With their first full length, Declarations Of The Grand Artificer recently released through Moribund records, Chasma have further pushed the bounds of extreme metal with their own unique approach. Here the band take some time out with SoT's Jason Guest to discuss the band's history, the writing of the album and its artwork, the impact of the internet in the music scene, and what the future holds for the band.
SoT: Can you tell us about the Chasma's history, its formation and development?
Chasma: We basically started Chasma in order to make use of some studio time we had booked with our old band. The drummer quit 3 days before the session, so we wrote a 20 minute demo, recorded it with said studio time and Chasma was born. We were pretty angry at the sketchy drummer and I think that energy came out on the demo.
SoT: When it came to writing for Declarations of the Grand Artificer, did you have any goals in mind? Was there anything in particular that you wanted to achieve that you perhaps felt you hadn't before, with previous bands for instance? Does your approach to writing differ with Chasma?
Chasma: Our main goal was to create a piece of music that would really move people. We wanted to make the album dark, expansive, beautiful, woeful, hopeful, etc. We wanted to turn what's inside of us into art. Our approach to writing the material for Chasma is very different, it's much more organic and felt out as opposed to the old "this riff 2 times, then this one 6 times." Sometimes a riff will take us 3 weeks to finish, sometimes a song takes us 3 practices. We all have to be on the same mental wavelength.
SoT: How do the band work together to produce material? Is it a democratic process or is there an arbiter that makes the final decisions?
Chasma: We won't participate in any democratic processes, so that one is ruled out. We feel like we compose the material as one triune being, we are all one but have differing duties. All of us are the arbiter.
SoT: Chasma experiment with many forms of extreme metal to great success and the tracks on DotGA have an organic and natural sound. With such a broad palette to draw from, how do you achieve that balance between such extreme sounds?
Chasma: I guess we don't really think of it like that, we just play what feels innate. Without sounding like a nutcase, I believe there are beings in other dimensions guiding us through the writing process. When we play together, time stops. Energies become physical and we are the vessels.
SoT: The artwork for DotGA shows light through a doorway in a decaying building. Does this reflect the music? Is it a representation of music as an escape or as something that transcends the physical aspect of existence?
Chasma: The artwork means a lot of different things to all of us. I view the ruined doorway as what is present and primitive, but for those who follow the true illumination, glory and light await. I think it's a good representation of the emotions we felt while writing the album.
SoT: You've referred to your music as 'Noir Nouveau' and 'Bright Metal'. Can you tell us what you mean by that? Are you trying to purposely distinguish Chasma from black or post-black metal?
Chasma: We do not call ourselves black metal because we breach several different genres that have just as much influence on us as black metal does. We came up with the other names for it because calling ourselves a "black metal band" or a "post-black metal band" or a "Cascadian black metal band" would misrepresent our sound and atmosphere. I personally prefer the "bright metal" term because in it's origin, it is a reference to the celestial.
SoT: How do you view the impact of the internet on music? Some argue that it's empowering as it has diminished major label dominance and allowed bands to reach a wider audience – particularly for underground bands – whereas others argue that it is making music too easily available and so diminishing the value of music as a creative and expressive entity.
Chasma: I think it has definitely cheapened the whole hard working band experience, but it is something we must all contend with. We will use the evil technological beast to our advantage. But of course, we would much rather people purchase physical copies...
SoT: What do you see in the future for Chasma? How do you see the band and its sound developing?
Chasma: Declarations comes out on cd on 11/22 and the vinyl comes out on 12/6. Chasma has a SXSW tour coming up in spring 2012, followed by a full US tour in late summer. We are currently writing a new album called "Codex Constellatia," which will probably be recorded in late February or early March. So far, the new material pays a little more homage to the grim stuff, but still stays ethereal at all times. As we grow, so will the music.
SoT: It's early days I know as DotGA has only just been completed, but are you working on any new music?
Chasma: We are a machine, always writing and editing written music. Like I said above, we are writing another epic full length. We are thinking double LP length, only time will tell.
SoT: Is there anything you'd like to say to our readers?
Chasma: First of all, thanks for reading this and hopefully checking out our new album. We deeply care for you all and we hope that you wield the interdimensional sword that is Chasma. Chasma is dimensional warfare.
SoT: Again, thanks for taking time out for this interview. We look forward to hearing more from Chasma in the future
(Click here to read our review of Declarations of the Grand Artificer)