Momentum has certainly been in Chiodos’ favor since their return; they hit the ground running and have been touring virtually nonstop since Devil came out earlier this year, which has been incredibly well received by fans. Recently there has been a lot going on with the group from headlining tours, to supporting an arena tour alongside A Day to Remember, Bring Me the Horizon, and Motionless and White, changes in their lineup, and much more! Bradley Bell, keyboardist for the group, was kind enough to talk about all of this and what’s next for the group! See what he had to say! You guys recently co-headlined the Crowd Surf America tour with Blessthefall, how is a tour like that different from a tour like this [Parks and Devastation]?
Ever since we reunited we’ve been doing nothing but headlining tours besides Warped Tour so this is kind of refreshing to be able to support other bands. We go out there and play for 30 minutes and put all of our energy into it instead of having to pace ourselves like we’re in a marathon or something. It’s a lot of fun for us to just go out there and give it our all right off the bat. It’s a different mentality, we have to try to win and impress people instead of just playing for those who have supported you for so long. There’s a little bit of a different but I love both situations either way, but this one is a new challenge and I’m glad we have this opportunity.
You spoke of impressing new fans, how do you create a setlist when you have a 30 minute set as opposed to a much longer one as a headliner to catch people?
I feel like the vibe of this tour is a lot of energy. Everyone just wants to mosh and keep it high energy so we chose seven songs that we feel go hard in the paint. It’s hard to fit seven songs in a half hour but I think we hit a half hour exactly. It’s a lot of fun.
You guys had to leave the Crowd Surf America tour because Thomas Erak had some health concerns, how is he doing now?
He’s doing a lot better. He was able to go home and rest. He really wanted to be prepared for this tour so we thought that was the important decision to make at the time. He’s been in the hospital a couple of times with the disease that he has and it’s just important that he takes care of himself, so unfortunately we had to cancel that last week but he’s doing better now and taking care of himself which is important because it’s difficult on the road. He realizes that so it’s a very good thing.
Unfortunately you guys lost Derrick Frost and Matt Goddard right before the tour started, how does that change your preparation?
We just had to find some people to fill in real quick and we only had a few days to practice with them. But the people we have we’ve been friends with for awhile and we knew that they are professional and they’d be able to step in and bring the energy that we need for this tour. It’s important to have people that want to be out doing this with you and we definitely have that right now.
You said they’re friends, is that how you guys went about adding them? Did you know they were looking for another band?
They have other projects too so they both just happened to have free time right now so it just worked out that way. Thomas [Erak] had toured with both of their bands in the past and Craig and I knew Joe [Troy] from Sound of Animals Fighting. When we were thinking of people to fill in Thomas Pridgen is one of my all time favorite drummers so let’s reach out to him and see if he’s even interested. He said he was off tour right now and was a fan of the band so he was definitely into it so it was cool.
Have group roles and dynamics changed with new members?
Yeah, we’re all here having a really good time. It’s a really positive energy going on. There’s no bullshit right now, when you have people that don’t want to be out there anymore, much respect to Matt [Goddard] and Derrick [Frost] they told us they want to do it as long as we needed them, and we just felt like it was the right time to transition going into a big tour like this. It’s good to have a positive energy out here and people that want to be doing it otherwise it just feels like you’re being weighted down. It’s almost like being in a relationship that’s ending but let’s go on this vacation together even though we won’t be together in a month or so. We all have goals that we’re chasing and a passion for what it is that we do; it’s important for everyone to be on the same page. You mention goals, you’ve been with Chiodos since 2001, well over a decade, which is some accomplishment. What’s next do you think is next with you in Chiodos?
You’re making me feel old! But that is an accomplishment and I do feel proud. We always felt like what we did was timeless and not as much of a fad as a bunch of the groups we get lumped with. It’s cool and the fact that we can still do this, pay our bills, travel the world and have an impact on people’s lives means a lot. After this tour we have some overseas plans but then we’re just going to start writing the next record. We’re got momentum going right now and we’d be foolish not to keep it going.
Do you think you’re going to keep Joseph and Thomas for the new record?
We haven’t really talked long term plans yet, not really sure where their priorities lie but if things worked out they’d be great to have. They’re some of my favorite musicians on their instruments so it’d be an honor to make a record on them but we’ll see. A lot of the core of the writing in the band is the lineup that it is right now so we’ll be able to move forward just fine with that no matter who it is.
If you had to pick one experience or lesson with Chiodos that shaped you as a musician what would it be?
I guess you learn a lot when you go into the studio and work with different producers. They give you new aspects on what you’re doing. One thing we’ve learned is with six different people sometimes less is more because everyone can’t shine at the same time. That’s hard to realize when you’re writing stuff. At the end of the day though it makes a lot more sense.
What goals do you have for yourself and for the band in touring overseas, the new record, and just in general?
As far as overseas, we haven’t done a lot of it so it’d be nice to expand the fan base over there a bit more so we can do that more often. It’s a privilege to travel the world and play music, just that opportunity to do that is amazing. I think with the new record that we just put out [Devil] it was a rite of passage in a sense that it was a reunion and a rebirth of what we’ve done for so long. I feel like now that we have that album solidified and done the next one will be more aggressive and experimental and we and really hone in on each of our talents and abilities and exploit those as much as possible.
Do you have a direction you’d like to see the new record go?
Yeah! I think now that we’ve put this album out and played it live we know what type of energy needs to come out of the next album. We want it to be heavier and more progressive. We haven’t really started writing for it so it’s hard to really tell much but that’s what we want going in.
So more like “Expensive Conversations in Cheap Motels” from Devil?
Definitely! Be sure to check out Chiodos and the other fantastic bands on the Parks and Devastation tour if they haven’t hit your city yet. Tour dates can be found on the bands’ website here: http://chiodos.net/