Last month Coheed And Cambria released their new album ‘The Afterman: Ascension‘, the first of a two part series. To find out a little more about the album, Deborah Konopnicki recently had a chart with Travis from the band, expand this post to give it a read. You can pick up the album [Here] if you are yet to do so.
Hi Travis. How are you?
Good Deborah! How are you?
Awesome thanks! It seems like you’re doing it a bit rough at the moment with Claudio out of action. How is everything going?
Well we’re in a bit of a situation where it’s kind of a bummer, but it’s just a little thing – just a precautionary measure right now where we have to cancel a bunch of shows because of Claudio’s voice. We’ve all been battling flu’s and colds. We’ve been playing a lot and then we had a new record coming out on top of it. We just have to be careful with his voice. He’s developed an issue over the past few days so he’s been going to a few specialists. We came back to New York so he could go to a specialist. We plan on being back on our feet in a few days and hitting the road again. Throughout the years there were times where we didn’t take precautions like this and we don’t want to end up with a scenario where permanent damage is done. We’ll make sure that no damage can be done, and then we move on. I know that he hates cancelling shows – we all do, but we’ve got to take care of one another.
Is it something that will require surgery or will it be ok with a bit of rest?
Right now we hope that its just rest and it seems that it is, but he’s going to a specialist tomorrow. I understand that with all of the work that we’ve been doing and that he’s been doing that it’s hard, but it’s going to be something that he’s going to have to recuperate with for a few days. Like I said, we’ve got to make sure that we take the precautions so that everything runs smoothly.
In better news, you’ve recently released an absolute masterpiece that I can’t stop listening to! How are you guys feeling about having the record out?
Thank you! We’re really proud! Obviously we’re really excited, and beyond that, the response has been incredible and a bit overwhelming in a way. It’s very important to us because there’s been a lot that we’ve been through to get to here, and we’re jumping out of our boots in excitement. We’re excited because there’s a whole other side to this record coming out in a few more months as well. We’re all feeling like it’s going to be just as good, if not better. I mean, it’s the same album but it’s just something that we’re very proud of and it shapes the record perfectly.
I caught a glimpse of the record-release show a couple of weeks ago while at work, and it was pretty exciting to not only see you return to the fold, but watching it live made me feel like I was a part of it. Why did you decide to stream the show?
Well, it was the first show of the new record and I guess that we were just so excited to present some of the new material. We feel like this is the most mature that the band has ever sounded, and this is the tightest that the band has ever been. It was kind of a given in the end – we were offered the stream and we just decided to do it!
The album is very much trademark Coheed in the sense that there are some truly epic numbers on there and I still can’t go past track two, “Domino The Destitute”, the song is a masterpiece… and that’s putting it lightly. That song is almost like a mini album in itself. It takes you on a massive journey. You must all be very proud of that track.
Well I think that “Afterman” is just a whole different level. I think that the “Afterman” song itself, we’re really excited about that one. I got to watch a rough cut of that video the other day and it just looks amazing. It’s the same director that did “Domino”, so it’s going to be really awesome! We can’t wait to present it. “Domino” was the first song that we put out there. It’s been around for a really long time as well. Claudio wrote that song about two years ago. He had the skeleton of that, and we all put it together and we’re adding to it. I’ve known that song for quite some time, and it’s just really amazing to see it come to fruition and this vision that we had for the song come to life. When everyone added their forces to it and we started arranging it as a band it turned into something huge. It definitely is one of the songs that we’ve most proud of. It has so many movements so it allows Claudio as the storyteller get it right in a very great way. That’s why we decided to put that song out first. We also did a radio edit of it and got some radio stations to play it and it got great feedback. The next step is doing this video that we did for “Afterman” and I’m really excited for people to see that.
Do you know when that one might be released?
No, I don’t know. I wish I could tell you! I think they’re in the process of finishing it right now though, so it’s won’t be too long!
I’m really looking forward to that one. I loved the style of the “Domino” video, so I can only assume this one is going to be just as good.
One of the first things you obviously notice about the album is the artwork, and I feel in love it with it from the moment that I first saw the initial image up on the net. It’s very different to anything that you’ve gone with in the past. What were you trying ton convey with that imagery?
