By: Zach Brendza | Associate Editor
Last week, The Duke got to sit down with keyboardist Bradley Bell of post-hardcore sextet, Chiodos, who played at Stage AE for the Parks and Devastation Tour.
ZB: You guys were here last year on Warped Tour? Do you have other memories of Pittsburgh?
BB: Pittsburgh was my favorite show on that Warped Tour. To be honest, I’m not just blowing smoke up you’re a**. The energy that day and the way it was set up, everyone was crammed in this area but it was still was wide as you could see. It was just really cool. The crowd had so much energy. It was non stop going nuts. Even Scranton in Pennsylvania, it was the same way for that show. But Pittsburgh was by far my favorite show on that Warped Tour. It’s weird a lot of times some [cities] are hit or miss, but Pittsburgh is always right on our level, I feel like. We’re from the Midwest and we have a lot of the same blue collar work ethic and Midwest things that people can relate to here. I feel like it’s always been a special place for us.
ZB: Your new album, Devil, is your first since Illuminaudio in 2010, with somewhat of an original line-up? What’s the response been?
BB: It was great, ya know. At first we were just trying to do reunion shows and see what was there you know. Just like celebrating the fact that we were able to do that. We came out from doing those shows with so much excitement and we felt that there was so much chemistry there that could be had writing. It was a slow process, we had to step through the shadow before diving in the deep. Eventually we got there and gave it our all again. It was really cool to be able to reconnect our old relationships in doing that. It was like a rebirth. But at the same time it felt like there was almost nothing missed over the passed couple years. No steps were missed and we were able to connect very similarly because we’ve always had that chemistry that made us want to play music together in the first place.
As it came out, we were nervous but we were more proud that we were able to do that and accomplish that and it meant a lot to us. Because when things were crashing there was a bitter taste in all of our mouths and the fact that we were able to pull it together and bring it back was really reviving and meant a lot to all of us to be able to put this album out together with everybody putting in a lot of input, you know? When it came out and to see we were still reaching a relevant status of appreciation from fans. I feel like we grew a lot with this album. We tried new things and went out of a lot of our comfortable boxes. I feel like the fans accepted that and grew with us and we made some new ones. It’s been an awesome experience.
ZB: Can you speak to the circumstances of Derrick and Matt stepping away from the band? If it was amicable? If there was an issue surrounding that?
BB: It was very amicable. You know, when we got back together originally like I said it was just for reuniting purposes. A lot of excitement carried over and everyone was convinced that we wanted to do this again. But some people couldn’t tour anymore, you know? You reach a certain point in your life I guess where you want to be home with your loved ones more, and that’s pretty much where they’re both at. Matt’s married, Derrick’s got a niece he has to take care of because of his brother’s passing. This is a huge commitment where you have to make a lot of sacrifices to make it work. People just choose to go about things in there own way. It’s fine, it’s respectable.
We’re all around 30-years-old and you have to make those decisions in your life at some point. There’s no hard feelings really. They told us just let them go when we were comfortable doing it. So we finished most of our last tour and had to cancel the last week because Thomas had to go to the hospital and we figured there’s a week off there so it was a comfortable time to make this transition and go into this next tour knowing that everyone wanted to be there to play music together. Everybody was on the same page with the same goals in mind. That’s important, when your giving up so much of your life for everyone to be on the same page. They understood that and we understood where they’re coming from. It was very mutual. You know this was the right time to do this. Its unfortunate but its exciting, at the same time. That we’re all driving forward with our heads held high and not looking back at anything, you know?
ZB: What’s the dynamic now, with three original members and three new members? How does this line up feel?
BB: It feels great. With the writing of this album, the people that are here are the ones who were really stepping up and contributing. It’s easy for us to stay motivated and keep going and wanting to create new music together because I feel like we were the driving force in the creative process of this.
ZB: What was it like with Thomas [Pridgen] and Joe [Troy] joining the band? What was transition like? Was it an easy process, did it come quick?
BB: They’re very professional, you know. They have other bands, they’re really just trying to help us out right now then we’ll see how it all goes. Yea we only really had three days to practice together. They were very long days and they caught on to everything very fast and got the vibe for what we’re going for, the way our songs move and change, the weird changes throughout everything and how we actually group together. I feel like they add a new dynamic to what it is that we do and they make the flair very interesting with a new flair. It’s very cool. There’s a lot of energy, like a renewed energy form behind it. Because these people that are here are passionate about playing music, it’s what they wanna do. You can feel that when you hear it. You can feel that when you play it. I think everybody will be able to feel it when they see it. I think we’re ready. The first shows always going to be a nerve-wracking one but after that we’ll have one under our belt and we’ll be a little bit more comfortable and be able to feel the vibes.
ZB: Is it more of a fill in or permanent basis?
BB: Fill in. We just started playing these guys a few days ago and they have other priorities in life to so we’ll see where it goes. We haven’t even talked about it. They’re just out here to tour with us for what we have planned and that’s amazing that they were able to do it last minute so. We’ll see what the future holds as it comes along. It’s a little too early to tell.
ZB: Future of Chiodos? Dates through October? Next year 2015 and beyond?
BB: We’re going to finish touring through February at least and then spend a lot of time writing a new record and see how that goes. The goal would be to have it finished recorded by next Spring but you never know in this industry what’s going to come in front of you at any time. That’s where our heads are at right now and things change every single day. So we’ll see. But I’d love to get a new album written while we’re all motivated to keep this rolling. Like we are right now. I think its going to be great either way because we have most of the creative driving force right here and the history, Me Pat and Craig have been playing together since high school, which is a long time ago, its all there. We know what it is that makes the elements of this band and what has drawn our fans over the years. I think there’s no question that we’ve grown as musicians. It’s gonna be exciting to create a new album together again.