Christ, They Fucking Hate You!
CoC interviews John Chavez of Vehemence
by: Adrian Bromley
It's tough being the new kid on the block. You're basically starting from scratch, thrust into a world of bullies, new friends and a new neighborhood that you call home. It isn't easy to blend in and become "one of the gang". Think of how hard it must be for a new metal band nowadays to fit into a scene that has been going on for thirty years now. A tough task indeed.

Phoenix, Arizona sextet Vehemence are one of the many new bands thrust into the metal music scene. Their hard work and perseverance as an indie band has paid off as they signed to Metal Blade Records and have just released their intriguing concept album _God Was Created_.

Having fun yet, guys?

"Oh man, it has been a real blast for us the past few months", beams Vehemence guitarist John Chavez down the line from his home in Arizona. "It just feels great to have accomplished so much with this band and hooking up with Metal Blade. All we [the band is rounded out by singer Nathan Gearhart, guitarist Bjorn Dannov, bassist Mark Kozuback, drummer Andrew Schroeder and keyboardist Jason Keesecker] ever wanted was to get our music out to as many people into this music genre as possible so that it could be heard."

"I think this record turned out pretty damn good with the budget that we had for it and the amount of time that we had spent on it", he says. "We made sure that seeing that this was our debut disc for a big label, that everything sounded the way we wanted it to sound before we left the studio. We really couldn't afford to mess up this release."

What does Chavez get out of the new album when he plays it back? What are his reactions? What does he get from the music?

"I am very proud of this album when I play it back. I think we have done something deeply honest and intense. We are very happy with the final results and it seems to be going over well with fans and music critics. We're just happy to be with Metal Blade and them backing our music."

It is worthy of noting that the band took credit for producing the debut album as well. Does that go along with the fact that the band wanted to make sure that everything turned out right in their eyes and ears?

"Kind of", he responds. "I mean, we were told to look into getting a producer to work within our budget for recording, and then some other things happened, and it wasn't working out for certain scenarios. We eventually wasted some time and had to get things going right again, so we took charge. The album was recorded in The Saltmine Studios in Mesa, Arizona and mixed at Trident Studios in California. It was an experience, to say the least, for us this time around. Next time we'll be ready."

Seeing that this was their debut album, did Vehemence go into the studio with a lot of ideas to work from or did they have a concentrated array of songs to mix into the final product?

"We demoed and did some pre-production work before we had entered the studio with the help of Metal Blade, just to kind of help us get a good feel of how studio work is. It was an okay experience, but once we were in the studio and trying to get all the ideas down, that is when we really made a joint effort to make this a worthwhile and rewarding experience for Vehemence."

I heard your independent release (2000's _The Thoughts From Which I Hide_) a while back and wasn't into the band at all.

"Really?"

Yeah, I just couldn't get into the earlier independent release for some reason. I was actually a little pessimistic about the new album when I heard you had signed to Metal Blade. But I'll admit, I am definitely into the new disc. Very good death metal. Sounds impressive.

"Thanks man", he says with enthusiasm. "I'm glad you are into the new album and that we changed your mind and thoughts about Vehemence. _God Was Created_ is a progression for us. I think if you play back our demo release and the last album we put out, _The Thoughts From Which I Hide_, you can really get a good sense of us expanding our sound and not really staying with one thing", he remarks. "Each of our albums are different. The last album set the standard for what we needed to do creatively with this Metal Blade debut."

There is a lyrical concept behind _God Was Created_, and with song titles such as "Made For Her Jesus", "Christ, I Fucking Hate You!" and "The Last Fantasy of Christ", I was curious to know more.

"I can't really go too much into detail about it 'cause I am the guitar player and didn't conceive the whole thing, but I'll try", he states. "Our singer Nathan had decided to make this album follow a concept. It all started with the first song on the album, "Made For Her Jesus", and we just started building the concept idea from there. The story has all of these religious overtones and gets more horrific as it goes along. When we made this album we didn't want it to become this big King Diamond kind of concept album where it would carry over into several albums, we just concentrated on it being this one release. Now that it is done, we can go on to making another record. Who knows? Some day down the road we may make another concept album."

He adds, "We are taking all of this one album at a time. Each album will be different. This album is death metal, the next one might cover black metal. We want to try and cover all genres with what we do. The beauty of music is that you can't stop a creative mind. You always want to try new things and not stay the same or go bland with your visions."

Are there any worries about this industry and being in a band?

Responds Chavez, "I'm not really worried about the music we create, 'cause I think we do a good job and I think we can hold our own, but I am more worried about internal problems for the band. Things like jobs or school holding us back, or even family matters. Our singer Nathan just had a child and that is obviously an important thing for him to have in his life alongside his music."

As things go along in your career, just like any other job, you'll be able to work around things.

"I agree", ends off Chavez. "Sure those things are in the back of my mind, but we just put out a great album and are ready to tour all across North America and Europe, so that is more of a priority. Plus, right now nothing is really bothering us, so we are good to go."

(article submitted 21/3/2003)


ALBUMS
5/27/2004 B Meloon 7 Vehemence - Helping the World to See
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