Coheed and Cambria released their brilliant 8th album Color Before the sun late last year. To celebrate the band have recently announced a May 2016 Australian tour. We caught up with Coheed’s dummer Josh Eppard to talk his love of Australia, vinyl and Star Wars.

SCENEzine
Firstly how’s 2016 going for you Coheed so far?

Josh Eppard
It’ s going great. We just got back from Europe and have a little bit of a break before we head out on the long American run which we are all really excited about. We are going on tour with one of my favourite bands Glassjaw here in the states and another great band that we are buddies with I The Mighty. Also on the tour will be a band Claudio signed to his label evil ink called Silver Snakes.

It’s going to be a great tour and couldn’t be more excited about it. Then of course after that we are coming over to Australia one of our favourite places. Like all American bands we are just giddy about it and can’t wait to get over there.

SCENEzine
What did you guys think of the new Star Wars film?

Josh Eppard
We loved it. First of all loved it. I saw it four times and Claudio saw it four times. We were in Belgium and finally found it playing in English and we got to all go see it together because we had seen it all separately with our families. I really enjoyed it. Is it perfect, no it’s not perfect. They could of changed a couple of things but I thought all in all there’s no complaints from me.

I thought that JJ Abrahams and the whole team did a brilliant job and I really, really enjoyed it. Now I just can not wait for episode eight it’s killing me inside.

But that’s what you want right. The movie to be good so you can not wait. With the prequels I almost dreaded the next one. After phantom menace I was like oh my god. But then you get hopeful and then see attack of the clones and are like oh my goodness that was horrible. There’s moments in those that were alright but as a whole I don’t like those films.

I just felt like the new one was on another level. I really liked it. Most people would say the same thing but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true to me. Seven was so good they know they have to knock it out of the park with eight. I just have the highest hopes. I can’t wait I’m giddy about it.

SCENEzine
Your newest album Color Before The Sun was one of our favourite albums of 2015. Are you happy with how it turned out?

Josh Eppard
Oh yeah. I am going to be real with you. Any record you make has it’s stressful moments. For me those stressful moments aren’t ever this parts so hard how do I get it.

Every time Coheed and Cambria make a record we want to make the best record we’ve ever made and that comes with it’s own kind of pressures. I got to say making this record was fun free and easy. We recorded the whole thing in ten days then we took a week or two to mix it. Because it was so fun we captured a really innocent piece of the band.

We wanted to see if we could capture whatever happens when we play in a room together. We tracked everything live all together at the same time which was new to us. I am extremely proud of the end result. I think it’s a really special and unique Coheed and Cambria record.

SCENEzine
Since it’s not a concept album is there still a story behind the artwork?

Josh Eppard
It’s tough or me to answer because I don’t know how much Claudio wants out into the world. I think he’s been pretty forthcoming. The story itself of the amory wars even the most fantastic elements of the story was always steeped in personal real things. Certainly from a lyrical perspective when Claudio’s writing. With this record the story is his real life. Claudio had touched on that before in Good Apollo where the character saw the writer. So in my eyes there was already hints of this coming.

The Color Before The Sun story is just about Claudio’s life he just wanted it to live as that. The artwork with the house and the anchor. He had a whole ordeal happen with his house. It was a completely big deal to him so it seeps into the art. He’s always written from a personal place. Even in the most science fiction songs it was always coming from a personal place and a really deep place.

This time he just took the story away. To me it still is a concept record this time the concept just happens to be reality. Their not just words I think it’s the most powerful story of all and that’s the story of his life.

coheed album

SCENEzine
And the artwork was done by Touche Amore bass player Nick Steinhardt?

Josh Eppard
Yeah he did a really incredible job he’s obviously super talented. The artwork was different than anything Coheed had ever done. Coheed records typically dark yet awesome.

Except for the No World For Tomorrow cover that was just horrible I’m sorry. So typically the covers have been very dark and brooding but this used pastel colours and it felt like summer time to me. Which was really different for Coheed and Cambria. I think he did a tremendous job. I’m a big fan of his band as well.

There’s a connection there with Blaze James long time Coheed manager helped bring the band and comic books to life. Blaze is like the other member of Coheed and Cambria. He manages Touche so I think it’s really neat for Coheed to get to work with somebody from Touche and have them be involved. The whole thing feels like family.

SCENEzine
You guys released a John Hughes inspired homage video for “You got spirit kid”. Was that fun to make?

Josh Eppard
Oh yeah it was a lot of fun. I guess Coheed is considered a serious band most of the time and we are. We’ve spent our whole lives doing this. We are serious but we are still a band that inside our hearts we are 15 year old kids whose guitar band took off then we are able to do it as a career.

We had a blast making that video. Some people acted like it was so crazy. Like what are these guys doing. We’ve made videos like that. The first video of ours that anybody ever really saw was “a favor house atlantic” it was totally silly. It was like us drinking in a bar also dipping back to 80’s culture. We are all really interested in 80’s culture. I think it’s a healthy side to explore. The song itself wasn’t overly serious. Even though it could of been it was playful. The video was straight up silly but the song was playful. That’s a side to us. I’m glad that we got to display that.

SCENEzine
Our favourite song from the album is “Here to Mars”. Which is essentially a love song. Do you like the idea it might get played at weddings?

Josh Eppard
Sure as hell won’t be the first Coheed song to get played at weddings. We’ve got a ton of songs that people say they play at weddings “2’s my favorite” and “away we go” all kinds of songs.

I’m totally comfortable with it. That’s the greatest compliment ever to a piece of music. Whether we get divorced in a year or not I’ll remember this day for the rest of my life and I’m going to play a piece of music you made is a pretty powerful statement. What a compliment and I hope that people play “here to mars” because I think it’s a beautiful and powerful love song.

