chapters

Interview: Chapters – Joe Nally & Michael Williams

Chapters are a 4 piece prog-metal act that hails from London. They have been on the unsigned scene for the past few years and recently have started making some real headway in the underground scene. They have toured with the likes of Viatrophy and were specially requested to open for Sylosis on their recent UK tour. It was at the Glasgow date of this tour that I had the chance to catch up with the bands front-man and drummer and discuss things from their album plans to exactly what they’re listening to in their free time.

Track: The Imperial Skies

Espyrock: First question, how would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard you before?

Joe: Um, just really all different styles of metal and other genres all put into one big song, well obviously not just one song [laughs]. Um, yeah, just to keep it in interesting.

Michael: If we had to put it in a genre it’d be Progressive, but there are so many different elements to progressive so it’s difficult to define it.

Espy: You’ve released 2 tracks onto Facebook, are the plans to release an EP/album in the near future?

Joe: We actually have the whole album recorded and ready to go. It’s just a case of getting a couple of things behind the scenes sorted out before releasing.

Espy: What are your own musical influences?

Joe: Across all of the members, we have a ton of influences. Like I’m a big Queen fan, big Bruce Springsteen fan.  Obviously you’ve got all the classic, old school metal influences. But we also try to keep it open, and that definitely shows in the music but I’d definitely say, for me, it’d be Faith No More, massive fan, and Queen. They’re two of my biggest influences.

Michael: Well as far as drumming influences go, I tend to look at structure so I look to bands like Death and Nevermore, and bands like them. It’s all sort of riff based and the way the songs are put together. Especially with being a drummer I look at all the different parts that they put in.

Espy: What are you currently listening to?

Joe: Right, for things that might shock folk, I’ve been listening to the new Take That album. The new Machine Head album has been spinning, as well as the new Mastodon. I’d also say a bit of Sylosis; I’ve been gearing up for the tour. But yeah, again, I’m on a massive Bruce Springsteen trip, I’m on one of those all the time really. Yeah, that’s about it at the moment. I deliberately try to only listen to three/four bands at a time, and then I’ll remove one of those bands and chuck something else in. So at the minute I’d say it’s the new Take That, Machine Head and Bruce Springsteen.

Michael: I’m listening to the same, but also a lot more Sylosis; we get to watch them every night which is cool.

Joe: Just trying to think if there’s anything else that’s come out recently I’ve been listening to. [After a moment’s pause] Oh yeah the new Decapitated has got quite a few spins, as well as a band named Tombs.

Espy: Where a lot of bands now use a “hardcore” breakdown in songs, you tend to use a sort of softer, calm the music, breakdown in your music. Do you feel that metal has become a bit too bogged down into the “hard, fast, heavy” mentality?

Joe: It’s a tough one. A lot of metal has gotten very samey recently though. Then you’ve got people that are in bands and don’t really care. They’re just copying what some American band is doing and have absolutely no originality.

Michael: A lot of it is following a trend. Usually those sorts of bands, who follow the trends, aren’t around for long. Some of the bands even do it for fashion.

Joe: It’s just like there are certain bands, especially on this live bill, we’re all different to each other and there are a lot of different moments. I mean this is a pretty hard hitting tour, but each band definitely has their melodic moments. I think there’s too many bands doing this heavy over the top how low can you tune, how fast/slow you can drop it and there’s no vibe in there. That simply is never going to interest me to do that in any of our songs.

Espy: UK metal has grown quite dramatically in stature of the past couple of years, especially with bands such as Sylosis starting to break the American market as well. Do you think that tours like this, with a completely British bill, help promote that even further; or are the American influences required because they tend to have a bigger fan base?

Joe: I think it’s a surprise because I don’t know how many people look towards the British bands that we have to offer at the moment. I mean sure there are some amazing ones and then there are some dodgy bands out there, but when this line-up goes out on tour and people come to see it, every band is killing it every night and it’s great for the fans. The music is coming from three different areas of the UK (Sylosis and Malefice are both from Reading) and it’s great, because how many times have we seen these stupidly good American bills come over here and everyone’s gushing over the tour e.g. Lamb of God are playing with so and so tonight. But now on this tour there are 4 bands, which are all at different levels in their careers all playing together. I don’t know if there’ll be any better UK band bills this year.

Michael: It really is bringing British metal out a lot more than what it was. Sylosis are one of the leading bands in the scene at the moment.

Joe: Sylosis are helping to bring it back big time. It’s shown in the fact that everyone is just digging everything that they do and they’re even giving the smaller bands they take out so much help. Without them I don’t know what we would be doing right now to be honest.

