With Chelsea Grin riding high on the release of their newest album My Damnation, I decided to hit up guitarist Jaek Harmond and see what plans they have in store for their fans. To my surprise, they have their first ever headlining tour coming up and have already started writing for their next album. Read on to learn more.
MEB: So tell people a bit about Chelsea Grin. What other bands were you guys in before? How did you all meet?
Jaek: Chelsea Grin has been around since about April of 2008. Dan (Jones, guitarist) and myself were in another local band in the Salt Lake area called Hermione, and we had actually played a good amount of shows with Chelsea Grin. After CG lost their guitar player, and our band had fell apart, we joined with Chelsea Grin and it’s been like that since.
Being one of the first deathcore bands that popularized the genre, do you feel that the genre has gotten a little overloaded with the dozens of deathcore bands popping up everywhere?
Honestly, I don’t hear that many “deathcore” bands nowadays. It’s a lot more popular to have some dubsteppy keyboard parts, singing choruses and half-assed screaming vocals. Don’t get me wrong- there are millions of deathcore local bands around, but not many deathcore bands ever “broke out,” so we were the lucky ones.
What guitar brands do you guys stick by? Any difference between studio and live guitars?
We have always played Ibanez 7-String guitars, but recently Dan has made the switch to the Ernie Ball Music Man 7-Strings. I am still sticking pretty loyal to Ibanez, and just got a new Prestige RGA7 that’s pretty badass, so I am happy haha. We have always used the guitars we use live, in the studio as well. We figure we want to sound as close to the record as we can when we play live, so the best thing to do is use the same gear.
How do you feel the process for making My Damnation differed from the process behind Desolation Of Eden?
Mostly DOE was different because we had such a long span of time for the writing of the CD. “Recreant” and “Cheyne Stokes” had already been songs for over a year before we had them recorded for DOE, but with My Damnation the first song and last song were written about four weeks apart, so it was much more… rushed. We definitely feel that My Damnation was a step in the right direction and made a lot more sense than DOE did haha.
After the Thrash and Burn tour wraps up in December, what are your plans? Any chance of writing new songs or any other tour plans?
Instead of waiting for Thrash and Burn to finish before we start writing, we decided we are going to start writing the next release on the road. It’ll give us a nice head start for when we are home and do need to concentrate on it, so that we can hopefully get our next release out by next summer. The only touring plans we have are with Asking Alexandria and Blessthefall in January/February, and our first ever headlining tour in March/April right after that.
What are some of your favorite venues/cities that you like to play in? Any standout experiences that you’ve had (good or bad)?
There are a ton of cities that come to mind when I get asked what our favorite is to play, but San Antonio always seems to take the cake. Shows in New York are also so fun just because of how violent the kids are there, so awesome.
What has been your biggest challenge as Chelsea Grin over the past few years?
Other than the common stuff (van repairs, low income, etc.) I think the biggest “challenge” we have had to overcome has been the recent births of several members’ daughters (three out of the six of us have daughters now, haha) so there were a couple tours where we had a fill-in drummer, or only played with two out of our three guitar players.
What are your favorite places to chow down at?
Our favorite place always has been and will be Taco Bell. We go every single night, and when our trailer won’t fit through the drive-thru or the drive-thru is closed, there is literally a symphony of cries in the van. Our favorite place in the country to be is California, not only for the weed but for the awesome weather and shows too, haha.
What advice can you give other people that look up to you guys and plan on forming their own band?
Do whatever you can to be different. You can be the best (musically) band in the world, but if you don’t have an image, or a way to “portray” your band, then it doesn’t matter. Fans like to attach themselves to a lot more than just the lyrics of the band, so if you feel like your band is stuck…work on that.
What other bands would you recommend your fans to check out?
The band opening this year’s Thrash and Burn for sure… Volumes. They have a great mix of melodic and heavy and they are VERY good at what they do. Awesome dudes to chill with too, we get along with them great.
Any last words for the fans?