CHIMAIRA Guitarist: 'I'm Realizing How Much Of An Acquired Taste Our Brand Of Metal Is'

Hungarian webzine HitKit recently conducted an interview with CHIMAIRA guitarist Rob Arnold. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow.

HitKit: The latest CHIMAIRA album "Resurrection" came out one year ago. After this period and tours, what are your feelings about this material, whats is the place of this record in the CHIMAIRA history?

Rob Arnold: Currently I'm feeling this: It was a cool run, we did a lot of cool things, we gained a lot of respect, and it was a successful couple years. But I really still feel unsatisfied. I'm realizing how much of an acquired taste our brand of metal is, and I guess this whole thing is just going to take longer than I thought it would. The respect and compliments I receive each day have made this 10-year trip well well worth it. Those are the things I cherish. "Resurrection"'s place is just where it's at; our fourth full-length record in the progression. But I'm already over it, and can't wait to make the fifth.

HitKit: I can imagine that in every interview you are asked about "Six". Sorry, I have to take the chance. So that one is monumental; your guitar work are something never heard before. From your perspective, what kind of mindstate you felt during the process of writing that one?

Rob Arnold: I was just messing around at home, and I had had the main body riff of the instrumental middle section in mind for weeks. I sat there for a couple hours and created that entire middle section. It was primarily based off the Arabic-sounding intro that I had written days earlier. At the time, I wasn't even really sure if it was CHIMAIRA material. I hadn't even showed it to the guys, and maybe hadn't even planned on it. I had missed a couple days of practice due to illness, and when I came the next day, the guys showed me some song ideas they had been working on. Then Mark [Hunter, vocals] started describing to me an idea that he had been mulling around. A couple weeks earlier, Mark and I were discussing whether or not we wanted to put an instrumental on the record. A lot of people were saying that they wanted another "Impossibility of Reason" and this and that. So we knew that we had to make an aggressive, in-your-face type of record. But we didn't want to make it too similar to "Impossibility of Reason", because then we'd receive flak for that. So the decision was to not put an instrumental on "Resurrection". Back to Mark's idea: He told me that he wanted to try and do a song where I wrote a few minutes, Matt [DeVries, guitar] wrote a few minutes, and he wrote a few. Then we try and put it all together to form one song. Matt and Mark's parts were already written in the song that they had just showed me, and I ran to my car to grab the CD of the piece I had been working on. Honestly, to my surprise, all of the guys liked the piece. We started jamming, and within an hour or two, we had meshed all three parts, and the skeleton for "Six" was complete. And because the song is so long, and the beginning and end of the song surround a lengthy instrumental section, we had killed two birds with one stone.

HitKit: Nothing against Kevin [Talley, former CHIMAIRA drummer], 'cause he plays great on the self-titled LP, but with Andols [Herrick] back, it was like you felt to be a real band again?

Rob Arnold: It just felt right. Everyone was happy and enthusiastic. And that's when I like the band the best. When every one is in great spirits, we write better tunes, we get along better, the shows are more fun, just everything is great. Towards the end of Kevin's stint with us, guys were not happy. If the album had done well, perhaps there would be a different story, but the fact is that it didn't. Our relationship with Roadrunner [Records] was deteriorating, and the stress was taking its toll with everyone. So when Andols came back, and we had a fresh start with a new label, everyone was rejuvenated, and yes, we felt whole again.

HitKit: One of my fave CHIMAIRA songs is "Save Ourselves" What are your personal thoughts about it?

Rob Arnold: That particular song was maybe the first song written for the CHIMAIRA record, or one of the first. Its structure set the mood for the record. It was also the first song I had ever written where I wrote the song after I wrote the solo. I remember messing around with the solo idea backstage in London right before we hit the stage on the "Impossibility" cycle. I liked the idea so much that working on it became part of my pre-show warm up for many more shows. As soon as I had the chance, I started working on building the type of song around it that would fit the feelings that the solo was giving me.

Read the entire interview at HitKit.


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