There were two different artists that worked on this album. There was one artist that did the cover and there was one that did the interior design. That was these artists mimicking Claudio’s storyline and taking it to their own level. He was very hands on with explaining what he wanted. They actually did a gallery show where the original art was hanging for people to buy, and just seeing the original pictures themselves was incredible. To be honest, the art; I can say is the favorite that we’ve had on any record. I personally love that cover. I’ve loved a lot of the Coheed art throughout the years – we’ve had some great people work with us. Step-by-step we’ve gone through all of these different artists and we brought their vision to what we were doing. With this one, I think that they really hit the nail on the head.
I agree with you 100% on that one! It’s my favorite by far.
As you touched on before, the album has a second part to it called “The Afterman: Descension” in February next year. What was the decision to split the album into two separate releases?
Well, obviously there was a part that we didn’t want to let everything go, but everything worked perfectly for the concept. The songs flowed really well. We wanted to leave it as a sonic cliffhanger. The first part ends with this acoustic almost ‘suspenseful questioning’ number, and it just kicks right back off! I think that people will get their questions answered when they hear the second part of the record. It’s like puzzle piece! If anything, Coheed fans are in love with us giving them suspense, so we just wanted to give them a whole heap of it!
From the start of “The Afterman: Ascension” is feels like the story is so and even without following the whole saga you can still appreciate it on another level. This part of the story in particular reminded me a little bit about the movie “Event Horizon”. Is there any connection?
You know what’s funny? We just watched that in the bus a few weeks ago! There’s parts of that where I see the similarity. Definitely that the doctor was so determined and didn’t want to let go of the fact that other things were at risk. It is very much that. This concept deals with a lot of questions of mortality and of death and there’s a lot of questions of selfishness and the human condition in general. There are a lot of things that naturally happen in life, but you have the ability to make the right decision or the terribly wrong one. There is this scientist who has the chance to explore the unknown, and be known for these discoveries and this incredible breakthrough, but at the same time he’s lost the one that he loves and is basically ignoring a lot f the things that were important to him in life. We can really relate to something like that. Beyond that, the lyrics come from a real life place. You can experience a Coheed record just by listening to it and not knowing anything about the concept. These are songs that people connect with on versions levels, and that’s what people have always done. Claudio has always been honest lyrically. I think that there’s a lot of stuff on here that you can tell exactly where it came from if you’re familiar with the band. In that, we’re very proud of it too. It’s very accessible for anyone who just enjoys the music to really get into it.
I’m not sure if this is something that you’re heavily involved with as well but obviously there was the announcement recently that Mark Walberg and co. had signed on to explore the first five albums as a sci-fi epic feature film! Has there been any more progress with that?
No, right now it’s just the announcement that is out, but we couldn’t be more excited. Obviously the concept brings it all together with the comics and stuff, It’s this huge part of the band. Right now I don’t really have anything else to give information wise, just that they’ve signed on and these thing take time. They’re moving along and there will be an announcement sooner than you think, so we’ll see what happens.
When you guys were writing the records and you were developing the story more and more, did you ever think that it could eventuate into something like this?
Absolutely! I think that’s always been there. I’ve always been thinking about it that way. I knew that there was a lot of it that would translate well. I could see it going on and on because there’s just so much in the story. It’s choc-full of material. I think that you could go in so many different directions with it. It’s just about getting it into the right hands of someone that shares the vision.
Jumping to the side for a second, last year you guys played some incredible shows for the ten-year anniversary of “Second Stage”. Next year is going to mark the 10-year anniversary of my all-time favorite Coheed record, “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth”. Have you thought about doing a similar sort of tour in celebration of that record?
It’s definitely been discussed. That album is very important to us. I think that a tour is going to happen for sure. We play a lot of the songs from “In Keeping Secrets” on tour anyway! I could probably see us doing something with that.
Keeping on topic about special shows, a few years ago now, you released the incredible “Neverender – Children Of The Fence” set where you filmed all four albums up to that point in time. Do you think that you’ll ever re-visit that idea and finish off the saga with the fifth album recorded in it’s entirety?
I think so. I absolutely do. There’s no decision yet or any announcements that need to be made, but we’re in this for the long haul, so there’s lot of time.
Just finally today, when do you think you’ll get a chance to head back to Australia? It’s been quite a while since you’ve played your own headlining shows down here.
I hope for your winter! After the album is out in the winter over here, I’m hoping that we’re going to do the American tour for a few months around here, then we’ll do Canada and such, but after that we’re hoping that we can get out there because I can’t wait to go back!
New album instores now, pick up a copy online [Here].