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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Josh Eppard Coheed And Cambria - Interview
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JOSH EPPARD

COHEED AND CAMBRIA


Coheed And Cambria

Coheed And Cambria surprised fans last year with the release of their latest album "The Color Before The Sun" where the band took a new direction away from the concept of the Amory wars saga that they have written about since the beginning. The band are about to embark on a North American tour before heading to Australia in May so we chatted to drummer Josh Eppard about the upcoming tour, the new songs and much more.

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Andrew: Hey Josh how are you going?

Josh: I'm good, how are you?

Andrew: I'm doing very well! So how's your year been so far?

Josh: It's been really good! A lot of time with my family but also a lot of touring so can't ask for much more balance between the two so it's been great so far.

Andrew: Are you guys on tour at the moment or are you on a break?

Josh: No we're home. We just got back from Europe about 10 days ago or something like that which has probably been our best trip yet to Europe in terms of having fun but also in terms of feeling like you're progressing with the shows. Some of those places in Europe we don't go too frequently but the shows can be kinda smaller, France and Spain we hadn't been to in 10 years and we had really great shows there so it was really awesome and really uplifting so we had a blast. Of course we hit the UK at the end of the tour and those shows are always great but these might have been the greatest ones ever so it was a really tremendous run for us.

Andrew: What do you think has been the reasons for the tour being so much more fun this time around?

Josh: I think a piece of it is, when American bands go over to Europe, and I would assume it's the same when European bands come over to America, you can feel really far away from home. You can feel really homesick and I just think over time we've gotten used to knowing how to deal with that so we can have a good time. I mean who wants to spend this once in a lifetime opportunity to get to do this as a career, who wants to spend that time moping around so we just kinda put a boot in our own asses and figure out how to make it a a lot of fun. Now that the shows have been coming around and the shows have been so great, well obviously that's self explanatory why that can be so much fun and fill the trip with kind of uplifted spirit and a lot of passion and that's what it was like this time. Honestly since I've come back to the band in 2011, every time over to Europe I come home and say that was the best trip ever. It just keeps getting better though so it's the truth every time I say it, that it was great. When we went over there in 2013 and it was great this time and I look forward to going back over.

Andrew: The break from the band for a few years must have done you a lot of good then I suppose.

Josh: Yeah in a way, in more ways it was extremely difficult and put things in perspective a lot for me. But there certainly are positives in getting to step away from that whole scene for a while and there were positives to that. There were also things, like I said that were incredibly difficult but it gives me a unique perspective that's for sure and that's something I don't take lightly and pretty thankful for.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely! And in May we will see you guys coming back to Australia which we are pretty excited about.

Josh: Yeah well Australia is like heaven on earth. We never get to stay there long enough to get homesick, it's always like we're in and out so fast and we always want to stay. I don't want to sound like a broken record, doesn't everybody in the band say this but Australia is...the shows are great, it's just such a wonderful place. The biggest bummer for me is that I can't bring my wife and my step-daughter along with me because I would love to show it to them because it's just great and obviously I'm really looking forward to it. I'm so glad we're gonna hit both coasts because a lot of times we would come over and just do Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane but we wouldn't go over to Perth so I'm really glad we're going to do that and just really super looking forward to it.




Andrew: Yeah it's good to see you coming back. I guess you've been here a number of times over the years and you have a pretty cool relationship with the fans in Australia so certainly the fans appreciate you guys coming down here. What have your experiences been like on past tours over here?

Josh: It's always been great! I remember our first time over years and years ago, I just couldn't even wrap my head around the fact that we had fans there. It was just so wild to me and I still get a piece of that if I'm being totally honest, a piece of me still turns into that kid like, 'Holy shit they just flew me halfway across the world to come and play rock music and I'm in paradise.' I'm standing at the beach and it's just unbelievable so what a lucky son of a bitch I am to go to Australia again.

Andrew: [laughs]

Josh: I'm on top of the world, I mean a lot of those destination places where people are like, 'Oh I want to move there and people love it there', I always find that those places don't really speak to me. Like the Miami's and in Florida, I do like California but there's something about Australia that is really special to me, there's just an energy there that speaks to me. I don't want to sound too much like my hippy parents here but there's something in the air there, something in the streets. There's an energy and it's the people, the food, the beds, it's everything. Every time I find out we're going back, I just get really excited, beyond just the sun and the beach, there's something else about the place that just feels really special to me. I think noone in the world could be more excited than me to be going back to Australia.

Andrew: Well that's good to hear! Will you be having any opportunity this time around to do a bit of sightseeing at all?

Josh: A little bit, I know there's a couple of days in there. I don't know if they're going to get totally filled in but I'm just glad we're not coming for 3 days! If you take that long flight and maybe hit Japan and then you're in there for 3 days and then you're right out you're like, 'Oh I couldn't stay for 2 more days. Just give us 2 more days'. So I'm glad it's a nice little chunk of time but talk to me on the day we're leaving, I'm sure I'll be bitching and moaning that it wasn't long enough. But I'm feeling really thankful that it's longer than just a couple of days because in terms of being a band, it can be really expensive to be over there and you try to cut the trip as short as possible. So when I saw the dates, I was just thrilled because I've only been to Perth I think twice so that's going to be really great. Every time I've gone on in Sydney - but it hasn't been enough times that it's like an old hate, I've probably only been there 4 times maybe - it's still totally exciting. I mean you do something 4 times in your life, it doesn't mean it's like an old hat, it's still totally new so I'm thrilled man.