Espy: To follow on from that, who are your favourite British metal bands at the moment?

Joe: British metal? I have to say it is probably Sylosis.

Michael: I’m not going to lie, out of all the British metal bands in the scene I listen to, the most played would be Sylosis.

Joe: There was a band from London area, who called it a day about three years ago, who were very kind of proggy-metal called Gridlock Takedown. They were doing stuff and had ideas before, like years before, a lot of these bands. Yeah I think Sylosis in this genre. Expanding genres though there’s a band called Hello Mexico and they’re amazing if you just want chill-out music.

Espy: Early on in the tours announcement The Haarp Machine (the band who were originally booked to open the tour) pulled out to go to America and Sylosis asked the fans who they’d want to see added to the bill. Both yourselves and Anterior were heavily requested, how does it make you feel knowing that you’ve been requested for this tour rather than just being booked by a promoter?

Joe: It was a bit of a surprise, I mean I saw like one person had posted “Chapters” and that was actually someone we knew so I was like “yeah cheers” and then overnight there was x amount of people asking for us and y amount of people asking for Anterior. By doing that they kind of gave the tour no option but to get Anterior and us on the bill. It’s great and I think it definitely shows the strength of both bands that people want to see us.

Michael: I was really shocked actually, I saw the Facebook page after everything had been done and I hadn’t realised that we had so many fans actually wanting us to come out and do this tour.

Espy: If you could tour with anyone, who would it be?

Joe: Sylosis [said due to Carl from Sylosis being at the foot of the straights.] I think right now I would bloody love to go out on tour with Machine Head. I think we’d suit supporting Machine Head brilliantly and I would kick off 1 or 2 bands from the bill later in the year. But yeah I was saying last night I actually thought that Sylosis would have been on the Machine Head tour, they would’ve been perfect to open that tour.

Michael: If I could tour with any band? Just because of the pure partying that would go on it’d probably be Motley Crüe. Change that, Motley Crüe but from the late 80s.

Joe: No they calmed down for Dr. Feelgood era, early Motley Crüe. Forget it, even though the music was rubbish at that time that’d be amazing. Just chuck Ozzy Osbourne on, he can be the tour manager or something.

Espy: Final questions, firstly, how do you feel that the internet has affected the music industry over the past few years, especially for smaller acts?

Michael: It makes it a lot more difficult to put it simply.

Joe: Yeah, there seems to be some completely useless bands getting a big break all because of the internet. Then there are other bands that are just not having that luck. It’s hard, until we put an album out and I see that it’s been downloaded 1000s of times I don’t know how it will affect us financially as a band. I mean it has its pros and it has its cons so I don’t know, it’s really hard. Because we’re still so young we don’t really know how it’s affecting us. Youtube and Facebook seem to have done us a world of good.

Michael: Yeah it works in 2 ways. Anyone can have an internet connection; anyone can go on and listen to music. And then also anyone can illegally download, it really does balance out. True fans will always come to the show, buy an album or t-shirt.

Joe: it’s a shame; I feel that people miss out on getting a CD. I love picking up vinyl and I do just love having it. I just think it’s a shame because nowadays you’re getting the song; you’re not getting the package.

 

Espy: And finally, where do you want to be/see yourself being in five years’ time?

Joe: It could go either way.

Michael: Yeah, it’s a long time.

Joe: Hopefully you’re not still here (to Michael). No not dead, hopefully you’ve left by then. [Laughs] That’s definitely a joke. But really I don’t know. Anyone who starts a band and cares wants success and people to just respect and enjoy what they do so that they can keep doing it. I’d love it if I looked five years down the line and we’re doing all the magazines quite a lot, videos are out, couple of albums are out, we’re doing all the big festivals and we’re doing the big tours. I mean, it’d be nice to be doing all of that.

Michael: It’d be good to say we’ve played a gig in every continent, apart from Antarctica.

Joe: Or I could look five years down the line and we don’t talk to each other. That’d be tragic.

Michael: Yeah, but let’s keep optimistic.

Joe: Yeah, hopefully five years down the line it’s going well and people like us.

Espy: That’s it, thanks for the time and have a good show.

Chapters: No problem, thanks for taking an interest in us.

     

About Scott

I'm a fun-loving 18 year old Student from the sunny shores of Scotland! I love almost all kinds of metal and rock and always looking for new bands. A website designer as well as wanting to do journalism, I can be contacted about anything and everything on either Twitter or by Email.

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