Chimaira has always been one of the most hardest working bands in metal, seemingly on an endless cycle of writing, recording, then touring non-stop in the 10 years they have been together. Within weeks of releasing their 5th studio album entitled "The Infection" (out on April 21st), Chimaira hit the road on the 4th installment fo the "Music As A Weapon" tour; along with Disturbed, Killswitch Engage and Lacuna Coil. On March 25th, Sonic Excess had a chance to catch up with guitarist Matt DeVries just a few hours before they where scheduled to hit the stage and blow the roof on the place.
SE: So Chimaira is only three dates into the tour, but how is it going so far?
MATT: So far, so good. This is probably our biggest stage tour we have ever done, so we are nothing but excited. It's cool being on tour. Lucuna Coil and Killswitch Engage are friends we have toured with before and Disturbed are good friends too. A couple of those guys we had met along the way at festivals and played Ozzfest with them, so it�s like a tight unity. It seems really cool, and they are being really nice to us.
SE: That is pretty cool. So no internal squabbling or people sabotaging one another's sets?
MATT: No big rock star egos, which is awesome. You never know what to expect.
SE: Now Chimaira is set to release �The Infection� April 21st. How does "The Infection" measure up to your previous four releases? How would you compare them?
MATT: Without sounding cliche, I think it is our best work to date. I think it�s our most honest work to date. Basically we sat down and jammed and wrote a record that we love. I think it�s a lot different. Everyone�s been asking why the difference, but it�s close enough to Chimaira, obviously where it�s off, but a little more mid-tone and dark feeling; which is just actually what came out. So we're really proud of it.
SE: So lyrically themed, is it on the same track?
MATT: Yeah, it kind of goes along with the title �The Infection�. Mark was writing what has been bothering him throughout the years, a release of all the infection, or whatever's inside of you, throwing it down just to get it off his chest. Kind of added to the dark theme of it.
SE: Your first single, �Secrets of the Dead� has been getting a great reception. Would you say that it is an accurate introduction to the album?
MATT: Yeah, I think that record kind of shows all sides of the record, going too know? It has got some mid tempo, but also some fast parts to it. It was hard on this record, which is a good thing. We did not know what song to release, or what song was going to be a quote/unquote single because we like all the songs. So that was pretty cool. We just decided on that one because we just pumped on it.
SE: Are you guys gonna make a video out of one of the singles?
MATT: Yeah, we actually just filmed a video right before this tour for �Destroy and Dominate�. So we kind of wanted to release a song, and then also release another song and video, just to give more out to the fans before it comes out. Should be done with edits this week.
SE: Dose Chimaira have a concept behind the video?
MATT: I haven't seen an initial edit, but I know he did a lot of concept to it, there was a lot of performance in it too. As for the performance part, it is more of us doing what we do. Like kind of jamming in our rehearsal space with crazy lighting and some crazy different visuals. It�s straightforward. Just us doing what we do. I am excited to see what kind of visuals he�s going to add to it.
SE: So when can we expect that to premier?
MATT: It should, if everything goes well, in the next couple weeks. We're going to try to release it online, but not sure with who yet.
SE: Chimaira released bits and pieces of the album cover till it was revealed. Pretty interesting idea. What is the meaning behind the logo?
MATT: Not much besides this is the first time we have been giving more stuff sooner to our fans. We have www.spreadtheinfection.com, kind of like our underground street team where kids are helping out. To repay them, we give them snippets of videos and snippets of new songs. They are helping us out, we help them out. We've always felt that we�re intimate with our fans, so we wanted to do the same for the cover. Just kind of tease them a little, then show them.
SE: That is pretty cool. It�s a good idea too.
MATT: It was fun, ya know?
SE: You just came out with an ESP signature series guitar, congrats on that, the FMA- 600. Is that an exact replica?
MATT: It is almost exact to the tee. Just a little bit lower end, as far as hardware. We are playing �Destroy and Dominate� on this tour, and I use it on the B-tuning the song is in and it�s exact. It�s great. They did a fantastic job. Everything was done from scratch. It�s as exact, or as close, to my custom as it could be for a lower end.
SE: Now is that what you play with? Is that your entire series, just different tuned?
MATT: Yeah, yeah. Just the 600 with different tunings, that's all.
SE: That's definitely cool. Is that a big highlight for you?
MATT: It is. I never thought that when i was a kid and looking up to artists that I worshipped, and they have their own signature, that you had have one too. It was cool. I was stoked when I saw our first signature guitar pic's, when we got those. Real cool thing.
SE: How long have you been playing guitar?
MATT: Since I was 14, so 17-18 years now.
SE: So you grew up with a lot of influences like Metallica and Slayer?
SE: You still listening to the same thing, or has your music taste changed?
MATT: Oh yeah. I mean I listen to some newer bands here and there, but yeah I still listen to Metallica. I love Metallica. I still listen to Slayer and Pantera, all the bands I grew up following.
SE: So who else would you like to tour with that you haven't?
MATT: We have been lucky enough to tour with a lot of bands that we always wanted to. Metallica, I guess, would be the only one that we haven't that we want to. We played like one festival with them in Europe. We have toured with Machine Head, Slipknot, now Disturbed, Korn; a lot of the big bands. It�s obviously one of the highlights.
SE: Speaking of festivals, you guys just played the "Dubai Rock Festival". What was that like? That must have been an experience.
MATT: It was awesome. It was one of the best places we have been to. We got to do everything from riding quads in the sand to sandboarding to riding camels. So, besides the festivals, we got entertained. Just a beautiful place. It�s huge. It makes the Chicago skyline look like Cleveland. It�s massive. Real cool architecture. Everything�s new and clean. The festival itself was about 8,000 kids. We didn't know what to expect, if they would know us, but everyone was singing along to almost every song. So it was surreal.
SE: That was also where you guys debuted �Destroy and Dominate�, right?
MATT: Yeah, that was the first time.
SE: How has the crowd reaction been going over with the couple of the new songs Chimaira have been playing live?
MATT: Real good, for sure.Our fans seem to be digging it, which makes us real happy.
SE: Now after this wraps up, I�m sure you guys have so much touring to do, but just nothing in the books yet?Will Chimaira have any festival appearances?
MATT: We are looking to go to Europe right after this tour. They're booking it as we speak, so we'll find out and start announcing it soon.
SE: Do you have any plans on doing some headlining dates?
MATT: For sure. Just not sure when yet.
SE: Too far ahead?
MATT: States and Europe, we just don�t know when.
SE: How do you want Chimaira to be remembered?
MATT: Just as a band that was really honest to themselves that played what we wanted to play. Good heavy music that made our fans happy.
SE: Any last words for your fans? Any thoughts on the new album you want to put out there?
MATT: Just thank you, and on April 21st go out and buy "The Infection". We appreciate the support.
Photos and Interview by: Brandon Marshall
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