Chasm Interview

 

Well, youíve got your big name interviews this time round. But just as important to me is the more unheard of bands. So itís time for Chasm. This particular interview took place in two parts. In the shed of the Vic in Derby after their gig supporting earthtone9 there, and an e-mail follow up. Mainly cos I had about zero questions initially. At times itís chaotic, but I hope fun. The band? Well if you got it, then they had a track on the YAZCORE Volume 1 CD. As youíll discover, what they actually play is perhaps hard to pin down exactly. Nu-metal with a bit more variety? Emo? Thrash?? All of the above and non of the above. Thereís really only one way to find out, take a listen for yourself.

Things start off badly. Conversation turns to recently returned earthtone9 guitarist Joe, and whether heís Welsh or not. Which he isnít. But I am. And slightly exasperated tones can be heard as statements such as "well heís not Spanish" are made and that "Chris isnít from Namibia", while Luke claims to be "from Macedonia. Iím a Cockney Macedonian". Yeah. And "Gemmaís from Venezuala". "I am?" she asks in response to this new found information. But enough. We should start, even though thatís effectively ended the first question of who the band is.

"Band introductions" says Luke the bassist. "Gemma drums, Pete, me guitar, Luke " Chris doesnít finish, as Luke buts in "Christopher Seddon plays the guitar, Gemma Seddon plays the drums, Peter Booth sings and Luke HEANUE" he emphasises the spelling, "plays the bass." Which is swiftly followed by a "fuck off" as elements of the piss are taken out of the bassist.

Expletives go in as well the band are warned. So, do you want to do the history thing?

Things remind me of when I asked Dai Lo the same question last issue as the discussion goes all sorts of directions. Luckily Gemma decides to cut through things and give the brief history. "So it was us 3 and 2 other people initially, and then we left school and that split up. There was us three still together, we started college and then they got a guy called Will who played bass. He was with us for a bit but he was like "ooh" and looked like Chewbacca", "yeah" states Pete, "he was really hairy". "Thatís not the point" reckons Luke, "he was hairy so we sacked him?" "We didnít sack him, he left" protests Pete "He went to Barnsley to do music" reckons Chris. For fear of offending the population of Barnsley, Iím saying nothing to that statement! Anyway, back to that brief history and Pete. "And then we got, actually we did some gigs with just the three of us and no bass guitar at all. And then we had a guy called Carl who was a wanker". "And you can write that" says Luke. Itís ok, I was going to anyway. "We split up over the summer. Then we got Carl in whoís an old friend Iíve known forever, but he didnít work very well." is the more diplomatic response from Gemma, "cos he was a guitarist who played bass, and so he went ..." cue a drummer doing an impression of a bassist playing bass in a guitar like manner. You know. Widdle widdle sort of thing with a hint of wah. Pete keeps the brief history going. "Then there were various audtions for people who never stayed," "and then this fat fucker turned up" is Lukeís rather unflattering description of his arrival in the band amidst descriptions of 35 year old postmen whoíd heard Nirvana on Radio 1 attending the audition. "And so we split up, then we got back together and Luke arrived" says Chris, "and we thought he looked really stupid" adds Pete. Luke explains it though. "What happened was I walked in Folds in Derby and saw this sign saying they were looking for a bassist and their home phone numbers" (they gave out the numbers, not they were looking for their phone numbers! Well you never know. I donít know my home phone number. I have to look it up). "And so I rang them because Iíd always wanted to play with a female vocalist" "Really" says Gemma. "And then I got this psycho-cow with sticks" "What??!" asks Gemma without killing him. "And that made it even cooler. And we had a first rehearsal at your house didnít we?" he asks, somehow still breathing, "and we played, and they said Ďweíve got a gig next week, do you want to do it?í and the main reason they wanted me to play for them was because the first thing I said was Ďexcuse me Iím fucking knackered and I want a beerí. And they liked me because of that." Chris throws in another one "He was wearing a Type OíNegative t-shirt." "I liked it cos of the colour. Iíd never heard of them" the bassist protests. Better reason for buying it than liking the band then. "Luke joined, and it sounded like we had a proper band. Thatís it" says Chris before Pete adds, "weíve been this line-up since August last year."

