Chiodos - 01.14.13
My last interview with Craig Owens was great, and certainly caused a lot of excitement, albeit for something that was never going to happen (yes, I'm talking about Isles & Glaciers, AltPress). Not too long after that, rumors started to swirl that Owens had reunited with Chiodos, and D.R.U.G.S. (Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows) was no more - absolutely couldn't believe that, I was so sure that D.R.U.G.S. would see album #2, but alas, it just wasn't meant to be. Chiodos not too soon after released a teaser video announcing the reunion, and they played a few spot dates near home.
Which brings us up to speed, as the band is currently preparing to headline the Kerrang! magazine tour in the United Kingdom with Black Veil Brides and Tonight Alive. I spoke to Craig on a Sunday afternoon, talking about the tour, new album, and more. You can follow him on Facebook, and Twitter. You can also follow Chiodos on Facebook, and Twitter.
Photo Credit: Melanie Hodgins
How're you doing, man?
Craig Owens: Good.
Last time we had talked on the D.R.U.G.S. headliner, I definitely got the feeling that the band was going to stick around a lot longer than it did. What exactly happened after that day to cause the band to split up?
It was kind of weird, to be honest. The Chiodos opportunity was something that I'd obviously wanted to do for a long time. Once we found out that was an opportunity, the plan was to play a couple of Chiodos shows and then see what happens. At first the D.R.U.G.S. guys were super cool about it and were behind me, then they just got bummed about it, which I could totally understand. Then once the video came out for the reunion shows, the next day the guys were like "Eh, we're done"; there wasn't some falling out or random thing, it was just basically they didn't want to compete or worry about my time being spent with Chiodos, I don't really know.
When was the last time you talked to those guys?
Not very recently, we don't really keep in touch. It was kind of a put-together thing in the first place, and we weren't really friends before it started. I was a friends with a couple of the guys, a couple of them I didn't even know. So it is what it is, and I've been kind of saying I was away at a really nice hotel, and now I'm back home.
Can you describe the atmosphere of the reunion shows?
Intense, a lot of anxiety from both fan and band alike, I don't think anyone knew what to expect. Everybody was waiting for something to go wrong, or maybe it was just me. It was really emotional, way more emotional than your typical show, on stage and the crowd alike. It was just beautiful, I was really excited to be on stage with those dudes.
Which song would you say you're most excited about playing again?
Probably "Two Birds Stoned At Once" (Bone Palace Ballet), and that's because of the screaming; in D.R.U.G.S there wasn't very much screaming for me, Nick [Martin] did most of it. On this song I'm screaming the verses, so that makes me really happy, I miss doing that - it has a completely different energy. Every single song is something that I love, each song is like a chapter, and they all have their specific memories, It's like I was re-living so much of my life. It was really amazing. To be surrounded with the guys in Chiodos, I felt like I didn't have to work as hard - in D.R.U.G.S. I felt like I had to work a bit harder, whereas in Chiodos I felt like everyone's on that level.
Would you say you're a happier person while in Chiodos?
I don't really know, I'd say that I'm really happy with the situation I'm in, yeah... But I mean, I wouldn't say as a person. I'm thankful to be writing with these guys again - these are guys I grew up with, people I went to high school with.
Is there a small chance the band might cover a D.R.U.G.S. song live?
No. We have a mutual respect thing going, where I don't play anything off of Illuminaudio, and they don't play anything from D.R.U.G.S..
So D.R.U.G.S. is 100% done?
No, I wouldn't say that.
What would it take for D.R.U.G.S. to come back though?
Effort by me, I guess. And that doesn't mean the guys would come back or anything.
People in the United Kingdom are really excited about the Kerrang! tour with Black Veil Brides and Tonight Alive. What is your relationship with both of these bands, and what excites you the most about this tour?
Well, we've only played with Tonight Alive once or twice on the secret shows we just did with Pierce The Veil's U.S. headliner a couple months ago, and I didn't get to really chat with them, they're a newer band in the scene. As for Black Veil, we toured with them a bunch when I was in D.R.U.G.S., and they're all really nice guys, I'm looking forward to building more of a relationship with those guys.
