An Interview with Daniel Corchado of The Chasm
Interviewed by MetalGeorge
In the days where pre-processed, American-ized Death Metal is the latest flavour, Mexico?s The Chasm stand as a royally raised middle finger of old school metal pride. With a sound that both hearkens back to such deathrash classics as ?Seven Churches? as much as it does modern dark metal savagery, The Chasm and their latest and greatest longplayer, ?The Spell of Retribution? are taking no prisoners and turning more than a few heads. The band?s also gigging right now alongside Incantation, Arsis, and more, so read on and acquaint yourself with one of the underground?s most underrated acts.
Hailz brother, and congratu-fuckin-lations on this monster album! It has totally been worth the wait! How does it feel to be back, and to have this album finally released? Please fill us in on the latest happenings in The Chasm camp!
Hail George, great to be doing this for int. Thanx for your comments about the spell, it really feels good to have been able to release another chapter, this time with a much improved production, as well as a more destructive composition. At the moment we are very busy doing interviews and spreading the word about the album?
Ok, right from the first note, I was immediately hooked on “The Spell of Retribution”! Very few bands write memorable and meaningful intros, but “From the Curse, a Scourge…” just grabs you by the throat and gets you ready for the hour of metal to follow! Was this what you were going for?
Yes, indeed? we cannot stop to try to have this feeling of total heaviness since the start of the albums. It is like a tradition, a ritual?we are still so hooked by classics [such] as ?Hell Awaits?, ?Maximum Destruction?, ?Killers? , etc.. I guess that?s why we do these songs/intros, to get that same feeling as the masters that once [taught] us. [We want something] unique, obviously?always putting our own sounds and style?
It’s always a tough proposition trying to describe The Chasm to someone, because your just an all encompassing METAL band. There’s no sub–genres or trends to worry about, The Chasm just combines everything great and cult about HEAVY METAL and unleashes it in an honest and intense way. When I’ve had to, however, I’ve been describing “The Spell of Retribution” as a Death Metal version of Dissection’s “The Somberlain” for 2004, in the way that it possesses this dark, mystical vibe that the best of Black and Death Metal possesses, when performed correctly. What do you think of this?
Well, I agree with you in the fact that we are not limited to one ?style? of metal, so to speak. We have been into this for a long time, and we definitely know what it means to create music with power and feeling, but also with obscurity and menacing force. To us it?s just the way we do our thing. We are very inspired by all forms of Heavy/Death/Thrash/Black metal from the early years, the originators, but as time has passed by, we have been able to develop a style of our own, keeping the tradition in mind, but playing a very twisted kind of sound. We don?t want to live or revive the past, we are in the 21st century, but the essence of this form of music must be true, honest, and obscure no matter what year we are?
Indeed, I sense an even more cryptic, darker vibe to these songs than I think I’ve ever heard from a Chasm release. I think one could kind of tell you were going from listening to the last ep, but on “Spell?” this feeling is even more up front. What was the writing process like for the songs that were to become “The Spell of Retribution”? How old are these, and did they undergo many changes over time?
They are not that old, they were all created in 2003. Before we signed the WW deal we had like 2 ?skeletons? of songs. I think that when we knew we had the deal secure, some kind of weight was taken off our shoulders, and that helped to make the process smoother and at some degree, faster. We were just so focused on creating songs, we were not worried about recording budget, or promotion/distro, etc? We knew we just had to create our most crushing album to date. We usually think the same every time we do new songs, but this time the level of inspiration was higher, as well as the feeling to come up with something more memorable. At least for us, that is the way we see it, and I think we accomplished it.
Is there any way Chasm song generally comes together, and did it differ at all this time around? Are you guys a close-knit group that practices and collaborates often, or does any one member come to the band with a finished song?
Julio and I always come up with riffs, and the 3 of us start doing the arrangements. We usually don?t have a plan when we start a song, I think it is better to let them flow and see what kind of direction they take. Once they are finished, we do final details, but I gotta say that for this album I had ?pre-planned? songs like ?The Eclipse? and ?Retribution of the Lost Years?, I knew and wanted to do this more kinda epic/long constructed songs?
The production here is the best I’ve heard for The Chasm, it clearly captures your sound without possessing that overproduced, soulless digital/triggered sound that so many bands go for these days. The song “Conqueror and Warlord”, for example has these crushing triplet riffs that sound even more powerful given the fact that it sounds like the BAND is playing them, not a machine. Was this what you were going for with the sound? Where did you go, and how long and comfortable were the sessions?
That was definitely the plan, to record something different to what is going on in the ?scene? these days, not only musically but also production-wise. Yes, we recorded on digital, but the process and technique was done in the most traditional, simple way possible. The only time we used triggers was for the kicks, everything else was captured with microphones, no processor or shit like that were used. I also agree that this is the best production we [have] had so far. The studio where we did it (Soto sound) is top notch, very high quality equipment. That was something that really helped a lot, and also we didn?t have to worry about the recording budget, since we had enough to complete our project. Also, the decision that we made about me mixing and producing the album helped a lot in achieving the desired sound. The sessions were, in the beginning, very smooth. As time went by [however}, we found ourselves working really hard to do our best. We were all by ourselves, pushing each other. As you said, there are some riffs in the album that are not really simple to play, and we knew that we had to do it right, without computer tricks. Do it the real, metal way?.
The Chasm has always held high the torch for the founding fathers of metal who came before. Do you feel this reverence is lost a little bit these days, and do you think there’s much hope for the youth getting into metalnowadays to look back and rediscover all of the great music that’s inspired their newest heroes?
