THE DEMO CORNER
This interview was conducted by Philip A. Wickstrand with vocalist/bass guitarist Ryan Whyte and drummer Aaron Schomaker at Branx in Portland, OR on June 17, 2012.
The Pacific Northwest has proven to be a real hotbed of Metal over the last few years. Many great bands come from the region and a certain style, often referred to as Cascadian Black Metal, sprang from it (for those not familiar with the term, AGALLOCH would be the best known band to fall under that category). But they are far from the only one and others, such as CHASMA, are gaining ground.
Having formed in Portland, Oregon in 2008, CHASMA released their debut album, Declarations of the Grand Artificer, on Moribund Records. With three songs clocking in at a bit over half an hour, it may shows a lot of promise for what they can do down the road. Their sophomore album, Codex Constellatia, is due out later this year.
Phil: Tell us a bit about your upcoming album, Codex Constellatia.
Aaron: Well, we just recorded it and had Colin Marston master it. We did it at Toadhouse; it’s like five songs in about forty-five minutes. It’s coming out probably late fall I would guess.
Ryan: Sometime around the end of the year.
Phil: On Moribund again?
Aaron: Yeah. We don’t know who’s doing the vinyl yet but we’re making sure that it’s coming out on vinyl as well.
Phil: Tell us a bit about the song writing process for this album.
Ryan: We kind of just practice and will jam riffs and stuff together and it kind of just writes itself.
Aaron: Yeah, we just hang out and play what sounds good.
Ryan: We’re all really good friends and we’ve all been playing music for a really long time, so we just kind of play whatever naturally comes.
Phil: What was the time in the studio like?
Ryan: Awesome; it’s always fun.
Aaron: I was super high on energy drinks; like I had six or seven Visos every day because I can’t drink right now - this is the first sober recording I’ve ever done.
Ryan: I was pretty sober.
Aaron: I just blasted through those tracks, like one time through for everything.
Ryan: They were long days in the studio too; we spent like twelve hours a day in there, making sure everything’s all done.
Aaron: We did the thing in four days, though.
Phil: Now that you’ve heard the final mastered version, how do you feel about how it came out?
Ryan: I’m really happy with it. It sounds awesome. I don’t know when it’s going to start getting out there, the label might put a teaser track out on YouTube fairly soon, but it sounds really great. It’s really big, a really clear recording.
Aaron: I’m stoked on it. I’m happy with it.
Ryan: It’s kind of non-traditional for Black Metal, where traditionally you’ve got lo-fi, but it’s pretty high fidelity and… I don’t know… high quality studio stuff.
Phil: How would you say it differs from Declarations of the Grand Artificer?
Ryan: We spent a little bit more time tracking it and we used more alternative recording processes for the guitars, so I feel like the guitars are a little weightier, roomier and also we have a different guitar player now.
Aaron: Big difference. [laughs]
Ryan: It’s the same core group, me and Aaron, but I don’t know… it’s a little bit more expansive I would say.
Aaron: Brandon is more talented than Klaus was. I love Klaus, but Brandon’s a better guitar player.
Ryan: He has a lot more experience writing songs.
Aaron: And I think that it’s a lot more diverse. It’s not slow part, fast part, quiet part like it was on the other one. This one’s way different.
Ryan: Also the other one, we didn’t have a mastering engineer, so it didn’t have the finishing touches that a specific mastering engineer can put onto it.
Phil: It seems to me that some people like to use you as a punching bag online; what are your thoughts on it?
Aaron: Go for it!
Ryan: We can take a lot of punishment.
Aaron: Make us famous!
Phil: Kind of like that certain dismally stupid band from New York did a few months ago?
Aaron: Oh, that DISMA band. Whatever, I feel bad for those guys. It never looks good if you’re talking shit about another “underground” band. But they’re also all twenty-five years older than us.
Phil: And should know better.
Aaron: I mean, we didn’t start anything with them - they just started talking shit about us and calling us hipsters because we can fit into tight clothes.
Ryan: And we live in Portland. [laughter] I don’t really give a shit if people talk shit on us. I mean, we don’t sound super extreme or whatever, I don’t even know what that means, but we’re just musicians, we write songs that we like…
Phil: How dare you! [laughter]
Ryan: Yeah, totally. So if people want to hate on that, be my guest. I don’t care.
Aaron: Whatever, dude - we don’t do this for those guys. I mean, I don’t do it for anybody else.
Ryan: We do it for eachother.
Phil: How much touring are you planning on doing for the upcoming album?
Ryan: That’s kind of up in the air right now. I started a job as a sous chef, so I can’t really get time off right now.
Aaron: And I got arrested, which ruined some things. But we’re going to pick up the pieces.
Ryan: We’ll get it together and hit the road, do what we need to do.
Aaron: We need to get a new van also because we’ve lost two on the road.
Ryan: It all depends on economic conditions and gas prices and everything too, so…
Aaron: No it doesn’t; we’re going to tour how much it costs.
Ryan: Yeah, right - if I don’t have any money…
Phil: It just means you go on a shorter tour.
Ryan: Yeah. We’ll see. We’ll at least be getting down to the West Coast by the end of the year.
Aaron: We’re already on the West Coast. [laughs]
Ryan: Well, I mean we’ll get down the West Coast and play shows.
Aaron: We’re also going to do Europe and we’re going to play in Transylvania. [laughter] We’re going to bring the brightness.
Phil: Recommend a book for our readers and then explain why you recommend that particular work.
Ryan: Let me see… what was the last good book I read?
Aaron: I just completed every Zecharia Sitchin book ever written and I feel more confused than I did going into it. [laughter] But I would recommend them. Not David Ike and not Jordan Maxwell. I just read conspiracy books.
Ryan: I only read cook books. [laughter]
Interviewer: Philip A. Wickstrand
June 26, 2012
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(Click on Photo to Enlarge)
Portland, Oregon USA
Label: Moribund Records
Genre: Black Metal
Ryan Whyte: Vocals & Bass
Brandon Gordon: Guitars
Aaron Schomaker: Vocals & Drums
Chasma Demo (2009)
Declarations of the
Grand Artificer (2011)
PHOTOS BY PHIL A. WICKSTRAND
(Click on Photos to Enlarge)