Biogenesis is one of the more unique bands to hit the metal and hard rock scenes in recent years. That uniqueness manifests itself from the manner in which the group merges so many varying styles, ranging from straightforward heavy metal to thrash to Gothic to modern groove to progressive metal. The Rise, The Fall, The Rebirth, the summer of 2012 sophomore release from Biogenesis, proves no exception due to (as taken from the 80% Angelic Warlord review) “walking a fine line between the aggressive (with bone crushing heaviness and occasional extreme moments) and melodic (the material here is quite listenable - almost accessible - despite the angst). Angelic Warlord had the recent opportunity to interview vocalist Chaz Bond, who offers his thoughts regarding the bands past, present and future.
Over ten years passed between the release of the Biogenesis debut The Mark Bleeds Through and its sophomore release The Rise, The Fall, The Rebirth. What were the circumstances behind such an extended break between albums? And what was the band doing during this period?
When we first started out fresh off of our first Label signing back in 2000, we were having a blast. We were just four young musicians enjoying what we love. After we returned home from our tour with Mortification in 2001, things began to unravel. Division began to creep in. Guys were listening to outside voices and the next thing you know, we are discussing getting rid of this guy and so on. That's when things began to change. Between 2001 and 2005, we had a revolving door of bass players and drummers, but it was never quite the same again. During those years we had written a second album that was to be called Peace, Love and Hypocrisy. However the label that agreed to sign us for that record never came through and that was really the beginning of the downward spiral. We attempted to start the recording process for that record several times but each attempt fell through for one reason or another. Finally in 2005 I had a monumental fall out with long time guitarist James Riggs, and ultimately I decided to dissolve the band. That led me to forming the band Human Paradox which was actually intended to replace the void Biogenesis left behind. HP wrote some great songs and began to gain momentum playing live in our local scene, but an album was never released.
What led to Biogenesis reuniting its original line up?
Well, as most are aware, I was becoming well known as the vocalist of Jacobs Dream and was busy with Human Paradox as well. However, as time passed on I couldn't help wondering what might have been. From time to time I would receive fan letters telling me how much they missed Bio and so on. By then James and I had worked things out and were friends again. James and our old drummer Nevin were trying to talk me into a reunion. Finally in 2009 we were offered a contract to record a reunion album and so I agreed to give it a shot. I was not entirely certain what the future would hold for the band beyond the new album at the time. Basically I agreed to make at least one more album for our fans.
How and why did Biogenesis sign with Soundmass?
Well, ironically the label that originally signed us in 2009 wasn’t panning out and we really wanted something solid. I was in contact with Soundmass about other projects and so we decided to switch to Soundmass as our new label home. Adam of Soundmass has been great to work with. He is straight to the point and always delivers on what, when, how and so on. Honestly Soundmass has been a real blessing to us and has been a huge part of our resurgence. It's been a great partnership to this point.
How did the writing and recording process for The Rise, The Fall, The Rebirth go? And who is the primary Biogenesis songwriter?
The writing process was easy because most of the songs were written during the silent period between 2001 and 2005. Only "Point Of Origin" was actually written after the reunion. The recording process was actually very draining. At one point right in the middle of tracking, guitarist James Riggs was not able to finish the recording and so then new guitarist Paul Witte had to rush in to do many of James’ tracks. Then suddenly Paul was not available to finish the tracks and so we actually had to ask Jacob's Dream guitarist John Berry to finish the remaining rhythm (guitar) tracks. All of that along with constant scheduling issues really set the release date back quite a bit. Our fans have no idea how much of a miracle that record really is. The fact that we were able to finally complete the album and to get it out to our fans was an enormous relief for us all. It felt like a ton of bricks just fell off of our backs.
As far as the writing goes, it is generally a team effort. On the first two albums James Riggs was the primary riff writer while Randy Walton would lend some riffs as well. I have always written all of the lyrics and vocal parts for Bio and always will.
What is the meaning behind the title The Rise, The Fall, The Rebirth?
There is actually a double meaning behind the title. The first one is an obvious reference to the history of the band. It’s a tribute to all that we had been through and all the obstacles that had to be overcome in order to make this record happen. It appeared that we had been defeated. Yet we were reborn. The other meaning refers to life itself. Life is much like the title. We rise (and) then we fall. The great thing about that is that we have been given the right to choose to be reborn in spite of our imperfections.
