【telephone / interview】COAL CHAMBER
Following a 13-year hiatus, nu-metal foursome COAL CHAMBER have returned ! The band will indeed release highly anticipated upcoming album, Rivals, on May 19, 2015. Frontman Dez Fafara went on to reach superstardom with DEVILDRIVER, but there`s nothing like old love : Rivals is COAL CHAMBER’s fourth album and has been produced by Mark Lewis (DEVILDRIVER, CANNIBAL CORPSE). For the occasion of their coming-back, we spoke on the phone with bass player, Nadja Peulen.
After such a long break, people usually have high standards concerning band-reforming and new album releasing. Did it have an impact whatsoever on the recording of the album ?
Nadja : No, I don’t think so (laughs). We just got back together because we wanted to. We were just jamming together and writing songs in the rehearsal room, it came out that way. Very naturally. We never really considered what impact it would have on people. We never talked about what they would think about us reforming. We were gone for 13 years, and people were either going to be there for us or not. We just focused on music. Whatever came out of it, it came out naturally. You know, at the end of the day, making music is a very personal experience. It comes out the way it does. You can’t force it. You do it for yourself, well as far as we are concerned. If people like it, it’s great. If people don’t, too bad. We’re very happy about the result !
What was it like coming back together after all those years, on a personal level ?
Nadja : At the begining I wasn’t sure how it would feel like. But the minute we went to the rehearsal room, it was like the old days, you know. That was unbelievable ! It felt like it was yesterday. I’ve known these guys for nearly 20 years. We have been seeing each other in between those years of hiatus. We hang out at the same places sometimes. So it didn’t feel weird to go back together. They are my friends, I know how they work and how they play. It wasn’t entering into the unknown at all. We are very comfortable being and playing with each other. It felt like we never stopped (laughs). I’m stocked for what’s ahead.
Every one of you must have changed a lot though. How’s your working process evolved ?
Nadja : I don’t think it changed. I don’t think it did. It’s just been a very easy record to make. We didn’t expect it to be that easy, really. It went very smoothly. It just clicked right away, just like it did before. That was surprising actually that it came along with so much easiness and simplicity after all those years. That was a great surprise (laughs) ! We locked ourselves in a room, we would throw ideas back and forth to each other, and that’s how it came together. It was a democratic process. It has always been a democratic process when it comes to COAL CHAMBER. I think we did a great job. We were all of us free to do what we wanted to and I think you can feel it within the album. We didn’t record with a click track, there are ebbs and flows. Everything was flowing. It clicked right away like I said, so I guess that was meant to be. With 13 years, the music has changed, we are different. We are more experienced, more matured, so must be the music and so must be its making. We just branched out.
How different is Rivals compared to the last album, Dark Days, released in 2002 ?
Nadja : The whole vibe is very different. Rivals is way more aggressive and in-your-face ! Don’t expect a throwback record. Nothing was copied and pasted. It’s not gonna sound like a throwback record. It’s us moving forward. I don’t know how our sound has evolved. I don’t want to say much about it, I really hope people will have their own point-of-view on the matter (laughs).
The album was produced by Mark Lewis (DEVILDRIVER, CHIMAIRA). What effect were you looking for from this collaboration ?
Nadja : I don’t know what we were looking for in the first place but we did get what we needed in the end. Mike is a great guy, a great producer. He already worked with Dez for DEVILDRIVER, so we trusted him, we trusted in what he could do. Mike is very good at what he does ! He knew what we needed. It was a fun collaboration. I loved to work with him and would love to renew the experience in the future, anytime.
What lies behind the title and artwork ? Is there any the concept ?
Nadja : Hum… That is definitely something Dez would have to explain. He came-up, obviously, with the lyrics and Rivals is one of the songs. He is better placed to talk about it. I think the whole album is about expelling demons and getting rid of negative influences in and around your life. But Dez would explain it better and in further details. I’m sorry. I can’t tell you more about it.
What has been the biggest challenge of this album ?
Nadja : It didn’t have any. Really ! I recorded my part within three days, you know. Three days and that was it ! It was a great collaboration. Everything went smoothly and very, very quickly. The challenge is probably about to come though (laughs). I’m sure, it’s waiting for us. The challenge will probably be about how it’s going to be perceived by the fans. It’s ahead of us, not behind.
As a female musician, what advances or setbacks have you seen regarding women in the industry since you first began ? Do you find that the playing field has leveled out ?
Nadja : Yes and no. There are definitely more females in the music industry compared to 1999, which is a very good thing, but I think it still is a man’s world. It takes a very strong woman to live in this environement. I hope there will be more of us in the future. The more diverse, the better. I don’t think the playing field leveled out… I hope I’ll get to see that ! What I would advice to any girl who is reading this interview is – : « Play as much as you can ! Be authentic, do what you believe in and go for it, don’t let anybody get you down. EVER ! Don’t let anybody tell you different ! »
Will we see you in France soon ?
Nadja : We are going to hit the road to Europe in a couple of weeks. We won’t stop in France for this tour, due to scheduling issues but we will eventually very soon. For my own selfish reasons (laughs) ! I’d love to play in your country so please, be patient. You will definitely get to see us in France.