And that is where we shall bring the history of the band to a finish.

"Weíve had a few ups and downs" says Gemma. "Yeah, itís like a relationship" reckons Pete, as they continue. No, we are finishing the history of the band now. Before talk goes on to communal sex.

"Next question is?" prompts Pete. Well, if weíre following the standard interview style, the next question is, Ďdescribe your music.í

"Oh we donít want to do that" jokes the band as one. "Nah, you want a 20 minute answer for that, youíre going to get it" warns Luke. Weíll see. I have the power of the keyboard at my disposal. And youíve only got a couple of pages of space left.

"Soft." starts Luke as Pete talks about vocal amps being his vocal head!?!. "Our music is" Luke ups the volume to try and overcome the strangeness of the words emerging from Peteís mouth, "soft, light heavy." Heís interrupted. "Right, letís have everyoneís version" is the perhaps sensible suggestion from the vocalist.

Chris starts. "Melodic. Quiet. Shouty. All of the styles. Thrash metal - weíre Metallica skool though"

Pete then tries. "Iíd say our music is a mixture of a lot of different styles, it combines a lot of heavy stuff with a lot of cool harmonics." "Like the" Chris tries to interject. "Youíve had your go, shut up" Pete tells him. "Well Iím having another go" reckons Chris. "Like the nu-metal scene, without the formulaicness" he manages, while I wonder if formulaicness is a word, and if Iíve got anywhere near spelling it correctly. But Peteís talking again, "I honestly, can say, without being big headed, that Iíve never heard a band like us" is the perhaps contentious statement, as proven by the "I can"ís that emerge from the rest of the band. "We have songs that sound like other bands but", "you can tell our influences basically" Luke steps in. "Thereís a couple to the extent that you can tell quite easily." "Yeah but itís not like we sit down and think about it" defends Chris. "Emo, there you go" Luke chimes in with. "Weíre emo core." "None of us listen to the same music. I mean in my CD player at the moment Iíve got Sheryl Crow, Pearl Jam and Semisonic" says Pete, "Chris has probably got, I dunno, something heavy, Gemma loves Alanis Morrisette, Chris hates Alanis Morissette. Luke likes Massive Attack, stuff like that. We all like different stuff, so itís just a combination of all that coming together."

At this stage an argument is underway amongst the rest of the band with respect to Alanis Morissette and whether or not sheís crap. At the moment it seems to be a male vs female thing. The guys reckon sheís crap, Gemma doesnít. And somehow the talk moves to Green Jelly."The album is so cool. The song about a horny sex sausage washing machine monster is so cool" reckons Gemma. Uh, ok. "I got my Three Little Pigs CD out the other day and I was rocking out to it in my bedroom" she adds.

"So thatís our style." reckons Pete. "We play our music the way we like it". Luke joins back in, "Weíve never said ever, since Iíve been in the band, Ďletís change our music to stuff like this, cos it would be better if we didí, it kind of just happens. What do you think our music sounds like Dave? Youíve seen a few of our performances"

Bugger. Another band doing that reversing the roles trick. Hate that. "Yeah, not bad" is my considered opinion. Hey, I do good interviews yíknow. Always available with incisive answers to the days most pressing questions. Enough of me. But no. They want more. Ok, 54 sounds like Far, cos I remember writing that I thought it was a Far cover song.

"I remember you writing that and I was like Ďyou gití" says Pete. Luke adopts the more subtle approach "Welsh bastard" as Gemma says something about "donít mention the sheep". "The thing is, you may have written the guitar part like it, but Iíd never even heard it when I wrote my lyrics" Pete says to Chris. It was actually a compliment, because I like Far and the melody and vocals reminded me of them. Still do.

The conversation then turns to how they write stuff. Things start with a guitar riff, some drums are added and then vocals on top. "Gem plays like Neal" reckons Pete. "I donít think so, people say I used to" reckons the drummer in response that she plays like former Beyond and Gorilla drummer Neal Cooper. Personally I think his style is stamped all over her playing, the way she attacks the drumkit. But there again, I still reckon Neal is one of the finest drummers in this country, and of course The Beyond were one of the most underrated bands ever, who shouldíve become absolutely massive. So anything that reminds me of them is generally a very good thing as far as Iím concerned.

