How is The Chariot doing these days?
Doing very well. Busy busy busy, but that is a good thing.
Can you tell me how you spend most of the time between 'Long Live' and 'One Wing'?
Touring. We only had about two months off last year. This year is very similar.
I'm playing the new record a lot lately! I really dig the eclecticism on 'One Wing', for some reason it reminded me of the last Coalesce album, a band I am a huge fan of. It seems to me you have a certain similar freedom in your approach to metallic hardcore, would you agree?
I LOVE Coalesce!!! I am more familiar with their older stuff but it was a huge influence on me starting out.
The record has got some very different elements on it than previous records! Was the writing and recording different as well, and in what way?
Our writing process is always different. We have yet to ever do it the same way twice. This album was written mainly on the road which we have never done before. It was great though because it definitely gave it a different vibe. Once we were in the studio it was similar in the fact that we are very impulsive and we will just change an entire song on a mere suggestion that it "can be better" but as a band we thrive on spontaneity both live and in the recording. I think it helps to keep everything fresh for us.
Could you elaborate a little bit on some of the striking choices made on the record? For instance, the “busy bee” song, where does that originate from, and who sings it?
Those lyrics are from our second album 'The Fiancee...'. On all of our albums we have homages to our previous works, we always think it is funny. The style we wanted to do the song in comes from influences like Rolling Stones, 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' and several other classic rock songs that have intros with a completely different feel than the song following it.
On the same song we hear some country guitars, a whip(?) and a trumpet! Where did you get that idea and who helped you realize it?
I was watching a Ramones live DVD and the intro that played before they walked out on stage was an Ennio Morricone song. I have loved Ennio Morricone and Francesco De Masi for a long time and I just wondered if a band like us could actually pull something like that off in one of our songs. It was an idea we had that we knew MIGHT not actually work but we wanted to at least travel down that road. At the end of the day it might be one of my favorite songs we have ever written.
The piano is used more than once, is that a studio-only element or are you able to take that with you at live shows as well?
We haven't decided that yet. We are going to try and figure out a way to tour with several of these items that are found on 'One Wing'. But we shall see.
On 'Cheek' you used the famous speech by Charlie Chaplin from “The Great Dictator”. I found myself realizing how real it still is! Can you tell me what inspired you to use it?
That is exactly the point!! It was written so long ago and yet some of the truths he speaks of are even more important today. It is so amazing to me to have something so timeless we just had to show it off. What a piece of art Charlie Chaplin is. The cool story about this speech for us is that Josephine Chaplin actually heard our song read our lyrics and approved it. That is pretty exciting for someone as nostalgic as me.
The songtitles on 'One Wing' are single words part of a poem, right? Is there any connection to the lyrics and the titles, or are they completely separated? Is the message in the poem personal or more universal?
No connection from song to title. I rarely ever have that connection though on any album. I find that my lyrics can speak for themselves in most cases so might as well give song titles that can speak for themselves as well. The poem I wrote is just stating a fact that we should revel in the deeper things of life and art and yet never loose the ability to have fun and keep light hearted as well. It is something that really speaks to me as an individual and us as The Chariot and hopefully others can relate as well.
Sorry to bring it up once again, but I have a couple of questions about your beliefs. You are known as an openly Christian band, are you happy with that image? I mean, there are some pretty negative connotations with that as well, and some of the audience seems pretty close-minded while you as a band don't come across that way. Do you feel things like that are beyond your control?
Being "known as an openly Christian band" is only because of the media. We have never given ourselves that title or anything. I, myself, am unashamedly a Christian but those beliefs have never been pushed on anyone else nor have I ever titled this band as such. The only reason my beliefs ever come up is because of journalists (like yourself) asking the question. I would never deny my beliefs and therefore I always give an answer but I also would never assume that just because I have experienced things in my life that point to a God that loves us, that means EVERYONE has experienced the same things. We are all so different and come from such different backgrounds/cultures, how could I know where someone else is in their "journey" and therefore how could I force what I believe to be true on anyone else. I have NOT always believed what I do now.... So I can relate to the frustration of having someone trying to shove their beliefs on you. I would never do that. Obviously, my beliefs do find themselves in my lyrics but that is because I write based on my own life. As with any artist, what is on the inside will come out in your work. It is inevitable.
Do you understand kids that just listen to Christian bands and for example turn their backs on support acts because they are not (true story at one of your shows in Holland)? I mean, I bet the same thing happens a lot the other way around as well as you sure have experienced first handed as well. Could you place behaviour like that in perspective?
I have never actually known for that to happen. I am not aware of the example you just gave so I can't really comment on that but hopefully people just listen to music they think is good. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that. I mean, this mentality doesn't work with any other profession. "I am only going to get my teeth cleaned by a dentist that believes in everything that I believe in." "I am only shopping at the grocery store that every employee believes the same things as me." I think we can see how silly that sounds when we put it on anything else. I don't see why music is any different.
So when will you be back in Europe (and The Netherlands!) and who will you bring with you?
Hopefully early 2013 and we will probably be supporting a tour so as of now I don't know who we would be with.
If you guys had to pick one band you would all agree on being an influence, which would it be and why?
That is impossible to answer. All of us come from such different places musically. I know the Beatles of course influenced every band ever (whether they know it or not haha) but as far as real bands with real humans, I couldn't say.
What would your ideal tour look like, who would be on it and where would you go?
It would probably be a tour with NO BANDS just individuals from certain bands and we would tour the earth in a bus together and just hang out at FREE shows, but they wouldn't be shows with us playing. They would just be all of us hanging out maybe with a juke box playing in the back ground some sweet classic rock jams that I picked. That would be my ideal tour!
Thanks a lot for your time, and hopefully until a next live show over here!