Aggressive Metalcore merchants Chapfallen are a band who, with their debut EP have set their sights high. Originally a bedroom solo project that grew very quickly into a full band, the Stoke-on-Trent six piece have gone from strength to strength. They’ll be at the O2 Academy in Birmingham on 13 & 14th February 2021, at Hammer Fest 13 joining the likes of mighty Raging Speedhorn, Glaswegian Death Metallers GodEater and furious Lincoln Tech-Metallers Borders, who were one of the highlights of Tech-Fest 2019, so having reviewed their debut EP, we took a few minutes to talk to the Gentlemen about it. Here is what they said.
You released “The Art Of War” back in March, so how have you found the reactions to it so far? You must be itching to hit the road and play some shows in support of it? Initial reactions have been great! From what we’ve heard from people getting in touch, and looking at our stream data, it seems that Liminal Presence and The Art of War are the favourites (although Iconoclast has been added to a number of Spotify playlists too). We’re definitely eager to get playing – we’d got a whole performance worked out start to finish using backing tracks, and put in months of practice at the rehearsal space. It’s a shame that we’ve got to wait but that’s just the hand we’ve all been dealt.
Four months before that you released a trio of tracks but only “Fugue” made it onto onto “The Art Of War” so what was behind the decision to cut “Future’s Call” and “InTyrant’s Wake” adrift and not include them on the record? We’ll get to this later, but Future’s Call and In Tyrant’s Wake were two tracks that Tom wrote on his own back when this was just a bedroom project. He had the majority of Fugue worked out, but that song, and the others on the EP are the songs that we worked on together. We’ve already evolved so much as a band, and so it didn’t seem right to include the other two – we still play them live as Tyrant’s usually goes down really well with the crowd, but ultimately, it’s just a case of progressing as band.
Having Olivia Wilkes join you for “Liminal Presence” adds a beautiful contrast to the track. How did the decision to add a guest vocal appearance to the track come about and how did you find her to make it happen? Firstly, we always knew we wanted a guest on that track. Josh sent the rough demo to Tom, and the lyrics were written the same day that Tom’s Grandfather died – the idea was for there to be a narrative between two voices – the sufferer, and the person who watches the suffering. Our drummer, Jordan, teaches at a local music school, and at the time Liv was working the reception (she’s now giving lessons herself), and he sent Tom a video of her covering some songs on the acoustic guitar, and immediately Tom wanted her to be the other voice on the track. It’s a special one, and we’re glad we got her in on it.
There is a mention of forming Chapfallen as a way to help deal with some Mental Health issues, so did you find writing the record a cathartic process? Totally. As we said earlier, this band started out with Tom writing tunes in his bedroom to try and help cope with his depression; creative outlets have always proven to be the most effective means of self-expression. We all had a lot going on during the writing of the EP – every one of us had a family death, for example. The real catharsis came in the studio when we were laying everything down. There’s nothing quite as haunting as hearing Max’s vocals for Liminal Presence and Fugue without any music – and that’s just down to the release that comes with creativity.
What is the Stoke-on-Trent scene like? Have you found that the likes of Black Coast and Sertraline have paved the way for you by putting the city on the Metal Map? The Stoke-on-Trent scene is getting there again, slowly. Back in 2012 or so, when four of six of us were in our old band This Game of Ghosts it was huge – sold out shows at The Sugarmill and The Underground, and all manner of big out-of-town bands passed through Stoke on larger tours. We don’t know what happened that people suddenly stopped coming to shows, but by all means, with bands like Sertraline and Black Coast (who incidentally are playing Hammerfest at the same time as us) – there’s signs of improvement rather than stagnation.
Black Coast were lucky enough to land an endorsement with Yorkshire Tea and Death Remains would love to be endorsed by the student staple of the humble Pot Noodle. So if you had the choice of a any non music related endorsement, what would you pick and why? Taylor’s of Harrogate. They make the best coffee, and believe us, we’ve consumed a lot of it. It’s either that, or we’d ask Niantic to sort us out some freebies on Pokémon Go! The downtime flies by when you’re all off looking for Raids to beat together.
Next summer will open up the opportunity of the Underground Metal Festival season, with the likes of Tech-Fest, Fat Lip Fest, Burn It Down Festival and Hop Fest to name but a few looking to get back up and running. If you could take your pick, which one would you be putting your collective hats in the ring to play? That’s a great question! We’ve already signed on to play Hammerfest next year, but no doubt we’d love to play Tech-Fest, and ArcTangent if we could. There’s no harm in setting your sights high – it just makes you all the more determined to achieve it!