ENVOYEZ VOS INFOS :

CONTACT [at] RADIOMETAL [dot] FR

Interviews   

Claudio Sanchez (Coheed And Cambria): a Sci-Fi life


Artistically, everything Claudio Sanchez does is linked to his love for science-fiction. Every album released by his band, Coheed And Cambria, focuses on a fictitious saga he’s invented himself, The Amory Wars. The story has been turned into a comics, and it should see the light of day on the big screen and on other media supports, like… a Street Fighter-inspired smartphone app!

After talking about the latest news regarding him and his band, we couldn’t fail to ask him about the sale of Lucas Films (and therefore, of the Star Wars franchise) to Disney. Contrary to many purists, this fan of George Lucas’ is rather enthusiastic.

Interview of a singer who, in addition, recently feared he was going to lose his instrument.

About The Afterman: « I had no concept when I wrote the album: it came after the music. So the songs were like a catalogue of all the things I had done and gone through for the last two years. […] It was almost like a translation: taking what is real and making it fiction. »

Radio Metal: First of all, how are you doing, apparently you had some issues with your voice so that Coheed And Cambria had to postpone some shows?

Claudio Sanchez (vocals) : Well, the record was released a couple of weeks ago and we had a lot of promotion to do. By the time we got back onto the tour, after a couple of shows, my voice just completely cut out. Nothing would come out of it: I was pretty nervous and went to the doctors in St Louis. They were quite blown away at how destroyed my throat was. They said that if I kept singing, I could probably do permanent damage to it. I was put under antibiotics and steroids to get the inflammation down because there was some stuff on my throat that they were pretty concerned about. After, I had to go to my personal doctor in New York just to see what his announces was. By the time I got there, all the swelling had gone down significantly. My doctor said to me : « I was prepared to give the worst news possible, but everything’s fine and curing ». For a second, I was definitively scared but it turned out that it wasn’t nearly as threatening as we thought. It’s better to be safe and sorry instead of doing those shows and finding out that I can’t sing anymore for the rest of my life. I was nervous, but good news overall !

What was Zachary Cooper’s (Coheed and Cambria’s new bass player) involvement on the writing of that new album ?

I started writing this album about two years ago, so pretty much of this stuff was actually written when we went into the studio. We had auditioned several bass players since Mic [note: Mic Todd, Coheed And Cambria’s former bass player] had left, but when the time came to go into the studio, a lot of them just didn’t work out. They were great players in terms of the music that already existed, but in terms of coming up with music ideas, it seemed they didn’t work. They weren’t on the same playing field. Zachary was actually recommended to us by Michael Birnbaum and Chris Bittner who co-produced the album with us. I really value Chris’ opinion, because he’s a great bass player: actually, he was one of my ideas for the position, you know, and certainly for the album. Josh (note: Josh Eppard, Coheed And Cambria’s drummer) and him had played together, there was certainly there a chemistry. But they recommended Zachary, so I took the recommendation and we auditioned him on a few demos: he seemed to have a really cool vibe. I thought to myself « If I was at Zachary’s place, I would probably come up with the same shy, timid attitude » and I really liked that. He seemed to be someone I could really get along with. The more we were getting into the songs, the more he started to blast them out and get more comfortable with what we were doing : he just really worked out great. I think he’s an extremely talented musician and artist : you can hear it on a lot of the songs. He can lay things down when they need to be, he solidifies with what the band is doing, but he really kind of stretches out when it’s appropriate: he’s got a great melodic sense of where to go and his delivery is very clear. He’s brought a lot to us, for sure: the more he started to get comfortable, the more we started all to get comfortable too, and you could see Zachary open up, do his thing and put his signature on this record.

We heard that Mic Todd, your former bass player, had a cancer. Are you still in touch with him? Do you know how he’s doing?

Unfortunately, he never really reached out to us after he left, nor us to him. To be completely honest, it’s a door that I would like to keep close. I wish Mic the best, of course.

« For me and Coheed And Cambria, I don’t know if I could really vision this end without the conceptual fantasy element. »

Were the two parts of The Afterman written simultaneously?

