Dez Fafara & The New Era for Coal Chamber

"Nu-Metal never went away"

Between the recording and the touring, musicians can take time out to do the important things; like sit at home doing interviews aaaaaall day. Although consistently busy, Dez Fafara of DevilDriver & Coal Chamber fame welcomes home time in any function “We just got back from a tour of South America a couple of days ago; I am no longer suffering from jet lag, so I feel great”. [Laughs] For this journo and many others of my age (the forever-young variety), Coal Chamber was a slice of my youth. A band whose fans never outgrew them, yet merely amplified their devotion upon the bands demise in 2002. A new era has emerged for Coal Chamber and fans are not only rejoicing but are sitting with baited breath for the release of the band’s first album in thirteen years. Metal As Fuck caught up with Dez whilst he was ‘enjoying’ a day full of interviews to chat about this new era for Coal Chamber...   

The question on every fans minds, take one guess – the reformation of Coal Chamber, what was behind the relaunch? “You guys had a lot to do with that man! Coal Chamber were down for Soundwave [2012] as part of our reunion tour and I was going back and forth from the festival on the bus with Meegs [Miguel Rascón – Guitarist, Coal Chamber] and he was listening to some music and I asked him what is that, what are you writing for, he says, it’s just music I’m writing, and I was like, Dude.... I really want to be a part of this, like whatever this is, I want to sing on this and it turned out to be Coal Chamber. After Soundwave we took Coal Chamber around the world and we had such a good time and a reunion can only happen one time, so it was a mutual conclusion to write for Coal Chamber. We were all on board, with a big hell yeah”.

A lot of the band members have spoken of the fruition and growth of Coal Chamber through this new album, so what are your thoughts? “I don’t think any of us wanted to be a part of something nostalgic; we didn’t want a throwback 90’s record and we certainly weren’t going to re-write our previous three albums, and our first three records are so different from one another anyway, that I wouldn’t know what style to pick. We were always that kind of band. So what we really wanted to do here now is get together and do what came out naturally and what did just happens to be what I’m told by every journalist I’ve spoken to lately – including the most cynical people I’ve known for twenty years; ‘you guys have managed to stumble across a brand new sound’. It sounds like a fresh band, yet I can hear Coal Chamber in it, it’s moving forward. There are a lot of positives right now. It feels good”. You’ve mentioned that Rivals was not going to be a throwback album for Coal Chamber, that this is the Coal Chamber of 2015 – so what will fans hear within this album? “You will definitely here a difference in production quality, the arrangements, the writing, a 100% difference in the vocal stylings; I used every single aspect of my voice during Rivals. I think what people are going to hear is something that sounds fresh and different and will no doubt compare to earlier Coal Chamber but it will be impossible. We don’t want comparison, I mean it’s the same in the DevilDriver world; we have six records but they’re all different from one another – I never want to repeat myself. To me, that is when the art is dead”.  

In terms of getting back into the studio and into that Coal Chamber frame of mind, in what sort of capacity has the process changed for the band over the last thirteen years? “The thing is, thirteen years ago when we were recording Dark Days we weren’t even talking to one another, so its obviously way different now. It’s a completely open environment where creativity is encouraged to run wild, its music done with heart – with no expectations or pressures from media outlets or genres, and since there weren’t any expectations and the fact that we don’t know where we sit in the world after thirteen years we were again making our own mark and it wasn’t until at least six years out in the open; everyone had to come up with a label for us, Nu-metal”.

The 90’s are coming back in full force, in every capacity and genre imaginable; what do you consider is behind this resurgence? “I think there is resurgence because Coal Chamber has brought out another record [Laughs] seriously though; we [Nu-Metal] never went away. Look at the biggest metal bands in the world right now, let’s run down the list; Slipknot, as about as Nu-metal as it gets, Korn; the definition of Nu-metal, Deftones, System of A Down; they’re all Nu-metal, so like when did it ever go away? There has never been a riper time for music which has the most diverse feeling in the air, than right now, because people are sick of music that doesn’t have diversity. I listen to so many diverse forms of music that I just don’t have time for the purists, it’s important to do something different you know. If there is resurgence, maybe we need to sit back and ask ourselves why? Why there is a resurgence of the genre – these bands never went away. What happened to Nu-Metal right – my guitarist said it best; Nu-metal was a real beautiful, wonderful thing.... at first, until a great majority of the second wave Nu-metal bands came in and were lumped in to what we were all doing. These bands were skewing themselves to radio, now when Coal Chamber started, Deftones, System – none of these bands were whoring themselves to radio. The second wave was just shooting for radio success and that was not the Nu-metal scene was about, Nu-metal was about doing something different and also a blend of styles, there were no limits, there was no wrong direction”.

Speaking of DevilDriver; your baby, a breath of fresh air after the collapse of Coal Chamber obviously and a hell of a lot heavier, however did you initially want to take Coal Chamber down this path and it simply just didn’t work out? “I did, it was going that direction, you can hear it in Dark Days but the relationship between the band members at that time was just so strained and creatively you couldn’t get anything done so it was time to move. Do I think Coal Chamber would have become DevilDriver? no, not at all, but Coal Chamber would have become what Rivals is now for sure”.

Rivals is just about out, so the most important question at this stage; are you going to tour and are you going to tour big? “We’ve already started touring big, we’ve just finished a run through the States, about eight gigs, we’ve brought it to South America so far with Monsters of Rock with Ozzy, Motörhead  and Judas Priest. Over the next few days we're prepping for a tour through the UK and selected European shows. We’re looking forward to getting down under with Coal Chamber; we’re keen to headline Soundwave so we’ll be in discussions over the next week or two. Though there is something very special to do in September/October of this year and that is lay down the next DevilDriver record; the songs that I’m sitting on are blisteringly heavy! So I’m chomping at the bit to get in and record those tunes. DevilDriver really needs to get back to Australia – after twelve years and six records with no break and member changes to add to the stress – it was just time to take a break. Right now though, DevilDriver is ready to go, it’s something massive, I can’t even describe it and I can’t wait for every one of our fans to see it!”.