THE INTERVIEW: Coheed and Cambria

Progressive is more then just a style to Coheed and Cambria. Photo by Chapman Baehler

Since taking on the moniker Coheed and Cambria in 2001, these New York natives have been tackling one of the most ambitious projects in recent musical memory. The band’s discography serves as the musical telling of “The Amory Wars” a science fiction/fantasy story created and written by singer Claudio Sanchez (also available in Graphic Novel form). Presently the band is on the road with the “Neverender Tour” in which the band plays four nights in each city, one for each of their albums released to date. I had the opportunity to speak by phone with Guitarist Travis Stever.

Hi, thanks so much for taking time to speak with me. Something that has always intrigued me is how all your work falls in to a story arc. When did you guys realize this is what you were going to do with your music? Did the story come before the music, or was it the other way around?

All of our albums do fall into a story that Claudio (Sanchez) our singer wrote several years ago. The lineup changed in 2001 when our previous drummer Josh joined. Claudio had a side project called Coheed and Cambria, which was focused around the story. We decided we liked the story and the name, so we adopted the story and made it part of our work. Before this, we went by a different name (Shabutie).

How do your songs come together?

Well, usually Claudio will bring a piece of a song, usually some bass lines, vocals, or at least harmonies. Then the rest of us will each write our own parts. However, this process is not set in stone and can be different based upon the situation.

As far as lyrics, do you guys write the songs with the intent of fitting them into the story or does it just fall in to place?

It’s a little bit of both. Our songs aren’t just part of the story. Often times they are biographical, either stuff Claudio’s gone through or all of us together.

My understanding is that with the last album (No World for Tomorrow) you finished telling “The Amory Wars” story—what comes next?

Yes, the story did come to a close but there is a fifth part which is a prequel. We have been working on material, but anticipate that to be out in 2009 or more likely 2010.

What comes after that?

We don’t really know. We know the sky’s the limit for us now and we feel that we can do whatever we want. Maybe we’ll start another story or maybe just do a rock record.

So on this tour you’ve been doing four shows in each city, playing each album in order, how has that gone? How has it been revisiting material you might not have played in years?

There have definitely been hills we’ve had to climb with this stuff—but the reaction’s been great overall, and for us its been great.

With this tour, is there more of an intent that people will come out to one, or are you expecting – and more importantly – have you seen the same people coming out for all four shows?

Well we’ve sold packages of tickets to all four shows and those have sold very well—last night was the first in New York and it was sold out.

Over the past four albums, there’s been some really notable changes in the sound and the music, can you speak on that?

Well, we as a band are always changing and always evolving. We might not fit the typical idea of a prog band, but for us, what makes us a “prog” band is the fact that we are always moving forward. On the next album, you’re going to see some of the styles of all the stuff we’ve done, from stuff resembling our older stuff to more similar work to the most recent album.

You mention not fitting in to the Prog tag and a lot of people have tried to place you guys into that category. What do you classify yourselves as?

A rock band. When you get down to it it’s all rock music.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me and good luck with the shows.

Thanks very much.

TJ Olsen

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