"My main bass influence is the guy from U2. I love his bass sound". Next question. "I like to think of our music as love warmed up" continues the bassist much to Gemmas amusement. "I do, I like to think that our music, people can rock out to it but they can also" "make lurve" interrupts the drummer, "exactly."

So have you ever gone that bit too far onstage?

"I find our music very passionate, the way sometimes Pete

I find nowadays is really breaking his vocal chords." "The last few gigs have been so good at the end, that Iíve actually wanted to break my guitar. Thereís been so much adrenalin." "You saw us at the Pinshot gig. At the end of that I was ooooh, you do have this violent thing, it was kind of a release phwoar" Luke finishes.

I guess one description thatís been used, and is increasingly popular, is emo. How do you feel about that one?

"As everyone else would think of emocore as a group thing to put bands in, maybe we are. If you want to compare us to say earthtone9" who the band supported this evening, "then theyíre really like in your face live. Very full on. But our songs go down low, I mean I sing like Ďoh my god Iím going to dieí, and it is emotional. I mean I find the hairs on the back of my neck prickling up cos itís really kind of emotional. Sometimes it can suck because people canít dance to it as itís dead slow. If you want to put us in emocore then you can. I mean I personally donít give a shit where people put us. Iíve never given any respect to anyone whoís tried to put someone definitely in a group. You might say Ďtheyíre like this, or theyíre like thatí but to be honest, thereís no way you can really put any band in their own definite stigma, because they do their own thing for their own reason. We play our music for our own purposes. Some people play their music for the band, some play it to make money" is Peteís response. "Whenever I hear the term emocore I always think of bands such as Far, Sensefield, Chamberlain. I never think of someone like us, I think we sound far more intense" reckons Gemma while Chris adds "If you asked someone who had no knowledge of the music that we do, then theyíd say weíre a rock band".

Yeah, fair enough. But these days it seems that if they can stick you into a particular class of rock music, then it gives you more of a chance of getting a potential audience. Because like it or not, some people do dismiss something if itís not hardcore, or itís not rapcore, or if itís not pop-punk or whatever. So is there any kind of current audience that you think you would appeal to?

"I dunno" reckons Pete. "I think a lot of people if they heard us would think itís not that bad, because theyíre into a lot of shouting da da da drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (I hope I spelt that right) kind of really shouty music. And even though weíre not really that, I think they could like it" says the music impressionist drummer. "But I think if people want to say weíre emo or whatever genre of music thatís find, but I wouldnít want to say it myself or stand up there on stage and say ĎWeíre Chasm weíre emoí I wouldnít go to a gig cos theyíre like emo, or fast metal or whatever, Iíd go because their musicís cool".

Which of course is exactly how it should be, and I may be a cynical old git, but thatís exactly how it isnít still.

"The sad thing is, the first time that we played with earthtone9 I did the fliers for it. And I put earthtone9 on I put quote from from it "like Tool blah blah", then Cynical Smile sort of "like Senser and Rage Against The Machine" and then us "Deftones and Far." Cos thatís what people want to see. They may go Ďwell Iíve never heard of themí, but put a little description of bands they sound similar to, and loads of people will come" says Chris. "That sucks, because then youíre comparing yourself to others".

Pete meanwhile has left the shed. "Thatís Pete taking a piss" says Luke. "Pete you loud urinator, you need to get a silencer on you" says Gemma. More detail than was needed.

"We like playing support slots rather than headlining" reckons Chris, "because when you headline youíre playing to a crowd thatís come to see you. And weíd rather play to a crowd that arenít there to see us. Because you get a broader crowd."

"Youíve seen these guys, and since Iíve been in there, think about the number of songs weíve dropped. If one person says ĎI donít like ití then we just donít do it. Itís a band thing. By the next gig you see, I reckon weíll have got rid of something else. I personally think weíve got a pretty good set list now" states Luke.

Heís not wrong you know.And when they eventually record some of the material, then plenty of other people will be able to find out as well. For now, you can contact the band at: