Cameron Buchholtz of Oklahoma City radio station Rock 100.5 The KATT conducted an interview with COHEED AND CAMBRIA guitarist Travis Stever prior to the band's November 5 concert at Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma. You can listen to the entire chat via the SoundCloud widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the fan response to the band's new "The Unheavenly Creatures" studio album:
Travis: "The reviews, as far as like journalists' reviews, etcetera, seem to be really good. But, most importantly, our fans seem to be really happy with it, so that's what is most rewarding for us, having them have such a positive reception to the whole thing, coming out to the shows. Like I said, one of the select few times we've been to this venue or in the city other than opening for other people, the crowd, even ticket sales tonight, has grown. Even being older now and still touring, that just feels good, to have people still come out. We feel lucky. It can go either way. We feel lucky we're still out here. That album is a reflection of that. If people thought the album sucked, then they'd probably say 'I'm probably not going out for that unless they're playing old stuff.' They know we're playing new stuff and they want to hear it."
On the return of the band's long-running conceptual elements on "The Unheavenly Creatures":
Travis: "I think that they were very welcoming that Claudio [Sanchez, guitar/vocals] wanted to go outside of that with the lyrics with the songs and everything, but I think there's this overall marriage of the music and the concept that our fans have grown to love and appreciate. They love digging into that. You can talk about somebody who likes the band and doesn't give a shit about that, I think there's a side to those people that knowing that layer is there, gives it some mystique for them. If you're familiar with the band at all, you don't have to know that. They are songs on their own, too. I could never see us being a band that was completely wrapped up in the concept only and the songs weren't as important. We couldn't do that. They have to have this marriage, this happy marriage, have a happy harmony to kind of survive and make the records we have or it will fall apart."
On signing with Roadrunner Records after releasing 2015's "The Color Before The Sun" on 300 Entertainment:
Travis: "It's been a good experience for us. They have been very supportive of us doing what we wanted to do production-wise. We kind of did a tryout with a couple of songs. We did 'The Unheavenly Creatures', the title track, and we did the song called 'Toys'. We showed them rough mixes and they said, 'Well, we are onboard. You guys can go do this.' We had our friend who has co-produced our prior records because we recorded up in the studio where we recorded prior records and he and the producer we had worked with owns the studio, Michael Birnbaum, they did 'Good Apollo', 'The Second Stage Turbine Blade', they did 'Good Apollo [Volume II]', '[In Keeping Secrets [Of Silent Earth]', then we did 'The Afterman' records there. It was a return to home to go there, but even though we wanted to self-produce, we had Chris Bittner do the engineering. He did all the engineering and basically helped us produce. We couldn't be more proud of a production situation. Clearly, having Roadrunner backing that decision was a really great first step. It was early on, we had just signed and they said, 'Yeah, we're down with what you guys are doing.' I was, like, 'Okay, this is a good sign.' It's been a good relationship since day one."
On whether the line between major and independent labels is now blurred:
Travis: "It is blurred and you kind of think, 'What the hell is going on that we even need anything?' But if they have their shit together and they know how to help you with the online world and having have our boxset come to a reality so you can get it into people's hands and just bring this whole thing to life, then it's very useful. We did toy with the idea of going ahead without any kind of label and that could still happen someday, but I'm really glad we joined forces with Roadrunner. It's been really beneficial."
Released October 5, "The Unheavenly Creatures" is a sprawling 15-track, 78-minute epic which finds COHEED AND CAMBRIA returning to the conceptual narrative of "The Amory Wars".