I really don?t know, it is hard to say. There are so many new bands that had nothing to do with the real spirit and meaning of the true masters, and they call themselves Metal…it is so fuckin? pathetic. The problem is that this music is selling a lot, and kids are getting very into it. I guess for them it is something very new and shocking, which I understand, they are very young?.Anyway, we really do not care what?s going on, even if we are on a bigger label. Our essence and heart belongs to the underground ways. Our music shows it, our spirit will always be there. We do our thing and we just care about those who feel the same way we do?
This reverence has always dripped from every note The Chasm has played, and is especially strong on “The Spell of Retribution” more than ever. Who were your idols growing up, who made you want to scream your ass off and destroy the guitar? At the same time, what do you seek to bring to the table originality-wise with The Chasm? I mean, these dark chord progressions and open, backwards open chords are very unique and haunting sounding!
That is great man, to see that you really got the atmosphere of the songs. We know we are not rewriting the book. We are not trying to be the most original band in the world, but we do care about writing music that is real and sticks to the rules of real metal, as well as real personality. It would be useless for us to try to be ?retro? or just a copycat of the ancient masters. At this point we are old enough to know what we want and what we are. This music is about power, darkness, rebellion, creativity, revenge, glory and victory. That is the way I saw it back in the day when I was growing up, and I think we are still able to create this feelings, but in our own way. As long as we feel this way of life, we?ll keep doing it, but getting more personal and twisted and bizarre and destructive, at least in our ears?
A song like “Retribution of the Lost Years” has this mournful tone to it. It stands out from the rest of the songs with this dynamic. Is strong, memorable songwriting with dynamics like this important to the band? Having these songs with a lot of changes and riffs, but riffs that have meaning and purpose, this cohesion that ties it all together as a song?
Yes, it is very important. Our music is very ?headbangable?, it has to be, but it also gives us a journey to a different plane. We are painting pictures of death with our songs. [It] is somehow like a movie or a book, and in order to be successful, we have to do a variety of textures and layers, of dynamics and simplicity. When all is mixed and balanced they have to give us this utter sense of power and strength. If we feel it, that song is completed. Yes, this is Death Metal, but that doesn?t mean that it doesn?t have passion, essence and brains?
Again, a lot of songs have this epic feel to them. They all go through many mood changes and shifts, often running past the 6/7 minute mark. Was this something that was planned out, or did it just happen that way?
I will say it was like half and half when we started doing the album. I thought about doing something a little over the top for The Chasm, to take another step. On the other hand [though], that?s also the way the songs took shape. We created ?em and they were long, but it didn?t feel long for us. They were flowing very [well], with strong atmosphere. We were satisfied, so they stayed like that. In order to create something special, and a whole journey/story, things like this have to be done. Also, a lot of albums this days are losing that epic/long touch. Personally, I really adore epics, not only in music, but in every form of art, so I guess that also reflects in ?The Spell?.
There is also lots of tasteful and great lead guitar work here. Do you feel that having a guitar solo being a meaningful part of the song is something that some bands have forgotten over time?
Definitely. A solo has to have something to say, to contribute, to make the song better and more meaningful. It doesn?t matter if it?s a chaotic or melodic one, if it?s used correctly, I think the results are very fulfilling?
After all of the label trauma The Chasm has dealt with, how does it feel to be on Earache with a solid deal? How have they been to the band so far, and how many records do you have for them?
I think it is something that gives us hope and strength. Yes, it has been a long journey full of bumps and bad experiences, as well as some very good ones, but I think that we have finally accomplished something. It?s rewarding to see that our crusade, the fact that we stick to our guns, our style and our conviction, has taken us to a better situation. The main goal for us was to get a good strong production, and to have real promotion and distribution. That has been accomplished. WW is doing a great job with ?The Spell?, we cannot complain. The deal is for this album, plus 3 options. I guess if the sales are good enough, they?ll keep us there for a while, which it won?t hurt at all?
How involved are you in the underground these days? I know the label Lux Inframundis, still exists, correct? How much importance do you place on the existence of ug zines and labels keeping the DIY spirit alive?
It is of crucial importance, but sometimes I think that some people out there just try to do it to be cool, they don?t really feel it. Of course not everyone, but it seems that sometimes to be ?underground? is the cool thing to be, fuck?Whatever people do, if it really comes from the heart, if they do it ?coz they really believe in it, is respected. It is hard to be involved in the ug this days, as compared to some years ago, it?s just not the same. I keep as many contacts/friends as possible, as well as to spread our music, etc, but we are older now, we don?t have the time to do the same things we did 10 years ago regarding the underground involvement. I think that as long as we keep doing The Chasm, our spirit in the UG ways will always be present. It is something that you just don?t get rid of, it is an essence that you carry on inside, it is part of ourselves?
What’s the live situation looking like for the Chasm? Any plans for a US tour or a trip to Europe?
We are actually planning it. It is definitely something that we want to do, but since this is gonna be our first tour, we have to do it right. It also depends on the sales and response from the people. If WW sees a good reaction, I?m sure they won?t have any problem giving us tour support, something is gonna happen in 2005, that is for sure?
What’s next for The Chasm? Please fill us in!
As mentioned, we hope to tour as much as possible next year. If this doesn?t happen, we?ll start working on new songs as soon as possible, so many things can happen and interfere in our plans, but we?ll try to continue the fight no matter what?
Ok man, THANKS a lot for doing this, and for keeping the flame burning! Best of luck, and take care! Last words are yours, my friend! HAIL!
Thanx George for supporting our crusade as well as the real Ones. Good luck and hopefully we?ll see the deathcultmongers on the road on 2005?