M. Reinhart of the Examiner.com conducted an interview with Mark Hunter of Chimaira. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Examiner.com: You have a new album out called “The Infection”, what was the reason you chose this title?
Mark: I used the word infection to sum up the whole album. Basically, I felt like a couple years after releasing the “Resurrection” album that I was infected with negativity, so the whole album is like depicting a story line of everything I was going through and a cleansing of it all. It’s just a giant metaphor for all of that.
Examiner.com: In your career you have had the chance to tour with some really great bands, is there any one particular band that you haven’t toured with that you would really like too?
Mark: Without a doubt, METALLICA. They are definitely the band that we are influenced by the most. We have modeled a good portion of our career after them. Growing up and watching their videos and listening to their music, watching the DVDs they have put out, they are a very influential band. We had the opportunity to play with them once, at least you can mark that off of the bucket list, but to tour with them would be amazing. I’m not sure we are even on their radar but they would be the band definitely, they are the only one left.
Examiner.com: What do you prefer to play, the smaller clubs or the big festivals?
Mark: We like to mix it up; we do a little bit of everything. I don’t really have a preference. I think that there is something fluid about doing a big arena show or festival, everything is just perfect. You walk out and you have all the room that you need, as many fans as you could want, they’re as far as the eye can see, and it is just a seamless performance. The energy from a small club show, and the intimacy, and the danger of not knowing what is coming around the corner at any minute is just as exciting and exhilarating. Like I said, I don’t really have a preference. There is a great quote, I’m probably going to mess this up but it goes something like, “Anytime, anywhere, anyplace, for anybody, for any amount of money.” That’s what it is like.
Examiner.com: How is the current tour with HATEBREED going so far?
Mark: It has been a great time. We have wanted to tour with HATEBREED now for about 8 or 9 years and we have now finally gotten the opportunity to go out this time around. We have known them forever; we both started coming up around the same time. They actually had a few years head start on us, but they are an inspiring band. I think that I came into this tour like, “Well, we are a great band, they are a great band, and the shows are going to be good.” I don’t think I grasped how great of a band they truly are until watching them every night. Seeing how they just got something special and that we have a few years until we are at that status is something to look forward to. It was really humbling as well.
Examiner.com: I consider you one of the bands that really saved my love of metal, right before you came out it seemed as though each new popular metal band that came out they put another nail in the coffin, then you and HATEBREED and the new wave of American heavy metal seemed to save the genre and made me and many like me want to go back out there and get into the pit again.
Mark: That is fuel for the fire for the music that we wrote. Unfortunately, I am not really all that stoked on new stuff. The anger of that just keeps fueling inspiration to write better music and smoke all of these new bands. I like writing music more than anything and like I said someone needs to just come out doing something brand new and completely different. A lot of bands are just trying to copy what’s going on right now. So you will have a band like WINDS OF PLAGUE, who we are on tour with, and there is a new band forming right now that is trying to sound just like WINDS OF PLAGUE. WINDS OF PLAGUE are a newer band and they may not be my favorite band but I certainly do not hate what they are doing. I respect what they are doing, I just stopped liking metal halfway anyway; unless it came out in 2005 or before I just don’t care anymore. What I’m trying to say is that a new band will try to sound like WINDS OF PLAGUE, or try to sound like us, or try to sound like any of the bands on this tour instead of trying to sound like something different. When we came out, we weren’t trying to sound like one popular band. Someone will hand me a demo and I will be like, “Is this the band we are touring with? I don’t know?” That is a problem and that doesn’t do anything for the genre; it hurts it, in my opinion. They need to get out of the box and not worry about what’s cool right now. We find inspiration from some newer music. There is a new band WHITECHAPEL and I love the production on their album and that’s what led us to work with Zeuss. Musically I didn’t hear anything that I was influenced by but I am coming from different places. I love to listen to LED ZEPPELIN, or even crazy shit like KANYE WEST. People are like, “What? How do you get KANYE WEST out of your music?” and I’m like, “Here, I’ll show you.” It doesn’t just have to be a popular metal band right now, you can find inspiration from anything, and you just got to try to. We didn’t reinvent the wheel by any means but we definitely have our own sound, and that is not being egotistical, it’s being realistic. You can hear where our roots are from, but not nearly as prominent how they wear it on their sleeve in this day and age. It’s all the same. Who can write the best breakdown? Who can write the best song? None of you, and that’s the problem.
Examiner.com: What I think makes a great band carry on, and one of the reasons I will follow a band like you is that every time you release an album, you can tell its CHIMAIRA, but you just approach it in a different way. If you put all your albums in a CD player and hit random not only will you be able to say ‘That’s CHIMAIRA.” but you can say it’s from this album from the style of the song.
Mark: That’s one of my problems. Someone will hand me twelve new bands and its like ‘Who is who?”
Examiner.com: There aren’t a lot of other bands you can say that about, NINE INCH NAILS comes to mind.
Mark: NAILS is a huge influence on us. I also hate coming across like I’m dissing the new blood. Maybe I’m just getting frustrated, or maybe I’m just getting old, and I am certainly willing to accept that. But I do follow a lot of hip hop and that genre in constantly changing, and evolving in my opinion. I have not seen metal evolve. SLIPKNOT was an evolution. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, LAMB OF GOD, they are all different bands that are a part of the evolution of metal. I lump us into that tear. All our bands came out at around the same time but we all sound discernibly different. SHADOWS FALL, us, whoever, but then the new breed is this deathcore thing. Which okay, they sound a little different from each other but now in 2008 and 2009 all these bands coming out, it’s like “Who the fuck is this shit?”
Read the entire interview from Examiner.com.