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Claudio Sanchez Coheed And Cambria - Interview
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Coheed And Cambria

Coheed And Cambria are more than just your typical rock band, they have progressive tendencies and a knack for poppy hooks and catchy melodies, along with their well known conceptual stories which has been the basis of their music since the beginning. The band are about to hit Australia for a headline tour so we had a chat to singer/guitarist Claudio Sanchez about the tour as well as becoming a father for the first time and his influences growing up.



Andrew: So hows things with the band at the moment? Are you guys on tour right now?

Claudio: No actually we're home at the moment just off. We just finished a 5 week run in the States and now it's just downtime.

Andrew: I remember talking to Josh (Eppard, drums) about a month and a half ago and he was talking about the U.S. run being a bit of a warm up for the Australian tour so how did that tour go?

Claudio: Oh it went great, it was amazing! We just did what we did and it all worked out, the bands we put on the package were great - Glassjaw, Silver Snakes and The Mighty - and everybody got on really well. There was a lot of new material for us so sometimes there's a bit of a learning curve, certainly at the front end of the tour but everybody came at it strong and I think we did a really good job.

Andrew: With the new material, were some of these the first time being performed?

Claudio: Yeah some of them was the first time we ever performed them. There were a few songs like off of "The Afterman" record that we had never played before that were a bit strange, "The Audience" off "The Color Before The Sun" was pretty new. There were a few of them but for the most part, everything really came together. I think we were all nervous and apprehensive at first but like I said, I think it all really worked out in the end and we had such a good time. I think it really translated for the fans, it was awesome!

Andrew: So the setlist that you did for the U.S. run, will this be the kind of set we can expect on the Australian tour as well?

Claudio: Yeah probably for sure. Pending that there's no curfew or anything like that but for the most part, it will be pretty much the same set.

Andrew: OK cool! Josh was saying that he was pretty excited about coming to Australia, you guys have had some pretty cool runs over here before. How have previous experiences been over here for yourself?

Claudio: I think great! I think the last time we came through was a bit of a surprise because we had such a great reception, a lot of packed rooms so for us it felt really rewarding. So yeah I can see why Josh would say that we're excited, I'm excited to do that again and experience that again. It's so far from where we are to see that it translates in that distance, it's really exciting for us.

Andrew: Yeah we're looking forward to seeing you guys, it's going to be great. You are touring on the back of your latest album "The Color Before The Sun", I know this album is a little bit different for you guys as you steered a little away from the concepts of The Amory Wars and I know you write a lot of the lyrics so what was the inspiration in doing something a bit more different this time around?

Claudio: Well for me it was a product of my living situation at first. My comfort zone of the country home in upstate New York was no longer a part of my reality, I was living in a small apartment in a beautiful neighborhood in Brooklyn called Park Slope. But I'm pretty loud when it comes to creating so it was a little difficult to fall into a comfort zone and so at first I started to kinda get this sense of identity crisis, it started to happen in the music that I was creating was so exposed, it wasn't character driven like some of the other previous stuff. So for me at first I wasn't even sure I was writing a Coheed record because it was so honest and it didn't have the guise or the mask of the concept. And then the fact that my first son Atlas was born, this is my first time being a dad so that was a huge influence, and the destruction of my country home. So all of these events started to kinda transpire and happen that helped sort of guide what the record was going to become. At first I was so perplexed and so confused and then all of these things started to ground me, my wife and I are about to collaborate on a life together which is eye opening and certainly grounded me. And then the idea of my country home getting vandalised and having to man up and fix that and create a solution for that problem, these things started to ground me and started to tell me what the record and the message on the record was to be. So yeah I just decided to leave it alone, I didn't want to cover it up with the concept this time around, I thought I would let it speak for itself.

Andrew: So it's on a much more personal level this time around then.

