The Chariot

Interview: The Chariot – Josh Scogin

With the release of ‘Long Live’ back in 2010, The Chariot are now performing their final tour dates in support of the record before they enter the studio in May 2012. I had the opportunity to catch up with frontman Josh Scogin to talk about the next album, his other projects, working with Matt Goldman, his dream journal and why he wants to work with Billy Corgan.

The Chariot – The City

EspyRock: I know this isn’t the first time you have performed alongside Norma Jean but does it ever feel weird when you tour with them considering you were a founding member of that band?

Josh Scogin: No not really. We’ve toured together a few times now and we’re all great friends. We still continue to hang out and things so it is great.

I had wondered because when you announced on Twitter that you would be supporting them on this tour, the way that you worded one of the tweets sort of led me to think that you were unsure about it but then I found out you had performed with them before. It’s good to hear that there is still a good friendship with them and that you won’t be out for each other’s blood.

[Laughs] It’s actually awesome because I’ve know some of these dudes since I was in middle school. We have a lot of jokes that go away back and we just enjoy each other’s company.

I think the question on everyone’s mind is will you repeat what you did last year and get on stage to perform with them once again?

Yeah I might sing a couple of songs with them over the tour.

Are we going to see anything tonight?

Yeah, well, probably, you know [laughs].

Is that a wink wink nudge nudge?

[Laughs] You’ll just need to wait and see. Don’t want you going on Twitter and spreading the word.

Have you been a fan of what they have released over the last seven years?

Oh yes, I love their albums. I think as they release records – I think ‘Redeemer’ is one my favourite records in the Norma Jean catalogue, even with ‘Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child’ being there but the latest one they released, ‘Meridional,’ is awesome too. I think some people expect that once a member leaves any band that they will instantly despise what do after them. Norma Jean have released some incredible material since I left and I’m just as much a fan of theirs now as I was of the music I created with them. I still get to on stage with them every now and then and perform a song so it cannot get any better for me at the moment.

That’s great to hear.

Yeah man, I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way right now.

You’re probably going to hate me for going into this topic as you talk about it a lot and that is your live show, but what I’m more interested in is your mind-set. You have one of the most action packed and intense live shows I’ve ever seen but do you have to physically get yourself in a zone before going out on stage? If you’re coming into a show on a bad day do you need to get yourself in the mood or is it natural, the music just flicks a switch and you’re on?

The live show is therapeutic in a way. I may actually have that bad day and my head isn’t with it, but the thought of going on the stage and playing that live show is just the perfect treatment. Being able to go up there and just let it all out also keeps us grounded off stage. In terms of putting myself into a mind-set, there is no real process. I like to make sure that I see every band before us perform and that way I can work out what the crowd is going to be like and it keeps me on my toes. Being able to study our audience beforehand means that we can swap in songs or take things out to make sure we give those people a show that they won’t forget but at the same time we never want to perform the same show. Even if we do stick to the same songs, that knowledge of our crowd means that we can go out there and put on a show that is fitting for us and them and at the same time we’re performing the set in a way that we never have before. I’d hate for us to go out on stage and perform last night’s show or to go on and perform tomorrow night’s show, I don’t want to copy the same thing over and over so being able to know my audience is really all I need to go out there and give them something incredible.

Josh ScoginHave you ever been in the situation were the crowd has been full of energy but by the time you go on stage the momentum has been killed and you need to change your game plan to get them back into it?

Oh yeah of course. It has become a little easier now that we’ve been around for so long but there’s still the odd night when we are on tour with a band who are much bigger than us and obviously the fans don’t care about us, they just want to see who is on after us. I try to make every show the best possible show it can be and I do that best by understanding who my crowd are but sometimes at those shows, no matter how much time you invest in making it great for them, they just might not be on your level. A lot of bands blame the crowd for poor shows, “ah the crowd had no energy” and all this, but I feel like we’re supposed to start that, we’re supposed to get that crowd moving. We enjoy our songs and we write songs that will push and motivate us whether the crowd is into or not. You hope that the feeling you have can be translated over the barrier and into the crowd but if not, I still have fun playing that song no matter what. Of course it is better when the crowd is into it and the energy is there but no matter what, if you enjoy the material you are performing then the crowd shouldn’t ruin it for you. We try to make every night the most it can be regardless of our surroundings but these bands who complain only have one set way of performing. They go out every night and they perform the same songs in the same way and as soon as a crowd is different, all of a sudden they are thrown off and they have no idea what to do. You just never know what to expect. Sometimes it can be magical when you catch an eye of someone in the crowd and you know it’s working but on the nights it’s a train wreck and it doesn’t go over well, we can still say to the crowd that was their show, we’ve just given you a performance that we’ve never put on before and it was for you and only you.

What do you think about the view of certain people who believe a hardcore show is more of a gimmick than anything else?

I think it can be. We’re not one of these bands who say to each other “okay tonight we need to go fucking nuts,” it’s just a natural overflow from the music we write, our beliefs and where we all come from. When you are passionate about something, I wouldn’t know how to stand still. We’re certainly not a gimmick but I do know bands that talk it up beforehand and say all that crap like “we must go bonkers tonight.” It’s just silly. If your live show is not going to be natural then what’s the point. Why go on and do a scripted show every night that fans will eventually see right through. You will suffer in the long run.

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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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