ADEMA drummer Kris Kohls recently gave an exclusive interview to Earache.com about the group's split with singer Marky Chavez and their upcoming CD, "Planets", among other topics. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Earache.com: This is the first album with your new line-up…what actually happened with Marky and Mike [Ransom, guitar]?
Kris Kohls: "Well, we made the 'Unstable' record. That was our second record and it was called 'Unstable' for a reason. The band was very, very unstable at the time. Marky and Mikey didn't talk to each other, not once, for a whole year and a half. They didn't like each other and the other three guys in the band were caught in the middle of all the arguments. Without going into too much detail, Marky's a hard guy to deal with. He's not the easiest guy to get along with. It just came down to a mutual split. We weren't getting along, and if you're not getting along, why be in a band together? We appreciate this, we love our fans and we love the fact that we get to make music for a living and we're very passionate about what we do and we take it very seriously, and we all wanted to make the best record we've ever made and put our heart and soul into it and nothing else, have no distractions and put in 100 percent effort. You can hear it on the record. All we did for a solid year was concentrate on making this record. Marky wasn't in the same headspace. He had other things that were distracting him from making the kind of record that we wanted to make."
Earache.com: How did you discover Luke [Caraccioli]?
Kris Kohls: "We tried out about 40 guys. Through e-mail and voicemail we went through about 40 different singers, and about 10 actually made it into the studio. Through a process of elimination we narrowed it down to four guys that we thought were really good and what's cool is that we made a documentary of the whole process of finding a singer. We filmed most of the process. What we did is we narrowed it down to four and the documentary is about those four guys. We're still editing it right now, so I'm not sure when it's coming out. Sometime around when the record comes out, or a month or two later, we're going to put out a DVD that's basically the making of 'Planets'. But basically Luke was the guy. We knew right away. He's awesome. He's a great singer, he has a great attitude and he's a great writer. We had some great lyrics worked out before he joined but since he came in he's been able to make it all even better. It's not easy being the new guy, with me and Dave saying 'Okay, this is the way it is,' but he adapted very well. When we decided he was in the band it was one of those rare situations because the music was all done. Basically we just needed to find a singer to do the vocals, so we picked Luke and we just let him sing and start writing and do whatever he wanted. We knew we could trust him. It was just one of those things where we felt that magic was happening!"
Earache.com: What does Luke bring to the band that wasn't there before?
Kris Kohls: "He brings passion and love for the music. He has the same desire to create music and perform it, as well as to get out there and tour. He's 100 percent dedicated to the band. He brings a very melodic approach. We're a much more melodic band now. We're able to capture a more melodic sound now, and that's what we've always wanted. It's more of a classic rock sound now, whereas before we were always pegged as a nu-metal band, a KORN kinda band, and I never liked that at all. We've been able to branch out a lot more. It's harder to categorise. We're just a rock band now and I really like that. Luke's more of a rock guy than a nu-metal guy, that's for sure. His favourite singer is Robert Plant!"
Earache.com: What happened with Arista/BMG?
Kris Kohls: "Basically what happened was that we didn’t sell enough records for their tastes and we got dropped. The president of the company that signed us left and went to Def Jam, and the people that were left and the new people that came in weren't familiar with ADEMA and didn't care about it. We didn't sell as many records on the second album as we did on the first, and for a major label that's a really big deal so they let us go. Internally, at the time, the band wasn't where it should have as well. There was a lot of drama in the band. We have a new label now, and a new manager, and we feel like this is a newborn, fresh band now. So basically it was just the guy that signed us wasn’t there anymore. There's no one there anymore at that company, including ourselves, that was there when we first signed. Everyone got fired or left."
Earache.com: So, typical music industry bullshit then?
Kris Kohls: "Absolutely. Unfortunately the music business is a business. You try and make the best music you can and keep moving forward and try to not let outside influences affect us, or to listen to people saying you have to sound a certain way because that's what's on the radio. Major labels give you a lot of that stuff and we don't want it anymore. We want to make the music we want to make. If people like it, cool. If they don't, whatever! We now have the freedom to make the music we want to make. Especially now we're on Earache, they're extremely cool and let us do what we want and they trust us. We let them know we were going to make a great rock record and that was it."
Earache.com: Earache's known mainly for extreme metal, so you stand out a lot…
Kris Kohls: "They were just so open about doing what we wanted and we knew that they were known predominantly for speed metal and death metal and frankly we like a lot of that stuff! I think MORBID ANGEL is awesome and we love DEICIDE. We listened to a lot of that stuff growing up. I remember listening to the first CARCASS album. Ross Robinson [producer] turned me onto all that stuff way back when. It's always been a credible label, and as far as we're concerned, good music is good music, and although we're not a death metal band, fans of Earache are open-minded enough to listen to us for what we are. They're not going to go, 'Oh, they're not a death metal band so we can’t listen to them.' We're a solid rock band just as DEICIDE are a solid death metal band. I think the main point is that Earache is a label that's always put out good music and we're just another band putting out good music too. Earache lets bands be themselves, and they allow bands to express themselves creatively. They were quite involved when we were making the record, checking how things were going. This is the first record we’ve produced ourselves. A major label wouldn't let us do such a thing! Earache let us have complete creative control and that's a great thing to have. We trust them, they trust us. It's a great relationship."
Earache.com: You've covered a METALLICA song on your new single. Why did you pick that track, and how big an influence are METALLICA on ADEMA?
Kris Kohls: "Ah, come on now! It's METALLICA! We love METALLICA. Especially 'Master Of Puppets' and 'Ride The Lightning' and 'Kill 'Em All'. Those albums were pretty much non-stop in all of our CD players when we were growing up. We listen to METALLICA all the time when we're on the road. They're a great band that keep writing great music. The reason we picked 'The Thing That Should Not Be'…well, 'Master Of Puppets' is our favourite METALLICA album and one day in practice Tim, who is definitely the most metal guy in our band, he's all about METALLICA and PANTERA, he mentioned covering that song. So we listened to it and thought yeah, that would be awesome. We wanted to do something a little obscure to make it interesting. Listening back to it it's definitely a trip. It reminds me of being a little kid, rocking out with a mullet haircut!"
Read the entire interview at this location.