Just under 8 weeks before they take Australia by storm with Oh Sleeper on the inaugural No Surrender tour, genre-bending Christian band The Chariot have a chat with us about the tour and their brand new, highly-praised album Long Live.
Hey Josh, this is Jake from Killyourstereo, how you doing?
I’m doing alright man, how’s the weather over there?
Yeah not bad at all, a lot better than it has been lately. Keen for your Australian Tour mate?
Yeah we’ve been trying to get down there for a long time now, we can’t wait to finally see the country and play some shows. I’m hoping we get a chance to see some Kangaroos and eat some of your local food too.
Pretty sweet band to be coming over with as well, you know the Oh Sleeper boys well?
Yeah we’ve done two tours with them and played heaps of off-tour shows and festivals with them. They’re really great dudes and we’re happy to be touring with them again.
You’re actually playing a club show in my home town of Bendigo man, which is about 2 hours out of Melbourne. Are you a fan of the club shows?
Oh cool man. Yeah we enjoy any and all show. The Oh Sleeper Boys were actually telling us that there were 18 shows that were always packed. We couldn’t play an 18 show in America without losing three quarters of the audience. I find it really interesting learning about musical culture in different countries so I’m really keen to come check out the Australian shows.
Let’s talk about your new album Long Live, incredible album by the way. Have you been happy with the reception?
Yeah it’s been really good. We’re playing a lot of the songs live right now and the crowd reaction has been awesome. We’re definitely not a spectator sport, we get everybody involved and that’s what we like to see. I think the songs on Long Live really demand audience participation which is why we love it. The reviews have been really positive as well, so yeah we’re pretty happy.
You ran a contest for the hardcore fans that ended in you naming songs after some of them, you’d have to be the first band to have done that! How did that whole idea come about?
[Laughs] Yeah I’m not aware of any other bands that have anyway. The more we moved on with the record the more grateful and humble we began to feel for what we have. Most bands don’t make it to their 4th record. It really became a massive thankyou record, you know with ‘Long Live’ being the title sort of secretly meaning ‘Long Live The Chariot’, something that’s not possible without all the support we get off our fans. Those 5 names are names of people who just really love our band and support us, so it’s just a massive thankyou.
Have you heard back from any of the fans?
Yeah we’re actually pretty good friends with most of them, three of them we are in regular contact with and they come in to all of our shows free and all that. David De La Hoz lives on the West Coast and we live on the East Coast, but anytime we’re within an 8 hour driving range, he will come out which is awesome. We’ve met all of them and they’re all really cool. The idea was really neat, but it actually put pressure on us when we were writing their songs, always hoping that they would like them!
I’m sure they would have loved them. David even got a video, he’d have to be happy!
Yeah he was beside himself. Really happy.
Mad. Have the guys at Good Fight been looking after you?
Yeah they’re great, they seem to really know the world that we live in. We’ll have some ideas that are really outrageous and they’re always happy to jump on board, and add their own ideas to the mix. When you talk to them, you feel like you’re talking to your friends. They are our friends, not just our record label which is exactly what we need in this band.
If you could say there was a song that inspired you to want to play music, what would it be?
I don’t think I could pinpoint one song, a range of artists have inspired me. I’m a really big James Brown fan, he was a huge performer. His music was great, but watching videos of him performing is so great. It was things like that that made me want to be in a band. Recording is cool, but to be honest we only do that so we can play more shows. It’s really the live scene, the hordes of kids, the sweat, the lights and the loudness. Everything about it seems very organic, a religious experience. Some shows are so fulfilling, there’s nothing else I can compare it to. No drug on earth can replicate the feeling we get when we’re playing live.
Your music is often cited as a love or hate thing and is largely because you do things differently to most bands of similar genres. In a scene that is flooded with generic bands playing recycled riffs, do you take pride in the unique style that you have sculpted?
As an artist, I hate boxes and I hate genres. I don’t even know what metalcore means. We get bored quick, so if we’ve heard something before, we want to write something different. That’s pretty similar with any artist. We’re always trying to do something different, for ourselves. As soon as someone places a label on us like metalcore or math rock, we seek to destroy the boundries that those labels create.
One thing I have always respected about you is that while you are a Christian band, you’ve never been one to force-feed your beliefs on a listener, which doesn’t alienate people of different religion or belief systems. Do bands that force-feed their audience annoy you?
I don’t know if annoy is the right word, to each his own I suppose. I’m a Christian and there’s a reason I’m a Christian. I didn’t grow up in a Christian household or anything like that. It’s something I’ve discovered for myself and it’s a deep, personal thing. To this date, I have been a Christian far less than I have not been a Christian. I know what it’s like to have someone trying to push it upon you. To me, it’s pointless. I never went to a show where a vocalist shoved it down my throat and made me suddenly "see the light".
I feel like bands that do it are coming from a good place and are trying to do a good thing, but it’s not what we’re about. I’m going to write and sing about my experiences, the questions that I’ve had the answers that I’ve found – the tunnel and the light at the end of it.
I feel like bands that try and force their beliefs down people’s throats are doing more harm than good. I know that if it’s not something that’s real for you, there’s no point in me forcing it upon you. We all have different backgrounds and paths that we are travelling down, if we’re introduced to something foreign at the wrong time and in an unnatural way, it’s completely counter-productive. If people dig down into my lyrics, they’ll find out what my experiences have been like for me, if they want to take anything away from that then that’s great too.
We’ve gone way over time, but it’s been an incredible chat mate. Any last comments or shout outs?
I just can’t wait to get down and see Australia man, you mentioned we were coming to your home town yeah? Are you coming along?
Yeah I’m actually the promoter bud, so I’ll catch up with you for sure.
Awesome man, see you in April. Take care.