Chimaira: Interview with Mark Hunter

This interview was conducted with main man, Mark "Metal Moses" Hunter: vocalist from Chimaira during the Jägermeister tour 2004. Portions of this interview have also appeared within the pages of Connections Magazine. Special thanks to Dave Himes for arranging this interview!

Quick 10 questions:

MW: What is your favorite Beer?
Mark: Bud Light
MW: What band would you most like to share the stage with and haven’t?
Mark: Metallica
MW: What is your favorite Movie or Novel?
Mark: Scarface
MW: What, if any, video games are you into right now?
Mark: Road Rage
MW: Iron Maiden or Judas Priest?
Mark: Iron Maiden!
MW: What up & coming bands would you recommend checking out?
Mark: God Forbid
MW: What is in your CD player these days?
Mark: Crowbar
MW: What was your first concert?
Mark: Aerosmith / Gun’s N’ Roses
MW: What was your first instrument, and what age were you?
Mark: Drums – 12
MW: What is your personal favorite song from the band?
Mark: Implements of Destruction

The Interview

MW: With several Jägermeister dates already SOLD OUT, what are your expectations for this upcoming tour?
Mark: I think the fans are definitely going to get their money’s worth. I think a lot of the fans are excited about seeing Fear Factory return to the stage and of course Slipknot as well. The package is amazing, and it’s 3 great bands, what more could you ask for? It’s a great night of metal.
MW: How much Jägermeister does the band actually consume?
Mark: The record we have is 2 cases of Jägermeister, and 2 cases of Grey Goose which were gone in 2 days.
MW: What’s next for the band following the Jägermeister tour?
Mark: We’re headed to Europe for a co-headlining tour with Killswitch Engage.
MW: Discuss the new album as compared to your previous releases?
Mark: With "The Impossibility of Reason", It’s a very short answer! 1000 times better!
MW: Take us through the behind the scenes stuff during the recording process.
Mark: When we finished recording "Pass Out of Existence" we were pretty unhappy with how it came out because we immediately started touring, and writing for "The Impossibility of Reason", we felt we didn’t have enough time and were rushed on the first album. So we just wanted to take our time and develop who we were as a band. So on the first album we sounded like we were still trying to figure out our sound. "Impossibility" sounds so much different, and it took a little while, but we captured it and have kept growing, so we are now considering "Impossibility" really our first album. Maybe some fans would disagree!
MW: Can you describe the pressure the band had to certainly be under when putting together all the pieces for the new record?
Mark: You know we really didn’t feel too much pressure. We kinda were just like "This is either going to make us or break us, it doesn’t really matter anymore. Let’s just make a record that in 5 years the band can still listen to, so we kind of threw all the pressures out the window and concentrated on making music we would like. If our fans didn’t like it, Oh Well, if no one else in the world likes it, who cares, we like it, and that’s all that is most important to us. I think that kind of mindset threw away all the pressure. And when the reviews came out, the fans and press were amazing; we gained a lot of new fans.
MW: How much of an influence did the label have on the new record?
Mark: They had a pretty big influence, we had started doing demos, turned them in, and at first the label people weren’t sure what they were listening to. They just didn’t get it, and it really pissed us off. So we wrote a couple more songs that we were proud of anyway, and kind of made them way more aggressive, if they disliked the first batch they certainly weren’t going to like these. But once they heard the whole album with the new songs mixed in with the old songs, they were like whoa! Now we understand, now we love it. I think they kind of did it intentionally to get us pissed off and make us write new songs using the anger we had for them since they didn’t like our first batch of songs.
MW: How has the song writing as a band evolved over the years?
Mark: At first starting out it was just me and Rob (guitar) writing the songs, we wrote everything together from guitars to drums and vocals, we didn’t let the other band members have their 2 cents. On "Impossibility" we wrote the songs as a band, although me and rob wrote the majority of it, we let the other band members have their input and let them come up with their own parts which before would have never happened. We just jammed together, and fed off of each other, so if one person didn’t like a certain part, etc.
MW: What things do you think keep the band fresh, hungry and motivated to improve individually and as a unit?
Mark: When we first started out we had all these visions and goals about what being in a band was supposed to be when we got signed, and when those realities were completely taken away, we were humbled. We expected it to be completely opposite of what it is really like. So we are still hungry.
MW: What goals have the band set for themselves?
Mark: Everything! You could ask me the same question in 5 years and it would be the same answer. Can we stand the test of time? Will we still be here 10 years from now? Will we still be the best of friends? Can we still get on stage 10 years from now and still rock it? That’s the only success that matters to me. We can’t take anything for granted.
MW: Do you, or the band have any Pre-show rituals that you individually or collectively go through before hitting the stage?
Mark: We all have our individual space and things we do to warm up. Rob will like to have a few drinks to loosen up, and I like to be as far away from the venue as possible. It’s nothing like you’d expect, we’re not doing seance’s or anything like you’d expect, we kind of just go up, and do our thing.
MW: What is it REALLY like for the band on the road? Wild all night stripper parties, or a lot of heavy snoring and dirty sock smells?
Mark: Depends on what day of the week it is!
MW: What is it like when you’re off tour? Are you itching to get back on the road?
Mark: It’s funny because everybody in the band will have a different answer. For me personally I can’t wait to get home, and for the first 5 days I won’t even answer the phone or even think about the band. And then after a few more days I’ll start to go insane because I want to get back out on the road. Funny how that works.
MW: Take us through the few weeks preparing yourself for the next big road trip.
Mark: We’re doing a few warm up shows with God Forbid, so it’s kind of neat for the band. We haven’t toured the states for a while.
MW: What do you miss the most while out on the road?
Mark: My TV, entertainment system, cable, DVD collection, hi-speed Internet!
MW: Any word on the next album? Do you guys have a name for it yet?
Mark: No, we’re not going to be talking about anything until the next album is done. We don’t want to have any preconceived notions about it.
MW: Any final words for the fans?
Mark: Thanks for the support, and to all the fans we’ll be gaining on this tour, we welcome you and hope that you enjoy what you’re seeing on the Jägermeister tour!
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