I actually toured with Black Veil over a year ago, and that's what I'm most excited about with this tour. The best thing is that Chiodos gets to be in front of these crowds in Europe, and I think people will realize just how fucking good we are.
You mentioned you're still currently writing for the brand new Chiodos record. How far along are you in the writing process?
It's been hard for me to say. But I've been saying we're at our second stage, not that anyone knows what that means, even the guys in the band, but in my head it makes sense. In the first stage you kind of stumble through, writing new songs, not exactly up to your capability, but you keep writing and you get in the flow...kind of like going to the gym. It just takes time and a lot of effort when you're writing songs. I think this is going to the most prepared record that Chiodos has ever done, I don't think we've ever written as many songs or had this many ideas, at least while I've been a part of the band. The ideas are through the roof, from every member.
You mentioned last time when you were writing D.R.U.G.S. songs it was more of a straight-forward, clear cut type of lyrical content compared to the metaphorical type of lyrics you've previously been known for. With this new record, will you be switching back to a metaphorical type of lyricism again? Or perhaps both?
Yeah, I think it's going to be a mixture of both. I think it's going to be blunt when I have to be, and it's definitely artsier than D.R.U.G.S. was. Lyrically it's less forward, and it's more metaphorical, but also blunt when it needs to be.
How different is the music now that Jason Hale has moved on?
I don't really know that it's that different, to be honest. It's different, but not because Jason's gone, but because we want it to be different. Jason definitely had a big part of the writing, and we've been writing for so long together and Chiodos kind of already has it's sound that you can't really sound like Chiodos, ya know? It's going to be a more mature record, I know that. I think it's going to catch a lot of people off guard, and I don't think anybody's going to expect what we're going to do. I don't think the world has really heard what these guys are capable of now, without worrying what people are wanting to hear, and focusing what kind of record they love. We're focusing on a record that we really love, and that get's lost in translation because of all the bullshit that we do for a living. I think it's going to be a mature record that nobody is going to expect.
What is Thomas Erak (The Fall of Troy)'s involvement with the band? Is he a permanent member?
No, I think we're still figuring that out still.
Is he still touring with you?
Yeah, he'll be doing the Kerrang! tour
Is he kind of hanging out in the studio while you're writing?
Some of the time, he comes in for rehearsal times when we're getting ready for shows and stuff like that.
You mention that the new record is going to be like a classic Chiodos record, but is it going to be that similar to the last record, Illuminaudio, since you weren't a part of it?
No, I don't think it's going to sound that much like Illuminaudio at all, I think it's sounding a lot like All's Well meets Bone Palace, way more than Illuminaudio. I can't say that I've listened to that record too much, but I've heard some of it and I can say that it's a mid-tempo record, and it's not really my style.
So can fans expect to hear maybe one song from that album live in the future?
In the future? No, I don't have any plans to do that.
Do you currently have a working album title for this new record?
We do not. We have a ton of ideas though.
Do you have any guest vocalists lined up?
No, but we're starting to think of them.
Do you have any people that you have in mind that you'd like to invite?
I don't really know yet, to be honest. There's a couple of people that I thought would be cool, but I'm not really sure that it would fit yet. It's nothing that I've brought up to the band yet either.
Is there a possibility that there will be no guest vocalists on this album?
Yeah, I mean there's always a possibility that will be the case.
Is there anything that makes this record the best Chiodos record to date, other than the fact that it's the most mature album to date?
Yeah, I think all the guys have something that people don't really understand yet, because we haven't put out anything new and we really haven't been out much, but there's this new re-invention behind what it is that we do now. It's almost a new purpose, a new sense of life. I think the momentum and the passion with what we're doing supersedes what we had in the past, and I think that's going to translate on the record, I think it's going to be really that transparent. I think you can tell when someones not passionate about what it is that they're doing, it becomes mundane or trying to hard to sound what they used to sound like. With Chiodos we've always sounded so random that we can do whatever the hell that we want and it's going to sound like us still. So you're going to hear that passion through the maturity, which may make it a bit more vulnerable. I don't really know how else to describe it other than there's this new sense of self, there's this new driving force in the band that has never been there before and we all like each other, which is something that hasn't really happened in a long time. So I think you'll be able to hear that.