You know, I’ve always thought of doing a double album, but I wasn’t sure how to. When I started to construct the concept of the album, it made sense to be done in two separate parts. The first part is essentially Sirius’ [note: Sirius Amory, main character of The Amory Wars] ascension up to the Keywork and discovering what that Keywork actually is. The Keywork is in fact an energy source that binds all of the planets together. It’s essentially the gravity of their solar system and Sirius gets lost up there. The record ends on a sonic cliffhanger : you don’t know what Sirius’ fate is. I like that because that’s really my business to create a sequential storytelling, which is like creating cliffhangers that will keep readers interested and want them to continue with the next book. That’s how I mentally tried to approach this : “Ok, this is book one, which leaves you on this sonic cliffhanger and book two, which is Descension, is almost more metaphoric: Sirius returns to his planet and finds that during his absence, while he was in the Keywork, his life has started to fall apart”. All this basically sums up the story of The Afterman. The reason why I decided to break the story in two is that it conceptually made sense.

What can we expect for the second part of the album ?

It falls sonically in line with the first part. We recorded the albums together, so they are quite close. It certainly mirrors Sirius’ descension: maybe he would have fought for all the things he kind of destroyed. He’s almost coming to grips with his descent, realizing there’s only one way to fix that. That’s how it ends.

Last February, you released an acoustic version of Sentry The Defiant. Do you think we could expect an acoustic live or an acoustic album from Coheed And Cambria ?

I would think so, in the future : it’s something we’ve been toying with, because it’s becoming a part of the band.

You declared about this album that this is the most honest one of your career. What is interesting is that the band’s album always feature an imaginary world and imaginary characters. Do you feel close to your characters ?

Without a doubt. Every Coheed And Cambria record is very personal to me, because I always feed the fiction with my life. All of the songs are very much reflections of what I went through. The reason why I called this record the most honest is because, in the past, I always understood where the story was going to be conceptually, so I would have some markers. Basically, the songs that I would write would motivate the characters with that, to get from point A to B. For The Afterman, instead, I had no concept when I wrote the album: it came after the music. So the songs were like a catalogue of all the things I had done and gone through for the last two years. When the time came to put it all together, I started to use the songs almost as index cards, and the songs became the parts of the story. It was almost like a translation: taking what is real and making it fiction.

Do you feel more comfortable in this imaginary world than in real life ?

For me and Coheed And Cambria, I don’t know if I could really vision this end without the conceptual fantasy element. I just really like that, and how limitless it becomes by being able to take these songs and try to figure out a way to make them live off the albums. That’s really important, it’s very fulfilling and rewarding to me. I can’t envision Coheed And Calbria without it. Sure I do like to fantasize a lot and daydream, and I’m sure all of us human beings spend most of our time doing that. I take my stuff and make it a piece of fiction which lives off the albums and lives in another medium. It’s important for me and my creative well-being to do that and continue to do it with Coheed And Cambria.

« We’ve been actually working on an application for iPhone. It’s like a Streefighter style game : we took ten of the characters from the Amory Wars and put them against each other. […] Video games are an interesting platform nowadays for storytelling. It’s an interactive way for the player to experience a very interesting story. »

You did a video clip for the song Domino The Destitute. The story of the video takes place in a very realistic world, whereas the story of the album takes places in an alternate universe you created. The link between that video and the story of the album isn’t very obvious. What is the link between that video and the story? Is the life of the boxer we see on that video a metaphor for the story?

Check this out: if you’re familiar with “The Amory Wars”, you find that the planet where Coheed and Cambria live on is very similar to modern day Earth. You’re perplexed when you read the books, because the planets look like our world, but the more you jump from planet to planet, the more science-fiction and fantasy it becomes. It was my intention to make all worlds sort of like a parallel to our world, to give us a sort of starting point. The story of Domino The Destitute is this one: when Sirius goes up to The Keywork, the first person he gets in contact with is Domino. In the story, Sirius has to relive Domino’s life: this video is actually his. He was a boxer and found in his life that his rise to fame wasn’t all what it supposed to be and was actually his demise. That’s basically what the video is about: Domino’s life from the perspective maybe of Sirius Amory.

