Samuel Barker: So, is everything going okay with you?
Chad Hanks: Yeah, we’re on the last day of the Biohazard tour we’ve been doing. We’re just getting ready to drive up to New York tonight or tomorrow, then pack up and get ready to head over to Europe on Thursday.
Samuel: Are you and the rest of the band looking forward to heading over to Europe?
Chad: Oh yeah. I think it’s going to be really exciting, really fun.
Samuel: Is this going to be the band’s first trip over there?
Chad: Yeah, definitely. We’re going everywhere, it’s crazy.
Samuel: Yeah, I see you guys aren’t coming back until April.
Chad: Yeah, we’re coming back April 1st. We’re going to be over there for two and half months.
Samuel: Heading any other place that Europe in that time?
Chad: We’re doing all of Europe, all of the UK, Australia, and Japan.
Samuel: You mentioned this is the last night of the US tour, has that gone as well as you hoped?
Chad: Yeah. Basically we’ve been touring since last May. We did Fear Factory, Ozzfest, Mudvayne, Pledge Of Allegiance, Slayer, we did three shows with Kittie and now these Biohazard shows. But they cancelled a lot of the shows, so out of 9 shows, we’ve only done two with them.
Samuel: Was that due to the band or due to the venues?
Chad: They cancelled. Someone in the band supposedly broke their foot or something. I don’t know, I haven’t seen them yet. This is only the second shows with them, second or third, but I missed both of the shows while they were playing. I hope someone has a broken foot, you know?
Samuel: Yeah. With War of Art being out for a while, have you guys been pleased with the way it’s been received so far?
Chad: Yeah. I think people actually get it. It’s not just cookie cutter bullshit metal. There is a little something more to it. Kids, critics, interviewers, adults, people who don’t even listen to that style of music still get that there is something more to the music. There is a little more thought put into it. It’s cool.
Samuel: You can’t help but notice the industrial influence with the electronic sounds and the samples, was it always a direction the band was heading or something to keep the music moving forward?
Chad: That’s been from day one since Martin and I got together. We got a sampler. The first things we got were a PA setup, I got a bass and bass amp, and he got a sampler. I’ve always been into shit like that, for the past 12 or 13 years, I’ve been into electronic industrial stuff. So it was definitely part of the natural flavor.
Samuel: I see on the album that you play...well, a lot of instruments; did you grow up doing a lot of music?
Chad: Well, I just started playing bass with this band. I played guitar for like 25 years. So, I’ve been playing forever. It was cool, I played on all the songs on the record with guitar and we did all the programming and everything. Actually, everyone in the band is pretty well rounded as a musician. The drummer can sing and play keyboards and guitar. The keyboard player can sing and play drums, the other keyboard player can play everything, I can play pretty much everything. Everyone in the band can play stuff other than their on stage instrument.
Samuel: Does that help when the band is trying to come up with songs, having someone being able to illustrate their ideas on different instruments?
Chad: Yeah, we have the ability to write on a piano or a guitar, a bass, I can sit down at the kit and play something, so it definitely does have it’s advantages to being only able to play one instrument and only be able to write on one type of instrument. When you write on different instruments you approach it different ways. If you are on a bass, you work on a riff. If you are on guitar, you work on a chord progression; it’s two completely different ideas. Depending on what you’re writing with, it can have a huge impact on what you’re writing.
Samuel: I read that you come up with most of the musical ideas, do you come up with a simple riff, or do you lay down most of the tracks for the rest of the band to learn from?
Chad: Well, Martin and myself write most of the stuff. If you want to come down to percentages, which we had to do for publishing, we write 98% of the music. It comes in a lot of different ways, I can write a riff and come to Martin or it can happen in the way you just said, which happens a lot, I can come up with a ole song and track it, then come to the band. I can have a pretty good idea of where it’s going before I bring it to the band.
Samuel: When recording the new album, how much did it help to not be in a studio? Did it help ideas flow more easily?
Chad: Yeah, we recorded until we felt like stopping. We started the same time everyday, at one o’clock, so if we want to work until 6 or 8 in the morning, we could, although you’d be really tired the next day, but we had that option. As opposed to, ‘Oh shit, if we want to stay late tonight, we’ll have to pay the engineer overtime, and we have to pay the studio for overtime. It’s real clinical being in the studio. But in the house, you could roll out of bed, scratch your balls, have a cup of coffee, and start tracking half an hour later. It was very conducive to creativity.
Samuel: Was it hard having that much freedom to not over do it?
Chad: No. We had our trainer and Rick was there everyday for the first three weeks. Greg, our engineer, was there. So it was a case of, if they were in the building, work should be going on. It was a pretty funny thing, Greg would be like ‘I’m going to clean up this track’ you know, run it through Pro Tools and get rid of all the buzzing and everything, ‘be back in 20 minutes.’ Then all of a sudden we’d all disappear in this huge 19 room house and he’d come up the stairs like 45 minutes later and be like ‘I’m trying to make a record down here, what are you guys doing?’ We’re all playing Playstation or watching cable and he’d be like ‘I’m making a record downstairs, you guys want to help out?’ We struck a nice balance between getting our work done and having fun.
Samuel: Did being in the house give you guys the freedom to throw down new ideas on the tracks as they came?
Chad: By the time we had all the gear in there we weren’t really working on any new ideas, we knew we were going in there to record 21 songs. But as far as being creative, as in overdubs and adding loops to songs, we had a lot of freedom, because we got to be sitting somewhere and be like ‘I have an idea!’ and when Cameron is tracking that vocal track and be like ‘Can we try something really quick? Do you want to take a break real quick Cameron? We really want to try this.’ You could do anything, it was very freeform.
Samuel: Well, you guys are from Minneapolis, which is not really known for being a hot bed of metal, is there a good scene developing there?
Chad: Yeah, it’s gotten a lot better in the past three to five years. When we got there, there was nothing there. It was pretty barren. As far as a relevant music scene, most places were like...there’s a Sharky’s in every town, a club that has a lot of washed up hair metal bands, but there was nothing relevant at that time. Slowly we met a couple of bands we started playing with, and as we went on more bands started to form and join and split off into other bands. So now there is actually a growing scene with some bands getting national label attention. The scene is getting really cool, I’d like to think we had something to do with that.
Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.