Before their first show back at the London Borderline James was recently able to sit down and chat with Bassist/Vocalist Joe Nally and guitarist Angus Neyra of Chapters and discuss début album ‘The Imperial Skies,’ future touring plans and their upcoming new album. It’s certainly safe to say the future is looking good for ‘Chapters’ fans.
The Imperial Skies credits several ex-members with song-writing. How will this affect its follow-up?
Joe: Of the ex-members, there was only one of the guys who really contributed to the songs. That was a guy called ‘Stuart Fellowes.’ He wrote, or co-wrote some of the songs with myself or Angus. It’s hard when you look at songs like ‘Imperial’ and ‘Reign;’ that’s Angus. ‘Reign’ has Stuart on, erm, ‘Chapters,’ ‘March’ have Stuart on too. ‘Imperial,’ ‘Ecliptics,’ is me and Angus or me and Stuart so as long as me and Angus are still here the core of that sound is still going to be about. I think the newer guys are right on for what we need to push the band a bit more “out there.” I think we will be fine. We’ve got the core guys still here.
How does song-writing generally happen in ‘Chapters?’
Joe: I will usually come in with a riff, it doesn’t matter if it is the intro or the outro or the part in the middle. It’s the same with Angus, he will just come up with a part. We sit down and thrash out ideas on where to take the song and, going back onto the ‘Imperial Skies’ we’re not scared to take a risk and drop in something that might not work but it seems to have worked because everybody seems to like it! It’s just one person might have one riff and it goes from there really, going round, jamming it out with each other.
It’s your first show back did you choose to do it with ‘Rise to Remain’ for any reason in particular?
Joe: We’re friends with the ‘Rise’ guys, I’ve known them for years and we were over in a pub in Shepherds Bush called Brewdogs and they were like “oh yeah we’re about to announce our first show back, would you like to jump on?” At first we said no because Tom had just had his first practice and we didn’t know if he would be ready but I think we did alright. So here we are.
Lyrically, was ‘Imperial Skies’ composed with any conceptual framework in mind?
Joe: It’s hard because ‘March’ and ‘Chapters’ we wrote, or co-wrote with our original singer back in the day. A guy called Nick Evans and he had this idea to take it onto this big ‘Lord of the Rings’ vibe then he left. I didn’t want to move away from his idea and I knew what the idea was, but I thought of making it into short stories with each character from each short story appearing in other ones. It’s a story that’s all jumbled up so ‘Reign,’ although it’s the first track on the album might not necessarily be the first one lyrically. Each short story involves its own character or different thing that hits on another chain. There’s a few on there like ‘Imperial Skies’ and ‘Ecliptic Circle’ which are about someone close to me that passed away but I’ve not put them into songs I’ve just bought them in as characters.
Is this something you want to explore on future releases?
Joe: Yeah, I think lyrically we might do something a bit different. With ‘Imperial Skies’ people have said that it feels more uplifting than a ‘normal’ metal album.
Angus: Well we do have an idea, it’s not set in stone where we might do the two CD thing.
Joe: We might do, we might not but one half might just be scream songs and the other half might just be a bit more like ‘Ecliptic’ with more of the softer stuff and a story that overruns the two albums. We’re thinking about different things to do.
Does the methodology within ‘Chapters’ differ to that of ‘Hang the Bastard?’
Joe: Hang the Bastard, since I’ve been in it, is completely different to ‘Chapters.’ ‘Hang the Bastard’ is just Sam on guitars he just writes the riffs on the spot. I might come in with a few bits and bobs but ‘Chapters’ you really sit down and we could waste eight months writing a song. Whereas ‘Hang the Bastard’ you can walk out with a hit in like, one practise. Both bands are completely different.
What are your plans for the next year, is touring a goal?
Joe: I think the main thing is, I think we want to go on tours that work well with us, because of the sound that we have but we’ve been there so many times. We’ve toured the smaller circuit.
Angus: It’s more about the quality of shows rather than quantity.
Joe: Things like this, we could do ten smaller shows around the UK no one would give a toss and then we could play one show with ‘Rise to Remain’ and the amount of hype we got with it, the amount of buzz is so much stronger so we’re just trying to pick and choose what’s right for us as a band.
Imperial Skies had several guest vocal spots, is this an angle you’re going to continue to explore?
Joe: I think it’s certainly something that we’ve discussed with a few people that we’d like to have on the album with maybe one returning guest.
Angus: For example, ‘Bloodshot Dawn’, their guitarist, Ben he’s amazing and it’d be outstanding to have him do a little solo.
Joe: As soon as we heard Ben, I thought he was a killer player, they’re a killer band and I asked him “you wanna do a solo on the next Chapters album?” and he just went “yeah, cool, send it over.” I’d love to have people like Ben Tovey [Rise to Remain] who’s an insanely good guitarist. It’s definitely something we’d like to keep up with.
Why did you want to include the guests?
Joe: It originally started with the first version of ‘Chapters’ that had a guy on called Leo who used to be the singer for ‘Traces’ who have turned into ‘Saturnia’ and he came down. We’ve got some cool friends that I really admire whether we’ve toured with them or they’ve helped us and I just thought “I’d love you to be a part of our album.”
You mentioned the double album earlier, are the guests an extension of that; throwing it out there trying to have as much fun as possible?
Joe: Yeah, do something different and I think that’s what we’ve done with Imperial. I think that’s why people like it so much, because it’s something that’s slightly different and that’s something we’d like to keep up.
Thanks for chatting,
A review of Chapters’ performance with Rise To Remain will be available here shortly. In the meantime you can follow Chapters on Twitter at @ChaptersMetal and visit their online store at https://www.chapters.bigcartel.com/.