« The Amory Wars » is currently being developed by Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson of Leverage Productions for a live-action feature film. What will be your role in the realisation of this film ?

Right now, the partnership is very young. Ultimately, I would like to see myself as a producer, but like I said, it’s only starting. That’s all it is, really. We still have a long way to go, so it’s very tough to say what the outcome is going to be. There’s nothing else I can really say about it.

You already did a comic book and you’re working on a movie for this story. What would be the next step?

For me, the next step is right now to continue creating. I like the idea of not truly having a plan but always creating, if that makes any sense. For The Afterman, we took some time off, we had no label and I just started creating with no agenda and I really liked that. I think it made great art in the end, certainly with the ideas of the concept that in the Deluxe package. Obviously, the band is going to tour in support of The Afterman, but we’ll see: I’ll continue to write comic books on the road, and that’s about it.

Have you ever thought of doing a video game for example?

Well, it’s been a couple of years that we’ve been actually working on an application for iPhone. It’s like a Streefighter style game : we took ten of the characters from the Amory Wars and put them against each other. It’s something we’re still working on and we hope to get it out soon. But yes, I would love to do that ultimately: video games are an interesting platform nowadays for storytelling. It’s an interactive way for the player to experience a very interesting story: it gets them involved physically. I really like that.

This idea of an Iphone application seems very cool!

Yes, it is. It’s a casual game, the controls are pretty easy to use, so it’s not confusing. But ultimately, I would like to do a full platform game that has a lot of stories. We’ll see.

About George Lucas: « Stars Wars is probably so important to him that he wants it to live on after him. It’s the same with me and The Amory Wars: it’s not like a big payday, no, and as it is so important to me, I would love it to become its own thing and live past me. »

As you love science-fiction, what do you think of Lucas Films being sold to Disney?

I think that’s awesome ! Why not, after all ? Imagine, you start a business and try to do like George Lucas did! Disney has got Marvel and a whole lot of stuff: will they make the new episodes childish? I don’t know, but The Avengers movie was great, and Disney was behind!

Don’t you think nonetheless that seeing George Lucas selling his own story to someone else isn’t weird?

Absolutely not. I have got something to tell you: George Lucas didn’t do a hell of a job with the last three Stars Wars movies. If anybody respects George Lucas, it’s me: that’s what I’m inspired to be. Sometimes, I’d like to consider myself as the rock’n’roll George Lucas with all this crazy fantasy in my brain! Again, why not? Stars Wars is probably so important to him that he wants it to live on after him. It’s the same with me and The Amory Wars: it’s not like a big payday, no, and as it is so important to me, I would love it to become its own thing and live past me. I think what happened is good.

Star Wars is a good example: some works become so popular that their creator don’t own them anymore : they belong to the world. What do you about that?

For me, as a musician, the stories weren’t really out there, but the suggestion of their being a concept was, so it allowed the fans to make their own stories out of it. In a sense, the story theirs, and certainly the emotional experience that’s involved. It’s all in the eyes of the viewer, and what it truly means, you know. I have my meaning of what my stuff is, but the viewer takes home his own significance. The viewer might not necessarily believe what I’m singing, but it’s going to suggest something that resonates with him.

Last time we talked, two years ago, you told us that you sucked at doing interviews : it seems you’ve got better ! (laughs)

I think I’ve become more comfortable with my position. I can feel it myself. You know, it’s a sort of a joke now in the bus. I’m not a great communicator, and I think I’ve started interviews with that mind. It’s funny, because now I say that but it’s not the same : I’m getting better at it ! (laughs)

Interview conducted on October, 31st, 2012 by téléphone
Transcription: Jean Martinez – Traduction(s) Net

Coheed And Cambria’s offcial website: www.coheedandcambria.com

Album The Afterman: Ascension out since October, 9th, 2012



Laisser un commentaire

  • Arrow
    Arrow
    Alice Cooper @ Paris
    Slider
  • 1/3