Chiodos

Drama drama drama. With the messy dismissal of long time front-man Craig Owens, many were quick to claim that the band was on the edge of self-destruction, citing Owens as one of the key components of the Michigan post-hardcore outfit. Armed with a couple of fresh faces, namely ex-Yesterday's Rising vocalist Brandon Bolmer, Chiodos are quickly putting the naysayers to rest. We recently had the opportunity to talk with keyboardist Bradley Bell about the band's upcoming full-length release , Illuminaudio, and how he feels the band has progressed since Craigs' dismissal. All's well that ends well…

 

[email protected]: Let's get the formalities out of the way. Could you please give your name and role in Chiodos.

Bradley Bell: My name is Bradley Bell and I cover the keyboard duties.

[email protected]: What ultimately caused you to relieve Craig of his duties? Do you feel that he was spreading himself thin?

Bradley Bell: There are many reasons as to the relieving of Craig, most of which are personal and can not be released. We don't think it would be fair to provide information that would force anyone to attach themselves to one bias or another. Just know that this record would have been near impossible to create with the lineup the way that it was. The band was at an unhealthy state, that should be undeniable by both parties.

[email protected]: Why did the band opt to keep their lead singer choice a secret for so long? What were some of the determining factors in bringing on Brandon Bolmer to front the band?

Bradley Bell: We were scheming a plan to make a big announcement out of Brandon being the singer, which would allow critics and those interested to actually hear some music with him on it, instead of them feeling free to criticize off of presumptions based on his past and what people were expecting from us. Nevertheless, the information leaked right before we were about to do so. Even after months of not telling anyone, it seems you can't keep anything a secret these days.

[email protected]: The band is set to release Illuminaudio on October 5th courtesy of Equal Vision Records. Guide us through the writing and recording process for the album.

Bradley Bell: It was the longest time we have ever spent writing a record. Before entering the studio, we had been writing on and off for fifteen months. At the drummer position, the process began with previous drummer Derrick Frost. After his departure we were using our friend Brian Southall to fill in, while looking for a permanent drummer. At the end of Warped Tour last year, we decided to have our good friend Tanner Wayne come join us and feel out the chemistry with him. He came up in October and immediately clicked, so we chose to continue the process with him. Being singer-less for several months at this point, Tanner sent demos over to his good friend Brandon Bolmer inconspicuously. He showed us Brandon's final garage band recorded results and we were highly impressed - enough to fly him up to Michigan and write this record with us. Brandon moved in with me for the winter where we were able to focus on vocals together at night, while the band would keep writing together during the day. This continued up until the end of February when we felt like we had enough material to enter the studio with Machine.

Once we got on board with Machine, we fell in love with him. The guy is so ambitious and has so many good ideas to keep the creative juices flowing. It's unreal. We spent two weeks on pre-production and then a month recording the record, all while living in a ghetto-ass house in Kearny, New Jersey. It turned out to be one of the best times of my life that I'll never forget, and I think the emotion and excitement that we had in the studio shines through on the record.

[email protected]: What is the significance of the album title?

Bradley Bell: To me it means to shine and enlighten through music. It is a play on words that we came up with one night, that stuck.

[email protected]: The album is the first to feature a couple of new faces. As previously mentioned, Brandon Bolmer (ex-Yesterday's Rising) has taken over vocal duties, while Tanner Wayne (ex-Underminded, ex-Scary Kids Scaring Kids) was brought on to man the kit. In what ways (if any) did the new members shape what would inevitably become Illuminadio?

Bradley Bell: It's obvious that our sound won't be exactly the same, but even with our past music a lot of songs were VERY different from other ones. I feel like they helped us grow as a band. Tanner is an amazing drummer, especially for his age, and he definitely pushed us and gave us a fresh outside opinion on a lot of things that we were trying. Brandon's voice is distinctly different than Craig's, but he's got some pipes on him and I feel he fits the band very well. Overall, you still hear a lot of what made us Chiodos in the past, now it's up to the listeners to grow with us.

[email protected]: Having just recently released the first taste of the album in the form of "Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together," how do you feel the song has been received by long-time fans? Do you believe the song will finally put an end to any doubt people had in Chiodos post-Craig Owens?

Bradley Bell: It seems a common response on our networking sites has been fans saying they were skeptical at first, but now sorry they ever doubted us. It makes us happy that people are approaching it with an open mind. Of course, you are going to have the negative with the positive, The Beatles couldn't even please everyone, but from what I noticed the positive outweighed the negative. Either way, you can't let the critics get to you, it seems it's much easier to act pretentious and write something negative online than to show your appreciation, or to even go write music that you think is more worthy of people's time. There is too much poison in this world, and I think sometimes people don't realize what it is they are actually saying when they criticize art or, worse yet, wish the worst for someone’s future. I would never do such a thing; maybe it takes moving out of your parent's basement to realize that though.

[email protected]: For the record, could you shed some more light on the "Thermacare" leak from your perspective? It's been said that the rights for the song were split down the middle, allowing the remainder of Chiodos to maintain the music they had written. Does any portion of the music the band maintained make an appearance on the new album?

Bradley Bell: We used some of the music in a song on Illuminaudio. It should be recognizable to most, but it is a totally different song now. We are stoked with the new result and hope other people respect it as well.

[email protected]: Touring has always remained a constant in the support of a newly released album. Obviously the band is not exempt from this rule. When should fans expect to see Chiodos on the road once again? Are there any tours currently in the works?

Bradley Bell: We are hitting the road with Atreyu, blessthefall, Architects (UK) , and Endless Hallway in October. We are very excited to tour with people being familiar with our new album.

[email protected]: What would you say to those on the fence about giving Chiodos another chance?

Bradley Bell: Be that as it may. I understand the attachment that people have had to us in the past. It obviously wasn't an easy decision for us, so we don't expect it to be an easy decision for others that have followed us faithfully for so long. But, there is absolutely no reason for us to look like the bad guys in this situation. If a group of people feels so strongly toward such a decision, there is obviously justifiable intent behind it. We just hope people can set their feelings aside and approach us with an open mind, as the band that they have enjoyed over the past, and accept change and who we have become.

[email protected]: Ultimately, what do you want people to take away from listening to Illuminaudio, or anything from Chiodos for that matter?

Bradley Bell: I think once the album is released, it will be my proudest moment in this band’s history. To overcome what we have over the past year and still stay focused through all the doubt and criticism was not easy. For us to have a chance to prove to everyone how hard we have worked on this is my light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining in my darkest of skies. Though we have accomplished a lot as a band, we are all hungry for more. Hopefully Illuminaudio will allow us that opportunity.

[email protected]: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Do you have any parting words?

Bradley Bell: Thank you for your time. Stay sexy.

Illuminadio hits shelves everywhere October 5th courtesy of Equal Vision Records. Pre-order for the release can be found here.

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