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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews

Chimaira

Interviewed by Kathryn Heitzman

Interview with Mark Hunter of Chimaira from 2011

MSJ:

On the Chimaira website and I saw something about the Christmas 12 party. What's that all about?

Every year we have been doing a show in our home town right around Christmas time and we call it “Chimaira Christmas” and it is usually the biggest show we do of the year. We are headlining the show and it is the twelfth year we have been doing that.
MSJ:

So that's in Cleveland, Ohio?

Yes.

MSJ:

I also saw that you have been on quite a few labels the last couple years. Are you content with where you are right now?

I don't ever think I will be content. It's just the nature of the business. Sometimes you have to move on; relationships end and sometimes it’s time to start a new one. This one is fine, but I am always searching for something different in terms of how artists can be more and more independent. I still feel that labels still serve a purpose, but I am leaning towards not feeling that way more and more every day. As the technology progresses and the climate changes it becomes more transparent.
MSJ:

So are you thinking more of a small label situation?

I would prefer the freedom, but there are still rules and you have to do things to keep the label happy which I could do without.

MSJ:

Be your own boss?

Yeah, exactly.
MSJ:

Is your new album selling like hot cakes?

I wouldn't say “like hot cakes.” I think CD sales are down across the board. The format is virtually dead. There's very few that still want to hold onto it. Though I guess it is doing what it can do in this climate. I think people know it. We are playing these concerts and the fans know the new material. I guess that is all that matters and it feels less awkward live. Whether they are buying it or not doesn't matter to me, it is whether they are hearing it.
MSJ:

Have you only sung for Chimaira, or have you been in any other bands?

Nothing of notoriety, just local bands when I was growing up and coming up. Then I started this thirteen years ago.
MSJ:

Was it always this type of music you were interested in?

I am interested in all kinds of music and I bring those elements in to Chimaira...hastefully. But, now I think I am ready to start reaching out and do other things in addition to this. But, yeah, it's been my baby for a while, and now it's time to let it leave the nest.
MSJ:

Are you saying “side project?”

Not necessarily a side project, just do something different, new. There is all sorts of options, and it’s just kind of what's going to be the best one that suits my creative freedom the best.
MSJ:

So, it's something you are just kind of thinking about?

Yeah, with the climate change I am forced to think about tomorrow sometimes. So I like to see worst case scenarios and best case scenarios and everything in between before I will make a decision with anything.

MSJ:

Did you have any jobs or skills before you started in a band?

Culinary.
MSJ:

You’re a good cook, huh?

Depends on the critic.
MSJ:

What types of food?

I like to make comfort food, fun things, burgers and things you can cook on the grill. Brine a chicken all day then throw it on the grill.
MSJ:

How do you like the Chicago area? Do you have any cool stories about past experiences here?

Sure, I've been coming here for a long time, and I have always liked playing here. I think the funniest thing I ever did in Chicago was when I was younger I wanted to see touristy spots from movies. I went for really obscure movies. I wanted to see the school from “Wildcats.” We went to Cabrini-Green ‘cause of “Candyman.” We decided to go at like three in the morning and that was what I would call “an adventure.” We were getting things thrown at our car, fireworks shot at us, and it was awesome. And I was like, “there is the garage where they pull out in ‘Ferris Buehler…’” Stupid things like that, random bits of movie history that have been filmed in the area. A lot of good movies came from around here like “Untouchables.”
MSJ:

What was the last CD you purchased for your own personal collection?

The latest Alice in Chains, Blackest Way to Blue was the last one I bought and will be the last one I will ever buy.
MSJ:

What, no more Alice in Chains?

No, I mean CDs in general. I am done with them. I prefer to use spotify. Pay ten dollars a month and have access to almost every song ever made.
MSJ:

What do you do to maintain your vocal health?

Just try not to push it too hard and try to be smart with my body - everything in moderation.
MSJ:

Do you do any types of rituals before a show?

I'll warm up if I am feeling a little hoarse or weak. Other than that I am pretty straight and good to go usually.
MSJ:

What was the last live show you caught for your own pleasure?

I went to see Little Wayne, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj on the High End Music Tour. That was a lot of fun. Travis Barker was playing drums opening up. I like to go to see the pop shows sometimes because they bring in real good production and you can kind of like bring in some of those big looks in to a smaller venue and make the smaller venue show look larger than life. And I like the music.
MSJ:

Do you have any Spinal Tap moments you would like to share?

There's enough...there's too many. Everything that has happened in that movie has happened to us...for the most part...figuratively speaking, not literally.
MSJ:

Is there anything that comes to mind?

No, there is too much. It is just a blur. It really is.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
You'll find an audio interview of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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