Interview with Rob Arnold of Chimaira
Band Photo: Chimaira (?)
Chimaira has been a New Wave of American Metal favorite since their conception in 1998. Their fifth album called “The Infection” will be hitting the stores shortly and the band is touring with Disturbed, Lacuna Coil, and Killswitch Engage on the Music as a Weapon 4 tour to promote it. I met with lead guitarist Rob Arnold during their stop in New Orleans, Louisisana, to talk about the buzz behind the new album.
Buick Mckane: Welcome to New Orleans. Have you ever been here before?
Rob Arnold: Many times actually. We’ve been around Bourbon St.
Buick Mckane: So, you’ve got a new album coming out April 21st called “The Infection.” Are you really excited?
Rob: It’s going to be awesome. We look at each album as another chance to try again. Every album we put out, we think it’s our best work, it’s a culmination of everything we’ve been doing all these years, we put everything we’ve got into it. So when we put a record out, we tour on it and see how far we can take it and when that record is done we move on to the next one. We try to fix any mistakes from the past, things like that. We always think it’ll be the best one ever until we see how successful it actually is.
Buick Mckane: What did you try to do differently with this album?
Rob: Well, each album is a different time period, a different set of influences, different things going on in peoples’ lives. We’ve been together for two years longer, we’re better players as individuals. It was anything intentional we tried to go for, but it’s different where our last one was fast and aggressive this one is slower and heavier, and it’s probably more heavy because of the space that we allowed all the instruments to have. It’s got a slower, chuggier, drag-you-through-the-mud feeling that I think people are going to be stoked about.
Buick Mckane: I loved your promotion for this album. Your fans go hang posters advertising the album, they send a picture of it the SpreadTheInfection.com, and they get a sample of a song from the new album in return. Who came up with that?
Rob: I think it was a culmination of our singer Mark and the label brainstorming for a while. It’s cool because street teams came around in the early 2000s. Kids were on a payroll and got paid to promote the shows. But with this, they’re actually passionate fans that love the music and are doing it for free but with incentives like clips of songs or special meet-and-greets. People that love the music are out there spreading the word about the music instead of someone expecting a paycheck. So it’s worked out really well for us. It was a great idea.
Buick Mckane: Do you think that you’ll use this type of promotion for other albums?
Rob: Sure. I’m sure we’ll expand from there. We’re always trying to take advantage of the internet and all of the technology. You know the saying “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
Buick Mckane: Chimaira played the Dubai Desert Rock Festival last month. How did that go?
Rob: First of all, going to the Middle East is something that you worry about. All you hear about is “You’ll be jailed for life for this” or “You’ll be tortured for this.” But it ended up being super cool, it was totally westernized, the food was great, everything was lax, we went on safaris, drove on sand dunes, watched belly dancers. There were 10,000 kids from all surrounding countries that don’t get [any shows] over there until this annual festival so everybody was stocked to see us. It was badass. It’s like being Vegas but by the water.
Buick Mckane: Well, how many songs from the new album can we expect to hear tonight?
Rob: You can expect to hear two.
Buick Mckane: Do you prefer playing small venues or large festivals like the Dubai Desert Rock Fest?
Rob: They all have their pros and cons. A small packed club is totally awesome. But a huge packed fest sucks, so you want to find a happy medium. If you play at a festival that has 50,000 people there, you’re business is getting a ton of advertising, so to speak. There’s that many extra people seeing you, there’s that much more of a chance of making fans. But at the same time it’s cool being in a small club where it’s all your fans there to see you when it’s 800 kids jam-packed in there and they’re super excited to see you.
Buick Mckane: Okay, if we can’t hear more, is there anything else you would like to say?
Rob: Thanks to all fans in NOLA, tell your buddies about us, tell them to tell their buddies about us. Thanks for your patience and support. Our album comes out April 21st. SpreadTheInfection.com.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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