Andrew: Yeah should be a fantastic tour. I know you're touring on the back of the newest album "The Color Before The Sun" so what can we expect on this tour as far as the setlists are concerned?

Josh: It's funny you mention that, we're about to head out on the American run, the big one for "The Color And The Sun". There's a few songs on there that I don't think people are expecting, we really try to put together an eclectic mix but we're playing some b-cuts and album cuts which some of them we've never played. And we're playing some of the more, not obscure songs but more of the progressive songs off of "The Color Before The Sun" and I would assume it's going to be a similar [but] maybe not the exact same set. The catalogue is so deep now, there's so many songs to choose from but a lot of effort and a lot of time and energy goes into trying to cultivate the best show possible and of course that will be true when we come to Australia. But I would assume when we're on this American run, if there's one song every night that we're just not doing good, we might cut it but we'll pick the ones that we're killing, that there's an energy from the crowd. In a way this American run is like the taste tester for the Australian run so we can really have the best setlist but I think it's going to be, for the fans that have seen us every time we are over there, there's going to be a lot of new stuff - and by new I don't means songs just off "The Color Before The Sun", we're going to be pulling out some songs we've never played live before so it should be pretty exciting.




Andrew: OK cool. Well I guess the new album is a bit of a change for you guys where you have kinda gone away from the whole concept thing. How has the reception been from the fans on the new material?

Josh: It's been great! When you're a band like Coheed And Cambria and you make this really wide reaching net - it's all over the place, it's very eclectic - you're always going to have certain fans that say, 'I like the heavier stuff better', or 'I like this stuff better'. I think that to me it's a badge of honour, because it means we kinda dip our toe in so many different waters that if you spend all your time trying to please everybody, you please nobody. But I thought this record was a bit of a curveball and I've just been thrilled at how well it's [been] received. I mean I know every band says this so it sounds so corny but it's really true, we have the best fans in the world. They're the reason we get to go to Australia, they're the reason we get to do any of this and they come with us on this journey. When we've been making music that wasn't the flavour of the month or wasn't the popular thing to do and they've taken this journey with us, whether we're doing ballads with orchestras or doing weird little electronic numbers, they've come on the ride with us. So the reception has just been brilliant and people seem to enjoy it and that's a great thrill for us when you're on stage and you're music is connecting with people. But I can't say enough about the reception, we're all artists and we're all creative souls so of course we're sensitive so sometimes there can be a hundred great comments and one bad one and we'll think about the one bad one. But I gotta say in general, I'm pretty blown with how great the record has been received, it feels really exciting and I'm moved. I'm moved that the music is speaking to people in such a powerful way.

Andrew: That's good to hear. What were the reasons for going in a different direction and going away from the concepts that you had been doing for so long?

Josh: Well if I answer the question like this and say these songs were really personal, instantly that makes it sound like all the other Coheed material isn't personal which is just not true. There's always been a lot of deeply personal things intertwined in the Coheed songs, I mean how do you write things that are not personal? But this stuff I think Claudio (Sanchez, vocals/guitar) felt such a personal connection to the tunes - he had his first kid, a boy by the name of Atlas which there is a song called "Atlas" on the record - that he wanted these songs to not have this other tier, this other level where you can dig in because these songs were exactly what they were. Kinda the beauty of songs to me is that it means whatever it means to you, I could listen to a song you wrote and be totally off by what it actually means but the way I relate it to my life, isn't that the most important thing? So the songs are conceptual still, there's just not a comic book that's coming out with them. Because music is always conceptual, it's how it relates to you [and] how you relate it to your life and how it speaks to you. But to be more specific, I think Claudio had a connection to these songs that were so deep and powerful that he said, 'I don't want to make a comic book with these, I just want them to kinda exist as the songs that they are'. Which I thought was an incredibly bold and brave move because clearly this is what we do, the Amory wars, the saga thread that goes through every record. So I thought it was a really ballsy move for Claudio to say, 'You know what? No storyline.'. I'm proud of him as a friend and as his bandmate for that.

Andrew: Yeah it's quite interesting to see the reaction to this and you are right, it's a bold move and something that I guess is a bit of a change for you guys. Do you think that you guys are not done with the Amory wars concept or will you go back to it on future albums?

Josh: Me personally of course I think we will go back to it but anything can happen. If you asked me 2 years ago 'Are you guys gonna do a pop record that has nothing to do with the concept', I would have told you you're crazy. Armed with the knowledge that anything can happen, I still believe in my heart of hearts that of course we will go back to the Amory wars, to the comic books and to conceptual records but more specifically, to the Amory wars. I mean we spent all these years creating it, there's no reason to not go back to it and the fans wants us to go back to it and I think the band wants to go back to it. So I'm sure at some point we will.

Andrew: Well as I said we are looking forward to seeing you guys come to Australia, I know the fans appreciate you coming back so regularly, always cool to see that. So thanks for your time today, really appreciate it and we will see you in May!

Josh: Alright, right on brother!


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COHEED AND CAMBRIA AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016:

Thursday 5th May - The Metro, Sydney
Friday 6th May - Max Watt's Melbourne
Tuesday 10th May - Max Watt's Brisbane
Wednesday 11th May - The Gov, Adelaide
Friday 13th May - Capitol, Perth

Tickets and tour details can be found at Taper Jean Music.

Check out our other interview with Claudio Sanchez HERE.


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Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on February 16th 2016