Q&A: Chiodos

Categories: Interviews
Known for its unique fusion of emo, classic rock, hardcore and progressive metal, Chiodos inhabit a realm all its own. Hailing from the small town of Davison, Mich., the sextet’s recently released sophomore effort, Bone Palace Ballet, debuted at No. 5 on Billboard’s Top 200. Chiodos’ meteoric rise is especially noteworthy as the band is not supported by a major label. Fronted by high-pitched singer Craig Owens, the band has shared the stage with the likes of Coheed and Cambria, Incubus and Linkin Park, all while honing its epic brand of post hardcore. Keyboardist Bradley Bell took some time from preparing for Chiodos’ upcoming tour to discuss the band’s distinctive vision. (Plus, we've got the band's new single at the end of this item. Scroll to check it out.)

Michigan has had quite a history of producing bands that stick out from the crowd, such as The Stooges and the MC5. Is there something in the water?

I think it’s the Midwest angst that comes out of all of us due to the extremely depressing weather. We are all from a suburb of Flint, and the area has a history of depression.

Does having six guys in the band ever create problems with personal space?

Sometimes that’s the fun part about it, working with the situation you have and making the most of it. I think when we are closer together, it gets more intense that way and we have a lot more energy for some reason. It’s much better than being dispersed across a huge stage where there is no communication.

Songs like “Bulls Make Money, Bears Make Money, Pigs Get Slaughtered” are more than a mouthful. Why are the titles so lengthy?

There’s no good reason for it other than to mix things up and add a little variety in the redundant genre that we are in. Sometimes, it’s just random things that we say and then we go, “there’s a song title.”

You’ve spoken before about the band being nervous making this sophomore record. Why do you think that is?

With a little bit of success comes the worry about other people’s opinions for some reason. It’s just human nature, I think. It was hard making this new record because we knew people who were saying they wanted this from us and they wanted this from us. We decided that the only way we were going to be able to write this record was to do it the way we wanted. Coming to terms with that was difficult. It all turned out the best way possible.

The title “Bone Palace Ballet” comes from a book of poems by Charles Bukowski. Do you think many of your fans have read Bukowski?

That is a reason why we did it. Bukowski is a very underrated and overlooked author. We thought it was a good opportunity to give another chance for people who listen to our music and who are open-minded to check out someone we admire.

You are quoted as saying that fans get some things from the music of Chiodos that they can’t get from other bands. What exactly?

We create a personality through our lyrics, music and live show. So many people just throw words together to name a category of music. I think we let the music speak for itself. I know we are not copying anyone else. I like to think that we are doing something different. Noting is choreographed. We just go up there and try to present as much energy as possible. Fortunately, we’ve never broken any bones.

The band seems very proud of the fact that you are not on a major label and that most of your success has come by word-of-mouth. How do you think you’ve reached such a sizable fan base so quickly?

I’m not gonna lie, because we are all big supporters of Internet promotion. It’s helped us out drastically -- to the point that we don’t think we need major label support to be successful. MySpace and PureVolume have done a lot for us.

Chiodos take the stage tonight at the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth. The show kicks off at 6:30 p.m. -- Darryl Smyers

For one week only: Give a listen to Chiodos' new single "Lexington."


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