While vocalist Chaz Bond is best known for his work in Jacobs Dream – having performed on the groups two most recent releases, Drama Of The Ages and Dominion Of Darkness – he actually got his start in the mid-nineties with the Goth influenced thrash outfit Biogenesis. As a precursor to the soon to be released new Jacobs Dream album, Beneath The Shadows, and the re-issue of Biogenesis’ debut The Mark Bleeds Through, Angelic Warlord conducted a recent interview with Chaz. Please read on as Chaz goes into further detail about BTS, the re-issue of TMBT and his new band Human Paradox.
What are some of the bands/musicians that you grew up with or currently listen to that have inspired your music?
Growing up I listened to allot of bands. As I got into my teens I became a big Deliverance fan. I loved the vocals of Deliverance front man Jimmy Brown. I would have to say that he is probably the only long standing influence on my personal performance. Today I don't really listen to allot of music anymore. I get so busy with my own three bands that by the time I catch a break I just chill with my wife and daughter.
When did you start singing and when did you know that you wanted to become a vocalist?
My mother claims that I was trying to sing along with songs on the radio when I was two or three years old. Basically I was always singing or at least trying to. The first time I attempted to form a band I was only seven years old. There was never a time that I can recall where I didn't have the desire to sing.
Biogenesis is one of your first bands. How and when did Biogenesis form? What are your thoughts on the group’s debut, The Mark Bleeds Through?
Over the years I had fronted many different bands. When I was fifteen I was in a death metal band. I had also fronted rock bands, power metal bands etc. In 1996 I had come up with a vision to combine all the styles of metal that I had experienced over the years in one amazing band, Id like to say that we pulled it off. I also like to view Biogenesis as one of the innovators of this approach. Today you have bands like "Into Eternity" where they have a single front man who goes from death growls to pitch perfect melodies in an instant but back in 2001 when our first album came out no one Else was doing that. We were one of the first and I am very proud of that. Nothing against "Rowe Productions" but I have always believed that had Bio been on a huge major label we would have had the potential to go very far. Unfortunately the band ended pre-maturely but now eight years later we are back for more.
I was very proud of our debut on Rowe Productions. I had always felt however that it should have been better. We had three days to record an album that took three years to write. As a result of being rushed things didn't turn out quite the way they should have but I just look at it now as lessons learned. Today however it seems that allot of our fans are starting to view it as a classic. I have seen people pay 35 bucks for a copy which is just crazy but that is something that makes me feel proud of our past. For me though this will always be the album that put my name on the map. Without this album I might still be singing in a local garage band.
What are the circumstances behind you joining Jacobs Dream?
When Bio was in the middle of its prime we began touring with Jacobs Dream during the Theater Of War era. I got to know the guys pretty well. After David Taylor left the band they went on a long search for a new vocalist without choosing a successor. One day I got a letter from one the guys asking me if I would be interested in an audition. Initially I was torn because I was a big fan of their music but I didn't want to walk away from Bio. To make a long story short, after my audition I told them that I would love to join them if I could remain in both bands. Now five years later we are just preparing to release the third album of the Chaz era. That is something that I am very proud of.
Your first album with JD, Drama Of The Ages, was also its last with Metal Blade Records. Why did JD leave Metal Blade?
The Metal Blade contract had been fulfilled. We had offers from a few different labels at the time. We just took a vote and the decision was to go independent. There were some big names on the table but we ended up going in our own direction at that point.
JD went independent on its most recent work, Dominion Of Darkness? What are the pros and cons of being an independent artist?
The pros would be that you make 100% of all the profit that comes in from record sales and so on. You don’t have anyone telling you how, when or why. The cons are that it is a very difficult way to go because you don’t have anyone outside of the band pushing your latest release and it just becomes to much. You definitely have a lot more opportunity when you are with a good label.
JD recently signed with Retroactive Records. What led to JD signing with Retroactive?
After experiencing the independent phase during the Dominion Of Darkness era we had been approached by Retroactive Records. My other band Biogenesis had just signed a deal with them and I was pretty impressed with what they were willing and able to do for us so I suggested to the guys that we consider signing with them. After some ongoing negotiations we eventually singed with the label. Retroactive may not have the big name that Metal Blade has but they are an up and coming label who treats their artist right. So on that note we are looking forward to the future.
JD has a new album coming out entitled Beneath The Shadows. Please go into more detail about BTS. Specifically, how does it compare musically to past releases from JD?
One thing that I have always loved about JD is that they/we have never made the same album twice. Each album is unique in its own way and Beneath The Shadows is no exception. I think that due to the subject matter of the lyrical content this will be the most emotional album the band has ever done. On the last album Dominion Of Darkness John Berry chose to pretty much drop the guitar synth. On this album however there will be an abundance of synth and keyboards. We all agreed that this is a trademark of the band and so it will now return with a vengeance so to speak.
The lyrics at times will match the emotion of some of our past material such as "Embraced By Sorrow" and "Sarah Williams". Musically there are moments of heaviness. Moments of sheer emotion as well as some moments of total darkness. There will also be brighter moments as well. This album will be a journey of emotion both lyrically and musically.
When do you expect BTS to be released? And how is the writing and recording process going?
We are expecting a late July release. The writing and recording process is almost complete with the exception of a few minor touch ups here and there.
Any songs that you would like to talk about?
That is difficult for me. I basically love the entire album. If I had to choose one it would be a song called "Reborn In Fire". It takes you through the redemption of a man who had lived a long life of darkness. While the song is based on the character of the story it is easy for the average person to identify with the song on a personal level. It is very moving.
Also, it is my understanding that BTS is a concept album. Please tell me more about the concept in question. And what inspired it?
The story is based on a single character who had the picture perfect life with a great job, a wife and children and a beautiful home. After losing his dream job he eventually turned to selling and eventually using drugs. Using this to hide the fact that he no longer had the dream job that supported his family, his wife eventually learns the truth and decides to leave him. After she leaves with the children his entire world begins to fall apart. That is all I can say for now because I don’t want to give to much away but that is how it begins. This story is about addiction. It’s about loss, consequence and redemption.
The story was inspired by things that I have seen happen in the lives of people that I have known. I have never gotten into drugs but I have seen people go through it and I have seen the destruction that follows. A close friend of mine lost his wife to a drug overdose and nearly died himself. He has since turned his life around. Many people who struggle with addition believe they could never get out from underneath it. The point of the story is to show that redemption is always a choice away.
How did the recording of the video to “Welcome To My World” go? When will we be able to view the video?
It went well. We spent most of an entire day in some pretty cold weather. Since none of us had ever taken part in a music video it was an interesting experience for all of us. The video should be released either shortly before or along with the release of the new record in July.
At this point I would like to talk about your projects outside of JD.
First, Biogenesis has signed with Retroactive Records to re-issue The Mark Bleeds Through. When do you anticipate it being released? And will it include any bonus material? Also, does Biogenesis plan to record a new album in the future?
It looks like we will be re-issuing the re-issue at the beginning of next year. We wanted to do it much sooner but we will have to wait a little longer. The re-issue will contain at least two bonus tracks and possibly more.
This summer Bio will be recording a new album that will be called Point Of Origin. We are really excited to have a second chance for the band and for our fans.
You are also involved in a group called Human Paradox.
How and when did HP form?
When Bio disbanded in 2005 I told the Bio fans that I would form a new band that would be similar in direction but would have a new name. I was fortunate enough to hook up with well know guitarist Darrin J Moore from Legacy. He then brought drummer Andy Hall to the fold. We have been writing ever since and we have just begun to play live shows recently for the first time.
How would you describe HP musically?
That is a difficult thing to do. Like Bio HP is very diverse never sticking to one style or formula. At times we sound like melodic Progressive metal and at other times we almost sound like a death metal band. It’s almost like a fusion of Bio, JD, Symphony X and Nevermore. A lot of speed, heaviness, melody and some serious groove and some serious guitar lead shredding. A fusion of all the best metal has to offer if you will.
Does HP have any future recording plans?
We have actually been in the studio for awhile now but we have been taking our time. When our debut comes out we want to blow peoples minds.
Chaz, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Any final words for the readers of Angelic Warlord?
Thank you for supporting us. We love you guys and gals all around this world where ever you are reading from! God Bless you all!
Human Paradox online: https://myspace.com/humanparadox
Chaz Bond online: www.facebook.com/chaz.bond
Review by Andrew Rockwell