Coheed And Cambria – Across The Ocean

Coheed And Cambria

New York’s post-hardcore prog rockers Coheed And Cambria are heading to Australia this May for their highly anticipated headline tour. This tour has all the hallmarks to be one of the year’s best and there is a real sense of anticipation and excitement by the band and the fans. Across The Ocean spoke to Josh Eppard from the band ahead of the tour and gave some insight in to his personal routine leading up to the show by running and maintaining fitness on the road.


Fantastic news that Coheed and Cambria are coming down to Australia this May for a tour, there’s a lot of excited people down here waiting in anticipation?

There’s a lot of excited people up here, any band, every band loves coming to Australia. It’s a long flight to paradise and we’ve been a few times but not enough times. We’re over the moon excited to come back, can’t wait.

With so long between tours and so many great albums including the newish one The Colour Before The Sun how will you cram everything in to the set considering how much great material there is in the back catalogue?

It is increasingly tough to represent each record when you have eight records out. Coheed has always been a band that takes a lot of time on its live show. We always try to put together, obviously, the best set list possible. That can be difficult but one of the things we’re doing on this tour is throwing a curve ball every night. We don’t play the same set every night, we have a pool of songs we can choose from which is made for two reasons. It keeps it fresh for us, when you play the same songs for thirty shows sometimes you can feel it gets stale. So it keeps it fresh for us and the audience don’t necessarily know what’s coming as there’s still that element of surprise which is kind of lost unless you’re going to do different shows. Once you do the first show the set list is up online, the fans know what’s coming and I would certainly say that is something we’ll do in Australia to having some alternating shows.

To answer your question more specifically Rob, thanks for saying our material is great, it is tough but I would like to think in a perfect world we put together a rocking show every time. There is so much excitement about this Australian trip and even today in the phone interviews talking about Australia, we’re really excited to be coming over and I think that will be represented in the set list. Whilst we would like to play for four or five hours it will be an hour and forty minutes. By the end it will feel like a long show and that I have ran twenty miles. The set will really rock, there will be a lot of the new stuff but we’ll be playing a lot of the fan favourites as well. I think it will be a good mix.

Do you have a special regime to prepare for the intensity of the live show?

Yeah, big time! Literally, this is cutting in to my running time as I usually run three or four miles before every show just to loosen up. On off days I do eight to ten miles, we’re all getting older and we’re not twenty one any more so the back stage area looks like a Gold’s Fitness Centre. Everyone needs to take care of themselves and for me it is about stamina so I run a lot. I would be running right now if I wasn’t talking to you actually but I’ll get it in after talking to you. I think it is all about, we found the motivation to keep up the fitness has to do with time which directly correlates to the show. The show will be better if your stamina is up.

At least for me personally that’s how I found the motivation to do it. It means the show is going to be better, we’ll play better for the fans then I’m going to do it. For a long time I was pretty out of shape, rock ‘n roll whatever, hanging out doing whatever and through relating the physical aspect to what we do and the fitness part of it I really found the motivation to get in to shape and get my stamina up which makes the show better and easier. Well, as easy as it can be to get up there under the hot light and do what we do every night.

Running? That’s an impressive way to explore every city you tour? Do you look at maps to see where you can go running or do you go wherever?

It’s one of things where I need to run and I have been running for a little over two years now. Running puts me in a place where I think about the show, sometimes I’ll listen to the first songs we’ll play that night, the recorded versions, which centres me. Once I do my run, which is hours before the show well then I ready for the show. It has become a part of my routine and my every day. I couldn’t imagine touring and being in a band without it. It is hard for me to imagine I did this for years without doing that. It is an integral part of my routine.

The album The Colour Before The Sun has come at a significant point in the band’s career being the first album that hasn’t built on The Amory Wars. Was that a difficult decision to move away from that and venture in to new territory?

Not really, what was difficult about it is, and I don’t want to put words in Claudio’s mouth but I’m going to say it. In a sense the story was him shying away from his most deepest, darkest and most personal. As far as whether it was a difficult decision on the band’s part it wasn’t. I thought it was an exciting and really brave move. For Claudio he wrestled with that decision. From my perspective it seemed like an easy decision. He said, you know what? On this record there is not going to be a story. These are the songs and they are to be taken for, well all music is conceptual and whatever it means to the listener.

As far as being in Coheed’s universe as far as the story line goes and the concept goes, saying that these songs are about this and it is very specifically about my family and my wife who I love, my first born son and there’s nothing to lead this other tier I thought it was a particularly bold and brave thing artistically and personally to do. It is hard for me to comment whether it was difficult a decision for him, I can’t really answer that for the band. Plus I don’t want to say something that wasn’t correct. It wasn’t difficult for us, Claudio might have stayed up for weeks wondering should I or should I not. I can’t really answer that.

What was the band’s response to these new ideas when they were presented? Did that drive the creative process even further to write additional songs?

I don’t know man! I guess I was a little bit surprised in a way but not in a fearful way that it was like oh boy. I was proud of Claudio as it was a bold and brave move both personally and artistically. The surprise for me was more being proud of my friend, just on that level we can step up and say there is no story. From a pure band perspective there was a piece of me that was a little bit surprised. Surprised is kind of like the wrong word! I was aware that there was going to be some fans that really look forward to the story and that they might be concerned about never being that other tier to dive in to.

Any kind of worry or being surprised was displaced by thinking that the trajectory of the band at this point felt like an appropriate thing to do. These songs were different and a really different Coheed record. I was more surprised by the material than the fact that there was no story. It was much lighter, wasn’t very heavy and that was surprising to me. Again, any kind of surprise was really off put by falling in love with the tunes and having a great time making the record. There was never a point where the band sat around and thought oh man there’s not going to be a story, it’s going to be really different. We were just really excited to do things that were a little different because I thought we did.

With all the line up changes over the years do you feel the band is at its happiest, strongest and best point now?

Um, yeah I really do! As far as I’m concerned there’s been line up changes but it’s not like certain band that every time you see them there’s a different rhythm section, different guitar players, Travis and Claudio have always been there, I was there, I was gone for a few years and came back and now we just have Zach. It has been years, it’s not like every time we roll through this we change bass player. Zach has been there for three of them and it isn’t like this is a new band. I really mean it I think this is the best line up. It is not an insult to Mic Todd in any way shape or form or whoever else has played with Coheed but I think it has been long enough and we’ve done enough records, do enough miles on the road, certainly at this juncture, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the band is the best it’s ever been and strongest.

We’re all adults now, we’re not twenty five years old out partying and stuff. To do this we have be honest with each other. It doesn’t mean every day is hunky dory, rainbows and sunshine. We know how to do this thing, we know how to get a long, we know how to live on the road together in a submarine which is basically what we live in when we’re on a bus. The state of the union is strong.

Has there been much thought about the next album?

We’ve talked about some things, when we sound check we jam on some things, we’ll see! Any Coheed record in the future and any Coheed record in the past is always about making the best record we’ve ever made. The mindset that we’re in I feel that Coheed’s best work and most important work is in front of us. Other than that I don’t really know, there isn’t a specific thing but there are some pretty wild ideas. It’s really anyone’s guess but I can tell you I’m excited about the next Coheed record, I’m excited about what the future holds and we’ll go in like we do with every record to make the best Coheed record we’ve ever made.

Hopefully the Australian tour will inspire some new material?

We love making records and even though there’s a lot on the schedule, this tour is literally in its first steps. There’s a long way to go but every night I’m thinking of a new record and where we can go. I’m excited by that! Coming over to Australia and playing for our fans of course that will inspire us. It’s a trip to be half way over the world and see people that appreciate what you do. You have to be dead not to be inspired by that. I’m sure we’re going to take a lot from this trip.

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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