Biogenesis brings a unique sound combining aspects of heavy metal, thrash, modern groove, progressive metal and Gothic metal. What led to the group evolving in such a musical direction?
Growing up as a young musician and vocalist I was into many styles of metal ranging from melodic rock to thrash and death metal. While a lot of people would choose one or the other, I was into all of it. I had fronted several bands of all of those styles and over time I had acquired the ability to perform each one on vocals. That eventually led me to a crossroads. I had reached a point where I was having trouble deciding which style I wanted to focus on. I was sharing my frustrations with a close friend of mine back in 1996. He suggested to me that I just forget the rules and combine it all including all the vocal styles. That revelation eventually led me to forming Biogenesis. The unique combination of styles was not only intentional, (but) it was the very foundation and purpose for the band's existence.
What are you thoughts in regards to The Rise, The Fall, The Rebirth? Are you happy with the way the album turned out? What are some of your favorite songs off the album and why?
I am happy with the album overall. It is different than our first album. During the early days we were happy and excited to be out there performing and our first album reflects that. I think that this album is darker and more somber and personal. I think that all we were going through personally and professionally really had an impact on our latest release.
As far as the production goes that is something that we plan to improve on in the future. We went in with a small budget and after all of the pit falls during the recording process, we ended up way behind schedule. Do to these issues the album was never properly mastered. At the time I really had no idea if this was it or if there would be a future for Biogenesis. That being said, I think that it turned out pretty good under the circumstances. As I stated earlier, it is a miracle that this album made it out of the gate.
My favorite songs are "Never", "Paradox" and "Angel". Those songs are so intense and personal. Almost anyone can relate to them in one way or another and that's what it's all about.
Who is the new Biogenesis guitarist? Also, what led to the group to recruiting a new guitarist?
His name is Darin Moore. He was the guitarist for Human Paradox for six years or so. After we all sat down to discuss the future of the band, the decision was made to part ways with co-founding member James Riggs. We just felt that he was at a point in his life where it was best for both him and the band to go in different directions. Shortly after that Paul Witte had stepped down. Darin came out for a jam and the magic was immediate. I already knew what we were getting (after) having been in a band with him for many years. Honestly, since he joined us in the summer of 2012, things have been fantastic. It has been nothing but a professional atmosphere. Since then we are playing out like we used to and the chemistry is awesome.
What does the future hold for Biogenesis? Is another album in the works?
We are actually half way through the writing process of a new album. Right now the working title is And The Empires Fall. That could change. We will see as we continue writing. We are in the process of building our own studio. The plan is to track the record at home and then to bring in a solid producer to give us the best sound possible. In addition to that, we have been filming a behind the scenes documentary. We hope to self release the footage for our fans.
Also just recently we added a fifth member to the Bio family. We now have a keyboard player named Evan English. He will add yet another element to our diversity. We plan to continue to tour especially after the new album is released which we hope will be within a year.
Are there any plans to re-issue The Mark Bleeds Through?
Actually that is something that we have discussed with our Label. Soundmass is working on something, but it will be a little different. I don't want to say to0 much about that now. I don't want to spoil anything.
What is the meaning behind the name Biogenesis?
It is a scientific law that states that "Life is only reproduced by other living things". It's not a popular term among atheists.
Please provide an update in regards to your other band, Jacobs Dream. I understand JD is currently at work on a new album tentatively entitled Where Vultures Gather. How is the writing and recording process going? Will the new album be released independently or through a label?
We are getting there. The album is basically written. Now we are just making adjustments here and there. At this time it looks like this record will be an indie release.
There was previously talk of Jacobs Dream re-recording its 2008 release Dominion Of Darkness. Is this still in the works?
We re-tracked that album about a year or so ago. We are still discussing releasing it. I believe it will happen and hopefully it won’t be to much longer.
What other bands are you involved in outside of Biogenesis and Jacobs Dream?
At the moment all my time is spent between JD and Bio but there is a side project that may get released at some point called "Letters To the Blind".
I would like to close by thanking you for honoring Angelic Warlord with this interview. Do you have any last words you would like to offer our readers?
You’re most welcome and thank you as well. I will just say thank you to all of our die hard fans. It is for and because of you that Bio is back. God bless you guys and girls everywhere!
Biogenesis Facebook: www.facebook.com/Biogenesis
Jacobs Dream Facebook: www.facebook.com/OfficialJacobsDream
Interview by Andrew Rockwell