Coheed and Cambria are a band synonymous with striking visual presentation, their master musicianship has gripped listener’s ears at home and around the world and they are no strangers to making albums considered to be conceptual masterpieces. Returning with a new concept album The Unheavenly Creatures, Coheed and Cambria’s 8th studio album (out October 5th), the band have once again delivered something that is truly out of this world. We talked to guitarist Travis Stever about what is was like self-producing the album, teaming up with MARVEL for the premier of the extraordinary film clip for Unheavenly Creatures and just when we might see them back touring Australia.

SCENEzine
Firstly how was your American summer co-headline tour with Taking Back Sunday?

Travis Stever
That was incredible it went beyond expectations.

SCENEzine
Did you get a chance to test out many new songs during the tour?

Travis Stever
We got to do two of them Dark Sentencer and Unheavenly Creatures and with the release show coming up soon we are going to be test driving a couple more.
 

 
SCENEzine
Huge congrats on the new album UnHeavenly Creatures. You guys have knocked it out of the park you must be proud?

Travis Stever
Oh wow, you guys have heard the whole record?

SCENEzine
Yea man, we were lucky enough to be given an advanced copy.

Travis Stever
Nice, and you feel as though we have knocked it out of the park? Well, I’m off to bed now. I’m serious, if you hear somebody say you have knocked it out of the park it’s a big deal man. I have done some interviews previous to this and not everyone has heard the record and it makes it hard to talk about, but to hear you say you have heard it and that you feel we have knocked it out of the park, that really means a lot thank you.

SCENEzine
Are you excited to be playing the album release show at The Hard Rock Times Square presented by New York Comic Con this week?

Travis Stever
I am excited to be involved because no matter what it is going to be beneficial to the band because the comic book and the conceptual world is such a big part of our existence, so for us to be able to play within those realms, for us it’s almost like having a home base, ya know.

SCENEzine
Can you tell us a bit about when the decision came about to return to the concept album story?

Travis Stever
Claudio really wanted to go back into that, specifically lyrically and musically too but more lyrically and just wanting to go back into that world. I mean not just specifically lyrically because musically it was also very much so and it’s almost like we are creating scenes with our music.

The song is what matters first but it’s about going back into this perfect balance of having a really great song but a really great scene too, and that is what we wanted to really get back to and for us, as a band, I think that is second nature. As for that is what we have been doing from the get go and for the fans especially the hardcore ones who have been with us from the get go the concept is what they got involved in and I think for some fans who don’t care about the concept, almost enjoy the music more when the concept is the driving force, just because it adds these other elements and layers.

I think with this record in particular there is going to be all the different elements and layers that they found on our other records and that is going to get them excited. And when I say that I am just talking about the people who care about the music primarily and those that are more into the concept are going to get just as much of that as well, if not more.

I know that for Claudio and for Chondra writing the actual storyline and with him doing the lyrics that follow it that more has been invested in the story, more than any other record. And that’s not taking away from any of our prior records but its just like when you work at anything you just get better at it or at least you hope to. I think in the way of story telling and song writing as well as performing you will all be pretty blown away with this, not going to say anyone mastered anything (chuckles) but I think it is the best work yet.

SCENEzine
The album cover art is amazing did it take you long to decide exactly the image you wanted for the cover?

Travis Stever
Claudio had a very specific vision for what he wanted on the cover, the art had gone back and forth a little bit, but the artist Chase, who did that cover art along with the rest of the art was somebody who came along and knocked it out of the park. Chase actually grew up and lives where Claudio and I grew up, right in Valley Cottage New York and you can’t write shit like that, its one of those things that couldn’t be more fitting, a written in the stars kind of thing, no pun intended (laughs).
 

 
SCENEzine
It must of been a cool feeling getting to team up with Marvel for the premiere of “Unheavenly Creatures” video?

Travis Stever
Oh, incredible! As an avid collector and writer, I would hope that Claudio and Chondra and the band too get to work with Marvel a lot more. Look at this whole thing that has been created, we created it musically as kids and at the same time Claudio was creating this whole comic book world and universe at the same time he was creating the music. I think its only fitting that someone like Marvel be tied into it

.
 

