This year’s Good Things Festival has thrown up a very varied mixture of bands for music lovers out there. One band you should place on your ‘must see’ list though is Coheed And Cambria. These prog metal artists hailing from New York have an interesting background that most people would have no idea about. Most of their music is based on the series of comic books written by the bands lead vocalist Claudio Sanchez.
With that mind when I caught up with Sanchez for HEAVY Mag our discussion went from talking about Good Things right through to where people in Australia can go to fulfil their comic book and vintage toy addiction… and yes we both wished that we had more than the fifteen minutes that we had been allocated to talk. Of course that fifteen minutes also saw us talk about life has been like for Coheed and Cambria since the success of their latest album – Vaxis – Act 1: The Heavenly Creatures – which seems to have been embraced by their fans right around the world.
“I think we are going to try and do something that encompasses the new record, which we are basically trying to promote,” says Sanchez as we begin to talk about what the band has in store for Australian fans this time around. “And a nice balance of that and the back catalogue of what we do… the favourites – the songs that fans have grabbed onto over the years. With a festival it is pretty hard to do any big kind of production because you are limited depending on where you are in the slot but we are going to do as much as we can to make it as fun as possible.”
Having heard stories of some bands using paper-roc-scissors while others use streaming statistics to work out what songs to play at a festival I ask Sanchez how Coheed and Cambria go about working out their final set list for a festival. “We get a pretty good gauge,” he says. “You know we have been out on the road for the better part of this year and you kind of get a sense of what works in terms of the new tracks, what people are gravitating towards and that really kinda helps, you’re almost doing this research basically. We’ll probably fall somewhere in the middle of what has worked here in the USA and Europe, so forth.”
Of course one of the things that you notice when you listen to Coheed And Cambria’s last album was just how intense and layered the songs were but Sanchez says that hasn’t been an issue while the band have been playing the tracks live.”It’s been kind of cool because with some of them I have been able to delegate the guitar duties to our guitar tech,” he says with a laugh. “That has given me the experience of just being able to front the band, so that has been a lot of fun because I have never done that before so that has been a bit of a fun process and has made even the older tracks on the set feel kind of new. I know my performance as the guy that stands behind the microphone with a guitar in his hand but I have never really experienced that without a guitar so that has been a lot of fun.”
“Ultimately though I think everything has been really well received,” he continues. “It has just been one of those albums where I think the fan-base have really embraced. It is definitely one that I have seen more fans say is their favourite record which has been a big surprise because for a huge portion of our audience the first album of our band that they hear ends up being their favourite, but this one seems to have bypassed a lot of that… and that has been pretty cool.”
With Vaxis – Act 1: The Heavenly Creatures already winning over new fans for the band while seemingly being universally love by the existing fans it means that there is a new air of expectation around Coheed and Cambria as they head to Australia for Good Things but they doesn’t seem to have worried the band at all who are just focussed on putting together a good show for fans old and new. “We really just want to entertain,” says Sanchez with pure excitement in his voice. “I just hope that everybody has fun and I just hope that everybody is happy. We don’t get to come there (to Australia) very often so I just hope that what we give is satisfying. That is all we can really hope for… that everybody just has a good time.”