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10 Quick Ones with DAVE COHEN of CHUGGERNAUT – August 2018

| 17 August 2018 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Hailing from Boston Massachusetts, ‘regressive metal’ quartet Chuggernaut puts a modern twist on classic riff-driven metal songwriting, blending elements of doom, thrash, groove and post-hardcore into a massive, organic sound all their own. The band are now ready to unleash their new EP Kodiak on August 24th. Formed in 2013 by guitarist Dave Cohen and vocalist Jeff Gard, Chuggernaut was born out of a mutual need for raw, irreverent and fundamentally heavy music. With the addition of Blaize Collard on drums and Eric Alper (Replacire) on bass, Chuggernaut began playing basements and stages across Massachusetts, and quickly became entrenched in the underground New England metal scene.”  We get guitarist Dave to discuss new music, influences, and much more in our 10 Quick Ones…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

We’re a pretty live music-focused band, with the majority of our writing centering around how a part, tone or delivery is going to work on stage, more than in the studio. So, I guess what we really set out to capture with Kodiak was a sense of live energy. Eyeland, the studio where we tracked the record played into that quite a bit. It’s connected to an early 1900’s 800-seat silent film theatre and the supplementary drum sounds as well as the drum reverb were recorded live in that hall. Plus, the bass and guitars were tracked so loud you could hear us all the way down the block. We basically holed up in the studio for a week with copious amounts of beer and whiskey and rode the vibe of the experience. Andrew Nault, our friend and the producer for Kodiak has been making records out of that space for years now and has a knack for milking every drop of mojo out the environment and using it to make a record really interesting.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I think most people start out listening to their parents’ music, which for my family was very eclectic. We would have everything from German opera, to Brazilian jazz, to The Who, Queen and Zeppelin on rotation at home. Much of that shaped my early excitement about music, but the first heavy record that really gripped me was Metallica’s Master of Puppets. I remember exactly when one of my friends first showed that to me. I listened to the whole thing front to back in silence, processing the beautiful clean elements, the thrash riffs, solos, harmonies and everything in between and realized for the first time that metal was truly boundless music. I honestly still feel that way.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Damn, that’s a hard one. It changes so much depending on my mood. I can’t really say how much of this works its way into my writing, but right now I’d go with Gojira, Kvelertak, Meshuggah, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Sumac. A whole spectrum of creative, heavy music.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Michael McDonald, just to see what would happen. (Magic, that’s what.)

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

A Kodiak bear actually suits us pretty well as a spirit animal. It’s huge and heavy and can bite through a human torso but it also eats garbage and sleeps for half the year.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

The job security. Just kidding. Honestly being a musician, especially in heavy music is one of the few pursuits where you can lay everything you’re going through; happiness, despair, rage, curiosity, whatever it might be – out on the stage and people will genuinely embrace you for it. Sure, there are haters out there, but I have seen more random acts of pure kindness and comradery between total strangers at metal shows than in any other environment in my life.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

No one cooks, everyone drinks, Marv and Blaize argue over the nuances of the house rules in a new table-top game that they’re introducing the rest of us to while I work my way through a bottle of Kentucky bourbon and Beni looks around in horror/bewilderment. Every. Damn. Time.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

When I’m not doing Chuggernaut stuff I run Equilibrium Guitars with my wife, building guitars and basses for a living. I feel like a jerk saying this but I’m kind of already doing my dream job. We’re actually all pretty entrepreneurial, or at least “freelancy.” Beni runs the Extreme Vocal Institute and teaches people how to sound monstrous without injuring themselves, Blaize is drum teacher for Boston Drum Lessons and loves it. Marv is actually a college professor at Berklee, which is as impressive as it is terrifying.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

There are a lot of small things, just as apart of learning how to function in/as a band but no huge, singular misstep that comes to mind. I need to get on that.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds. The only thing more insane than the music on that record is what it took to make. Would’ve loved to be there for that one.

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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