 SCENEzine
One of our favourite’s from the album is “Love Protocol” can you tell us a bit about writing that one?

Travis Stever
So Claudio had probably written that one a year and a half ago and he showed it to me and lyrically it had what he wanted in it in terms of story line, but it wasn’t quite homed in on quite yet and was undecided about the song. I believe he sent it to Josh and Josh laid some drums down and I remember hearing it and thinking oh man this is a great song and when we were recording the record we weren’t sure it was going to be on the record, it may have just been a bonus but it turned into a very important song.

Conceptually the lyrics were already tied in but I think Claudio felt that it was one of the songs that you create and the put that portion in another place on another song on the record if you know what I mean. So I can say I was very happy when he decided to go forward with the song. Guitar wise a lot of guitar was already there but I added the chorus and some little tid bits here and there, that was one of those kinds of songs where it was pretty flushed out. As a musician you want to add melodies left and right like that is my outlet but its like awh man, well there are plenty of melodies there already, but it was such a great song that I not so much fought for it, as for you could see clearly Claudio was proud of the song but not sure of where it would fit in. In the end, once everybody performed on it, it didn’t take much to say hey man maybe this is a song that should be on the record and everybody was like yeah it should.

So thats Love Protocol’s story from my point of view, I am sure Claudios is very different. Every song is different and Love Protocol for me felt like a song that belonged and it felt like a song that was strong and needed to be heard and thats the sad thing man, if the song had ended up just a bonus track it doesn’t get taken as seriously and I’m glad that song had the chance.

Songs are so very much describing an experience and if you even performed just two notes on a song you are part of the story that’s within that song and that is mine with Love Protocol.

SCENEzine
How much did the songs change from original demo phase to your final guitar parts?

Travis Stever
The songs didn’t really change much at all in recording them up at Crown Head they really didn’t, there were just additions to them. Thats why when someone buys the deluxe version of this album they are going to hear the demo versions and they will hear a lot of the elements already there. But for me personally on certain guitar melodies, they are also going to get me adding after with a different layer and hopefully a better layer (chuckles) depending on the listener and whether they like it or not.

There were a lot of hands on ears teamwork involved in the record with us self producing. We would be sitting up in the control room and as tough as it can be trying to perform, its like alright I got all these guitars and I’m going to add them to the song, and I have all these ideas and it could be any of the guys saying that works there and I would be like oh shit, I was pretty sold on what I got going here but lets see what everybody else is feeling, and that is self-producing. Usually its another producer saying that and I am proud of us as a band that we had the communication and speaking from my point of view on how it went down, but it was very much like okay lets work together and figure something out and that is for every instrument, and those additional things are added to what was a song but was a skeleton of a song already there.

SCENEzine
How does it compare self-producing this album versus working with other producers is it about more freedom to execute your vision?

Travis Stever
Yeah absolutely! But at the same time, I don’t think there has ever been a producer that we worked with that really fought us on what the vision was. In this case though it was just us in there able to communicate, saying what we need to say to each other and moving forward. I think that we worked better without the middle man, with a producer perhaps calling him a middle man isn’t the right way to put it because with us it’s almost like having another cook in the kitchen. I can say I am really proud of this album as for I can say the cooks in the kitchen did just fine on their own. It’s almost like with a producer using this kitchen analogy is credited as being the master chef when really the band comes in with this material already we have all the ingredients just not quite ready to be a meal on a plate and we are like alright just help us cook it and organise it and in this case, we are just like let’s do it ourselves if that makes sense.

SCENEzine
Lastly, any news on when Coheed will return to Australia?

Travis Stever
I hope soon. I have talked to a couple people from Australia and they all ask that and we honestly love coming there and we hope to be back soon and I think thats its real obvious in saying that as long as people want us to come there then we are going to come, so you just spread the word!

Interview – Chad

UnHeavenly Creatures Out October 5th

 http://www.coheedandcambria.com/

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *