Sometimes it feels like I am still living in the 80s when it comes to heavy metal because I’ve been so into death/black the last 30 years that I am out of touch with acts like CHASTAIN for example. Another survivor from the 80s. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
You have a new album to promote now. What can you tell us about it?
David T. Chastain: We Bleed Metal 17 is a remake of the 2015 release We Bleed Metal. Read the info below for a very good explanation on how it happened: “CHASTAIN’s We Bleed Metal 17 is the next generation of the band’s 2015 Cd We Bleed Metal. Guitarist David T Chastain explains the new release: “As everyone knows I don’t tour any longer and spend all of my time in the studio. So I experiment a lot with both new and old material. We Bleed Metal 17 has the same drums and vocals as the original We Bleed Metal but it has 100% new and completely different music. A totally different sound and feel from the original version. Also on most CHASTAIN albums there are always at least 5 guitar tracks per song. However on We Bleed Metal 17 there is only 1 guitar track per song. So this is a very live sounding release with actually more lead guitar than the original. This is as close as anyone is ever going to get to a high quality liveCHASTAIN album. There is 1 guitar, bass, drums, lead vocal and a couple of harmony vocals. Also We Bleed Metal 17 has a very live sound with more drum room mics incorporated into the mix. You can hear Stian Kristoffersen’s drums more as they are front and center on this release without a massive wall of rhythm guitars taking up space in the mix.”
Returning vocalist Leather Leone adds: “This is my favorite CHASTAIN release since Mystery of Illusion!”
David continues, “As time goes on I have learned to enjoy the more stripped down sounds. In the early days sometimes there would be 20 guitar tracks on a song. Needless to say it was impossible to replicate that live and a major reason I never liked to tour. To me there was too much missing from the recorded versions for me to enjoy myself.”
Vocalist Leather Leone was the vocalist on the classic CHASTAIN albums: Mystery of Illusion, Ruler of the Wasteland, The 7th of Never, The Voice of the Cult and For Those Who Dare. Leather rejoined the band in 2013 with the release of the impressive Surrender To No One. She has just recently toured Europe as a solo artist with her new Brazilian backing band being billed as “Leather Leone: The Voice of Chastain.” Leather is putting the finishing touches on her new solo album that should be out later in 2017. Leather adds, “The response has been fantastic on my live concerts! I have been signing autographs for 20-year-old boys whose parents had turned them on to us. They come up to me crying. The boys from Brazil are so blown away by our fans. Spain, Germany and Sweden were crazy. I feel like I’m 20. The female fans are so hot and the boys in the band are loving it!”
Also returning for We Bleed Metal 17 is original CHASTAIN bassist Mike Skimmerhorn who once again lays the foundation so that the rest of the band can explore and create.
Guitarist David T. Chastain states, “This one live guitar sound is something I have been use to most of my professional life in concert situations but never recorded a metal record in that format. We still have a foot in the past but we are also embracing the future. I have my style of writing metal and it isn’t ever going to change to any major degree. Leather proves she hasn’t lost anything from her glory days. Stian’s kicks the band to the next level, as he is the youngest member with the most modern influences. For me this album is one of my favorite CHASTAIN releases in the catalog because it could be replicated100% in concert. I find myself being able to listen to We Bleed Metal 17 over and over.”
As the title track declares: “We will sacrifice and we will pay the price cause WE BLEED METAL!”
Even for a band like CHASTAIN the competition is a killer these days so please tell us how you have survived this far?
David T. Chastain: Fortunately we started back in the days when you could make a decent living off Cds and before there was massive internet piracy of music. If we started out today we would probably starve if we were trying to be full time musicians. I think we are still alive because there is a unique “Chastain sound” that has a following. Not a massive following but a following nonetheless.
Do you notice that there anticipation for you to release an album? Have you built a large enough following for people to eagerly await a new album?
David T. Chastain: Actually we have kept this release under wraps for a change. Usually we announce it months in advance. However this time we are only announcing it once we had a video for people to hear. So we are trying it a completely different way in regards to releasing everything. We will see if it matters.
When you started the band did you do so with a clear intent of what kind of music you wanted to play? How hard was it to come up with a sound all your own?
David T. Chastain: I more or less write the music I write and it sounds the way it does. Nothing is pre-planned as far as the writing goes. It just happens. I think the music is different and then when you add in Leather’s unique voice it is quite different than any other band. When you hear Chastain you know it is Chastain. You certainly don’t say that it sounds like another major band. I write music with scales that are a little different than a lot of bands. My personal influences are all over the place. From Black Sabbath to Allan Holdsworth to Iron Maiden to Allman Brothers to AC/DC to Bach. So quite a canvas of music to draw from.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
David T. Chastain: Playing with a group of people is different than putting out a solo Cd. A band has many opinions, ideas and goals. Sometimes that works out great whereas a solo Cd has a single viewpoint and can be much more focused. I have both so I can see it from both theories. In a perfect world all the musicians would be on the same page in all aspects.
When you play the sort of music you play do you feel that you can have whatever you like as art work for the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
David T. Chastain: I prefer modern commuter generated art whereas our European label Pure Steel Records definitely likes the more traditional illustration art. Therefore we usually have different covers for the US and Europe. No big deal. In the old days of Lps the cover art was much more important. I think it is less so today. Speaking personally I have never bought an album for the cover. I have never not bought an album from a band I like because I didn’t like the cover. So to me, it really doesn’t matter in my purchasing patterns be it the best cover ever or the worst.
I have a great fear that the change in how people consume music today will eventually kill music as we know it. What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
David T. Chastain: It already has to a certain degree. There is so many illegal download sites that it is impossible to fight them. Most are located in Russia which is intent on stealing everything it can. On a new release we find that it is available on the illegal download sites well before the legal sites. Fortunately many people in metal still like to own a Cd or Lp so that helps to some degree. If I was a new musician starting out today it would be extremely hard to make a living as a musician. In the “old days” there was some bootleg Cds floating around but that wasn’t a big problem in metal.
Is the era of great arena tours as thing of yester? What kind live scene is there for bands like yours? What does the touring circuit look like today?
David T. Chastain: I stopped trying to tour quite sometime ago. I much prefer to stay in the studio and write and record material. Leather, Chastain’s vocalist, loves to tour and she has been going out and doing concerts around the world playing mainly CHASTAIN songs. She says she has been getting amazing feedback.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
David T. Chastain: When I played live it was always a serious endeavor. Afterwards if there were some fans, especially female fans, that wanted to get together and hangout with the band that was cool… time permitting. Usually you have to pack up and move on to the next town. Chastain was never known as a party band.
What would you like to see the future bring?
David T. Chastain: I would like to see the end of piracy in music but I expect it to only get worse. Personally I would like to continue writing material that I think is relevant to myself and the fans. I never did this to get rich but fortunately I have been able to make a living in the music business my entire adult life… so I am very fortunate in that aspect! The most any of us can do it hope for the best and enjoy yourself.