Claudio: Yeah I would say so. I mean granted that being said, all the Coheed records come from a very personal place. It's just that for me at those points in my life, I didn't feel comfortable with myself to let my story speak for itself. It's why I created the concept as a mask, something to hide behind but now at 37 years old I'm pretty comfortable with where I'm at. And again all of these really big moments in my life, I just thought I would attribute them and allow them to be in the spotlight rather than just cover them up with a piece of fiction.

Andrew: Well speaking of being a father, how has it been and how are you dealing with that? How has it been affecting your involvement with the band so to speak?

Claudio: You know, it hasn't affected it all that much. At first thinking about it before, I can see how it can become problematic like my life on the road with this person that needs me. Before it happened I started to contemplate what kind of dad I was going to be and the inevitability of having to leave him for the road, I started to think it was going to be hard obviously and it still is but for the most part, I go out on the road and I do what I do for him and to provide a life that maybe I didn't have. Don't get me wrong, my upbringing was fine but I'm just saying I'm here to do what I do for him so it's not that difficult.

Andrew: Well I just became a father myself about a year and a half ago so I kinda relate to how you are thinking and how it's changed a few things in your life. It's a very cool thing to become a father for the first time isn't it?

Claudio: Oh absolutely and congratulations! Yeah man it's great! I'm walking around the neighborhood right now, my wife is strolling Atlas and he will be about 2 years old in 2 months. But I'm lucky, I get to be home 24 hours of the day, I get to be with him all day and not a lot of people get that luxury and I get that so for me to kinda sit back and be disappointed by that, I shouldn't be. Like I said I'm in a lucky position so when I'm home, I just try to utilise all of my time and spend it with him.

Andrew: Going back to the beginning of your career, how did you get into music in the first place? Why did you decide to become a singer?

Claudio: It was kind of an accident I guess. When I first got into music I was 13 years old and I met this fella who I am still friends with to this day and he had a Cinderella t-shirt on, I had a Def Leppard Hysteria shirt on and that was our friendship. And he asked me if I wanted to play in a band and I didn't really know what that entailed and so I gave it a shot and we learned together and that was pretty much the seeds of me wanting to do this for a living. Just friendship, meeting somebody that had a common interest and we decided to take a jump into this thing unknowingly and something happened, so that was about it.

Andrew: Was there anyone in particular that influenced you a lot as far as your vocal delivery and your performances?

Claudio: I think for me, when I got into playing music I was more of a guitar player. I wasn't really writing songs from a singer sort of perspective, it was always just riffs and things like that. When I was a kid listening to music, I found I really liked Sting, that was one thing my Mother and Father listened to a lot and I just tended to sing along to that. Another was Michael Jackson and Cindi Lauper, a lot of pop music from the 80's so that was really my first approach to lyrics and melody because other than that, I would always just listen to music for guitar playing because that was my role in the band that I played in for so long.

Andrew: What about guitar players then? Anyone in particular that hooked you into playing a certain style?

Claudio: Yeah I definitely think Jimmy Hendrix is one and not so much that I play like him but just in terms of his theatrics, it's certainly something that I have tried to incorporate into my presence live. Andy Summers of The Police is another that I find that a lot of my parts sort of mimic the sounds of that band, David Gilmour's leads of Pink Floyd, just stuff like that. I think those would probably be the 3 guitar players for sure.

Andrew: Do you have any last words for the Aussie fans before you come to our shores next month?

Claudio: I'm just really excited, I can't wait to just have a good time there. If you are on the fence about coming to the show, get off the fence and come to the show. I don't know [laughs], that was so bad for like the last words! But I'm just excited like Josh as you said earlier, the last time we were over, we had such a good time so I'm excited to do it again.

Andrew: Thanks for your time today and we will see you in May!

Claudio: OK you got it!


Thursday 5th May - The Metro, Sydney
Friday 6th May - Max Watt's Melbourne
Tuesday 10th May - Max Watt's Brisbane
Wednesday 11th May - The Gov, Adelaide
Friday 13th May - Capitol, Perth

Tickets and tour details can be found at Taper Jean Music.

Check out our other interview with Josh Eppard HERE.

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on April 20th 2016