An Interview With Chelsea Grin

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In case you did not know, Chelsea Grin is an American deathcore band from Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA. They were formed in 2007 and they are signed to Rise Records. To date they have released two EPs and four full-length albums.

Great news for metal fans is that Chelsea Grin are coming to Johannesburg and are playing one show in August. My good friend, fellow photographer and ex Joburger David Devo Oosthuizen recently had a chat to Alex Koehler (the lead vocalist of the band). This is what he had to say:

Recently the South African Metal Scene and local Metal Bands have been getting a lot of positive international exposure (reference to the recent Banger TV feature, top international publication coverage like Metal Hammer and channel coverage like Metal Injection, and of course our very own “Zombies Ate My Girlfriend” winning the overall 2016 Wacken Battle of the Bands). Local stalwart promoters like Witchdoctor Productions have also been putting South Africa firmly on the map with tireless work to bring quality acts (like Chelsea Grin) to local shores (reference the biggest Metal Festival Africa has ever seen with Witchfest in 2015). Do you accordingly know any of our local SA Bands or have you seen any of this exposure and what have you heard about the local SA Scene?

I actually have not heard much, but I am very excited to find out first hand!

Given this will be your first tour in South Africa, give us a glimpse of what SA Fans can expect? Also, have you given thought to the Setlist (can you give us a taste of what to look forward to)?

Expect a really heavy and “in your face” show! As far as songs go, we will be playing a little bit of everything from the oldies to the newbies.

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What is your favourite Chelsea Grin song and is this song also your favourite to play live?

‘Strung Out’ is super fun to play live for me. It is really up temp and bouncy.

What influenced Chelsea Grin the most up to this point?

Our influences are all over the place. We listen to everything from Hip Hop, Metal, Radio Rock and everything in between LOL!

Given you easily self-identify as “Deathcore” (and pay no mind to the label), do you believe Chelsea Grin applies this same philosophy in your stance to music (not caring what people think and doing your own thing) – and hence closely coupled with this, do you believe it is more important to do what you as a band feel is the right (as a progression for your band), or do you think it is more important to listen to what your fans want foremost and deliver that (reference to the new Suicide Silence Album and Linkin Park Album)?

I think you must find a fine line between pleasing the fans, as well as write music that we enjoy. It is a bit of a juggling act sometimes, but I guess that is just the nature of the beast.

Did you ever think (when starting Chelsea Grin), you would ever have fans in South Africa, let alone come to play here?

When we were writing music in our guitarist’s basement, I never would have guessed we would be able to go this far. Obviously, it was always a goal, but to have it happen has been mind-blowing. I am very stoked to see what South Africa is like!

What band do you most want to tour with still?

I would say Slipknot. That would just be cool as fuck LOL!

If you could form a Super Group, who would be in this?

Just us of course [wink-wink] LOL!

Any plans for another Music Video off “Self Inflicted” (beyond “Broken Bonds”)?

I believe so. Right now, we are super focused on writing a new album.

Any plans for a Live DVD or a Tour Documentary?

We have always talked about it. We really should get on that!

What is your Audiophile fix?

Honestly, when I am home I listen to A LOT of Sports Talk Radio(my second passion LOL). I think vinylis awesome! I have a wall that I have dedicated to decorating with vinyl. So, I guess for me I think they look cool!

Do you have any interesting pre-show traditions or curious habits (before hitting the stage)?

I just make a bunch of peculiar and annoying voices (to warm my voice up). I follow that up with a shot of Jack with Pablo and we are good to go [grin]!

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Who is the chief creative driving force in the band, who is the biggest joker, who is Mr. Serious and who is most likely to get arrested?

Eeek … I guess I am the only one that has been arrested on tour, but I was not the one in the wrong. It was a crazy situation. Pablo is definitely the biggest joker and Jaek takes the cake for most serious LOL!

What do you prefer, Big festivals or Club Gigs?

That’s a tough one, as they both have different vibes. I do like the idea of being able to have a light show though.

What band / artists is in your opinion breaking massive new ground and should be closely watched / supported?

I would say our homies in Sylar. Their music is great and they seem to be catching on more and more. If you haven not checked them out yet I highly recommend it.

Share something about Chelsea Grin you always wanted to tell people, but have never been asked … so now we all finally know *GRIN*

We are actually very mellow dudes. I know the typical image of a band is a bunch of partiers, but we keep it pretty tame. We are more than willing to dominate anyone in Super Smash Bros though LOL!

Where to from here (how long do you foresee the Touring Cycle for “Self Inflicted” will still be, and when do you envisage starting to write new material)?

We are already working on new material as we speak. Unfortunately, it is kind of a slow process. So, we are going to finish out the year heavily promoting “Self Inflicted” and then start putting our main focus into a new album.

I’d like to thank Alex and Chelsea Grin for this interview. We are really looking forward to seeing you in action in South Africa soon!

Catch them live on the 16th of August 2017 at the Groove Live (in Newtown, Johannesburg). Early bird tickets have already sold out, but regular tickets are still available @ R500 on the Witchdoctor Productions website and Computicket.

You can reach / follow David via the following platforms:

Watch this space for regular updates in the Music and Interviews categories on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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