Chevelle has been in the music game for over 20 years, but they have been able to keep their dark hard rock sound so fresh that their shows are becoming multi-generational. I had the chance to speak with drummer and founding member San Loeffler about the band's longevity, their latest album The North Corridor, and just how the music business has changed in their time just before their two-night showcase at the House of Blues on May 8 and 9.
WYAT: Tell me about your latest album The North Corridor; people have called it more dark and aggressive, and the songs on it do sound kind of scary.
Sam Loeffler: I think it’s what we do; our music develops into new things. It’s a heavy rock record with melody. That’s our forte; it’s what inspires us to be musicians, it’s what inspires us to play every day and write. So it’s in that vein for sure. It’s not out of our genre, or anything. It’s a pretty heavy record, but I think in a fun way, in a good way.
WYAT: Did it have anything to do with the heaviness of the year when politics were raging and legendary musicians passed away?
Sam: The inspiration for lyrics and stuff come from everywhere. They come from things you’re seeing in politics or on TV or anywhere. But part of the joke with this record, because we called it North Corridor, had to do with the fact that we’re locked in our houses because it’s too cold to go do anything fun outside. So that was kind of the joke about it. Also, in theory, your aggressive weather sometimes pushes you to write aggressive music.
WYAT: Also the cover art for the album was kind of creepy like an old horror movie with the kid standing in front of a glowing door.
Sam: That just kind of happened, it’s really great that it worked out as well as it did. It was a picture that we had taken of this little boy who was just staring at this door for no reason and it was kind of creepy. So we ended up redoing the photograph to the point where it was high enough resolution to work. And it turned out really cool. So that was our special edition cover, and our other cover was a little bit different.
WYAT: Your band has been making music for over 20 years, so how has the music business changed in that time for you and how does social media play a role?
Sam: As far as the music business changing, yes; the music business always changes. It’s always been changing in the last 20 years, it’s probably changed pretty drastically. But the reality is that we have to find a way to work within it with a new formula. As far as social media goes, people are connected in a way that they feel connected, but I’m not sure that they’re actually connected. That doesn’t make that much sense to me that just because you posted something online makes you more connected to people. I think the biggest thing that social media has affected is the traditional sense of promotion. People rely on social media and apps to promote a record or a tour rather than what was traditional. Social media for me is just a false way to feel connected or make people feel connected. There’s always exceptions to everything; people that post to Twitter 17 times a day and let people know everything about their life, sure! I don’t know if it makes that person feel connected and all these people that are following them. It’s the world that we live in. I’m not being cynical either, but I’m saying that you really can’t understand the effect of something that huge without really giving it time.
WYAT: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Sam: The North Corridor came out in July 2016, so we’re on the third single now, so we’re going to tour through this year, and then we’re back to doing what we love to do: writing.