That's awesome to hear, it really sounds like an exciting time for the band right now.
It is, it's really amazing, I'm trying to soak it in as much as I can. I'm trying to stay offline and all that stuff...
And you know, I've noticed that too. You might pop on Twitter here and there once or twice a week, but other than that, you don't seem to be online much.
Yeah exactly, It's that. I'm just trying to soak it in because I'm very fortunate to be in this position and I'm going to make the most of it. I don't believe that I've ever worked as hard on a record as this one. I've worked hard in the past, but never this hard.
If things went your way, when would you have this album released?
I don't really know, we're still trying to figure out some things, and it's all paperwork bullshit that I don't really care about. But we're trying to have it out this year.
People wanted to know if we'd ever get another Cinematic Sunrise album...
You know, right now my focus is on Chiodos. Marcus, Bryan, and I have definitely made a lot of music together since the last record, and if we wanted to we could probably pull together another record right now with whatever it is that we have, but it's not something that our focus is on, because Bryan and Marcus are working full time jobs, and my focus is on Chiodos right now. I definitely think people will hear something from Cinematic again, absolutely.
Is there a point where you might sit down and do a solo record? I know you were touring solo for a small period of time.
I'm not really sure yet. I write pretty much everyday, but some days I don't - because I'm tired of it, and I'm trying to cleanse, clean the palate. But I pretty much write non-stop and then we take it and turn into a Cinematic or Chiodos or Solo song, or it just goes into the bank - there's hundreds of songs that I've never used. I don't really sit down to write records like that, you know? When I'm writing, I'm writing from what it is that I want to hear, and what I'm going through, even though it's out of body; I'm not deliberately saying I'm doing some things, a lot of it is a brain to pen kind of thing. So I'm going to keep writing music, and I'm not going to stop. And if someone would like to call it that, they can call it that. But I'm sure a lot of my fans have noticed that there's little differences here and there, but overall you're pretty much going to get the same thing from me when you listen to my music. I think that it's something that's not going to change, I'm not going to stop writing records, so we'll see.
Last time we talked you mentioned you were writing a book. How's that coming along?
Yeah, I've just been focused on the Chiodos record but I definitely see that happening within the next year or two, I just don't know exactly how I'd be able to do it, something that I've really talked about doing.
So I guess you don't really have the time to work on it much, but do you have a general topic in mind? I know you were unsure last time.
I think it's going to be a culmination of writings, as opposed to one set theme from beginning to end. I think it'll be less story, and more journal-like with a hidden story. It's probably going to be a bit more realistic.
I hear you have some really wild summer plans. Can you give us any hints as to what you're up to?
I cannot. But yeah, we're excited.
Could use describe it using adjectives?
Fun...energy...I'm not really good at that, I'm not really good at Mad-Libs either.
For 2013 to be a successful year, what things need to happen?
To make the new Chiodos record, and have as much fun as I can.
No love for Illuminaudio I see, I guess I could see where Criags coming from in that case.
I glad Cinematic Sunrise has been put completely to rest.
I love how after he said his focus is on Chiodos, you asked him AGAIN if he was going to do a non-Chiodos album... then a book.
I feel like the summer plans might be Warped tour
Which is weird since Brandon played old Chiodos songs
I can only assume the band continued playing songs he wrote after he left, so it seems kinda lame to not even consider playing the Illuminaudio material just because he wasn't involved in them.
^ what they said.
Craig definitely didn't sound like he was in a good mood during that interview. Almost as to where the questions pissed him off.
give me chiodos for warped and ill shut up.
Wasn't well received? People went as far as saying it was the best Chiodos album. When they toured with Brandon, the outcome surpassed my expectation. I went to one of those shows not expecting to hear a lot of old material (i was actually hoping they'd play more from Illuminaudio) I think its more of a ego thing for Craig. I don't think he wants to give credit where its due to Brandon for helping Chiodos make a stellar album
They should just play The Fall of Troy songs.
It's a shame they're not playing any songs off Illuminaudio; that album had quite a few gems on it.
Whatever. Illuminaudio was ham.