Chad Kapper of A Dark Orbit – The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview

It shouldn’t be a secret that we here at Heavy Blog were MIGHTY impressed by A Dark Orbit‘s Inverted. Not only did we give the album high praise (here), but we asked vocalist Chad Kapper (who also fronts Frontierer) to share his top albums of 2015 (here) during our annual list week. Even though we’re already a couple of weeks into 2016, our very own Matt MacLennan is still hyped on Inverted, and decided to hit up Chad again to cover a myriad of different topics. Head past the jump to find out Chad’s thoughts on Basick Records, reception to Inverted (both positive and negative) and – of course – how he likes his eggs.

Matt MacLennan: With regards to Inverted being released by Basick Records, how did you set up that relationship?

Chad Kapper: Well I came into talks with Basick even slightly before ADO signed with them in 2008. Basick was actually very interested in my project before ADO called When Knives Go Skyward, with Josh Travis. They were such a great label then, and even though we never got anything finalized, I never forgot that as I was shopping ADO. They were my first thought for a home and it worked out in our favor as Barley jumped on us which gave us the opportunity to be their first foreign signing to the label, which paved the road for the others that have followed. The relationship alone has always been great though and I couldn’t imagine not being apart of the Basick family. That has by far been the best part. They completely get the industry, the never falter on the artist’s creative freedom, and they are just great people who are trying to make waves correctly with always releasing cutting edge albums from cutting edge artists. The relationship was so good, that they asked me a few years after ADO’s signing to be apart of the Basick Team by helping out with A&R. It’s a perfect marriage.

MM: Where can you see it going in the near future?

CK: The future with ADO and Basick? I see us being here for a very long while, especially as long as we stay the productive band we want and know we can be. There is nothing we can’t accomplish as a team and I love the freedom we have here. It feels natural.

MM: Basick are always on the frontlines of pushing out great new metal as well so who would you say is your favorite act or acts on the label? If you say A Dark Orbit I will still agree with you.

CK: My favorite Basick band? Man this is a hard one. There are so many great bands on this label. I would have to say that personally my favorites are Devil Sold His Soul and Uneven Structure since their albums get the most spins, and their music compares to what I am most influenced by. It’s the feeling both their music gives. It has a lasting impact on me, like a great story does. But Alaya and No Consequence alway resonate hard with me too because they both provide such amazing songwriting. Then there’s Damned Spring Fragrantia. The dirty quality of DSF latches me to them immediately. It’s unique.  And I still need to get around to fully checking out the new album from Murdock. lol. I try to be well rounded. I do love that A Dark Orbit band though. They seem neat. :)

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MM: Inverted is a big slab of music that I find gives way more as a listening experience in isolation, but it’s great to stick on for working or background music too. With a record as long as yours, how did you find the balance of grabbing the audience’s attention along with the more rhythmic, doom parts of the record?

CK: Wow, that’s a great question. John (guitarist) was a big advocate for a full CD of music. No exceptions. We actually had to cut some bits of ambiance out to make the album fit on a CD. A full album feels more like a soundtrack to life. We wanted it huge. I love albums that can take you to a place and immerse you in the world created. I think those are the albums that get talked about most long term. I’m a big fan of Neurosis and many of the bands on Neurot Recordings, which all have that feel. A Neurosis album always tells a story and you have to fully sit through and completely absorb it all to really get it. That can seem like a chore to listeners that just want a bunch of tracks to listen to, which is ok too, but there is something to say about the feeling that is pulled from an album when it creates a story and all the songs meld together for a full end result. At that point it becomes more of the true art that it was intended to be upon its creation. Listen to Neurosis’s “Through Silver In Blood”, “Times of Grace”, “A Sun That Never Sets”, and “The Eye Of Every Storm”. All of them are masterpieces that If you can make it entirely through at one time, you will hopefully see the artwork they created. But with Inverted, I feel we just wrote from the heart and let our individual influences shine without any stifling. But John and I really took our time and mapped out the record prior to writing, but we really took our time to piece it back together in the right order to make that experience as fluid as it should be, with the proper balance of keeping the listener’s attention. I think we nailed it and succeeded in that aspect.

MM: As with any record, there must have been some tracks that were left lying on the cutting room floor. Do you have any intention of rehashing these into new material or once a track has been deemed not good enough, is it thrown to the side all together?