SCENEzine
Coheed not only sounds great but looks great on vinyl. Are you a vinyl collector yourself?

Josh Eppard
I’m kind of back into it now. Years ago my record player broke and if I came across something really rare I’d pick it up but I had no way to listen to vinyl. I finally got my record player fixed and I got a new one so I’m back in the game. I love vinyl. I have a shitload of vinyl at my parents house. I still have the records I got when I was a kid like Bon Jovi, Ratt, Cinderella. My brothers Prince records and my dads Led Zeppelin from when he was a kid I have all of those. I’m more into it now than ever.

My wife got me a new record player and it works great. I love that Coheed puts out records on vinyl in great sounding quality. My side project which is a tiny rap thing is putting out a triple vinyl soon.

SCENEzine
You’ve been to Australia a few times. Do you have a favourite Australian memory?

Josh Eppard
Honestly all of my memories of coming to Australia. I’ve been there with Coheed x amount of times but I’ve also been with a band I was in called Terrible Things. I love Australia but isn’t that the same thing that every American band says ( laughs) it’s true I wish I had something unique to say. It’s one of my favourite places in the world.

To me it’s not just the sun and the beach it’s the people, the air the food. There’s just something about Australia that I think in a former life I was Australian I feel like the land speaks to me when I’m there. Every time I get there after that long horrendous flight something in my soul feels like it’s home as corny as that sounds. I love Australia in a super powerful way. Obviously I’m thrilled to come back.

I’m so glad we are coming for more than just four days because sometimes that happens. Anytime we go there I’m over the moon excited.

SCENEzine
We were over your side of the world last year and caught your set at Riot Fest Chicago and Toronto. Was that a fun festival to play?

Josh Eppard
Sure, festivals can be a really funky thing for a band like Coheed and Cambria. You seem cool so I’m not trying to feed you the straight up answers that I’m supposed to give you.

I’ll keep it real festivals can suck for Coheed they can be really rough but Riot Fest was amazing. I really love Riot Fest. I think the band is a little bit timid about certain festivals but Riot Fest and Heavy Fest in Uk and Aftershock in California are some of the best festivals we’ve ever played. I think it’s a testament to the kind of audience that it’s drawing the people seem really excited to listen to something that isn’t simple 4/4 sounding.

It seems like festivals are going so much better for us and Riot Fest is a big part of that. I was really honoured to be a part of Riot Fest and I hope that we get to do it in the future I think it kicks ass.

SCENEzine
Did you get a chance to watch Motorhead play at Riot Fest?

Josh Eppard
Just a little bit and of course now I’m really regretting it. It’s tough at a festival because you’ll have interviews then you’ve gotta go eat dinner then you might get half an hour to see someone play. So we watched a little bit but then we had to run off. It’s just a reminder in life in general you never know who’s going to be around. I’ve been hearing people say Lemmy is sick for years I just thought that the guys going to live forever.

SCENEzine
While in the States we also caught you playing at Stone Pony in New Jersey with Glassjaw. Can you share any memories of that show? And how did Glassjaw become part of the tour?

Josh Eppard
I think there’s a mutual respect between our bands. We’ve both been in the same bands for a long time. We used to play shows with them years ago and they were always cool with us.

A lot of bands weren’t cool with us. We’d go out on Warped Tour and bands would clique up and we were kind of like the odd band out. Glassjaw were always really nice to us they were cool. Straight up I’ve toured with Daryl from Glassjaw’s other band Head Automatica with Coheed for 5 weeks and I still to this day haven’t met Daryl.

We did the UK recently with Glassjaw and I still haven’t met Daryl because he’s like a hero of mine. I’m just too nervous to go up to him and say hey man I’m Josh. He seems like the nicest guy on the planet. We’re talking like top 5 bands for me of all time. They are just one of my favourite bands I like everything they’ve done and I love the way that Daryl sings and the energy that he brings. I’ve learned so much from listening to him sing and the music is never to be taken at face value. There’s layer after layer in there. What I remember about that Asbury show is me standing on the stage feeling really inspired because I’m about to watch a band that I truly love and adore and they are playing with my band it’s surreal. This whole tour is surreal.

SCENEzine
Our favourite all time Coheed song is “In keeping secrets of silent earth 3” when you wrote that did you feel you had something special?

Josh Eppard
Yeah but I felt that way about a ton of songs (laughs) when we wrote the song “Neverender” I felt we really crafted something special. I remember writing In keeping secrets in Travis’s basement. We wrote that before Second stage turbine came out. We were just a bunch of kids and we wrote that. Claudio had this long riff and jammed it out and came up with a lot of stuff right there in the basement. See that’s what the cover of Color before the sun was about. He was thinking about a song like In keeping secrets that we wrote as four guys in a basement.

For Color before the sun Claudio had demos and ideas and that’s just kind of the natural evolution of the band. We used to get together and there was no demos we were just kids in a room there wasn’t record sales. We were after something we wanted to bring our music to people because we thought it was awesome and fun to play music. With Color before the sun we recorded just four guys in a room like when we wrote the song In keeping secrets. I remember that like it was yesterday I’ll never forget that. We were just kids then and we sure as hell aren’t kids anymore.

SCENEzine
Can you leave us a last message for your Australian fans?

Josh Eppard
Every time that I or we come to Australia I kind of get the same feeling the first time we came over there. It’ really surreal and kind of unbelievable that we are half way around the world and people know our music. It’s always such a tremendous honour and thrill to come over there and play. I don’t have the words to articulate how much Coheed and Cambria looks forward to coming to Australia.

(interview by Christian Ross)

Coheed Tour poster new

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