How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
-Very much so. With Chugger you get a lot of big guitars chugging around and the name reflects that. We were never interested in being one of the underground bands that spend 10-20 years in the rehearsal room before even leaving the city they live in. A good solid name, and logo, is very important for people to latch on to. Some bands even go one step further to keep themselves underground by having logos that can’t be read. I can’t see anyone needing subtitles to read our logo…
What was it that made you want to do CHUGGER?
-Over the years I (Robert) had been spending a lot of time playing guitars in different bands and projects, but never really had the time to go out there with my own material. In 2012 I cut all previous ties and decided to focus full time on my own music. The music I write is basically music I like to listen myself, and Chugger has always been just that – a band that I would follow myself, had I not been part of it.
What is your definition of death metal? What is black metal to you?
-A pretty broad question, but I’ll sum it down somewhat. Death metal for me is harmonic guitars, double pedals, melodies and growling vocals. It’s alright to venture outside these walls, of course, but basically that’s what death metal means to me. Adding additional keyboards or melodies on top and you get melodic death metal, while black metal is pretty much melodic death metal – with tremolo guitars and different scales. And make-up, haha!
When you work more with groove in your songs how do you arrange the tracks?
-I’ve never been a fan of music that makes the listener think “how am I supposed to move to this?” while watching the band live. The music I write tend to invite to headbanging and “headbopping” – the groove is just a natural part of that. When writing I don’t sit down and say “ok, this one’s gonna groove!”. I just start writing and playing my guitar and if my head moves while playing, or if the feeling is right, it’s a winner.
Where do you find your inspiration to create?
-There’s no shortage of subjects for inspiration when it comes to Chugger, as we focus on the dark and twisted nature of humanity. But more often than not, it’s usually the songs that come to me. Sounds like the worst possible cliché, but songs that write themselves are the best, really. Portable recording devices or mobile phones are also valuable as they allow for quick and easy recording of riffs and lyrics. I’m just there to enjoy the ride and record the process while doing so!
How important is the graphic side of CHUGGER? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
-I believe it’s very important. Same goes with people meeting other people in a bar for instance, you don’t go “man, I bet she/he/it has a great personality!”. If the exterior isn’t intriguing you in some way, initial interest will be hard to gain. Just check out the planned original artwork for Van Halen’s debut album, and you’ll see what I mean… Same goes with promo pictures and other material, if it doesn’t look like someone made an effort – why should the listener/viewer care?
Do you find that there is a greater freedom in working with digital than working with physical?
-Yes. And no. A digital only release is cheap and often gives the artist a few bucks extra per album, and allows for a world wide release that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. But there are still a large number of people that collect and buy albums. On concerts it’s a great opportunity for the fans to get something that can be signed and be kept as a memento while still supporting the band, which I think is great.
Are there any limitations to digital? Can you do everything you like?
-Like I said, there are limitations to both forms. With the help of modern sound streaming services you can cater to the globe with music digitally, while physical copies needs proper distribution to get proper sales.
Is there a scene to speak of for a band like CHUGGER? Where do you fit in?
-Definitely! Our fanbase has grown tremendously the last few years, and people listening to Slipknot, Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquillity, Lamb of God, and basically any kind of metal that gets you moving, will love Chugger as well.
What does the future hold?
-A lot, to be modest! We will continue to deliver great music and world class live performances until we drop. We got tons of material that’s waiting to be recorded, videos and other things in the pipeline, so we absolutely can’t wait to let you all be a part of the groove death metal family! Horns up!