen hours long, but 98% of that time was pure business for all of us. It was a grind, but truly a good time as well. We never stopped laughing and having fun, so that made the whole process go by quicker also ya know. It was good stuff man.
MM- One thing about this album is that, from start to finish, it flows extremely well. It has peaks and valleys in the right places, and I think that’s a lost art for some bands these days. How much importance was put on that for you this time around?
MH- You nailed it on the head man. I’ve been known to obsess over the track listing and it was no different this time around. From the beginning, I’ve tried to model every album after “The Downward Spiral” by Nine Inch Nails. In my opinion, I think that’s the most perfectly put together album track wise. I agree it’s more of an old school thing to concentrate so much on that factor, but I think it’s extremely important. This particular album, I wouldn’t say we obsessed over it. We knew “The Machine” would open the record and “Love Soaked Death” would end it. Plus we knew that the title track and “The Transmigration” would be in the middle. After that we would play around with the rest of the tracks and how they fit together. We had a good thirty or forty minute ride from the studio, so it allowed us enough time to fully critique the album late at night and early in the morning. Most fans have no idea how time consuming it can be, and they’ll just hit shuffle (laughs). I mean people are gonna do what they are gonna do, but a lot goes into the track listing, and thank you, because this record really flows well and I’m glad others hear that too.
MM- The music obviously rules on this record, but I think the album also features some of the best lyrics that you’ve ever written. Was that because of your new found inspiration? Was there more importance put on that than on any other record before?
MH- I appreciate that. I definitely took a long time writing lyrics for this album. I also approached it with a caution in a way too. I really started doing that around the self-titled record. I really looked deeper into the content of my lyrics, and with the last album, “The Age Of Hell,” I really felt like I was able to get in a place of true comfort with each word and how they were all put together in each track. I was able to express myself, but also send a global message, so fans all over the world can make their own interpretation of my words. There’s nothing better than seeing people connect with words you’ve written for a certain song. It’s the best feeling in the world.
MM- You’ve mentioned quite a few of the tracks so far, but is there a certain song that means more to you than others, or one you are just dying to play live?
MH- I really enjoy “Wrapped In Violence” a lot right now. That song is just gonna be the song to play live man. It’s disgustingly heavy and so much fun to play. I think if you asked the band, they would agree with me too. Lyrically, the opening track would be my favorite because it sets up the album well. In terms of the best all around song, I would say the title track. It has the appeal that could go to a fan who enjoys the heavy and melodic parts of our band. It would also be the best introduction to our sound for those that may not have heard us yet. I don’t know man. I’m so proud of every song (laughs).
MM- I agree. Each song definitely has their own separate impact on the record as a whole. As for the upcoming headlining tour, how much of the new stuff can fans expect? Are you going to play it in it’s entirety?
MH- Hell no (laughs). That’s another part that is more difficult than fans think too. The fucking set list (laughs). We are obviously most excited to play the new stuff, because it’s the stuff that the new lineup wrote together, but we understand the history of the band as well. We know some people may not want to be bombarded with only new stuff, so we’ll throw in some of the fan favorites from the past as well. I think we’re aiming for a quarter of the set dedicated to new stuff, and the rest older material, but that could always change. It’s just about the response from fans, so we’ll see once we are on the road.
MM- You’re legendary for touring in support of other bands, so I was extremely excited to see a headlining run coming up for you guys. Do you see more of those in the future?
MH- I think it’s going to be a mixture of both. I think the band is in a position to strongly support any band out there, but we also have the material to go out and headline too. We just want to bring our music to as many people as possible, so we’ll do what’s best for us when it comes up ya know. I do think it’s imperative for us to headline more though, so there will be more of that I hope.
MM- Well obviously being on the road can get routine at some points, but with Sean Z in the band, that can’t be a major problem. Is he still as entertaining as ever?
MH- He definitely is the “class clown” of the band (laughs). When we get together, it’s just bad news. We have the exact same sense of humor, so some nights are just hysterical. I think the other guys enjoy it a lot too. They will be trying to go to sleep at three or four in the morning, and we are just shooting jokes at each other, and they can’t stop laughing either. It’s just always a good time. It’s great to go to bed laughing and smiling, especially when you’re in a confined space with other people for so long (laughs).
MM- Is the hip hop I remember still blasting in the bus? If so, any new favorites?
MH- Yea man our taste on the bus is interesting to say the least (laughs). If it’s about ten minutes before the show, you’re probably going to be hearing Rick Ross or 2 Chainz blasting through the speakers. It’s always hip hop. At night, it can be anything, including weird electronic shit. It gets really uh…spacey when that happens, so the music on the bus is definitely not what people would expect. It’s all good though. Music is music.
MM- Just from speaking with you today, it sounds like you’re having more fun than ever and that’s just awesome. For the last question, from the beginning of the band to the major tours to the lineup changes, and to be where you are now. If you can, describe your whole experience in Chimaira in one word.
MM- Fair enough (laughs). Elaborate on that if you can.
MH- Just metal man. From all the tours to the lineup changes, and everything we’ve been through, to make it to where we are now, that’s fucking metal.