Chaney Crabb of Entheos: The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview

Has death metal started to feel a bit too homogeneous for you lately? Do you think that a lot of djent bands djumped the shark a few years ago? Or maybe you want to check out a prog band that keeps songs at a reasonable length? Let California’s Entheos be your golden ticket out of this musical rut you’ve found yourself in. Trust us here at Heavy Blog when we say that The Infinite Nothing is an absolute gut-punch; a motherfucking flurry of warped guitar riffs, crushing production and some of the most amazing bass performances you’re likely to hear in the style for the next couple of years. I had the privilege to speak with the band’s vocalist, Chaney Crabb, last week about how the band has improved since their debut EP, confronting anxiety through writing, tour homies and a whole lot more!

You guys just wrapped up a tour with The Black Dahlia Murder not too long ago. How did that go with you guys getting out there with a big band like that?

It was a really rad tour, man! Every night was a great show, and all of the guys on the tour were awesome. It was just like a tour of friends, and I don’t know if that happens constantly where every single person on the tour is cool as hell. It was overall a really great experience and it was great for us as a band.

I hope you guys hung out with the Artificial Brain dudes. I’ve met them before and they’re super nice!

Oh yeah! Those guys are our main homies. Dan Gargiulo, their guitarist, has been on basically every tour we’ve done so far. We did one with Revocation as well.

Yeah! That was the only time I’ve seen you guys. I’m from North Carolina, so I saw you guys play in Raleigh with them last year…So I just got to hear the new record, The Infinite Northing, and it definitely feels like a really big step up from the EP. What were some challenges that you wanted to put on yourself? It feels pretty challenging to listen to, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.

Totally! I think it takes a couple of listens to really digest everything. For me personally, I think my biggest thing was making sure that my pronunciation was all there. I felt like on our EP I could have done better, you know? I’m constantly looking for things to fix in my vocals and ways to get better, and that was a huge focus for me.

Was there anything in particular that you did to work on that, or anything you got inspired from?

Not really, I just worked on sounding out my syllables better. That kind of thing.

So in-between releases there was the big change of guitarists for the band. Was this in the middle of making the album, and if so how much stayed from the material you did with Frank [Costa]? Did any of his parts end up on the album?

So with Frank, all of his rhythm parts are on the album. Navene [Koperweis], our drummer, writes a lot of guitar parts, and arguably wrote more on the album anyways. So we kept all of that stuff and Malcolm [Pugh] came in at the last minute. We were already ready to record solos that weekend, and we got him there and wrote about nine solos in two days. I think that there are two solos on the album that are Navene’s, and the rest of them are all Malcolm. But overall, it didn’t really affect the material.

So would you say that the lion’s share of the material is just Navene, or where does Evan come in? What’s the working dynamic on that like?

Basically, Navene will collaborate with either Frank, or nowadays Malcolm, on riffs and material. Evan wrote a riff or two on the album as well, just by tracking the bass first and then adding them over it. That’s pretty much how it goes down. Navene will then track all the drums and then we go back and change things during the tracking process. Navene definitely has the biggest hand in everything because he also tracks us all and produces the record.

I noticed just in terms of the production of the record it seems a little darker sounding than the EP. Was that a deliberate thing?

It wasn’t totally deliberate. We definitely went into it wanting there to be a dark vibe, but we weren’t on ourselves constantly saying “this has to be darker!” That’s just how it ended up. We were probably a little more pissed going into the writing process, and we had a bit of a clearer idea on where we want to go as a band. That’s just what happened naturally.

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So like when you say “where you want to go as a band,” what exactly does that mean for the whole group, or even just you?

I guess it just means…well, when we were writing the first EP, it was just four people getting in a room. We didn’t really know what we wanted to do, but we knew we wanted to make music together. Once we made the EP, we figured out “ok, so we kind of sound like this.” All of the guys have solo projects, so we really want to implement that in the band and I feel like we explored that a little more with the album. Things like that.

I feel like you can hear a bit of everyone’s solo stuff. You can definitely hear the electronic stuff, there’s a little bit of Evan’s jazz-fusion style, and then Malcolm’s guitar solos definitely sound like his solo album he put out last year.

For me personally that’s always been what I’ve wanted us to do since the idea came to be. I’m such a huge fan of them on a solo level, so I really want that to shine through in our material. The hope is that in the future it goes even more that way, and we talked about if we do a headlining tour we’re going to really bring the musicality. Everyone will have a time to play and jam and it would be a more full experience of the band than just a record.

That’s a pretty interesting idea. I can’t think of another band right now that has as many solo projects as this, at least in this genre of music. I think that’d be a totally cool idea! So as far as touring and stuff goes, I know you guys have that tour with The Contortionist coming up. Have you met any of the guys on the tour yet, or will this be a new sort of thing for you?

We know The Contortionist guys. Five or so years ago when Mike [Lessard] was in Last Chance to Reason, he was on tour with Animals as Leaders and Evan’s solo stuff at the time.

Oh yeah! I actually went to that show! (laughs)

Yeah, see? So we’ve known Mike for a while, and Evan knows the other guys from The Contortionist, because I believe he was with The Faceless at the time and was touring with them. So it’s actually going to be a homie tour!

Well that’s good, that’ll make it an easier time for you I’m sure. I’m really stoked to see it too. You guys are coming to North Carolina on 4/20, so we’ll have to hang out!

We’ll have to partake! (laughs)

Right on! So I’ve gotten to listen to the album a few times now but have only been able to read the lyrics so far for “Neural Damage.” Is that a pretty common lyrical style, or is it a little more all over the place on the album? What can people expect?

I think that my style of kind of all over the place. I don’t think that the song was really a good indicator of things to come, and we are putting out a new song next week.

Oh, which one are you doing?

We’re doing “The Infinite Nothing,” the title track. And those two are pretty vastly different. It’s just the way I put things across. On the album I talked about my anxiety, because I’m a super anxious person. It’s just my life every day. So [the album] has a lot to do with that, and what I think of it. Some songs will use metaphors, like how in “Neural Damage” I talked about a mechanical extension. Some songs I don’t get as metaphorical in though, and that’s what I feel “The Infinite Nothing” is. I guess it’s pretty common if you look at bands I’ve been a part of in the past. I think you can definitely tell it’s my lyrical style, and I’m not always scientific about my word choices, you know what I mean? (laughs)

Yeah, totally. Do you think talking about stuff like that and doing that in front of people helps you confront it and make yourself a better person?

Definitely. I think that it’s my way of coping with all of it. I don’t know that it makes me a better person, but it helps me to share that with other people and get it all out there. That’s why I’ve always been a fan of writing. I’m not always the best at getting things across when I’m speaking to someone, but with writing it’s a place where I’ve always really shined.

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Yeah, you’ve just a chance to focus more on what you really want to say.

Totally!

So with the cover artwork, I’ve seen some of the visual art stuff you have done which I like a lot, did you have any hand in working on the art, and if not what was the process of picking that out like? What does it represent for the album?

We all kind of had a hand in picking it out. We didn’t really give the artist much of an idea of what we wanted. We just said that wanted something abstract and dark and I think that the cover ended up looking like the end of the world. With the album being named The Infinite Nothing, I think the artwork and title go together hand in hand. Although we didn’t give [the artist] much direction, I think he fucking nailed it.

I would totally agree! So I guess the last thing is after the next tour, do you guys have anything worked out for the summer? You guys thinking about doing festival stuff or anything like that?

We’re kind of working on that right now. That’s actually been a huge topic of discussion for us right now: what are we going to do next? There will be something though, for sure. We plan on staying out on the road as much as possible.

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