CK: We actually didn’t have a ton that we threw away. We have some we didn’t use, but they didn’t fit our vision for Inverted. We had some tracks we totally reworked, like “Proper Skin” and “Lore Of Ocean”, that if you totally heard the old ones, you wouldn’t recognize them. They both have completely different riffs and structures. But we always keep it all. You can never have too many ideas lying around. We always want to write all new stuff, but it’s great to have a reference to go to or something we can use as an idea-striker that we can work from. It just all depends on the feeling we want to provide for the current album we are working on at the time. We actually have already mapped out part of our next release and we already know where we want to take our music and sound. We are excited when that can be fleshed out and shared with everyone when that time comes. We will be going deeper down that doom cavern, but it will be completely in ADO fashion of course.

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MM: Lyrically, there’s a lot to take from each track on Inverted. The overall concepts and ideas behind are totally fascinating but where do you get this inspiration from? To put it this way, after reading through the lyrics on Inverted, I couldn’t help but think of Blade Runner, J.G Ballard and the like. Is science fiction a big part of your writing inspiration?

CK: Yes, very much so. I actually have been working on a ton of short stories and some novels for a while now. All of them are fiction either in the sci-fi or fantasy genre. All of this was influenced solely by the love of reading. I’m a book fanatic. So my brain seems to always be wired to these concepts and it just swims in it. I have such a dystopian craze that with Inverted I wanted to try and create something special when it came down to its content and overall meaning. There are so many books and stories/movies out there that influenced my overall direction, so it’s hard to pinpoint what gave me my full approach. I’m a space nut as well, so using the astronaut theme as the backbone of the album concept seemed very natural to me.

MM: Again, concerning your lyrics. A lot of the subjects are quite expansive, without ever being too vague. Have you had anyone come to you with an understanding of one of your tracks where their take on it is completely different to what you felt when you were writing it?

CK: Yeah that does happen here and there. But I love hearing other people’s thoughts on what I write. Very rarely do I divulge about what my songs are truly about. I like to keep the mystery behind it all. Even though I have my own personal meanings, I would hate to deter someone else’s thoughts if what they assume it means helps them to cope with something they are personally experiencing or going through at that moment. I wouldn’t want to alter that in way that it wasn’t as striking to them. I truly just love the outcomes of one’s creativity and the way the ripples create waves in people. It’s amazing how it all resonates differently with everyone.

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MM: The reception for Inverted across the extended metal blog/fan universe has been pretty damn stellar, from this measly blogger too. How important do you think the Internet Metal Nerd family is today when everyone has their favorite blog/least favorite blog? If someone reads one bad review of your record they might avoid any other coverage, for example (they wouldn’t).

CK: The positive feedback we have gotten from Inverted has been crazy! We never expected it would get this type of response, especially for how densely packed this album is of content. No, I love that there are so many blogs out there, good and not-so-good. My thoughts are this, and very simple: Any type of press is good press. If someone throws your name out there and gives you some brief time to shine in the limelight provided, its resonating with someone somehow, and whomever reads it. This is what causes the brushfire of talk. That’s free advertisement. Now of course, I prefer it to be good thoughts, but opinions are valid. But again, they are only that. Opinions. If listeners are persuaded by another’s own thoughts, then that listener is the one missing out. They will just have to try and catch the next wave through and hopefully it’s one they choose to ride on.

MM: Going to put the spotlight on for a minute now. Could you share your favorite performance from each member of the band, including yourself, from Inverted?

CK: John (guitarist) – I think my favorite riff from the album that he came up with is on “Floating Intact” at 3:43 when that massive groove riffs drop back in. So great. But his solo work in “Zombiehawk” gives me chills, so it’s hard to pick.

Keith (guitarist) – I love the subtle epic riff he added in on “Horrible Mud” at 5:19. It’s just chilling and makes the song complete. But I think the best thing he added is the opening riff to “New Age Sinkhole”. That riff is so dirty and beautiful. I love the way his riffs pull in that grimey quality without being overpowering.

Owen (drums) – Now Owen came around after Inverted was written and recorded, but he has since added in so many amazing tweaks to the tracks live that the experience he’s going to display and add to us will need to be seen in the flesh. He hits harder and destroys more equipment than anyone I have seen or heard of. It’s unreal. I would say his additions to “Weep To Water The Black Earth” and “Death Cult Philosophy” are my favorites. You will need to catch the live performances of those to witness his greatness. It’s violent enough that I’m actually afraid to stand too close.

Chad (vocals) – For myself, I would have to say that my favorite vocal part is the opening vocal part starting at 0:43 on “Horrible Mud”. I just love how it acts like a lit fuse to the track as it leads to the opening detonation of the song at 0:56. Its very unique to me and it still excites me every time I scream that part.

MM: Lastly, to put you on blast for the most important question; how do you like your eggs?

CK: Any way you can think of! But if I had a preference, I would say it’s a tie with a fried egg-over easy and a soft boiled egg.

-MM & SM

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